Another Voice for Legalization

CNN's Jack Cafferty is the latest to jump on the legalization bandwagon, proclaiming the war on drugs an utter failure.

What do you suppose the total price tag is for this failed war on drugs? One senior Harvard economist estimates we spend $44 billion a year fighting the war on drugs. He says if they were legal, governments would realize about $33 billion a year in tax revenue. Net swing of $77 billion. Could we use that money today for something else? You bet your a*s we could. Plus the cartels would be out of business. Instantly. Goodbye crime and violence.


If drugs were legalized, we could empty out a lot of our prison cells. People will use this stuff whether it's legal or not. Just like they do booze. And you could make the argument that in some cases alcohol is just as dangerous as some drugs. I know.

Like I said ... something to think about. It's time.

Cafferty makes another point:

How many hours of courtroom time are devoted to drug trials? How many judges, bailiffs, courtroom security officers, stenographers, etc., spend their time on drug trials?

How many prison cells are filled with drug offenders? And how many corrections officers does it take to guard them? How much food do these convicts consume?

He's right. I doubt the public has a clue as to the resources thrown at drug cases, particularly large-scale federal ones. The war on drugs is a complete disaster. Ending it should be a question of when, not if.

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    The main goals of the criminal justice system (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by JSN on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:45:05 PM EST
    as practiced today are to improve public safety and to punish offenders (I don't think it should be that way I am just reporting my conclusions). The main reason MJ is a public safety issue is that the distribution and sale of MJ are carried out by criminals. The penalties for MJ use do not fit the crime and the severe punishments intended for the criminal traffickers seldom hit the right target.

    The unintended consequences are were are providing criminals with a large  source of income and we are punishing the wrong people. Those were the issues that helped end prohibition.

    Most of my doctor friends think that the medical use of MJ is of historical interest only. As a consequence I doubt the medical MJ issue will get much support from the medical professional societies.

    The cost of arresting MJ users is a jail/court issue not a prison issue but because jail and prison are used as synonyms the media will never get that straight. IMO $600 million would be a high estimate for jail/court costs.

    I have no idea how deep the support is for legalizing MJ but I think there is significant fraction of the voters that are sick and tried of the unintended consequences.

    Huh? (2.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:58:25 PM EST
    The prisons, Federal prisons, are holding plenty of small time MJ offenders.

    Most people are well aware of the difference between a jail and a prison.


    show any evidence (none / 0) (#28)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:02:04 PM EST
     supporting the assertion that federal prisons hold "plenty of small time MJ offenders."

      In my career I have never even heard of a person whose only offense was "small time MJ" being sentenced to federal prison. in another thread one person said he got a letter from a guy so sentenced in Indian Country and that's  the only even unverified,  anectdotal "evidence" I have heard.


    Do your own research (none / 0) (#29)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:05:26 PM EST
    I personally know someone who is doing up to 10 years for conspiracy simply for not evicting the tenants he knew were growing MJ in his rental house.

    And the 6 people who were growing are there with him. I seriously doubt they are the only 7 people in the country. It was a very small operation.


    Small time? (none / 0) (#35)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:24:00 PM EST

    A grow house is small time?

    Don't be obnoxious, (none / 0) (#38)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:26:15 PM EST
    count the number of plants. I said the operation was small time. All grow houses the same size?

    Well (none / 0) (#139)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 10:39:10 AM EST

    It seems that "small time" in most peoples understanding is a small amount in posession for personal use.  Production is another matter.  

    It could be said that flying a Piper Cub into the country loaded with MJ is "small time" compared to an 18 wheeler load.  However, that hardly makes it a small time drug offense.


    Thresholds amounts for felony drug trafficking (none / 0) (#85)
    by JSN on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:45:23 PM EST
    vary from state to state and are very important in determining the prison population. Examples of such thresholds are

    Meth 5 gm.
    Crack cocaine 10 gm.
    Powder cocaine 100 gm.
    Marijuana 50,000 gm to 100,000 gm.

    In this case you find very few persons in prison for marijuana possession and over half of the drug offenders are charged with meth trafficking. I have no doubt that many of those charged with meth trafficking should would have been charged with possession if the thresholds were more realistic.


    I'm not sure where you get that (none / 0) (#92)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:53:33 PM EST
      I suspect you may be confusing standards for establishing a rebuttable presumption of intent to distribute with "thresholds" for felonies.

      I have never heard of a state where all distribution is not chargeable as a felony (with the exception of some jurisdictions exempting non-remunerative distribution of VERY small amounts of marijuana)or where a person cannot (albeit not necessarily successfully) rebut intent to distribute where larger amounts are involved.


    A corollary (none / 0) (#26)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:58:25 PM EST
     to that argument is that because marijuana is illegal it is sold by people willing to break that law. A number (although I doubt a majority) of those people are also willing to and do sell more dangerous drugs. The more dangerous drugs are often preferred merchandise to sellers, despite the more vigilant enforcement and harsher penalties. Why would a person who could sell only marijuana choose to sell more dangerous drugs carrying increased risk?

      Because they are easier to transport, conceal and store and most importantly because they carry higher profit margins.

      Thus, if anything, prohibitng the sale of marijuana likely puts buyers in direct contact with people selling more dangerous drugs that those buyers might otherwise not be enticed to buy.


    You mean we won't shoot people (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:40:29 PM EST
    during pot raids anymore?  Do you mean saving the lives of people who go to prison for drugs?

    Pot kills no one.
    It is impossible to OD.

    Hope you meant saving lives by ending the pot war!

    for those who fear decriminalization of drugs (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 09:17:41 AM EST
    I have four words:
    Ritalin, Adderall, Prozac and Xanax.  there are hundreds of other words.  from Ambien to Zoloft we all know them.  many of us use them and you know who you are.  those just happen to be four of my favorites.
    what I would like to see is people dropping the hypocrisy that some drugs are more equal than others.  I would like to see people out grow the idea the drugs companies have convinced them of that it is only the naturally occurring chemicals that must be avoided at all costs and are a danger to all we hold dear while the drugs that they created and thus own the patent for are wonderful and make your life better.

    hm (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by connecticut yankee on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 10:20:35 AM EST
    Well, they are adminstered by doctors.  Are you saying that all of those drugs should be sold over the counter to anyone?  If you fully legalize then you'd have an amazing array of addictive drugs conveniently on sale.

    There seems to be the "legalize pot" crowd and the "legalize everything" crowd.

    I think the former is more reasonable.


    those drugs are available to anyone (none / 0) (#138)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 10:24:05 AM EST
    who asks for them.  try it and see. doctors get kind consideration from pharmaceutical  companies for making sure of that.
    I am proposing that any responsible adult be allowed to take any drug they want NOT JUST any patented drug from a company large enough to have a lobbying firm.

    Again, (none / 0) (#1)
    by bocajeff on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:11:07 AM EST
    I think this isn't the best way to fight for legalization. I still believe that it's a freedom issue more than anything else. Libertarians on both the right and the left will support it. When you start arguing costs and the such then you invite the other side. What is the other side of freedom?

    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:14:33 AM EST
    The economic cost will be a big, if not the biggest, reason change will come about. Libertarians aren't enough. People have to get sick and tired of paying for it.

    Just like with the death penalty. Publicizing the cost of it, compared to life without parole, has had a big impact.


    thats what I think (none / 0) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:33:27 AM EST
    and who would have imagined Jack Cafferty would end up being the voice of reason?

    btw (none / 0) (#56)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:47:00 PM EST
    I would say that he is right to mention the potential financial benefit.  that I believe will also help bring about a  change in thinking.

    I disagree with you, (none / 0) (#18)
    by bocajeff on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:07:49 PM EST
    The death penalty argument is winning (at the moment at least as it does tend to ebb and flow through the years) because of advances in DNA testing and the exoneration of some on death row. Not the cost. I believe people would be willing to pay far more to put to death some people than to keep them alive.

    I agree however that it will have some impact on certain voters and that's good. But it's hard to argue against freedom.

    "Why shouldn't a person do whatever he/she wants as long as it doesn't impact another person?" Argue against that.


    True enough (none / 0) (#21)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:15:27 PM EST
    When a guilty person is put on death row, few people can relate to the experience or feel bad for the person. But, when someone on death row is later found to be innocent, everyone can relate to how awful that would be if that were to happen to them.

    That even one innocent person may have been put to death takes my breath away it is so horrible to think about.


    Andrew Sullivan has letters from users (none / 0) (#36)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:24:00 PM EST
    today who are just regular soccer moms and little-league Dads.

    This is what we need: more people to come out of the cannabis closet so Americans can see the people next door, who smoke pot!


    The Drug War is a failure... (none / 0) (#2)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:13:44 AM EST
    ...yet we're sending out the DEA to police far-off lands.

    American authorities are planning a broad new campaign to choke off the prime source of financing for terrorists in Afghanistan, sending in dozens of federal drug-enforcement agents to disrupt the country's massive opium trade and the money that streams to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

    Lesson not learned apparently.  

    I noticed when reading the comments attached to this article that the fRightwing sure is pushing the Ashley Biden is the biggest. druggie. ever. story pretty hard.  I wasn't even aware of this until I happened over to C&L's.  That evil liberal media at it again...

    Cost is the wrong approach (none / 0) (#4)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:28:09 AM EST

    But so is the claim of billions in tax revenue.  Marijuana is easy to grow, and needs no tricky processing.  If you wanted billions in tax revenue, you would have to spend billions more on revenue agents.  An effective marijuana tax would need to be low enough to be not worth evading.  Better yet zero, and just tax profits like any other agricultural product.  

    IMO the reason to lergalize is to take the product out of criminal distribution and the resultant gang warefare.

    Vegetables are easy to grow at home ... (none / 0) (#114)
    by cymro on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 04:02:52 PM EST
    ... but most people still buy them at the market and pay sales taxes. Homebrewing beer is a relatively simple process, but that does not seem to have made much of a dent in the beer companies' business and the tax revenues they generate.

    I don't buy (none / 0) (#117)
    by Patrick on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 04:14:25 PM EST
    the vegetables I'm growing.  ALso they don't stay useable as long as marijuana, unless you go through the process of canning them.  

    I think it depends on ease and expense. (none / 0) (#118)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 04:14:26 PM EST
    Homebrewing palatable beer is not nearly as simple as some may make it appear, and the equipment investment in order to consistently make good beer is not insignificant.

    Which probably explains why gardening is a hobby that's infinitely more popular than brewing beer.

    Not only do a lot of people have veggie gardens, but also here in CA everybody and their brother has citrus/plum/apricot/etc. trees.

    Almost zero effort and large volumes are produced.

    Also depends on prices. If tomatoes were $20/each, you'd see a whole lot more people growing them.

    Although even if MJ were decriminalized/legalized I think it would still carry some stigma, I still think a lot of people would grow it.


    growing marijuana, from what I've read (none / 0) (#123)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 07:20:14 PM EST
    Is not a simple process...not, at least, if you want anything worth smoking...

    it is true that the plant will grow on it's own, so it's not the growing that's hard, but it's the growing of a quality plant that makes the process a little more difficult...

    the price alone would be prohibitive for many average users...and even of those that would grow the amount would be <5 plants (anything more than that would become quite cumbersome in terms of space, time involved, and other necessary 'annoyances')...

    if I'm pretty close on the <5 plants number, and I believe I am for most responsible users that live outside of California (where due to climate your average user could probably grow quite a few more and with slightly more ease), then that means that your average user would not be able to grow enough to even support his/her own consumption (depending on exactly what would be your average user in terms of consumption)...

    I agree there are a terrible many little details that would need to be worked out before legalization, but I think the one of home-growing would be pretty easy to legislate...

    just set a limit, and if you want to grow more than that limit you'll need to register as a small business involved in marijuana manufacturing...


    For me, if I was an mj user, if I chose to grow my own and it took, say, 5 hits to get the same buzz that just one hit of something "worth smoking" would give me, I'm not sure I would care all that much.

    I know I'm perfectly happy drinking a 4-5% abv 12 oz beer (or three) instead of downing the same number of 40% abv 1 oz vodka shots.

    But what do I know, I haven't gotten high in, I don't know, gotta be 15 years or so now.

    Maybe someone else with more experience can chime in here...


    It's been a long tme (none / 0) (#135)
    by Bemused on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 08:59:55 AM EST
      since I smoked too, but I think there is more of a difference between "grades" of marijuana than between alcoholic beverages with different levels of alcohol.

      Purely my own recollection and not scientific in any way, but it wasn't just a matter of weed with 5X the THC requiring 1/5th the dose for the same effect. The buzz, experientially was different and "better" from the good stuff. Maybe the difference was psychosomatic but I really don't think so.


    Super Easy TO Grow (none / 0) (#125)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 09:17:56 PM EST
    High quality MJ. The buds need trimming and flowers need picking, and varmint protection, but other than than lots of sun, rich earth, water, tlc. and you have a nice 8' - 14' plant at harvest time. That would be the equivalent of a deer or two in the freezer, in terms of providing, imo.

    It helps to have... (none / 0) (#134)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 08:45:47 AM EST
    ...one of those green thumbs too!  Too bad mine tend to run toward shades of black (as my house plants can attest).  

    I think (none / 0) (#5)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:33:41 AM EST
     given the resounding lack of success thus far, it is prudent to make all the arguments from personal freedom/autonomy, to economic costs, to revenue source for criminal enterprises, to misallocation of resources from more serious crimes, to relative danger vis a vis legal drugs and the others.

      I think the things to stay away from are extolling the benefits of marijuana (or other illegal drugs, denying the dangers of them, and especially supporting transparent end runs like "medical marijuana" and the ability of hemp to save the world.

    Decades away... (none / 0) (#6)
    by KoolJeffrey on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:53:31 AM EST
    ...if ever. It makes too much sense. Even with right-wingers like Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan on board, this won't happen. Conservatives and liberals both will wail like newborn babies on this issue. It's a great opportunity for grandstanding on both sides. Even pot-friendly Obama chuckled at the mere mention of the topic that was so eloquently spelled out be Cafferty.

    Americans are too dense to figure this one out.

    We are dense puritans (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Dadler on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:01:58 AM EST
    Our puritanical heritage still bites us in that ace with stuff like this.  But not Europe.  Why?  Because a long, long time ago, all the religious fanatics got on boats.  And you know where they sailed?  Right here.  And they started a country.

    Heh (none / 0) (#10)
    by vicndabx on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:24:02 AM EST
    all true (none / 0) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:34:10 AM EST
    but I think we are beginning to outnumber them.

    On the Internet, maybe (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by KoolJeffrey on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:56:44 PM EST
    ya (none / 0) (#8)
    by connecticut yankee on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:21:31 AM EST
    It would be an interesting experiment.  Shame they can't sell it by saying, "lets try this for five or ten years".

    To be fair (none / 0) (#9)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:23:55 AM EST
    we should acknowledge the cost of heavy use of legal drugs, including marijuana.  Ongoing, long term use of drugs certainly lowers individual productivity (except for meth of course, work work work, buzz buzz buzz... /snark).  Really, potheads simply aren't productive, driven workers.  

    More importantly, the medical costs associated with drug use can severely impact insurance and "free" medical use by the uninsured.  Pot will increase the incidence of cancer, other drugs increase the incidence of STDs, especially HIV & AIDS, ice causes brain damage to the extent that users will be eligible to live on social security due to severely lowered mental capacity, and there will certainly be more drug related accidents to deal with.

    Agreed, the drug war has failed, but I'm also glad my teenager can't easily sample the variety of illegal drugs currently restricted in our country.  

    Perhaps a better approach would be to bring our troops back from Iraq and send them after drug cartels.

    we're already (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Learned Hand on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:52:29 AM EST
    doing that in Columbia and Afghanistan and it isn't working. Your solution is US soldiers in Mexico or on the border fighting drug cartels? Are you nuts? These guys are more armed and have more money than these two-bit militiamen in Iraq and Afghanistan and might be better trained. Not to mention the problem of putting US soldiers on an offensive in a sovereign nation right next door...The solution is not more guns and more soldiers. Escalating the "war" will not work.

    It'd also be nice if our American cultural consciousness changed to such a degree that people no longer dressed up issues such as drugs and terrorism in the completely inappropriate context of a "war." Calling things a War-on-this and a war-on-that just dumbs down the issue to a unworkable degree, easy for politicians to manipulate in 5 second soundbites for political advantage.  

    Legalization pulls the rug out from the whole thing, and I am sad at the reaction that question got the other night from the President and his audience. (Although it would have been nice if the question also addressed the other issues Cafferty discussed above.)


    I disagree on Afghanistan (none / 0) (#34)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:22:22 PM EST
    The entire poppy crop could have been destroyed before harvest for the last five years.  There are massive fields visible via satellite, and it wouldn't be hard to burn them.  Given the impact the drug crop has on terrorism and crime in our country, we certainly have the right to disrupt harvest and sale of opium.  However, our government made a decision not to do so, partly because it would disrupt the economy of Afghanistan.  By that, they probably realized their ongoing strategy of buying off powerful criminals in the middle east would be less effective if those local leaders didn't have access to drug money.

    Obviously the abuse of drugs hurts more than just the user.  Just as our car insurance skyrockets because of drunk drivers, the cost of healthcare for recreational drug users is shared by those who don't imbibe.  When we have the perfect recreational drug that can't be abused (turnoff mechanism if used more than a certain amount), something that is cheap to produce, that doesn't degrade work performance or social skills like parenting & interpersonal interactions, etc.) then society will be ready to accept legalization.


    As Long as There is Demand, There is Supply (none / 0) (#59)
    by Learned Hand on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:55:02 PM EST
    If we burn every poppy plant in Afghanistan, assuming that is even possible, then it just comes back again the next year, or it turns up in another country. Maybe Thailand or Cambodia or somewhere in the Emerald Triangle comes back into the swing of things. Point is as long as there are people buying heroin there will be people growing opium, somewhere, and it will be sold as the market dictates.

    That market is currently run underground by criminals on an international scale, just like booze was during prohibition. Ironically they are probably just as anti-legalization as the most fervent law-and-order type because they know they cannot compete with a legalized, above board industry.

    I don't get what you mean by this:

    By that, they probably realized their ongoing strategy of buying off powerful criminals in the middle east would be less effective if those local leaders didn't have access to drug money.

    Do you mean more effective? I would think that bribing people is generally more useful when the person being bribed doesn't have another easy source of revenue.


    We shouldn't be paying opposition leaders (none / 0) (#72)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:07:44 PM EST
    and terrorists in Iraq not to kill us.  That is the strategy the made BushCo's surge work.  It's the same thinking that led us to prop up murderous regimes in Central America.  The same strategy is employed in Afghanistan.  In order to not disrupt their power, our government is willing to let them make massive amounts of money from opium sales in our country.  It's not that they don't need our payments if they have drug money; they're happy to take both.  In the end, we've supported the wrong people, even if the short term results are fewer attacks on our troops.  

    The policy sucks and is not in our best interests.  


    I don't believe you are being fair, but (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:10:17 PM EST
    the most stunning part of your comment is:

    I'm also glad my teenager can't easily sample the variety of illegal drugs currently restricted in our country

    Denial at that level is why it's so easy for the teens to use without their parents knowing it.

    Seems the primary legalization argument has been focused on MJ, not meth, heroin, cocain, etc.


    Ha, I'm not in denial. (none / 0) (#32)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:20:40 PM EST
    I got my hands on plenty of pot when I was a kid.  I even had access to LSD by 7th grade.  I know what's out there today.  The difference is that I talk to my kids and they have choices and support that we never had as kids.  I've introduced my kids to ice users, and they can see for themselves that the drug turned them into disfunctional stupid people with rotting teeth.  They've seen brain scans of ice users.  When the meth house down the road is busted, they see that the guys go to jail and have miserable lives.  They know the opium crop helps terrorists and the Mexican drug cartels send murderers to our hospitals in borders states with no qualms about killing innocent doctors and nurses in their way.  Legalizing pot doesn't change any of that.  Legalizing other drugs would simply undermine our attempts to de-normalize abusive behavior.  People would abuse drugs openly and publicly.  

    Good parenting is the anti-drug, but more effective drug policies go a long way to help us protect our kids.


    Different deal (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by sj on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:56:20 PM EST
    I think that's great, what you're doing.  Keeping the lines of communication open.

    But that's not what you said here:

    I'm also glad my teenager can't easily sample the variety of illegal drugs currently restricted in our country

    And I would apply some critical thinking to the premise that heavy-handed drug laws = more effective drug policies.


    Easy access vs. keeping drugs hard to get (none / 0) (#79)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:24:00 PM EST
    Kids can certainly get their hands on drugs, but it's not like most of my kid's friends' parents have a stash available for use every day after school.

    Easy access = higher rate of use, abuse and addiction.

    I agree on the limits of heavy-handed drug laws.  I would get more heavy-handed with cartels and terrorists, with less money spent chasing and punishing users.  


    first (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:15:18 PM EST
      everyone who smokes marijuana is not an unproductive pothead. lot's of peope use it occasionally and in moderation. Second, I know people you would probably call potheads who are productive and otherwise law-abiding citizens.

      I agree we should not pretend the dangers are not real-- while still identifying cases of exaggerated dangers.

      Finally, one the best arguments against our current policy is how  poor a job it does in preventing anyone, including teenagers, from easily sampling illegal drugs.


    "one the best arguments . . . (none / 0) (#77)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:22:46 PM EST

    . . . against our current policy"

    that is exactly right.  I think that is the best argument against the drug war in general.  I am one who would not stop at pot.  personally I think it should all be decriminalized. the fact is in a non totalitarian society you can not stop people from doing drugs who wish to do drugs.  you simply cant.
    why try.  spend the money on education and counseling for the dangerous stuff.
    also, while I personally have never had any great interest in the "harder" drugs, I know many people who do.  and they are all professional, productive, responsible tax payers.  I dont hang out with dead beats.
    a dead beat is a dead beat.  the drugs are just an excuse.



    Unless we p-test every person (none / 0) (#93)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:58:08 PM EST
    in the country, weekly, we cannot stop demand.

    I don't think we want to lock up drug users for life either, which would work. (woops, drugs can be had in prison)

    So the only way to win is to give up! Regulate and tax.


    cigarettes too? (none / 0) (#121)
    by diogenes on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 05:42:48 PM EST
    By this reasoning, not everyone who smokes tobacco is addicted.  There are many social smokers.
    In any case, given the way society is banning "passive smoking" in apartment buildings, bars, and public parks, you won't be able to smoke pot anyway.  Brownies anyone?

    Stereotype... (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:25:52 PM EST
    Really, potheads simply aren't productive, driven workers.

    You should really get out more Leftmind...would you call Michael Phelps unproductive?  How about Willie Nelson?  Sh*t how about me, not to toot my own horn or anything but I've never been fired from a job in my life...not once, and I smoke everyday.  I work circles around some of the tee-totalers at my outfit, with time to spare to comment with you.

    I forgive ya, I've got my own prejudiced stereotypes about cops, lawmakers, and bankers...and they are just as nonsensical.


    on a more personal note (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:35:35 PM EST
    I have smoked pot pretty much every day for the last 40 years.  literally.  and I am extremely productive.  I work in a high pressure industry with kids young enough to be my grandchildren.  I am going on 60 and I have absolutely no plans to stop smoking pot or stop being productive.
    and FYI I am not in any way a unique case.
    saying all pot smokers are unproductive in naive and uninformed to the point of being silly.

    Pulitzer prize winning friend (none / 0) (#73)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:08:40 PM EST
    is a smoker and this book was a non-fiction historical TOME so god only knows how this useless stoner got this book done.



    I salute you Captain... (none / 0) (#81)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:27:54 PM EST
    And I'll raise the bong tonight to all the "productive" stoners...achieving anyway in spite of tyrannical laws and tyrannical piss-tests and stereotypes meant to keep us out of the "traditional" workplace.

    Good thing ya just can't hold good people down, right Cap?  


    aye (none / 0) (#87)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:45:55 PM EST
    JUst (none / 0) (#119)
    by Patrick on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 04:15:40 PM EST
    don't inhale!!!  

    Sorry Pat... (none / 0) (#133)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 08:06:46 AM EST
    inhaled and inhaled deep, most pleasant...Who do I look like, Slick Willy?...:)

    I also have a perfect work history (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:50:00 PM EST
    and no brushes with the law except a traffic ticket.

    My husband is a prolific writer.

    This brings up another point about Puritanism: if all Americans are not working, working, working, at full capacity, there is something wrong with us.

    Who said life is only about how much work product you produce??  Maybe it is also OK to just get by, spending more time with family and friends and just living???  Why do we all have to WORK SO HARD to be considered worthy citizens?  Sounds like China or some other nationalistic regime.


    Well said... (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:00:12 PM EST
    We are not capital, we are not machines...we're flesh and blood and soul.  

    Thanks. This has begun to bother (none / 0) (#70)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:06:23 PM EST
    me and it usually comes up in pot discussions.

    It really is un-American not to WORK and produce at 110%. Growth is everything.

    While the French hang out, work some, get heathcare, hang out, go to free university, have a month's vacation and we DEMONIZE them for being lazy and unproductive.

    So what??
    I think they are happy.


    The French were getting their butts (2.00 / 1) (#83)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:37:16 PM EST
    kicked by Nazis until crazy, hard working America stepped in to help.  In fact, if we hadn't jumped in, most of Europe wouldn't be what it is today.  Is all our productivity and wealth really so bad, or is it just that our corporate-run government causes our country to abuse our power?

    We need a little balance.  I personally don't like the idea of obsessively working our lives away, but compared to countries with families who live squished into apartments with other families, and who work long hours for little pay, and who send their kids to work instead of to school, I'd say we're not doing too bad.  Completely emulating the French might just make us vulnerable to the next Hitler, who will probably turn out to have accumulated power through oil money.  


    I'm sorry (none / 0) (#84)
    by CST on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:42:15 PM EST
    what does WWII have to do with anything here?

    Oh right, it doesn't.

    And the French didn't get their "butts kicked" because they were lazy - they got their entire country pretty well demolished in WWI and they made a stupid call about where to put their army against the Germans.

    We stepped in because we were bombed.  Not because we were "harder working".

    Do you feel the same way about those "hard working Russians" on the eastern front?

    I'm pretty sure it was winter and more troops that did it.


    I didn't say we stepped in (none / 0) (#95)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:02:29 PM EST
    because we were hard working.  I'm saying we had resources that European countries didn't have, and one reason we're a wealthy country is we are innovative and hard working.  We won because we had more resources than little countries like France.

    We should have joined that war far earlier than we did.  

    WWII is relevant because the French may have easier, laid back lives, but they're more at risk from the Hitlers in the world than countries like ours.

    A leze faire attitude toward drugs and toward oppressive regimes both have consequences.  


    our being across the ocean (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:05:10 PM EST
     and their  sharing a border might have also been a factor.

    If we'd jumped in earlier (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:30:27 PM EST
    the British would not have so readily handed us their imperial possessions. We let them bleed first.

    I think you are confused (none / 0) (#104)
    by CST on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:23:59 PM EST
    about the history and causes of WWII.  They were at risk for a lot of reasons - but I don't think their "laid back lives" was one of them.

    Frankly, I think we should also be more worried about becoming the Stalin of the world than the France.


    A bit simplistic (none / 0) (#90)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:51:50 PM EST
    don't you think?

    Balance is key though and I still think that America is obsessed with bigger bigger more more.


    I certainly don't judge a human being... (none / 0) (#75)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:10:39 PM EST
    based on how much riches they make for others, that would be insane.

    indeed (none / 0) (#69)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:04:26 PM EST
    far to little stopping to smell the roses as they say as far as I am concerned.  something that pot tends to facilitate.
    just pointing out that I - a total pot head for many many years - will be happy to put my productivity up against any abstainer any time any where.

    The Internet causes poor work (none / 0) (#71)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:07:24 PM EST
    output!!  Look at me! Here I am posting when I should be working.

    Make the internet illegal. look at the productivity losses!


    Sample Bias (4.00 / 1) (#25)
    by FreakyBeaky on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:53:45 PM EST
    Maybe productive, driven workers who are potheads are harder to notice because otherwise they would be productive, driven, and unemployed (and unable to afford the good stuff).  The true amotivated boneheads, by contrast, are very easy to spot.

    That said, mj legalization etc is about harm reduction, not about making everything rainbows and fuzzy kittens.  It's about what sucks least.  I happen to think mj is about as dangerous as a strong beer, yet there is Stuff That Sucks associated with it, and it won't completely go away.


    You are WRONG on your points (3.50 / 2) (#40)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:27:38 PM EST
    pot has NO cancer connection, in fact, studies show a protection against lung cancer, not a correlation.

    Legalizing pot is my goal. This drug must be uncoupled from the "drug war" so we can debate with reason.


    Not true (none / 0) (#55)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:46:46 PM EST
    There was just a study out last month linking pot use to testicular cancer and impotence in men.  Some here have disagreed with the conclusions, and it's not definitive yet, but to say that marijuana smoking has no correlation to cancer is naive at best, or at worst, wrong.

    that same study .... (none / 0) (#58)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:50:00 PM EST
    Although the researchers do not know why THC inhibits tumor growth, they say the substance could be activating molecules that arrest the cell cycle. They speculate that THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.

    Preet says much work is needed to clarify the pathway by which THC functions, and cautions that some animal studies have shown that THC can stimulate some cancers. "THC offers some promise, but we have a long way to go before we know what its potential is," she said.

    Link to article


    ya (none / 0) (#13)
    by connecticut yankee on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:45:49 AM EST
    Also, drugs will continue to develop.  If we made them legal what's to stop corporations from conducting research to make them more addictive and powerful?

    Theoretically there comes a point when you have a drug that robs you of free-will with one hit.  Is that in the interest of society?

    I think that whatever form legalization would take, there would still be limits and there would still be some form of black market.   Just as the right to bear arms doesnt let you have a suitcase nuke or a vehicle mounted mg.


    Of course. regluations like alcohol (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:55:22 PM EST
    and interesting, there is no black market for alcohol that I know of. Sure, the mafia sells it to restaurants in brown wrapping (personal experience)but otherwise, no one is in the park whispering...."psst...merlot, cabernet..."

    OK, I do have sample bias. (none / 0) (#61)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:55:52 PM EST
    I'm just thinking about my own personal experiences during stints of frequent use, like a few months of daily smoking.  And I'm comparing my friends and relatives who smoke pot versus those who don't.  In fact, frequency of use and age the person started smoking might both be important factors.  I have a 40 yr old brother who works in construction and uses meth and works incredibly hard, but has never gotten his life together to create and run his own business.  He's certainly got the skills, but he spends all his spare money on his and his girlfriend's drugs.  Another brother started smoking pot when he was a young teen and is a daily user who is just the nicest guy you'd ever meet, but also has never gotten his life together enough to do more than drive nails for someone else.  He'll probably eventually die of lung cancer or emphysema.  I have other relatives who prostituted themselves for hits of crack, others who have been through the ringer with heroin.  (I do get out enough Kdog.)  And yes, I know people who smoke occasionally and function perfectly well in society.  Would their lives be different if they didn't have to hide their pot smoking?  Would they be different people if they could smoke as much as they wanted because pot was legal and cheap?  How would their use affect other people, especially kids?

    For some reason, I never got addicted to anything, but perhaps that's because I was wary of being controlled by a substance that was illegal.  Of all the casual pot smokers I know (including me) legalization would result in much more frequent use.  And therein lies the problem.  If it's legal and easily available, it'll be used like alcohol.  Or even more, because you can grow your own pot, where you have to pay quite a bit for alcohol.  Availability = higher rates of addiction.  My pothead brother has always been able to grow a few plants for himself without much risk of going to jail, but he never had easy access to other drugs.  That would require interactions with potential Narcs.  Meth users on construction sites have easy access to speed.  In fact, the bosses hand out drugs to get construction workers to finish short projects that require 16 hour days for a couple of weeks.  I know there are plenty of reasons (and ways) to get addicted, but on some level for many people, the illegality of drugs stops them.  Although there are plenty of people who smoke pot and can manage their use of it, there's no question that legalization and increased availability will result in a huge cost to society, especially for drugs other than marijuana.


    What is the cost now? (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:03:14 PM EST
    The cost to society is too high now. Ruined families, clogged courts, too many in jail, billions of law enforcement wasted and people DEAD because they were killed during the execution of a no-knock warrant.

    FWIW... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:45:30 PM EST
    I don't think I could or would want to use anymore frequently than I do right now.  

    I think the costs of prohibition are greater myself...I never bought the illegality keeping use and/or abuse down argument, but who knows unless we try.  Doing the same failed thing over and over and expecting a different result is insane...this we know for sure.

    People might look at me like you look at your brother...poor pothead content to "drive nails", or in my case "desk jockey", for someone else, no motivation.  But did you ever ask your brother if he is happy driving nails?  I decided long ago that my pursuit of happiness would not be in the rat race...I have no love for accumulating wealth or professional accolades...just a simple life filled with as much recreation and pleasure as time will allow...and that means no 12-14 hour days in an investment firm or owning a business for me..that is not my path to happiness.  

    So maybe what you think is demotivation caused by pot is really just different priorities...with more of an emphasis on pleasure than work.  Some people get high off their work...others work to chase their high, be it smoking some reefer, skydiving, model trains, whatever.  I'm definitely the latter...but there is no right and wrong...we should all be free to pursue our hapiness provided we cause no direct harm to others.


    CA should be the model (none / 0) (#97)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:07:21 PM EST
    for use. As far as I can tell, everyone in CA who wants it can get it. Is there a big stoner crisis in CA that has not been on the news?  Are stoned people suddenly clogging the freeways?

    So, use will go up in states like Mississippi, but to what harm?

    I think use will go down after a time because we can take it for granted, Now if a friend scores, we all rush over to his house. When it is just there, we may not obsess!!


    Unless he smokes cigarettes (none / 0) (#67)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:01:29 PM EST
    he won't die of lung cancer, because pot is NOT linked to lung cancer.

    did you ever think (none / 0) (#88)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:46:53 PM EST
      that your brother's  marijuana use and the unambitious  lifestyle are both symptoms of a root cause, rather than the marijuana use being the cause of his lack of ambition?

    great point (none / 0) (#99)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:10:07 PM EST

    I'm am under the same impression...that maybe the drug use and 'lack of motivation' stem from something else...and that the lack of motivation may not be a resultant of drug use, but that the drug use may be a result of the same thing that leads to the lack of motivation....

    for me, a lack of motivation is usually connected to my thought that there is just too much to change, and too much resistance to change to make this 'greatest country in the world' (qualifier needed) into a great country (qualifier not needed)...

    sometimes the weight of this thought makes me lose my motivation...and thus leads to taking a few hits to dissolve the depression and pain of believing that humans could be so much better, yet we don't strive to be so...


    Lack of hope... (none / 0) (#109)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:31:57 PM EST
    is probably the greatest demotivator...I know that is what demotivates me from a tax revolt or picking up a pitchfork...no hope for success.

    My guess is (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:49:28 AM EST
    That to most Americans, this just isn't that big of a deal.  I'm not saying it doesn't matter, but with the problems we face (and even if you put it in terms of the supposed cost savings), people are not going to view this issue as one of our top 50 priorities right now.  Unfortunately, this is an issue that is better debated when we have a good economy and are at peace.

    Only if you break it down into little bits (none / 0) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 12:02:51 PM EST
    The issue of legalizing MJ is closely tied to the current level of crime, courts, and prisons. Those issues are very high with our economic situation right now.

    But, yes, how the country feels about MJ alone is probably not in the top 50.


    there really wasn't a debate when the economy (none / 0) (#100)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:12:28 PM EST
    was going well...things actually got worse...

    the economic challenges we are facing may indeed present the best time for change...(as it seems to do, usually...when people don't have money, there are more willing to cede to change, rather than when things are going well)...


    I think the issue gained attention (none / 0) (#115)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 04:06:04 PM EST
     more because of the change in administration than the economy.

    Didn't happen in the '90s. (none / 0) (#129)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:35:34 PM EST
    sure it did (none / 0) (#132)
    by Bemused on Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 06:46:10 AM EST
      the internet was just not much in 1993

    The U.S. government (none / 0) (#16)
    by ding7777 on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:59:51 AM EST
    wants the drug war.

    Take the increase in Federal excise tax on tobacco, its a 3-fer.

    More political correct posturing, more arrests, and a bigger source of eastern Europe CIA partners (see Misha Glenny book, McMafia)

    I call BS (none / 0) (#30)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:13:32 PM EST
      even a person with a prior criminal record extensive enough to be in criminal history category IV, who cut no deal and went to trial and lost and was found to be a supervisor of the conspiratorial organization would have to be attributed 100s of pounds of marijuana to receive such a sentence.

      As the arbitraily assigned ratio in cultivation cases is 100 grams (less than a 1/4) pound per plant, the person either was found to be  involved with hundreds of pounds or many hundreds of plants.

      now. I am more than willing to consider that he was wrongfully convicted of being invlved with a sizeable operation but that's an entirely differen thing.

    I'm going to share your comments (none / 0) (#76)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:20:07 PM EST

    with him. Nothing would please us more than to have his sentence just a bad dream.

    Seven people have been named in a complaint on charges including conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. Facing a sentence of 10 years to life and a $4 million fine if found guilty,

    5 houses, 4,000 plants (he only owned one of those houses).


    it really depends (none / 0) (#78)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:23:42 PM EST
    on where you are and how good your lawyer is.
    it really does.

    Ok (none / 0) (#82)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:33:34 PM EST
    4000 plants is your idea of "small time." At least we have some perspective.

      I (and I suspect some other people) put the "small-time" threshhold somewhat lower. I'd advise you to refrain from ever repeating this line of argument using this example to avoid prohibitionists from making legalization advocates seem just a tad out of touch  and not very credible.


    To be clear, think (none / 0) (#91)
    by Patrick on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:51:54 PM EST
    It's more a matter of perspective.   Where I come from 4000 plants is not a huge operation, in fact they are pretty much a dime a dozen.  4000 plants is in my experience, well over the threshold of 1000 plants to interest the feds tho.   My biggest garden wa more than 30,000 plants, and I just got a federal conviction on that guy.  

    Uh, (none / 0) (#94)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:02:29 PM EST
      there is perhaps quite a gulf extant between "huge" and "small time." Everything is not one or the other. 4000 plants in five residential homes isn't "huge" to me, but it's along way from "small time."

      Even if only an 30 grams was harvested from each plant that would be 120 kilos-- at one particular point in time under production.

      A kilo of just  decent weed can move wholesale  for well over $1000 (and really good stuff such as often grown indoors for much more than that.

      Even if we take the  conservative estimates an operation with $120,000 worth under production at one time is probably not "small time" in too many people's eyes.


    it would qualify as a 'small business' (none / 0) (#102)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:18:00 PM EST
    if that matters at all...

    but ya, I agree that it just under initial thought that I wouldn't consider 4,000 plants small time...

    I may actually agree with the FED here, and that something closer to 1,000 plants or less (or an amount that would equate to having a decent, but probably crappy job) would equate to small-time...


    Oh come on (none / 0) (#105)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:24:25 PM EST
     in general use, people would consider a "small time" marijuan offender to be, probably at most, someone who moves a couple of pounds a week.

      When they learned you were misleading them by referencing a person growing a 1000 plants at a time as a "small time" guy, you would destroyyour credibility with most people.

     Don't do it.


    His connection was only to one house (none / 0) (#106)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:25:42 PM EST
    not the entire 4,000 plants or the other 4 of 5 houses. The number of plants in his small house was less than 300.

    READ (none / 0) (#98)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:08:53 PM EST
    He owned and rented ONE house to people who were growing 4,000 between 5 houses.

    ownership of the house or houses (none / 0) (#101)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:17:21 PM EST
     is not the issue. A conspiracy is an agreement to violate the law. I can join a conspiracy that has no operations in any property I own, and I can be innocent of being a member of a conspiracy operating in property I own. Ownership of property where illegal activity occurs is relevant evidence because it can be used to draw an inference of knowledge, intent, etc., but it not the essence of the crime.

      your article is contemporaneous with the initial arrest, so it provides no information from which we can assess the nature of the evidence used to establish that he willingly joined a conspiracy knowing that its objective was to grow marijuana and that within the scope of the conspiracy he joined it was forseeable to him that 4000 plants might be cultivated.

      As I said, I'm open to the argument he was wrongly convicted or "overcharged" but that would lend no credibility to your unwise attempt to portray an operation with 4000 plants under protection as an example of a small time marijuana offender serving federal prison time.



    AND (none / 0) (#103)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:21:43 PM EST
    if what he tells us is true (we have no reason to doubt him), he was not part of the group. He is charged with conspiracy because he owned the one house, knew the growing was taking place, and did nothing to stop it or turn them in.

    Again (none / 0) (#108)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:28:58 PM EST
     he might have been wrongy convicted. It happens.

      Mere knowledge of a crime is not sufficient to establish culpability-- even on one's own property. What is sufficient is agreeing to provide a place for the illegal activity to be conducted. If i rent you a house in a legitimaye landlord-tenant relationship and then you unbeknownst to me and without my permission beging growing i am not guilty, even if I later learn you are doing it and don't stop you or turn you in. On the other hand, if at the time we make the lease agreement I know you intend to grow, I am knowingly and intentionally assisting you and am guilty.



    You've called me a liar enough in this (none / 0) (#111)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:35:47 PM EST
    thread to last me a lifetime.

    I'm done with discussion and moving to a different table. Please don't follow.


    what is it about this place (none / 0) (#113)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:42:34 PM EST
     that some people who make wild assertions they can't back up play martyr and run and hide when called on it?

     I know it's the MO of one of the main contributors, but I can hardly imagine a less persuasive tactic.


    I haven't (none / 0) (#116)
    by Patrick on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 04:11:14 PM EST
    Heard bemused call you a liar even once.  Perhaps you're reading into the argument, that 4000 plants is not a small time operation.  Maybe if you're in California like I am, but even then it's definitely over the federal prosecution threshold of 1000 plants

    Odd you could miss it (none / 0) (#130)
    by YesVirginiaThereIsASanta on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:36:46 PM EST
    He has challenged every statement.

    Challenged the (none / 0) (#131)
    by Patrick on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:45:30 PM EST
    validity of referring to it as a small operation.  Suggested perhaps that it wasn't a good strategy as some would beg to differ.  To me that's different than calling somone a liar.  But that's just me I guess.  

    What extended family? (none / 0) (#107)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:27:16 PM EST
    This was not a family business. Second group in the article.

    Ah, yes, I get it now. (1.00 / 1) (#110)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:33:22 PM EST
    I would repeat Bemused's suggestion not to portray the complicit owner of a house that was part of a 4000 plant growing operation as "small time" and/or "a very small operation."

    It strains credulity beyond the breaking point.


    also share with him (none / 0) (#120)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 04:33:19 PM EST
     the fact he has not yet been sentenced.

      The case no. is U.S. dist ct. for the Western District of Washington 2:08-cr-00350 (defs. 1-8) and none of the eight defendant have yet been sentenced by the court. Five of them have entered guilty pleas (Orien, Roy, Hatfield, Cannon and Stein) and three are still on the trial docket.

     The pleading defendants all admitted conduct sufficient to establish each of the essential elements of an offense offense and stipulated to facts including knowledge and intent. They will be sentenced in the future to a sentence within the statutory  range of 5-40 years (unless some may be eligible for the safety valve which would permit the court to go below 5.)

      So, clearly, your statement that your friend involved in this case is serving a 10 year sentence is something less than acurate. He may have been told he is likely looking at a sentence in the vicinity of 10 years but he is not serving it yet.

      I again implore you not to make things up to buttress your arguments.


    we only have two choices? (none / 0) (#31)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:18:52 PM EST
    can't we stop locking up non violent drug offenders without legalizing drugs?  
    Lock up dealers, leave users alone and keep drugs illegal so law abiding citizens do not add to the problems we already have with alcohol.
    Believe it or not, being illegal is exactly the thing that keeps many people non users.  In addition the need to pass a drug test has straightened out many aging druggy boomers I know and for that I am glad.

    Let the free market take care of this. (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:30:33 PM EST
    If a company wants to screen out pot smokers, fine, that is their right. But it is MY right to do what I want with my body.

    If another company doesn't care, that is their right.

    there is no reason that pot can't be delt with like alcohol.


    people who are ONLY users (none / 0) (#33)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:21:32 PM EST
     even of dangerous drugs, let alone marijuana, rarely receive prison sentences now..

     The real problem is that because drugs are illegal they are very expensive and many people sell small amounts to support their own use, and those people can and do often receive very harsh sentences.

    Maybe in your (none / 0) (#37)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:24:42 PM EST
    office. You can't speak for all areas of the country because that statement simply does not apply to all areas of the country.

    federal law (2.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:27:29 PM EST
    does in fact apply to all areas of the country and i live and primarily practice in one of the more gung ho, conservative law and order regions.

      Your scenario is simply untrue. You hurt the cause more than help by throwing things out there that are so easily proven to be untrue.

      there are many good arguments available and yo distract from those by making things up and help discredit those advocates who are not doing so. Please stop.


    Mariuana is just one drug (none / 0) (#43)
    by Saul on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:35:21 PM EST
    Yeah you can legalize it and that will hurt the Mexican cartel, but then they will blow that drug off and push another.  You would have to legalize all illegal drugs to have any major impact on the violence.  The trade off though is you will have more people doing drugs. However you will delete the violence part of it.

    I heard that pot is 61% of what they sell (none / 0) (#48)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:38:27 PM EST
    so it would make a big difference.

    Also, resources could be focused on the dangerous drugs, which makes much more sense.

    We can't discuss drugs sanely until we take pot out of the group of meth, heroin, crack.


    I agree (none / 0) (#49)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:39:27 PM EST
      insofar as legalizing marijuana will not bring down drug cartels -- and might even cause them to expand activities with worse consequences.

       Your argument is probably the best for legalizing ALL drugs-- a cold, heartless calculating appraisal that by balancing the harms, society as a whole would be better off and that's "worth" additional individual costs to more users.


    If CA legalized today, nothing would change (none / 0) (#44)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:35:22 PM EST
    I think that is a good argument too.

    I was just there in pot country, staying with a very successful and ethical investment advisor and nice family man selling.

    Everyone in CA who wants it,has it. Nothing would change. It is already well priced there (I pay 3Xs the price for the same stuff in NY)

    So, what is the problem with pot? Does CA have a current stoner crisis I haven't hear about??

    my pot dealer (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:38:20 PM EST
    (who I saw yesterday) said that if CA legalized pot the would drive prices down all over the country in a very significant way.
    he should know.

    And tax it 100% (none / 0) (#51)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:41:17 PM EST
    why not? I would pay, who wouldn't??

    not a prolem (none / 0) (#53)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:44:18 PM EST
    the tax (none / 0) (#54)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:45:46 PM EST
     could likely be many times 100% of the before tax retail price and real cost to consumers for marijuana would not rise.

    if fact (none / 0) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:59:07 PM EST
    it would likely still drop.
    I get a buzz.  the government gets paid for.  no one goes to jail.
    is this a great country or what?

    I think the "best" model (none / 0) (#80)
    by Bemused on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:24:40 PM EST
     is the one we know best. Alcohol. Heavily regulated and taxed,   all manufacture, distribution  and sales through licensed and inspected entities, with an exception for production (growing) small amounts for personal use.

    So many spammers today... (none / 0) (#52)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:42:24 PM EST

    I don't see any spammers (none / 0) (#64)
    by lilybart on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 01:57:35 PM EST
    I see people discussing the pros and cons of legalization.

    lily, think. (none / 0) (#74)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:09:41 PM EST
    When someone posts a comment with a link to their website that sells products or services, that person is a spammer.

    You know, like the poster/comment my "spammer" comment was in reply to...until that poster/comment got deleted for being spam.


    I'm zapping them as fast (none / 0) (#112)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:38:24 PM EST
    as I find them. There have been about 20 spammers registering a day for the past two weeks. If you see a commenter with an ad link in their user bio or comment, it's a spammer.

    Pharmacies (none / 0) (#122)
    by SoCalDem on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 05:56:44 PM EST
    pay sales tax now on the purchases of medical majiuana. I don't see the prices going up. I don't know the pricing in other areas, I just assumed a dub is a gram everywhere. Isn't it??