Friday, March 26, 2010

Legal Pot?

There is a rather exciting new development in the push to legalize marijuana laws. Californians will be voting on a ballot measure that will legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Here is the relevant text of the "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010" which Californians will have the option of passing in November:
Article 5 of Chapter 5 of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, commencing with section 11300 is added to read:
Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is lawful and shall not be a public offense under California law for any person 21 years of age or older to:
(i) Personally possess, process, share, or transport not more than one ounce of cannabis, solely for that individual’s personal consumption, and not for sale.
(ii) Cultivate, on private property by the owner, lawful occupant, or other lawful resident or guest of the private property owner or lawful occupant, cannabis plants for personal consumption only, in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence or, in the absence of any residence, the parcel. Cultivation on leased or rented property may be subject to approval from the owner of the property. Provided that, nothing in this section shall permit unlawful or unlicensed cultivation of cannabis on any public lands.
(iii) Possess on the premises where grown the living and harvested plants and results of any harvest and processing of plants lawfully cultivated pursuant to section 11300(a)(ii), for personal consumption.
(iv) Possess objects, items, tools, equipment, products and materials associated with activities permitted under this subsection.
(b) “Personal consumption” shall include but is not limited to possession and consumption, in any form, of cannabis in a residence or other non-public place, and shall include licensed premises open to the public authorized to permit on-premises consumption of cannabis by a local government pursuant to section 11301.
(c) “Personal consumption” shall not include, and nothing in this Act shall permit cannabis:
(i) possession for sale regardless of amount, except by a person who is licensed or permitted to do so under the terms of an ordinance adopted pursuant to section 11301;
(ii) consumption in public or in a public place;
(iii) consumption by the operator of any vehicle, boat or aircraft while it is being operated, or that impairs the operator;
(iv) smoking cannabis in any space while minors are present.
(Full text of the proposed act is here.

The New York Times has a story on this, and some of the reactions to the proposition are unsurprising:
Opponents, however, scoff at the notion that legalizing marijuana could somehow help with the state’s woes. They tick off a list of social ills — including tardiness and absenteeism in the workplace — that such an act would contribute to.
This is indicative of how desperate the drug Nazis are becoming. Pretend for a moment that this is actually true-that tardiness and absenteeism will result. These people favor arresting and jailing people for doing things that they believe might result in them being late for work. By this standard, we should imprison people for using the snooze button on their alarm clocks. In fact, we should probably just make being late for work a crime.

Of course, there is absolutely no evidence that legalizing marijuana would have this result. But one thing that it will affect is the amount of money that law enforcement agencies get for arresting people who are harming no one- not even themselves.
“We just don’t think any good is going to come from this,” said John Standish, president of the California Peace Officers Association, whose 3,800 members include police chiefs and sheriffs. “It’s not going to better society. It’s going to denigrate it.”
Standish states this as fact, and offers no evidence to support it. But of course he feels that way; members of his organization stand to lose millions of dollars in grants which they receive for arresting and ruining the lives of people who have committed no offense against society.
Mr. Standish said: “We have a hard enough time now with drunk drivers on the road. This is just going to add to the problems.”
Except that the act specifically prohibits the use of marijuana while driving, among other things.
He added: “I cannot think of one crime scene I’ve been to where people said, ‘Thank God the person was just under the influence of marijuana.’ ”
He's probably never been to a crime scene where he was thankful that the perpetrator wore black shoes, or had a hat on, or had taken aspirin for a headache either. Should we outlaw everything that Mr. Standish has never been thankful for?

The War on Americans Who Use Drugs has been an abject failure. It's becoming more and more apparent to people every day, especially to people who don't use drugs. I believe that opposition to it is reaching a critical mass. Polls consistently show the highest percentages of people ever who favor legalization and taxation. More and more states are passing medical marijuana laws, and voters are realizing that the world is not ending. The federal government is running massive deficits while state budgets (especially California's) are in utter disarray, and voters who wouldn't otherwise care are starting to notice the hundreds of billions of dollars we have wasted over the years. People who believe in freedom are starting to question why the United States has far and away the highest incarceration rates in the world. And they are realizing that, for all of that, people who want drugs can still get them whenever they want.

Even if you accept the ludicrous arguments against drug use at face value (marijuana is dangerous, addictive, and makes people prone to violence, for example), it is becoming readily apparent that it just doesn't matter, because people are using them anyway.

I believe that in five years, marijuana will be legalized federally, and most states will have followed suit. There might be a few holdouts (Utah comes to mind), but their position will become increasingly untenable as the supply of federal funding will begin to dry up.

And I think that five years is on the conservative side.






6 comments:

  1. These guys truly got nothing. There's no logical argument to be made against legalization. None.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Historic statewide initiative in California to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis. Help build national support for the movement. Sign up on the website, join the campaign! taxcannabis.org

    ReplyDelete
  3. John Standish has little command over English, let alone the issue of marijuana. His statement

    “It’s not going to better society. It’s going to denigrate it.”
    "http://www.thefreedictionary.com/denigrate is proof of this.

    His other statement “I cannot think of one crime scene I’ve been to where people said, ‘Thank God the person was just under the influence of marijuana.’ ” is proof of his utter ignorance of the effects of marijuana on human behavior... marijuana makes a person lazy and apathetic, the last thing this person will want to do is inflict bodily harm on anothe person

    ReplyDelete
  4. John Standish has little command over English, let alone the issue of marijuana. His statement

    “It’s not going to better society. It’s going to denigrate it.”
    (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/denigrate) is proof of this.


    His other statement
    “I cannot think of one crime scene I’ve been to where people said, ‘Thank God the person was just under the influence of marijuana.’ ”

    is proof of his utter ignorance of the effects of marijuana on human behavior... marijuana makes a person lazy and apathetic, the last thing this person will want to do is inflict bodily harm on anothe person

    ReplyDelete
  5. Proposition 19, the initiative does not legalize the use. Read the law. then decide.
    Pass that Joint go to Jail.
    First, it would disallow marijuana smoking in "any space where minors are present" the initiative also bans smoking in public or "a public place. By the same token, cops could cite pot smokers at any concert, dinner or event where kids under 21 were present. Sharing marijuana with a person aged 18-21. is also a offense punishable by $1,000 and six months in Jail.

    ReplyDelete