Drug Prohibition: Still Stupid

Pertinacious Tom

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We have a brand new constitutional amendment in FL. I voted for it. It wasn't as good as the version I collected signatures for, but is progress.

Thank$ for all the $peech, Morgan and Morgan. Now please shut up.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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I heard John Morgan's annoying voice a couple of times on the radio today.

He directly addressed one of my big problems with the initiative: we shouldn't be doing this through constitutional amendment.

His counter argument: almost 60% of the people voted for this two years ago. Tallahassee had a chance to respond. They didn't. So we'll do it the only way we can.

I completely agree. It's not often I completely agree with John Morgan about anything political.

 

dacapo

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my ski trips to Mass. will be much better now ;-)

 
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Pertinacious Tom

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In 1986, Cathy Jordan was given three to five years to live.

Most of the doctors who told her that are now dead. She's still alive and smoking cannabis.

I have met her and her family and they're good people, no matter what Jeff Sessions says.

Two years ago today, my father died. Cannabis oil eased his suffering at the end. He was a good man too, no matter what Jeff Sessions says.

So I just dropped by this thread to day to say: fuck Jeff Sessions in the ass with a rusty railroad spike. And all his drug warrior elk too.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Obama might get around to talking about drug policy once he leaves office

You can now buy marijuana legally on the entire West Coast. So why are we still waging the War on Drugs? It is a colossal failure. Why are we still dancing around the subject and making marijuana equivalent to a Schedule I drug?
Look, I’ve been very clear about my belief that we should try to discourage substance abuse. And I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it. Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA. As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.

[Laughs] What about you? Are you gonna get on the cutting edge?
Look, I am now very much in lame-duck status. And I will have the opportunity as a private citizen to describe where I think we need to go. But in light of these referenda passing, including in California, I've already said, and as I think I mentioned on Bill Maher's show, where he asked me about the same issue, that it is untenable over the long term for the Justice Department or the DEA to be enforcing a patchwork of laws, where something that's legal in one state could get you a 20-year prison sentence in another. So this is a debate that is now ripe, much in the same way that we ended up making progress on same-sex marriage. There's something to this whole states-being-laboratories-of-democracy and an evolutionary approach. You now have about a fifth of the country where this is legal.
He talks like the DEA isn't under his control. Yeah, Obama, if you appoint someone who says cannabis is as dangerous as heroin, they might just act like they believe it. The fact is, he could have directed the DEA to start rescheduling at any point in time but it was never a priority for him. Congress could have done it too, even if Obama's DEA appointee objected.

He's right that the drug war is becoming increasingly untenable as more and more of the populace agrees with libertarians on this issue.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Trump's Drug Warriors

Like Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's choice for attorney general, the man he wants to run the Department of Homeland Security, John F. Kelly, is an old-fashioned drug warrior who is alarmed by the ongoing collapse of marijuana prohibition.

...

"Kelly is a big-time drug war zealot," says Michael Collins, deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance's national affairs office. "He is true believer in the drug war, and it's incredibly worrying that he could now head up Homeland Security."

The Department of Homeland Security includes Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard, and the Transportation Security Administration, all of which play a direct or indirect role in the war on drugs. Kelly, a former Marine Corps general with an unrealistic notion of what can be accomplished by ships, aircraft, and men in uniform, is well-qualified to oversee these doomed antidrug activities, which apply military logic to a project that has nothing to do with foreign aggression or national defense.

...

Kelly thinks a determined government can overcome economics.

...

Trump's understanding of drug interdiction is smilar to Kelly's. "I'm going to create borders," he promised in a campaign video. "No drugs are coming in. We're gonna build a wall. You know what I'm talking about. You have confidence in me. Believe me, I will solve the problem." Kelly, who shares the delusion that drug prohibition has been failing for more than a century simply because the government has not tried hard enough to enforce it, is a natural choice to guard Trump's magical wall.
People like Kelly and Sessions usually understand why communist regimes can't squelch black markets but somehow figure we can.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Is anyone surprised by this?

You voted to go back to the Good Old Days.

Now you're going to get them.
Go back?

Really, we never left. People like me are going to continue to get prohibition laws that we voted against.

You'd think that a noted Choom Gang member like Obama would be some help but that was not his priority. Hillary is more of a Duopoly establishment creature than Obama and would probably appoint drug warriors just like he did. Unlike Trump, she'd appoint gungrabby ones.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Court says that going to college does not create reasonable suspicion of drug use.

But better safe than sorry, right? Although that sort of reasoning seems to prevail more often than not in drug testing cases, the 8th Circuit ruled that a general interest in discouraging drug use does not justify suspicionless urinalysis by government agencies. The majority opinion, written by Roger Wollman and joined by eight other judges, emphasizes that Linn State's drug testing requirement applied to all students, whether or not they were enrolled in "safety-sensitive" programs such as aviation maintenance or industrial electricity. Why should a student learning design drafting have to pass a drug test, Wollman wonders, when "the district court found that, based on Linn State's evidence, the greatest danger the program presented was 'that a student might accidentally trip and fall while navigating uneven ground during a site visit'"?


The 8th Circuit says the lack of category-specific safety concerns distinguishes this case from Supreme Court decisions upholding drug testing of railway workers after accidents and people seeking U.S. Customs positions that involve carrying guns or interdicting drugs. The appeals court adds that adults attending a college with no special history of drug problems are constitutionally distinct from minors attending high schools facing a real or perceived substance abuse "crisis," a context in which the Supreme Court has approved testing of all students participating in sports or other competitive extracurricular programs. "Linn State's drug testing policy was not developed in response to any crisis," the court notes. "Most significantly, Linn State's students are not children committed to the temporary custody of the state."
 

Pertinacious Tom

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This photo from the late 1990's came up on my Facebook memories today.

The message on the tree is probably related to moonshine still remains from the alcohol prohibition era that we found nearby.

mrpwarn.jpg


It says, "I know you now boys, so watch out, and where you live too! Mr P"

We have never found out who Mr P or the "boys" were but in an effort to find out, my father interviewed lots of old codgers, including a retired law enforcement officer who told him, "There was a still under every palmetto bush in them days!"

And the laws of supply and demand haven't changed.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Alcohol Prohibition: Still Stupid

Of course, we don't have national alcohol prohibition any more and we mostly got rid of the associated black market.

Mostly.

The legislation came in response to a thriving illegal cross-border trade as Illinois residents place orders with businesses—many in Indiana—for liquor, wine, and beer unavailable or just extremely pricey through their state's tightly regulated and protected cartel.

"Alcohol is much more expensive in Illinois than it is in Indiana," reported a Chicago ABC affiliate in 2015. "And it is even pricier in Cook County, where the tax rate on liquor is more than five times higher than it is in the Hoosier state." The result is that "a six-bottle case of vodka that costs $167 in Indiana costs $226 in Illinois and is $18 more than that in Cook County."

At some point, high taxes and prohibition are indistinguishable in their effects.

That's one problem with the "Let's treat marijuana like alcohol" argument. It's one I've used myself, but it has another problem too:

We don't treat alcohol "like alcohol."

We treat beer and wine one way (I can create my own) and distilled liquor another way (distilling my own for personal use is illegal.)

 
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Pertinacious Tom

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Slowly Staggering Toward A Sane Drug Policy

That guy moved from DC to Seattle and seems to like the quality of life upgrade.

And the marijuana—which I haven't yet tried as a resident, though I've perused one of the nearby pot shops—is legal (if overtaxed and overregulated). In fact, when I buy beer, wine, or liquor, signs nearby in the store indicate it's regulated by a body known as the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.


While marijuana has typically resided in this country in a legal and regulatory silo reserved for drugs, its growing legal status means it's increasingly subject to regulations—like those enforced by the WSLCB—that traditionally pertain to agriculture and food.
My guess is that Jeff Sessions views the WSLCB as part of a criminal conspiracy to violate federal drug laws.

I don't know whether Washington State allows people to distill their own liquor. It's a no-no in Florida and I understand most places. They don't allow people to grow their own cannabis plants. I think the reason is the same: can't tax it.

Just this week, the Hemp Industries Association, a pro-hemp trade group, petitioned the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reverse a newly adopted final rule designating non-psychoactive hemp extract as a Schedule I drug. In the petition, the HIA argues in part the DEA rule is preempted by the 2014 Farm Bill, which limited the DEA's authority to prohibit a limited amount of hemp planting. The HIA also argues that the final rule suffers from procedural defects and wrongly concludes that "the mere presence of 'cannabinoids,' which are not controlled substances," is sufficient for the DEA to designate them as such. The HIA argues that these various flaws amount to an unconstitutional exercise of DEA power.

The Farm Bill does permit some limited planting of hemp. But state governments are the only ones (e.g., through a state university) who may do the planting. Individuals must seek a permit.

"The DEA bars farmers from growing hemp without a permit," I wrote in a 2013 column on hemp and the Farm Bill. "Not surprisingly, the DEA doesn't issue such permits."
Hypothetical permits are very much like the original Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which never collected any revenue because that was not the purpose.

As for industrial hemp, drug warriors really need to calm down. The stuff grows wild in ditches across the nation. You can smoke a giant joint of it and you'll only give yourself a headache from smoke inhalation. But enough from my list of things I know but should not. Fact is, it's an incredibly useful plant and if it would get you stoned, those ditches would be picked clean quickly.

I wish Moe were still around. He'd explain why cannabinoids are non-scary. Guns.

 

SloopJonB

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Tom, as you know, I support you totally on all this but you might as well give it a rest for a few years - do you think Trump's bunch will be rational about drugs?

Pence on rationalizing drug laws? :lol:

 

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