If Obama Really Believes Drug Addiction Is a Disease, Not a Moral Failing, Why Is He Putting Sick People In Prison?

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske made national news last month when he told an audience at the Betty Ford Center, "The president believes substance addiction is a disease, not a moral failing." This followed Kerlikowske's announcement, in May, that the Obama administration had divined a "third way" to approach drug policy. Between heavy law enforcement and outright legalization, said Kerlikoswke, is a completely novel approach focusing on prevention and drug addiction recovery.

In theory, as in press conferences, Obama’s new policy sounds reasonable and reflective of reality. Our prisons are overflowing with drug offenders--users and dealers, as well as people who entered the system for a minor offense, and stayed in the system because their employment prospects were diminished by a drug conviction. Additionally, polls show that Americans are ready to decriminalize marijuana, if not legalize it completely.

Yet in a recent interview with The Fix
, an addiction and recovery website, Kerlikowske admitted what drug policy reformers have been saying since 2009: Obama's new drug policy isn't novel or all that different from those of his predecessors, it just sounds different.  

"I don't think you can lead people to de-stigmatization [of drug use] unless you first convince them of the disease model," Kerlikowske said in the interview. But in the very same breath, he added, "Look, there are people who are not addicted, and they make a voluntary choice to do drugs, and then they reach the point of addiction. I do not want to completely remove personal responsibility out of this issue either."

That contradiction highlights a big problem with Obama's third way: Any drug policy that says it's better to be a junkie than a recreational user with a good job and a healthy family, is not an improvement.

But the problems don't end there. "Just recently we observed National Drug Court Month," Kerlikowske said at the Betty Ford Center, "and I'm proud to say that 2,600 specialized courts divert about 120,000 non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment every year."

Those drug courts aren't an improvement. In fact, the drug court system has led to higher incarceration rates for recreational users while denying treatment to addicts.

"A very large number of people in drug courts are there for marijuana possession, the least dangerous, least addictive illegal drug," says Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance. "And they're taking up treatment slots that could go for people who want treatment for coke, meth, and heroin. That's the big irony and the big problem."

Politically, that's also a big advantage. A high percentage of the 120,000 people diverted into drug courts each year don't recidivate, largely because they aren't addicts and didn't need drug court in the first place. They were just recreational users who were caught once, threatened with jail or a besmirched permanent record, and chose the only alternative to having their lives and careers ruined. But they didn't actually need rehab, or the months of social worker home visits, weekly addiction meetings, and regular piss tests that accompany going through drug court. 


What's worse is that people who opt for drug court and then test positive end up behind bars. "It's offered as a passionate alternative," Piper says, "but it's structured in such a way that if someone flunks a drug test, they're incarcerated, because when you enter a drug court, you waive your rights." When the time is added up, Piper says, users who choose drug court, and then relapse, spend more time in jail than users who plea bargain.

The Drug Policy Alliance released a report on drug courts last year titled "Drug Courts Are Not the Answer." The big takeaway is one voters should take into consideration as the Obama administration continues to tout its policy reforms: "Based on the evidence, drug courts as presently constituted provide few, if any, benefits over the incarceration model on which they seek to improve."
So who exactly ends up in drug court? And how well does it work? The DPA report gives us the following data points: 

  • "The National Drug Court Institute found marijuana to be the most prevalent drug of choice among participants in at least 25 percent of drug courts surveyed nationwide in 2007."
  • "A 2008 survey of drug courts found that roughly 88 percent exclude people with any history of violent offending, and half exclude those on probation or parole or with another open criminal case. 
  • "About one-third of drug court participants do not have a clinically significant substance use disorder."
  • "The same survey found that 49 percent of drug courts actually exclude people with prior treatment history and almost 69 percent exclude those with both a drug and a mental health condition." 
  • "There is one drug court for every 26 drug court participants – and, for every one drug court participant, there are 29 other people arrested for a drug law violation who are not in a drug court." 
  • While 120,000 people a year enter drug court, only 25,000 complete the program. The other 95,000 are deemed to have failed, and are incarcerated. 
  • "Even if drug courts were dramatically expanded to scale to cover all people arrested for drug possession, between 500,000 and 1 million people would still be ejected from a drug court and sentenced conventionally every year." 
  • "African Americans have been at least 30 percent more likely than whites to be expelled from drug court due in part to a lack of culturally appropriate treatment programs, few counselors of color in some programs and socioeconomic disadvantages." 
  • Studies touting the efficacy of drug courts "measured recidivism rates only for drug court participants who successfully completed the program – a group that accounted, on average, for only 50 percent of those who originally enrolled."
  • In Washington state, "adult drug courts reported a reduction in recidivism of 8.7 percent – significantly less than reductions recorded in probation-supervised treatment programs (18 percent) and on par with the reduction recorded by programs offering community-based drug treatment (8.3 percent), neither of which use incarceration as a sanction." 

One reason that so many recreational marijuana users are diverted into drug courts is because
drug courts see them as easy pickings. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals, which has spent $510,000 lobbying federal lawmakers since 2005, has a policy brief on its site that outlines the justifications for diverting marijuana users into drug courts and instructing drug court professionals how to maneuver around medical marijuana laws so that medical pot smokers can still be eligible for drug court. You can read that policy brief here. I've highlighted the section "Recommendations to Drug Courts":

Marijuana is an intoxicating and addictive drug that poses serious medical risks akin to those of nicotine and alcohol. Although some physicians may consider it to have palliative indications, no national or regional medical or scientific organization recognizes marijuana as a medicine in its raw or smoked form.

If marijuana becomes decriminalized or legalized in a given jurisdiction, this does not necessarily require Drug Court practitioners to abide its usage by their participants. The courts have long recognized restrictions on the use of a legal intoxicating substance (i.e., alcohol) to be a reasonable condition of bond or probation where the offender has a history of illicit drug involvement.

If there is a rational basis for believing cannabis use could threaten public safety or prevent the offender from returning to court for adjudication, appellate courts are likely to uphold such restrictions in the  Drug Court context.

Individuals who possess a letter from a physician and/or a valid state-issued ID card for marijuana present a more challenging issue, but one that is probably also not insurmountable. Under such circumstances, the judge might subpoena the physician to testify or respond to written inquiries about the medical justification for the recommendation. In addition, the court may be authorized by the rules of evidence or rules of criminal procedure to engage an independent medical expert to review the case and offer a medical recommendation or opinion. Having a Board-certified addiction psychiatrist on hand to advise the  Drug Court judge may provide probative evidence about whether marijuana use is medically necessary or indicated.

It remains an open question what degree of deference appellate courts are likely to give to the conclusions of a treating physician. In the absence of clear precedent, the best course of action is to develop a factual record and make a particularized decision in each case about the medical necessity for the use of marijuana and the rationale for restricting marijuana usage during the term of criminal justice supervision.

If judges make these decisions based on a reasonable interpretation of medical evidence presented by qualified experts, it seems unlikely that  Drug Courts — which were specifically designed to treat seriously addicted individuals — could not restrict access to an intoxicating and addictive drug as a condition of criminal justice supervision.

The next media outlet that lands Kerlikowske for an interview should ask him why the Obama administration is forcing recreational users into rehab, which they don't need, and why Obama is putting sick people behind bars. 

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  • CockGobbla||

    OT: http://www.people.com/people/a.....52,00.html

    Next up? I say Keanu Reeves.

  • ||

    I thought he was already out of the closet. Didn't everyone know Cooper was gay already?

  • Almanian...still||

    ^^this^^

    Or maybe we're just precogs, and knew it before everyone else. SPOOKY!

  • RPR2||

    TomKat hadn't broken up yet. now there's a sense of urgency.

  • ||

    Because fuck you that's why.

  • Chloe||

    Seriously, these serfs need to learn to take it up the ass and stop complaining. We're doing this for their own good!!!!

  • R C Dean||

    Here's how it works:

    The real hardcore users, the ones who have truly fucked up their lives, are the addicts who will get the benefit of this "new" approach.

    The casual users, though, aren't addicts by definition, and continue to deserve liberal applications of the jackboot for breaking the law.

  • Sevo||

    That's some catch, that catch 22...

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    That seems vaguely analogous to how the clowns think about the underwater/expensive mortgage issue.

  • Tman||

    Yes, we must pound home the idea that anyone ever taking illegal drugs at any time for any reason whatsoever regardless of the amount or the effects that it has on the individual or their ability to remain full functional members of society is a DISEASED INDIVIDUAL WHO NEEDS HELP.

    And as RC states, if you are taking crack and sleeping on the street you need treatment, if you are father with your own business who smokes a joint after the kids go to sleep to relax you are a menace to society and should be locked up forever.

    Sounds great!

  • Bill Brasky||

    Even though it's probably stupid that drugs are illegal, you can't set a precident for allowing people to just ignore the law. The basis of civil society is respect for the law; work to get the laws changed, but that doesn't give you license to break them while they're on the books.

  • ||

    *barf*

  • niobiumstudio||

    Fuck you. It's called civil disobedience. If it weren't for law breakers there wouldn't be a United States. We would still be talking with a stupid accent and swoon over a nonagenarian every time she fucking farts.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Civil disobedience entails an acceptance of the punishment for breaking the law, while speaking out against the injustice of the law.

    Not expecting the govt to let you off the hook.

  • robc||

    No it doesnt.

    Did John Adams and Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and (you get the point) "accept punishment". Hell no. They fought to avoid the punishment.

    Now, if you want to argue semantics and say revolution isnt a form of civil disobedience, I might listen to it, but not sure I agree.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Violent revolt != civil disobedience

  • robc||

    It is being disobedient to the civil rule. I think it qualifies.

  • Pip from the forge||

    Did John Adams and Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and (you get the point) "accept punishment". Hell no.

    They understood and accepted the risks. When they pledged their lives and fortunes to the cause, they weren't just blowing smoke in a chat room.

  • ||

    chat room

    You're terrible at hiding yourself, Mary. That seems somewhat...what's the word...narcissistic?

  • Pip from the forge||

    But this is a chat room. You're chatting with me right now.

  • ||

    Mary can't stay away. It's almost like she's a puppet who we make dance.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • ||

    WE HATESES THE HIT AND RUNS

  • ||

    STOP CHATTING WARTY

  • ||

    NUH UH UR A NARCISSIST

  • ||

    DANCE PUPPET DANCE

  • Pip from the forge||

    Fuck you. It's called civil disobedience.

    Little known fact, Normie: Those two lines were in Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence!

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    The basis of civil society is respect for the law;...

    Not really. The basis of civil society is a shared morality. When individuals agree that something is immoral, they will get rid of it from society. This regardless of legality. If a law is immoral, you have a duty to ignore it.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Most people think that drugs are immoral, so this line of argument doesn't help you.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Not talking about drugs, talking about his assertion that the respect for the law is the basis of civil society.

    As far as most people thinking drugs are immoral, I think you would have a hard time proving; links?

  • Tulpa the White||

    OK if you're talking about the basis of civil society. It seemed that you were positing that that criterion would be more favorable to drug use.

    To your second point, it's obvious.

  • ||

    So obvious it needs no support to back it up, huh? Funny how that works.

    On the other hand, more than 50% of Americans now think mary jane should not be illegal.

  • sarcasmic||

    To your second point, it's obvious.

    I guess that depends. Where I live it is not uncommon to smell the sickly sweet odour of marijuana wafting about, and nobody calls the cops. People shoot off illegal fireworks and shoot off guns in their backyards.

    Nobody cares.

    We all tolerate each other because we put liberty before the law.

    I'm guessing you would consider that to be immoral.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Tulpa the White|7.2.12 @ 1:04PM|#
    Most people think that drugs are immoral, so this line of argument doesn't help you.

    So if my point that you would have a hard time proving that people feel drugs is obvious, how do you get to your first argument that they do?

    ¿Ex Nihilo?|7.2.12 @ 1:08PM|#
    As far as most people thinking drugs are immoral, I think you would have a hard time proving; links?

    Tulpa the White|7.2.12 @ 1:10PM|#
    To your second point, it's obvious.
  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Weird, I don't know why it cut off the last part.

    Anyway, if my assertion that you would have a hard time proving people find drugs immoral is "obvious," then how do you say they do, or that it doesn't help my argument?

  • robc||

    Sure it does. Since its only "most", the individuals arent agreeing.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Most people think that drugs are immoral,

    The fuck they do. Christian Scientists are about the only ones.

  • Tulpa the White||

    And in any case, I'd say that the rule of law is a better basis, as a shared morality is a very dicey proposition and requires inquisitions and other messy stuff to maintain.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    And in any case, I'd say that the rule of law is a better basis, as a shared morality is a very dicey proposition and requires inquisitions and other messy stuff to maintain.

    And I would say that 'shared morality' is a better basis as this is where laws start, not the other way around. Most agree murder is bad, so we pass a law stating it unlawful. You can pass a law creating criminals, but unless the populace agrees with the law; it is a dead letter.

  • sarcasmic||

    a shared morality is a very dicey proposition and requires inquisitions and other messy stuff to maintain

    Bullshit. Until the Progressive movement came around this country had a shared morality in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It was by no means perfect, but it didn't require medieval bullshit you allude to.
    When people believe in a higher power above government, they tend to be a bit more moral than people who see government as the ultimate higher power.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Pay no attention to the slavery, racism, and forcible exclusion of women from legal rights behind the curtain.

  • sarcasmic||

    What part of "It was by no means perfect" did you misunderstand?

    Or were you being deliberately obtuse again.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I understood it as being an extreme understatement.

    "OK, we had an entire race of people in chains, but at least we didn't have a bunch of guys with pointy hats controlling racks."

  • sarcasmic||

    "Inquisition... damn"

    *pull goalposts, take a walk over to slavery, deposit goalposts*

    "Ah ha! gotcha!"

  • Tulpa the White||

    It's not that far of a walk, and a parallel one at that. Plus I said "and other messy stuff".

  • sarcasmic||

    Slavery was required to enforce a shared morality?

    Seriously, quit while you're behind.

  • R C Dean||

    The basis of civil society is respect for the law;

    Which presupposes respectable laws.

  • Tulpa the White||

    If everyone found the laws respectable, we wouldn't need laws.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa the White|7.2.12 @ 1:08PM|#
    *If *everyone*..."

    So, it's strawmen today?

  • JW||

    If everyone found the laws respectable, we wouldn't need laws.

    One tautology coming up! Hot stuff!

  • robc||

    That is bullshit. Many people who violate laws find them respectable.

  • sarcasmic||

    If laws were respectable, then more people would respect them.

  • R C Dean||

    I guess Tulpa is taking the position that "the law is the law", and its legitimacy is either irrelevant or self-evident.

    Or, he's saying that because law-breakers obviously don't respect the law, there is no need to ask about whether the law is, in fact respectable.

    To restate, then, the basis of civil society is obedience to the commands of the ruling class.

    Have I got it now?

  • Tulpa the White||

    The drug laws aren't the commands of the ruling class, they're the will of the people. A stupid will to be sure, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking our position is the popular one.

  • sarcasmic||

    Except for where by popular vote people have legalized medical marijuana, and the ruling class said "fuck you, that's why".

    You're so full of shit your eyes are brown.

  • Tulpa the White||

    That's a different situation (and of course, the "fuck you" is from the feds, whose electorate is not as friendly to MMJ).

    But most of the drug laws are popular.

  • sarcasmic||

    You're not even making sense.

    You should really consider admitting to being wrong once in a while.

    It will save you much embarrassment.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Behold the power of assertion!

    Listen, I wish what I said were wrong. I'd look like a fool but there would be a good chance of changing the drug laws. But it ain't the case.

  • sarcasmic||

    Behold the power of Tulpa!

    When Tulpa asserts something, it is obvious® and need no further explanation, but when anyone else says anything it requires links in triplicate from Tulpa approved sources!

    Tulpa wins!

    Every time!

    Beeeeehhhhhhoooolllldddddd!!!!!!

  • R C Dean||

    The drug laws aren't the commands of the ruling class, they're the will of the people

    Leaving aside the whole med pot, pot legalization thing,

    How can you tell one from the other? Especially since laws are drafted, approved, and reviewed by the ruling class?

  • Tulpa the White||

    How can you tell one from the other?

    Opinion polls, politicians trumpeting their drug warrior credentials from the rooftops as a means of getting votes.

  • ||

    That's funny, I don't recall Nixon putting the drug war up to a popular vote.

  • Tulpa the White||

    My basic point is that, once again, you're making an ear-tickling quotable quote that, upon further analysis, is of limited relevance to the situation. Just like the foreseeable/intended thing that everyone loves despite being vacuous.

  • Tulpa the White||

    --So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

    Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    --Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

    Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Too bad they circumvented the law - the Constitution - to create anti-drug laws.

  • Randian||

    I guess Tulpa is taking the position that "the law is the law", and its legitimacy is either irrelevant or self-evident.

    What percentage of assent do you need for legitimacy?

    "Consent of the governed" is not just a one-way street, unfortunately.

  • Invisible Finger||

    He should change his handle to "Tulpa the North Korean".

  • Almanian...still||

    "Bill Brasky is the greatest salesman I've ever known."

    /SNL

  • ||

    Oh, look, another Tulpa. Just what we needed.

  • ||

    Look, authority doesn't fellate itself. Tulpa can't do all the heavy sucking alone.

  • ||

    Maybe it should have a couple of ribs removed.

  • ||

    Look, sage, just because you had such a radical procedure doesn't mean it's right for everyone.

  • ||

    I laughed my ass off just at the commercial for next week's new Aqua..., where Carl explains his heavy metal t-shirt. Hope you've seen it.

  • ||

    I have not. I'll have to check my TiVo and make sure it's not retarded and will be recording.

  • ||

    "That kind of surgery can be done over the weekend!"

  • ||

    ALLRIGHTYTHEN

  • The Hammer||

    Driveby troll?

  • ||

    Nahh....just ol' Batshit Mary

  • tarran||

    The basis of civil society is respect for the law; work to get the laws changed, but that doesn't give you license to break them while they're on the books.

    Imagine you're living in Nazi Germany, and think about the implications of your argument for a moment.

  • Tulpa the White||

    The people who hid Jews, etc, in Nazi territory were fully accepting of the possibility of punishment if they got caught. They weren't whining about it and expecting the SS to play nice.

  • ||

    You don't even have a point, yet you are compelled to make a fucking retarded comment. Hey, how about you give us some comment about how you're saving the blog or something. Your delusions are always good for a guffaw.

  • ||

    Chatters gotta chat, dude.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Just because you don't understand the point doesn't mean there isn't one. Stick to the kiddie table discussions about who's doing who on whatever hipster HBO sitcom you're watching now or whether Warty's farts smell like methane or hydrogen sulfide.

  • ||

    Understand? That's fucking hilarious. "Obey" isn't exactly nuanced content.

    Hey, buddy, tell us how you're a sophisticated arguer. Is that what your mommy tells you? I'm sure she's proud of her little "man".

  • tarran||

    Epi, just filter the poor guy out; he doesn't contribute anything substantive to discussions other than to sniff disdainfully at people who don't share his preferences.

    Taunting him is like teasing the kid with Down's syndrome for not being able to solve complex differential equations like a robot.

    At some point it becomes uncool.

  • ||

    Maybe we should just invite him to one of our coke parties, dude. I think all his hostility is just because we hurt his feelings by leaving him out.

  • ||

    You know that coke just makes assholes bigger assholes, right? Tulpa on coke would be like doing lines with the hall monitor in grade school.

  • ||

    Yeah, you need to invite him to an x/shroom party.

    We can have sex with Anderson Cooper and huff Vick's Vapo-Rub until the sun comes up.

  • Brendan||

    The original post said "but that doesn't give you license to break them while they're on the books"

    This implies that it's wrong to break laws. Not that people who break laws should accept consequences.

    Where does people hiding from Nazis in violation of the law fit into the narrative that people who break the law are wrong to do so or "don't have license" to do so?

    Repeat with people who violated numerous laws in aiding and abetting runaway slaves.

    They may have been prepared for the consequences, and some might even say that they should accept the consequences when caught. But, did the "have license to", and were they morally wrong to do what they did?

  • Randian||

    You do agree, though, that like cases should be treated alike, and that everyone is subject to the law, yes?

  • Brendan||

    Sure. If caught, they have to suffer like everyone else. If people don't like it (I certainly don't), then they must move to change the laws.
    I'm starting to lose my faith in the concept that things like judicial or officer discretion are good things as they seem to lead to their own secondary abuses.

    BUT, I will not concede for a second that a person is wrong simply because they disobeyed a law, nor will I condemn a person who uses force to fight those who enforce those laws.

    The people hiding from the Nazis were certainly in violation of the law, yet I have no doubts they they were NOT wrong.

    Had they used force, including deadly force, to stop the Nazis from taking them away, they would have been guilty (in the words of the law) of murdering police and soldiers. I do not believe that they would have been wrong or out of line to do so. Merely, they would be guilty of violating the law as written.

  • Randian||

    I thought that the original discussion was whether one should have license to operate outside of the law. A point on which we both seem to be in agreement.

  • Brendan||

    Agreed.

    My points about wrong being separate from legal are sort of off topic. I posted that to head off replies from people who thought that my defense of equal punishment meant that I either agreed with the law or thought that people who violated the law were wrong to do so.

  • ||

    My troll-fu is strong.

    Sincerely,

    "Bill Brasky"

  • ||

    Wait, so you've been Tulpa all this time? FUCK YOU JIMBO

  • ||

    What's really funny is, that was a blatant troll, and Tulpster came in defending it full-throated.

    No offense, Tulpa, but you walked right into that one.

  • ||

    Tulpa is too stupid to understand your point, JJ. Don't bother.

  • ||

    No offense, Tulpa

    Why would you not want to offend Tulpa? It's like punching a retard. There's no reason not to do it.

  • Tulpa the White||

    When the trolls are the most sensible commenters, what does that say about the state of the blog?

  • ||

    Yeah, spin that as a win, Baghdad Bob.

  • ||

    It says you're a retard. Take a poll, moron.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I'm civilly disobeying your poll.

  • ||

    Which company is conducting the polling? Some of them have a bias.

  • ||

    Enjoy your delusions, you fucking moron.

  • ||

    Hey fuck you, it's no delusion that some polling companies are biased. Not sure what I did to deserve such a mean-spirited attack.

    /obtuse

  • ||

    Look, it's not my fault that you're stupider than Tulpa, JJ.

  • ||

    How can you think Tulpa is stupid? You might not know this, because he'd never brag about it in public, but he has a PhD.

  • Randian||

    You might not know this, because he'd never brag about it in public, but he has a PhD.

    Be fair. I've never seen him use it as a cudgel to say "That's why I'm right"

  • Randian||

    I'll jump in at the end here and partially defend Tulpa. He has a point, folks. You either think the will of the majority is legitimate, or you do not and you accept the consequences of disobedience.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Or you think that the only valid basis of law is to protect the rights of individuals, and if a law does not conform to that basis, you refuse to view it as legitimate.

  • Randian||

    Or you think that the only valid basis of law is to protect the rights of individuals, and if a law does not conform to that basis, you refuse to view it as legitimate.

    In which case you disobey or obey under protest in a cost/benefit analysis, but in the case of the former, you should still be subject to criminal punishment.

  • ||

    Should be or will be? Those are two very, very different concepts. If a law is illegitimate, then no one should be punished for disobeying it.

  • Randian||

    If a law is illegitimate, then no one should be punished for disobeying it.

    Really? So if I think the laws against murder are illegitimate, I shouldn't be punished?

    For a less inflammatory example, if I think the laws about my 1% consumption tax to staff a minimal government in Miniarchitopia are illegitimate...?

  • robc||

    No, he didnt say "if you think", he said "if a law is illegitimate". You might think wrong, he is appealing to an ideal.

    And he is right. If the law is illigimate, no one should be punished under it, even if they violate it.

  • Randian||

    No, he didnt say "if you think", he said "if a law is illegitimate". You might think wrong, he is appealing to an ideal.

    And he is right. If the law is illigimate, no one should be punished under it, even if they violate it.

    Don't handwave. Do you have any doubt that most people think that anti-discrimination laws are legitimate? And if legitimacy is derived from the consent of the governed, then QED.

  • robc||

    And if legitimacy is derived from the consent of the governed

    It isnt.

  • R C Dean||

    And if legitimacy is derived from the consent of the governed

    Well, this raises an interesting issue - what is the consent of the governed to any particular law? How can we tell they have consented to any particular law?

    And why is their consent (assuming we can locate it) good indefinitely, long after the membership of the "governed" has had some turnover? Marijuana was outlawed some 70 or 80 years ago - the "governed" at that time are nearly all dead. Why is their consent still considered legitimizing for laws that practically no one has had the chance to give any consent to since?

  • robc||

    you should still be subject to criminal punishment.

    No, you should found not guilty due to jury nullification.

    Which Tulpa opposes.

  • Randian||

    Well, jury nullification is the law, so I don't have an inherent problem with it.

  • robc||

    Except in certain rare cases, I dont think jury nullification is the law.

    Its a right, which is above the law.

    If jury nullification was specifically outlawed, it will still be the right thing to do.

  • Tulpa the White||

    You guys like jury nullification just fine until it's your ox being gored, like in the Rodney King case.

  • robc||

    I always like jury nullification, you are a liar.

    Can it be misused? Yes.

    Was the Rodney King case an example of jury nullification? I dont think so, I think the jury thought the police were acting within the scope of the law. Do you have any evidence for your claim?

  • robc||

    To clarify, I dont think any juror said "Yes, they violated the law, but the law against police brutality is a bad law that shouldnt exist, so lets find them not guilty anyway".

    Remember, jury nullification isnt about the accused, it occurs when the jury judges the LAW, and finds the law wanting.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Or you think that the only valid basis of law is to protect the rights of individuals, and if a law does not conform to that basis, you refuse to view it as legitimate.

    If everybody's picking and choosing which laws are legitimate then you have chaos. Unless you're claiming that only libertarians are allowed to pick and choose, in which case you're living in fantasyland.

    When GWB picked which laws he thought were legitimate as president, were you this sanguine about violating the rule of law based on personal beliefs?

  • Pip from the forge||

    I can learn from you, Tulpa. Everyone here seems to hate your guts, and yet you make the puppets dance with the best of 'em. Teach me your ways, Sensei. I want to know.

  • Tulpa the White||

    As George William Rutler put it, "the truth seems insane when surrounded by lies."

  • robc||

    If everybody's picking and choosing which laws are legitimate then you have chaos. Unless you're claiming that only libertarians are allowed to pick and choose, in which case you're living in fantasyland.

    I dont think anyone is claiming either thing. I know Im not. Im judging legitimacy against an absolute standard, no picking and choosing involved at all.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Yeah, let's create a new bureaucracy for "Marijuana Addiction" (and only marijuana because ALL those other drugs are terrible and their user's need to be locked up!), spend billions on "education" and "prevention and treatment" while still keeping it highly illegal and keeping it in our court system (obviously, how else do you force treatment?)...

    Sounds like an awesome plan to me - treatment of "Marijuana Addiction" instead of an iron fist. The only problem they have to work out is that whole Addiction thing for a non-addictive drug... I'm sure they will find a way...

  • Tulpa the White||

    Maybe he doesn't really believe that and is just lying.

  • Almanian...still||

    I am shocked - SHOCKED - that you would suggest this, Tulip!

    Wash your mouth out with soap and say 100 Hail Michelles...

  • Tulpa the White||

    My soap contains transfats, not allowed.

  • Hell's Librarian||

    Not the Obamessiah, you godless heathen!!!11!!

  • Almanian...still||

    I have no idea what's goin' on.

    Hey. Anyone here wanna get high?

    /Towelie

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.

  • T||

    I dunno. I've seen people get yelled at for having chlamydia.

    Well, I guess more properly, he was being yelled at for giving her chlamydia, but same diff.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    [Mitch Hedberg quote about how he used to do drugs, which the squirrels refuse to let through the spam filter]

  • T||

    Ever since I found out it's a job requirement (or perq, depending) of the ONDCP head to lie to us to help keep us off drugs, I have a hard time taking any of them seriously.

    Well, that and the idea that killing people so someone won't get high is not only necessary but moral. I have a problem with that, too.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Marijuana is intoxicating? Perhaps it's pedantic, but how can a non-toxic substance be intoxicating?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    You miss the photo of Alba's ass?

  • ||

    Every substance will kill you at a sufficient dose, even perfect asses. I imagine the MD50 of Albas is something like 14.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I will volunteer to find out what the lethal dose is, if that helps.

  • ||

    Wait, did I miss something? I thought it was Jessica Biel's ass we had looked at. I don't want to miss some Alba.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    No, it was Biel. Not sure why I typed Alba even after that mistake happened on the orginal thread.

  • ||

    Oh, in that case, the MD50 is more like 0.7.

  • R C Dean||

    As in, 3 out of 10 people couldn't survive a single dose?

    Sounds about right.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I do not want to completely remove personal responsibility out of this issue either.

    Sure you fucking do. You want the equivalent of a strict liability crime even if someone gets high and still lives a responsible life.

  • ||

    Okay, I have some important news for you all.

    OMG A KITTY OMG OMG OMG

  • ||

    I just emailed that to literally everyone at my office.

  • ||

    You furries make me sick.

  • ||

    You're just upset that we bronies are hogging all the good ass.

  • ||

    MAKE IT STOP

  • Randian||

    Look at these fucking people:

    “First we can’t believe this show is so good, then we can’t believe we’ve become fans for life, then we can’t believe we’re walking down the pink aisle at Toys R Us or asking for the girl’s toy in our Happy Meal,” Allen said in an e-mail to Wired.com. “Then we can’t believe our friends haven’t seen it yet, then we can’t believe they’re becoming bronies too.”

    GOD KILL YOURSELVES

  • ||

    Fucking hipsters. Is nothing sacred to you people??

  • ||

    And everyone went EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, right?

  • robc||

    She eventually caught the cat and is raising it as her own.

    Eventually?!? How hard is it to catch a two-legged cat?

  • R C Dean||

    Hmmm. Do I get to use a gun?

  • CE||

    If I had to guess, it's because old people vote and drug users don't?

  • Broseph of Invention||

    The warm spoon trembled in my hand, mirroring the addicted excitement of the opposite appendage, strapped with veins throbbing. Despite living an outwardly successful life, the inventive Broseph that lived in the shadows was a zombified addict, feeding the Taliban with every poppy-derived purchase. Just as I was about to pour Satan's nectar into the ordinarily-life-giving syringe, I remembered, "Wait a minute. It's National Drug Court Month. I owe it to my country to quit." And just like that I poured the smack into the Minnesota soil, gathered up my pride, and walked into a police station to get treated. As I stand before an elderly-elected judge, newly-jobless and preparing for civil commitment, I smile. I am not a criminal, and I love Big Brother.

  • Mainer2||

    Kerlikoswke: Punchable face or Most Punchable Face ?

  • DillaryHuff||

    This article is a huge mess of hyperbolic stat-massaging.

    Go sit in a drug court. Most people there are related to repeated alcohol, script drug abuse (opiates and benzos) and METH abuse, NOT POT. Wow, seriously. Also, a majority are WOMEN.

    Some sick people NEED PRISON to find life-saving sobriety. That's a fact. An addict isn't free from consequences. Many EARN their cell, at the expense of their own families and careers.

    PS: Marijuana is addictive.

  • DillaryHuff||

    You also forgot the stats that show a measly FIVE to FIFTEEN PERCENT success rate for addicts who try to sober themselves up without help of some form of formal treatment.

    Compare that with the 50 percent rate you quote from drug courts and ... well! That changes the perspective a bit, eh?

    Or not.

    Whatever.

  • Intn'l House of Badass||

    Nobody should have any say in what anybody else wants to stick into their bodies.

    Because, fuck you.

  • PandyGandi||

    Sometimes you just have to throw your hands in the iar like you just dont care!

    www.Global-Privacy.tk

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