Police React to Legalized Marijuana With Concern Trolling, Warnings About Federal Property

littering and...Fox SearchlightVoters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in their states last Tuesday. Jacob Sullum has noted the mechanics of how prosecutors are responding both in Washington and Colorado to pot’s imminent legal status. But what about cops? Certainly the drug war’s been lucrative for police department and law enforcement budgets at all levels. The drug war is a trillion plus dollar endeavor but hasn’t put a dent on addiction rates. That’s the goose that laid the golden egg if I’ve ever heard one.

So naturally, some police departments are going into panic mode. You will still be arrested, of course, if you drive under the influence of marijuana. Washington’s legalization law, in fact, set a legal limit for the presence of THC in the system of a driver. That mandate caused the initiative to be opposed by organizations like Sensible Washington, whose goal is the repeal of marijuana prohibition. In a blog post after I-502’s passage, the group noted the new DUI law would “ensnare innocent individuals, especially patients, and especially those under 21, for whom it’s a zero tolerance policy” and that the DUI law’s “limit has nothing to do with impairment.” Sensible Washington points out pot smokers could test over the limit (5 nanograms per milliliter of blood) days after smoking.

Nevertheless, as noted on Reason 24/7, police have been warning that legalized marijuana will mean new traffic dangers. The AP quotes a police chief in a suburb of Denver stating with certainty that “we’re going to have more impaired drivers.”

In Seattle, where voters approved making marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority in 2003, police have taken a less histrionic approach, releasing a useful explainer blog to answer questions residents might have, like whether marijuana seized before it was legalized might be returned to them (no), and includes the helpful note that “you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property),” because, well, while voters who approved marijuana legalization may have given Obama a second term, the former pot smoker and the federal government he leads does not approve of marijuana legalization.

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  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Speaking of concern trolling:

    The Caffeine Monster Shows Itself Using STATISTICS!

    Federal officials have received reports of 13 deaths over the last four years that cited the possible involvement of 5-Hour Energy, a highly caffeinated energy shot, according to Food and Drug Administration records and an interview with an agency official.

    I can probably cite 13 deaths over four years that possibly involved ORGANIC SPINACH!

  • Almanian.||

    I bet every one of those people who died had ingested air and water at some point in the 24 hours before they died!

    *Edvard Munch "Scream" look*

  • ||

    if only people applied this same logic to tasers. "omg, he died and he was tasered. therefore, taser caused the death. QED".

    amazing the way logic flies out the window on a pet issue

  • R C Dean||

    Isn't it, though.

  • Coeus||

    hehe

  • Belgian||

    There's a difference between "the possible involvement of 5-Hour Energy" and "He was tasered and immediately died."

  • Jab Tak hai Jaan||

    Fuck you, pig.

  • Almanian.||

    Teachers! Teachers and firefighters! Teachers, firefighters and cops! Teachers, firefighters, cops and schools! Teachers, firefighters, cops, schools and ROADZ!! Etc.

    Increased violence! Increased violence and more overdoses! Increased violence, more overdoses, and higher insurance costs! Increased violence, moreoverdoses, higherinsurance costs, and a reduction in property values! Etc.

    It's always the same threats. Just add "teh evul druggz!!!1!" and stir. Fuck 'em.

  • Mainer2||

    Got in a discussion with some younger coworkers about public shcools and teacher's unions and the like. I said that teachers are not special, they are like the rest of us, paid to do a job. And like any group, some are exceptional, some are terrible and a whole bunch of average folks in the middle.

    You'd have thought I told Lee Ermey I didn't believe in the Virgin Mary.

  • ||

    like it or not, polling data shows that people DO think teachers are special. invariably, year after year, they outpoll almost all others in terms of respect and admiration (far above cops).

    that;'s a reality we have to deal with, when fighting teachers UNIONS. people LOVE teachers

  • Mainer2||

    Funny thing though, the spark for my observation was that they, a group of young parents, were sharing complaints about certain teachers in their school. But pace your point, they quickly turned on me with a "how dare you disparage teachers" response.

  • Almanian.||

    "But he's got GUTS. And that's enough..."

  • Loki||

    "Why you little maggot, you make me want to vomit! You Goddamn libertarian heathen, you had best sound off that you love teachers, or I'm gonna stomp your guts out! Now you DO love teachers, don't ya?"

  • Brett L||

    Yup. I've been in this fight, too. Saying "teaching is just a job" is like kicking a hornets nest. If hornets were bitchy and annoying rather than painful.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    "We will arrest drivers who drive impaired, whether it be drugs or alcohol."

    Whether they cause any harm or not, just because.

  • ||

    lol. the funhouse mirror libertarian argument again

    guy shoots into a crowd, narrowly missing injuring anybody

    nope, shouldn't be a crime, he didn't cause any "harm".

    jesus.

    no REAL libertarian i am aware of proposes rescinding DUI laws except in cases where people are injured. ron paul? nope. it's a colossally stupid argument.

  • Almanian.||

    no REAL libertarian TrueScotsman i am aware of proposes rescinding DUI laws except in cases where people are injured

  • ||

    fine. i have no problem with a true scotsman argument here, in counter to the ridiculous "no harm" argument used in regards to "OTHER AFFECTING" crimes like dui

    no problem whatsoever. because ex nihilo's argument is the kind of fringe lunacy that is NOT part of libertarianism, but claimed libertarians who make such arguments make REAL libertarians look bad.

    it's so collosally stupid. if he wants to live in a world where people can fire into a crowd, attenpt murder, drive DUI etc. and can only punished if they are SUCCESSFUL in wounding or killing, then he can feel free

    no nation in history has ever proposed or will ever propose such a system. unlike actual libertarianism, it's fringe lunacy and i will gladly use a true scotsman argument, damn the fallaciousness of them in general, to distinguish REAL libertarianism from fringe lunacy

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Nonlibertarians don't get to tell us what libertarianism is.

  • Belgian||

    So you're ok with 1000 people being imprisoned to prevent the possibility of 1 person getting injured?

  • Coeus||

    if he wants to live in a world where people can fire into a crowd, attenpt murder, drive DUI etc.

    One of these things is not like the other,
    one of these things just doesn't belong.

  • BlogimiDei||

    "True Scotsman" is NOT a valid argument. It is a logical fallacy.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    no REAL libertarian i am aware of proposes rescinding DUI laws except in cases where people are injured.

    Well, you should know at least one, because that is what I just proposed. If you cannot prove harm or intent to cause harm, then you do not have a crime. You like pre-crime, I understand that, doesn't make it ethical.

    And to equate shooting into a crowd with DUI, now that is colossally stupid.

  • ||

    no, you are a lunatic. thankfully, no legislators propose such nonsense, nor does such nonsense get proposed by citizen initative.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    no, you are a lunatic. thankfully, no legislators propose such nonsense, nor does such nonsense get proposed by citizen initative.

    Nope, I am as sane as can be. If you have an ethical argument for locking up people when they haven't caused any harm to another person, then lets hear it.

    And spare me the ad hominems and the sanctimoniousness of you determining who is libertarian and who isn't.

  • RBS||

    In dunphy's own words: amazing the way logic flies out the window on a pet issue.

    He didn't even make it five minutes before he failed to follow his own advice.

  • Coeus||

    He violated it in the same comment.

  • Jab Tak hai Jaan||

    Hey bitch! It's 3:00 am and some unidentified people are knocking at your door. Make certain you are armed when you open that door up. Can't be too safe.

    Useless. Cunt.

  • ||

    If you cannot prove harm or intent to cause harm, then you do not have a crime.

    Not quite. If someone knew or should have known that their actions were likely to harm others, then that should be a crime, even if they got lucky and didn't kill or maim anyone -- this time.

  • Rasilio||

    Actually Dunphy it is a very legitimate question.

    There are people who are safer drivers with a .10 BAC than others are stone cold sober. Sure those individuals are not as safe as they would be if they were also sober but they are still safer than other people who are especially bad drivers, or over tired, or overstressed with 3 screaming kids in the back seat, etc.

    equating driving while impared to firing a gun into a crowd is a false equivalency because while it does create a greater risk than your being sober does it does not necessarily create a greater risk than other risks that already exist on the roads.

  • ||

    you are absolutely correct. just like some people can drive more safely at 80 mph than an average driver can at 55 mph. yet we set limits based on average/aggregate performance, both with speed AND alcohol. and justifiably so. that's why every nation i am aware of on earth sets dui limits.

    the reality is that a practiced drunk, who can drive safely at a .08 will almost never get caught since they won't be weaving,e tc. anyway.

    but your underlying point is valid. driving is a privilege. furthermore, most studies strongly suggest, if not prove, that aggressive dui enforcement saves lives. i'm for it.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You know what else saves lives? Aggressive enforcement of anti-driving laws. Why, that would have saved around 30k lives just last year!

  • Chris Mallory||

    Most speed limits are set to collect revenue. They have nothing to do with safety. Our local carpetbagger police chief made a boo boo a couple of weeks ago when he happened to mention that on one road, a notorious speed trap, 85% of drivers go faster than the speed limit.

    Driving is not a privilege, it is a right. Just because a few courts have misruled on this issue does not make it a privilege. The only people making the privilege argument are thugs and badge fluffers.

  • sarcasmic||

    Most? Try all.

  • Belgian||

    Until roads are privately owned or not paid for by taxes, driving is a right, Dunphy.

  • KDN||

    you are absolutely correct. just like some people can drive more safely at 80 mph than an average driver can at 55 mph. yet we set limits based on average/aggregate performance, both with speed AND alcohol

    If this were true the speed limit on the NJ Turnpike would be much, much higher than 55 MPH.

  • ||

    yet we set limits based on average/aggregate performance, both with speed AND alcohol

    The limits I've observed seem to be based on the lowest common denominator driver in the worst driving conditions.

    There is exactly one short curve on Oahu where I don't feel comfortable exceeding the speed limit. Everywhere else the limit is waaaay too low.

  • Rasilio||

    Yeah, I used to drive between Phoenix and Prescott Az frequently and I always took rt 89 through the mountains rather than the Highway just because it was a fun drive.

    Going through twisty mountain passes I quickly discovered that I could take the turns a 2x+5mph where X was the posted speed limit, without feeling like I was in danger of losing control. I suspect if I had a high performance sports car and not a Ford Escort it would have been measurably faster.

  • KDN||

    The limits I've observed seem to be based on the lowest common denominator driver in the worst driving conditions.

    I think it's more about when the speed limits were instituted. If you ever drive a premodern car, the standard residential speed limit of 25 and highway speed limits of 50 - 65 make a lot of sense because that's honestly what the car's capable of when it's being driven in a safe manner by a skilled driver (and I say this as somebody that's spent the last 12 years driving at least L+15 every day in one of the most densely populated parts in the country with no issue).

    Nowadays? Everything should be boosted by 10 - 20 MPH, at least. The cars are too good today but, as usual, the regulation has not kept pace with technology and our betters are loathe to revisit an issue previously decided.

  • Randian||

    guy shoots into a crowd, narrowly missing injuring anybody

    nope, shouldn't be a crime, he didn't cause any "harm".

    Would you care to tell me how the reasonable apprehension of harm in the situation you just cited is in any way analogous to impaired driving?

  • Coeus||

    Would you care to tell me how the reasonable apprehension of harm in the situation you just cited is in any way analogous to impaired driving?

    No, because he's had it explained to him numerous times why the analogy is stupid. He doesn't care. He'll just keep using it like those idiots with "move to Somalia". It makes as much sense, too.

  • ||

    it makes plenty of sense to say that only criminalizing crimes when they cause demonstrable harm is ridiculous

    see: attempted murder, etc.

    dui is rightly made a crime. it does not have to result in carnage nor should it.

    this is what adults believe. it is fringe lunacy to believe that DUI should only be illegal when there is carnage

  • Coeus||

    it makes plenty of sense to say that only criminalizing crimes when they cause demonstrable harm is ridiculous

    Really? Criminalizing crimes?

    I'm really tired of explaining this to you, but we'll give it one more try. Let's do this in baby steps.

    If you run into a person with your car, you are performing the same action as if you drive down the road. Should you be charged with attempted manslaughter for driving? You are statistically much more likely to run someone down and kill them if you are driving than if you are walking. Obviously driving is irresponsible and should be criminalized.

    Now using the same logic you just displayed, tell me why that's false.

  • Matrix||

    You are freaking out, maaaaaan....

    I love that movie!

  • ||

    i did the "meow" thing on a traffic stop once.

    maybe.

  • Loki||

    Was that before or after the school bus "incident"?

  • ||

    i am going to respectfully refrain from commenting further

    :l

  • Loki||

    "You just ate, like, a hundred bucks worth of 'shrooms and thirty five bucks worth of pot, man! So, I'm gonna need 135 bucks, you know, when you get the chance."

  • ||

    so let me get this straight ... some police chief (iow COP O CRAT) complains and all of a sudden it's clearly a trend and it's POLICE (note the broad brush) "reacting"

    jesus christ. what a bunch of histrionic nonsense. cops are like people in general. some are going to be for legalized mj and some against. at least in my facebook page, my cop friends are overwhelmingly for it, as i have read 2 negative comments and about 100 positive comments on legalization.

    this article is about as contentless as one can imagine. pure filler.

    wow. what a suprise. some cops are for recreational mj legalization and some are against it. some predict bad results. some predict good results

    omg, stop the presses. (rolls eyes)

  • RBS||

    Hahaha, dunphy complaining about "histrionic nonsense." Oh, the irony.

  • John||

    The Feds have to step in here. If they don't, pot will be legal in these states and none of the horrible consequences of legalization predicted by the prohibitionists will happen. If that happens, the ground drops out from under drug warriors everywhere. No way does the village idiot let that happen. Look for Obama to bitch slap these states hard.

  • ||

    again, i keep asking for people to BET on this, and get no takers.

    i'm calling you out. rubbish. it aint happening. wanna make a bet?

    ill bet you 2 yrs from now, there will still be plenty of casual MJ smoking in WA and CO, the feds will have effectively given up, and more legalization initiatives will either have passed or be ont he ballots.

    face it. MJ prohibition is over. we won. the feds will preen and sputter, but deep down they know it too.

    obama and the feds are not going to hang themselves on trying to thwart these recreational MJ laws. it's not going to happen. sorry

  • Rasilio||

    wait, there is already PLENTY of casual drug consumption on WA and CO and everywhere else and the Feds have not given up, why should we expect that they would now?

    I agree that we are on the road to the end of pot prohibition but I think you are overestimating the federal governments willingness to roll over and play dead for it.

  • ||

    because the law has changed. there is now LAW supporting recreational MJ and immense popular support and justification.

    again, this is a predictive argument. bet me if you think i am wrong

    imo, my knowledge of politics and experience dealing with feds leads me to this conclusion. i think it's FAR FAR FAR more likely than the one that most cynics predict, that the feds are going to fight the states on this and the states are going to lose. it simply doesn't weigh factors based on the real world.

    the feds have lost on mj. they know it. they will primp, preen and posture, but it's a lost cause.

  • sarcasmic||

    We all know that the feds don't really give a shit about recreational users.

    They care about people with stuff to steal. People making money. Growers and sellers.

    Are you saying that in two years the feds will have backed off of growers and sellers in states that have made the stuff legal?

  • ||

    i am saying that in two years, people will be smoking recreational MJ with impunity and that feds will not be going after people growing COMPLIANT with state recreational MJ law, yes.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'll take that bet.

    Twenty bucks says that in two years the feds will overturn the legislation in court, put more conditions on federal highway funds, or just bust growers and sellers anyway regardless of whether or not they are in compliance with state law.

    This isn't about marijuana. It's about federal power. They're not going to just lay down and have their authority taken away from them. You of all people should know that.

  • ||

    ok. consider it a deal!

    and trust me, i have seen the feds lay down when it's politically expedient. the feds are thuggish, but they know limits

  • R C Dean||

    Who knows what the feds will do on the DOJ/enforcement front?

    If history is any guide, they will go after retailers and growers, hard, regardless of state law.

    I think Congress will pass a law withholding highway funds from any state that legalizes pot. That's how the feds will nip this in the bud (snerk), IMO.

  • ||

    history is NOT a guide, since we haven't had recreational legal mj except for alaska.

    people who are equating this with the past are failing to recognize the differences. we have critical momentum and majority support for recreational mj. feds aint nipping jackshit and jack left town. MJ has won/ prohibition has lost

    the feds know it.

    2,3,5 years from now we will see MORE states with legal MJ and feds will be doing little to nothing about it.

    we won

  • R C Dean||

    So you think the feds are going to call off all grower/seller enforcement in CO and WA?

    That the fact that they never did so in medpot states is irrelevant? OK.

    You don't think there's any chance that Congress will put a stop to state legalization with highway funding?

    That the feds are just going to lay down on state legalization and do nothing?

    Will they also lay down on their medpot enforcement? How will they justify the fed pogrom in those states, with laissez faire in neighboring states?

    I hope you're right, but I really see little chance of it.

  • ||

    yea, either way we are arguing with no way to "prove" our case except to wait to see.

    i strongly believe i am correct :)

    but we will have to wait to see.

  • sarcasmic||

    I still think they'll use federal supremacy.

    How can states take in revenue from licensing and taxing activity that is prohibited under federal law?

  • Jab Tak hai Jaan||

    I though pot could be sold if it had a federal tax stamp.

  • sarcasmic||

    I though pot could be sold if it had a federal tax stamp.

    That law was changed forty years ago. Get with the program.

  • R C Dean||

    There is absolutely no prohibition on the state pocketing revenues from illegal activity, even activity that is illegal under state law and not just federal law.

    Licensing may be a different story, but not taxes.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    a police chief in a suburb of Denver stating with certainty that “we’re going to have more impaired drivers.”

    What about CRASHES, and injuries?

    What about actual HARM?

  • ||

    fwiw, iirc NHTSA studies show that DUI impaired by pot drivers cause less harm than DUI alcohol drivers, on average.

    that's because , while both substances impair driving ABILITY, alcohol tends to promote recklessness, false confidence in ability, etc.

    iow, the DUI alcohol driver is the one more likely to be doing 60 in a 30 zone. the dui pot driver is the one sitting at the stop sign waiting for it to turn green :)

    i've arrested several hundred dui drivers (pot maybe about one or two dozen), and investigated hundreds of collisions, and my experience matches NHTSA

    while DUI pot *is* a safety concern, it is LESS of one than dui alcohol.

  • Gene||

    It is actually far less of an issue than distracted driving. I would posit that eating a burger while driving is far more dangerous than me driving to work Thursday morning with a residual .06 nano grams per mil. The rub is there would be no impairment at all just a technicality of physiology. Ordinarily if pulled over this would not be a problem but if like myself one has a prior Cannabis conviction this comes into play. Granted this is a stretch but it still pisses me and I suspect many others off.

  • ||

    i would agree with your first proposition.

    i have already said btw, that i believe WA's cannabis DUI restriction level is too strict

    i would also support less harsh penalties for DUI pot vs. DUI alcohol

    cheers

  • Coeus||

    i have already said btw, that i believe WA's cannabis DUI restriction level is too strict

    But you'd support a less strict one? Understand, they are not measuring the chemical in your bloodstream. As such, any level at all is too strict.

  • ||

    i support a level that is correlated with impaired driving.

  • Coeus||

    There is no level, you obtuse moron. They are not measuring the level THC in your bloodstream. THC metabolites do not cause any demonstrable level impairment.

  • Coeus||

    After further research, there is a test that can be used for THC. It has never been used by law enforcement in any case I can find, and I suspect it's cost prohibitive. If they start using this, my DUI arguments apply. But I sincerely doubt they will. They will measure for metabolites, and extrapolate using a table of "most likely THC levels".

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Why don't you take five or six of your special pain pills and then set yourself on fire, Fosdick?

  • ||

    they aint special. just dilaudid.

    but thanks for the concern

    smooches

    btw, as noted above, dui pot drivers are less of a safety concern than dui alcohol drivers.

  • Belgian||

    But they will generate just as much revenue, and so will be harassed just as enthusiastically.

  • ||

    how does investigating DUI generate revenue?setting aside the ridiculous misuse of the word "harass"

  • Coeus||

    how does investigating DUI generate revenue?

    Now you're just trolling.

  • Ralph Wylie||

    Are you sure Obama is a FORMER pot smoker??
    Methinks not. We know he still likes his booze and probably coke too.
    Is anyone positive he quit smoking tobacco? He's lied about everything else.

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