Borderline Sanity

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An A.P. story about marijuana smuggling from Canada into Washington state via float planes ends with this surprising concession from Okanogan County Sheriff Frank T. Rogers: "We're not going to stop this stuff coming across the border. They couldn't stop [alcohol during] Prohibition, and we're not going to stop the drug trade."

[Thanks to sage for the link.]

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  1. But I note he had people out looking for them anyway.

  2. I’d buy privately grown, taxed and regulated cannabis, if it was of considerably better quality than the schwag that gets passed around here in my part of the South. Wouldn’t a situation such as that (similar to the way alcohol is sold in stores nationwide) put a dent in what would then be the ”rogue” cannabis dealer’s profits? What, other than the ease of propagation by anyone with enough fertile soil and time to take proper care (just like most any other plant) of it, is keeping cannabis from being legalised? Are we too ashamed of our decades of incompetent drug policy to ever consider repealing it now? The many thousands who are incarcerated for a ”crime” like possession of marijuana would be entitled to an apology- perhaps that’s too much to ask for. It’s my firm belief that the REAL solution to this ”problem” of marijuana usage (governments would rather you buy the synthetic marinol) could be solved without the endless war of statistics that only leads to a stalemate of opinions. This is clear to anyone who does not lump marijuana into the same category as things like crack cocaine, heroin, LSD, x-pills, and so on. And I’m certainly no expert on energy related matters, but I am curious if hemp oil could function as a viable alternate fuel source.

  3. This is clear to anyone who does not lump marijuana into the same category as things like crack cocaine, heroin, LSD, x-pills, and so on.

    Maybe not so clear to someone who doesn’t lump crack & heroin with LSD or X.

  4. “We’re not going to stop this stuff coming across the border. They couldn’t stop [alcohol during] Prohibition, and we’re not going to stop the drug trade.”

    Unfortunately, recognizing the futility of ones actions and acting on that knowledge are two different things. Somehow I doubt that our good Sheriff here is going to stop trying to stop the drug trade.

  5. Yes…I see your point. forgive me for associating those- but would you, Daksya, argue that any of those are less dangerous than cannabis?

  6. [May I call you PIAJ? Thanks.]

    Depends on usage patterns. I’ll argue that someone who has used cannabis daily (or almost) for 5 years will have suffered more harms than a user who has taken E 50-60 times in 5 years. Start taking E every week, and that’s a different story. Cannabis is much more likely to become a ‘lifestyle’ drug, compared to LSD or E. Of course, there are people who have taken LSD twice a week for years on end, but we’re talking about likelihood.

  7. I’m sure it has occured to you folks that while there may be Pollyanas among prohibitionists, many of them consider themselves as realists in private, i.e. 1)drug use can’t be eliminated by prohibition, but it can be contained more effectively than the alternatives 2)the marginal cost of legalized regime is greater than the marginal benefit over prohibition. How would you argue over that position?

  8. “the marginal cost of legalized regime is greater than the marginal benefit over prohibition. How would you argue over that position?”

    Is the marginal cost of legal alcohol greater than its benefit? What is its benefit?

    Is the marginal benefit of the right to be left alone worth something? If so, how much?

    What is the cost of prohibition of marijuana? I don’t know exactly, but it has to be in the many billions of dollars.

  9. “What, other than the ease of propagation by anyone with enough fertile soil and time to take proper care (just like most any other plant) of it, is keeping cannabis from being legalised?”

    Oh, let’s see: without the War on Ganja, a great many folks would be out of a job, or taking a large paycut. The anti-marijuana racket is as much a “business” as the marijuana market itself. Just think of all the prison guards that would lose their job if we suddenly cut the prison population down by millions? Think of all the police that would get laid off because there was nothing for them to do anymore. Think of all the DEA agents that would lose their jobs because the anti-marijuana funding was cut.

  10. MP, Sandy,

    That sherriff is doing what he is required to do by the laws passed by the legitimate, democratic government that he answers to. Put the blame where it belongs.

  11. “Oh, let’s see: without the War on Ganja, a great many folks would be out of a job, or taking a large paycut. The anti-marijuana racket is as much a “business” as the marijuana market itself. Just think of all the prison guards that would lose their job if we suddenly cut the prison population down by millions? Think of all the police that would get laid off because there was nothing for them to do anymore. Think of all the DEA agents that would lose their jobs because the anti-marijuana funding was cut.”

    All very true. In reality, there would need to be some sort of transition plan to accomodate all those displaced drug warriors.

  12. What ? is keeping cannabis from being legalised? Are we too ashamed of our decades of incompetent drug policy to ever consider repealing it now?

    That’s the question on my mind when I wake up screaming in the night PIAJ. I understand that the establishment is committed to the status quo. That there is considerable investment in the WOD and all. But the lengths they’ll go to, and the bizarre departures from reality they use to justify them, are incredible (uncredible?). And what about the press? Why aren’t the drug warriors getting pummeled every time they open their mouths? It’s not like this [marijuana_myths_facts link redacted by squirrels] shit is hard to refute.

  13. Those jobs could be reappropriated for something useful, like say…border security. War on cannabis is irresponsible, given the far more legitimate concerns we’re facing today (I dont think I need to spell those out)

  14. That sherriff is doing what he is required to do by the laws passed by the legitimate, democratic government that he answers to. Put the blame where it belongs.

    joe,

    All law enforcement officials have discretion over what laws they enforce. Unless there is direct evidence of political pressures being put on the Sheriff to enforce drug interdiction, then he bears some responsibility in regards to continuing the drug war. Just consider how Sheriff Bill Masters handles it:

    “First off, police officers have tremendous amounts of discretion, and we consciously choose our priorities. If there’s a crime against a person, that’s top priority and everything else stops. Same thing with traffic problems, we take them seriously, too. But we have to take the drug issue seriously, too; we don’t want people thinking they can come here and be meth heads. About 10% of our arrests are for drugs. “

  15. What can we expect from a government that itself admits that its drug war policy is:

    1. “creating chaos and instability” in the world.

    And:

    2. Going forward, the Justice Department itself believes will cause Colombian gangs, FARC, to partner up with southwest Asian, alQaida, drug gangs. The drug war is fostering super stateless terrorist armies and our government admits this.

    Please see my post on the topic:
    U.S. border security? “Creating chaos and instability”

  16. I think legislation is a waste of time on fighting Marijuana. What needs to be done here is for the pot smokers of America to flood the streets toking up, demanding to be recognized and legitimized, never mind the law of the land. Millions of Americans smoke the stuff, and enjoy it so why not just march for change in the law, carrying American Flags of course(No High Times pot flags)to show that they back flaunting the law. If the cowards in Congress see that they may get votes out of it,you’ll have Hill and Bill coming out and saying that they “DID INDEED SMOKE POT AND INHALE IT!Just think of all the joke Jay could get out of this. Good column!

  17. I think legislation is a waste of time on fighting Marijuana. What needs to be done here is for the pot smokers of America to flood the streets toking up, demanding to be recognized and legitimized, never mind the law of the land. Millions of Americans smoke the stuff, and enjoy it so why not just march for change in the law, carrying American Flags of course(No High Times pot flags)to show that they back flaunting the law. If the cowards in Congress see that they may get votes out of it,you’ll have Hill and Bill coming out and saying that they “DID INDEED SMOKE POT AND INHALE IT!Just think of all the joke Jay could get out of this. Good column!

  18. I think legislation is a waste of time on fighting Marijuana. What needs to be done here is for the pot smokers of America to flood the streets toking up, demanding to be recognized and legitimized, never mind the law of the land. Millions of Americans smoke the stuff, and enjoy it so why not just march for change in the law, carrying American Flags of course(No High Times pot flags)to show that they back flaunting the law. If the cowards in Congress see that they may get votes out of it,you’ll have Hill and Bill coming out and saying that they “DID INDEED SMOKE POT AND INHALE IT!Just think of all the joke Jay could get out of this. Good column!

  19. All I can say is that for the last 2-3 years the leadership of okanogan county has been one of the few sane voices in all of Washington state.

  20. MP, Sandy,

    That sherriff is doing what he is required to do by the laws passed by the legitimate, democratic government that he answers to. Put the blame where it belongs.

    sometimes i like what joe says…I am big eniugh to admit it.

    Sandy the blame falls on the voting public.

  21. joe, joshua corning:

    I don’t disagree that voters (and demagoging politicians, yes, Reagan chief among them) deserve the primary scorn, but our system allows police and prosecutors wide discretion on where they focus their efforts. Otherwise, most of the country would be in jail on the myriad laws and regulations we break each and every day.

    So if the guy felt sufficiently strongly about it, he could direct his department’s resources toward public safety, property crimes, battery, and murder. Going out of your way based on a hunch to watch a lake is not the action of somebody who’s decided to prioritize to more fruitful areas of law enforcement.

    So yes, he deserves some blame as well–maybe even more because he’s aware of the uselessness of his actions.

  22. The sheriff bears a significant portion of the responsibility for continuation of marijuana Prohibition policies in both WA state and nationally.

    This is because the only notable groups publicly advocating Prohibition as a useful policy are a small minority of police and higher level LE administrators.

    It is they who get the attention of legislators and policymakers.

    When these cops stop either overtly lying and presenting Prohibition as a viable response to the insatiable demand for marijuana by American citizens, policy makers will be left only with an even smaller group of citizens who argue for Prohibition on the basis of marijuana use being a moral crime. Such an argument is insufficient to carry the day sans testimony from uniformed police officials who will testify to lawmakers that Prohibition is the best public policy response available.

    Fortunately, the number of police, judges and others from the criminal justice field advocating an end to drug Prohibition is increasing. You can see more about them by visiting Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) website. The Florida entry page is hyperlinked to my name and you can access any part of the site from there. Questions, comments welcome by mailing me….heath at leap.cc

  23. Ron_moore, put down the bong and take your finger off the enter key. Okay, now go have a brownie.

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