Drug Policy

Why Is George Soros So Eager to Make Massachusetts Streets Unsafe?

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In August pollsters at Boston's Suffolk University said Question 2, a Massachusetts ballot initiative that would replace criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a $100 civil fine, "appears all but certain to pass," with support from 72 percent of registered voters. "The public may be signaling that pursuing small-time marijuana users is a waste of taxpayer resources," said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk's Political Research Center. "This issue suggests that there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of Massachusetts voters." Last week the same pollsters found support for the measure had shrunk to 51 percent, with 32 percent of voters opposed (up from 22 percent in August). Maybe Massachusetts voters have become less libertarian in the last two months.

Or maybe, as NORML's Paul Armentano suggests, they've been paying too much attention to the cops and prosecutors behind the Coalition for Safe Streets. The group's radio ads play up the role of "international financier" George Soros in funding the initiative; allege that the failure to arrest pot smokers would "send children the message that drug use is safe and acceptable" and "make it easier for kids to get behind the wheel of a car after smoking marijuana"; and warn of "unsafe roads, increased health care costs, more crime, [and] more problems with addiction." The coalition claims "it's just common sense," which I guess is why it sees no need to offer any actual arguments connecting these outcomes to the passage of Question 2.

To back up its assertion that decriminalizing possession (but not sale) of less than an ounce of marijuana would result in "newly emboldened drug dealers," the coalition claims, "One ounce of marijuana has a street value of $600 and equates to approximately 60 individual sales." If that price estimate is based on the district attorneys' own shopping experiences, they are either connoisseurs or suckers. The estimate for the number of sales also seems to be based on an extreme assumption: that pot is sold one joint at a time. I suppose you could say everyone with an ounce of marijuana is a potential pot dealer, in the same sense that everyone with three packs of cigarettes is a potential tobacconist. More to the point, what are these pot sellers going to be "newly emboldened" to do? Sell pot, presumably. To willing buyers. Who aren't hurting anything but the sensibilities of the reformed pot smokers at the Coalition for Safe Streets.

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  1. This has to be the only issue that billionaire Marxist George Soros supports that I agree with.

  2. Its down to 52 percent? Fuck. When i heard the first poll i knew it was too good to be true. I reiterate, Fuck.

  3. “This issue suggests that there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of Massachusetts voters.”

    No it doesn’t.

  4. The district attorneys have been despicably dishonest about the measure. They want their jobs and forfeiture money, and will tell whatever lies they think will preserve them.

  5. hahaha – 56 sales of 1/2 gram bags of $600/oz. pot. It looks like 51% of MA respondents know better.

  6. One ounce of marijuana has a street value of $600 and equates to approximately 60 individual sales.

    They must have been high at the time they wrote this. But then again, if they were, they would have known better.

  7. An ounce costs $600 in MA? Hell, a brick costs only $400. I gotta start selling pot in MA . . . for $599 an ounce.

  8. “willing buyers”? You mean hapless victims! Or vicious criminals or something.

  9. For those of you not down with da street lingo, a brick is a pound of weed.

  10. Oh, and uh . . . word to ur mother!

  11. An ounce costs $600 in MA? Hell, a brick costs only $400. I gotta start selling pot in MA . . . for $599 an ounce.

    That’s what I was thinking. I can’t imagine paying 600 per ounce (i mean i can see paying that if I buy eighths at a time, but buying an ounce at a time)

  12. If i trust drug prohibitionists and warriors about anything the first thing i think of is statistics.

  13. If i trust drug prohibitionists and warriors about anything the first thing i think of is statistics.

    With an estimated street value of (insert totally bulshit figure here) is my favorite. You do the math and it never makes fucking sense,

  14. Since when is a joint anything less than a gram?

  15. Ben | October 29, 2008, 5:21pm | #

    This has to be the only issue that billionaire Marxist George Soros supports that I agree with.

    What, you don’t like promoting democracy in Eastern Europe?

  16. There is a strong anti-authority streak in Massachusetts. But it hardly even peaks past 50%.

    We fought seatbelt laws for a while. We’ve got Question 1 this year to repeal the state income tax.

  17. Frank: Well, you better go back and get a gun because dealing drugs is dangerous.

    Charlie: No, it isn’t. It’s a rich person’s drug. There’s no danger involved.

    Dee: Yeah, it’s like stockbrokers and high-powered business executives.

    Charlie: We’ll just go down to Center City and-

    Dennis: Sure, waltz right into a board meeting, slap your drugs down on the conference table, and be like, “Hey, you guys wanna buy drugs? We’re drug dealers.”

    Charlie: Are you saying that’s not gonna work, or like what are you saying exactly?

  18. “The estimate for the number of sales also seems to be based on an extreme assumption: that pot is sold one joint at a time.”

    Even that isn’t accurate. As someone above me pointed out even at half a gram you only get 56 individual sales. Quite frankly I don’t know anyone who will sell less than an eighth. Not to mention..600$ per oz? Somebody is getting ripped off, I say we move to MA and start slingin dope, sound pretty lucrative up there.

  19. Kaiser,

    Here, here! I agree. Just make sure you pay off your local cops and mafia overlords.

  20. the failure to arrest pot smokers would “send children the message that drug use is safe and acceptable”

    This is always one of my favorites. Consider the statement: “Fining people $100 for ______ sends children the message that _____ is safe and acceptable.” Really? All you have to do is remove the scary D-word and anyone can see what a stupid statement this is. I can’t honestly believe that anyone with a sense of shame or personal honor would utter it.

  21. What a treat. It’s not very often you find stuff to read that is as dishonest and/or stupid as the Coalition for Safe Street publishes. Hats off to em.

    Question 2 benefits drug dealers and dangerous criminals.

    Lie. Drug dealers and dangerous criminals like more competition and lower prices?

    Law enforcement, educators, health care, business and community leaders uniformly oppose Question 2.

    Lie. “Uniformly”

    Today’s marijuana poses a serious public health threat…

    Lie.

    “…and is dramatically more potent than the drug used by baby boomers 30 years ago

    Lie. It is usually better (more potent) on average, but as a rigid declarative statement, this is false. Couldn’t be true anyway – not with the drug war making us safer…

    is a primary factor in juvenile hospital admissions

    Lie. It might be “a” primary factor. Primary factor number #685 down the list of primary factors.

    and is more strongly associated with juvenile crime than alcohol.

    ??? That is too stupid to just be a lie. Water is most strongly substance associated with juvenile crime. Alcohol would be worse than pot, but it’s less available to teens. I wonder why?

    Marijuana users are 10 times more likely to be injured, or injure others, in automobile crashes, and a large percentage of arrestees (30-40%) test positive for marijuana.

    Lie. Intentionally conflating “Marijuana users” with those currently under the influence of marijuana. 10X more than what, people who don’t drive?

    And current law is fair to first-time offenders by requiring judges to dismiss charges and seal their records following a probationary period.

    If you arrest people who are harming nobody else, not even themselves, its OK as long as you seal their record later. Laws that “require” judges to rule certain way are just as suspect as the judges that “require” juries to rule as directed.

  22. One ounce of marijuana has a street value of $600 and equates to approximately 60 individual sales.

    Suuuuure, just like there’s a market out there for 1 oz beers.

    Are MA voters really this fucking stupid?

  23. I was talking to real-life DEA guy at party last weekend. I floated the idea of decriminalization of small amounts of pot to ease local jail overcrowding, just to see what he thought. Dude was totally down with it, in fact, he said anything below a large (admittedly undefined) sale-able amount should be dealt with by civil fines, because, paraphrasing, “It’s not worth anybody’s time and it’s everywhere anyway.” I guess drug warriors only get stupid when they get promoted.

  24. There is a strong anti-authority streak in Massachusetts. But it hardly even peaks past 50%.

    We fought seatbelt laws for a while. We’ve got Question 1 this year to repeal the state income tax.

    Y’all were pretty emphatic decrying court ordered busing as I recall.

  25. Y’all were pretty emphatic decrying court ordered busing as I recall.

    I would love to see video of pot smokers rioting in Boston, with one really angry pot smoker running some DA through with the American flag. That would be fucking awesome.

  26. I would love to see video of pot smokers rioting in Boston, with one really angry pot smoker running some DA through with the American flag. That would be fucking awesome.

    Fluffy, I love the way you think, although the idea of a “really angry pot smoker” seems a bit far-fetched (with the possible exception of a pot-smoker who is angered because he has been kept from smoking)

  27. I can’t tell from the website whether these ads are funded by taxpayer money. If so, could someone bring a court case on 1st amendment grounds, that this campaign amounts to forced speech, violating the implicit freedom NOT to speak?

  28. Ben says George Soros is a “Marxist” – what a fucking idiot Ben is.

    The great capitalist has made billions and written many books yet not a word about favoring “Marxism”.

    But Fox News hates him – so Ben crams that shit in as fast as he can.

  29. I’ve never heard the ad in question, and twenty points the week before the election is a pretty good margin.

  30. Since when is a joint anything less than a gram?

    Dude, that’s a wicked pinnah!

    Dude, it’s from Vermont!

    Oh. Awright. You got a lightah?

  31. “Fining people $100 for speeding sends children the message that speeding is safe and acceptable.”

    “Fining people $100 for littering sends children the message that littering is safe and acceptable.”

    “Fining people $100 for jaywalking sends children the message that jaywalking is safe and acceptable.”

    Hey!! This is fun!!

    .. Hobbit

  32. The drug warriors worry is that with that change in law, the only noticable effects will be reduced demand on the law enforcement and justce systems.

    Gentlemen, we’ve got to protect our phoney baloney jobs!

  33. You can bet the drug rehab businesses are against it too. Hmmmm. Wonder why?

  34. . . . get behind the wheel of a car after smoking marijuana . . .

    I fail to see how drug use could make the drivers in Boston worse.

  35. “The drug warriors worry is that with that change in law, the only noticable effects will be reduced demand on the law enforcement and justce systems.”

    Damn right. The drug war is nothing more than a welfare program for steroid-loaded criminal justice frat boys that were too stupid to get a job in the private sector.

    And only a gram per joint? What kind of cheap-ass bastards are you?

  36. “The group’s radio ads play up the role of “international financier” George Soros in funding the initiative; allege that the failure to arrest pot smokers would “send children the message that drug use is safe and acceptable” and “make it easier for kids to get behind the wheel of a car after smoking marijuana”; and warn of “unsafe roads…”

    Funny how they’re worried about kids smoking pot and getting behind the wheel. Lord knows we wouldn’t want them to ingest a drug and then hurt or kill someone with a vehicle. BTW – doesn’t Ted Kennedy still have his drivers license?

  37. “This issue suggests that there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of Massachusetts voters.”

    Ha ha ha ha! Wanting to lessen the penalties for marijuana possession is not the definition of libertarianism. This is the same state that won’t let let grocery stores sell beer. Massachusetts is a state full of liberal puritans. They don’t care about your right to smoke whatever you want. If this measure were about any other drug there would be a huge outcry against it. If it were about reducing the taxes on cigarettes there would be a huge outcry against it. If it were about legalizing alchohol sales in grocery stores there would be a huge outcry against it.

    The only reason Mass is in favor of pot is because drug prohibition is because it’s seen as a trendy liberal substance.

  38. I think the drug articles are why I read this silly magazine.

  39. I think their bullshit figures of 600 bucks a zip are “emboldening” new people to become drug dealers. At those prices you could make a killing.

  40. “The only reason Mass is in favor of pot is because drug prohibition is because it’s seen as a trendy liberal substance.”

    Agreed. Furthermore, decriminalization of marijuana could actually delay ending the drug war by making it seem less egregious to white people. “Medical marijuana is just a distraction, I want to buy ecstasy at Walgreens tomorrow.” (badly remembered from Doug Stanhope’s routine).

  41. The only reason Mass is in favor of pot is because drug prohibition is because it’s seen as a trendy liberal substance.

    Uh, yeah, trendy.

    All the kids are doing it, with their VW buses and their tea shades.

  42. “This issue suggests that there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of Massachusetts voters.”

    Uh, no.

    What it suggests is a lot of Massachusetts voters don’t think pot is as bad as government propaganda says it is. That’s all.

    I know we want to believe people are coming around to the libertarian way of thinking, but reality says otherwise. Those same voters still think pot is bad enough to fine someone for having it.

  43. Those same voters still think pot is bad enough to fine someone for having it.

    I’m not sure about that. The options we’re given are 1) criminalization or 2) civil penalty. That people find Option 2 better than Option 1 doesn’t tell us much about whether they’re prefer a third option.

  44. Drug prices quoted by the gov’t are calculated as follows:

    Unit of drug / smallest quantity of it ever sold on record * highest price ever recorded for that quantity.

    Back story: some full time undercover narco sees a guy smoking a joint, that’s almost gone, and offers to buy the rest from him (1/2 gram) for $10.

    The story forever after: “street prices” are $600 per oz, which “proves” the war on drugs is working, because the price is so high.

  45. Atanarjuat wrote:
    Agreed. Furthermore, decriminalization of marijuana could actually delay ending the drug war by making it seem less egregious to white people. “Medical marijuana is just a distraction, I want to buy ecstasy at Walgreens tomorrow.” (badly remembered from Doug Stanhope’s routine)

    Damn straight. Some opium for my next sports injury would rock too, Vicodin does nothing for me.

    Interesting that these guys are from Mass as well.
    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
    Allow otherwise law abiding citizens to produce/distribute and a majority of the negative externalities go away.

    But we know this already.

  46. joe,

    I’m not sure about that. The options we’re given are 1) criminalization or 2) civil penalty. That people find Option 2 better than Option 1 doesn’t tell us much about whether they’re prefer a third option.

    How are questions put on the Mass ballot? Isnt it by getting XXX signatures? It tells us that enough people didnt care strong enough to get option 3 on the ballot. Now this might be a one step at a time strategy, but the people pushing the question obviously didnt think 3 had a reasonable chance of passing.

  47. Decriminalization is going to reduce the number of poor bastards who have been thrown in jail for simple pot possesion…oh wait that doesn’t happen…I mean it’s going to stop those poor kids from being kept out of college because they got caught with a joint…oh wait that never happened either.
    Question 2…the solution in search of a problem.

  48. MayorRay,

    if it doesn’t change anything then why are you opposed to it?

    The current law does damage futures, mainly for young black men. Perhaps that is why you are ignorant of its deleterious effects?

    Anyway, if people just end up getting fined anyway, then that should be the statutory penalty, no?

  49. neilpaul,
    What I’m saying is there is no problem. Arrest for simple possesion results in probation and then a sealed record. Simple possesion arrests do not ruin anybody’s future. Nobody is in jail for simple possesion, these are the facts. This argument for decriminalization is significantly weaker than that for legalization and I think it’s dangerous. Somebody walking around in a Boston neighborood with an ounce of weed is a dealer, plain and simple. We’ll let dealers walk around neighborhoods with an oz of unregulated Class D narcotic, it’s a dangerous substance in the hands of a minor and it’s unregulated. This is a half-ass middle step to legalization, something that is probably not going to happen. We’ll see what happens today.

  50. >Perhaps that is why you are ignorant of its >deleterious effects?
    How noble of you to push for decriminalization for the sake of the young black men of this commonwealth…that brings a tear to my eye.
    I’m sure some of your best friends are young black men…too funny.
    Believe it or not I’ve actually met a few of them, normally the concern is over the drug dealers and the number of friends lost to addiction, as is my concern. Not for the poor friend who lost his student loan for getting caught with a dimebag because again, it didn’t happen. I grew up in one of the more diverse neighborhoods in Boston and I know a few of these minorities you speak of…lovely people.

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