California

Schwarzenegger: Potheads Can Just Pay a Small Fine, Needle Drug Users Can Die

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California's Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a bill reducing possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a mere infraction (less than a misdemeanor) punishable by just fines up to $100, and no jail time. At the same time, he vetoed various bills related to the potential use of other illegal drugs, such as bills that would liberalize access to needles or reduce the legal risk of reporting overdoses to authorities.

The loosening in legal punishments for pot got plenty of press, but his move to keep often fatal restrictions on access to needles and to help in case of overdoses only snuck out in his messages to the state legislature.

Assembly Bill 2460 would have, as the ACLU explains:

address[ed] needless drug overdose deaths that occur when witnesses to an overdose hesitate to contact emergency services because they fear arrest for themselves or for the person experiencing the overdose. Fear of police involvement and criminal punishment for themselves or their friends is statistically one of the most common reasons people cite for not calling 911 when they witness an overdose. AB 2460 would provide limited criminal immunity for only 3 low-level drug crimes (being under the influence and possession for personal use and possession of drug paraphernalia) only for persons who contact emergency services to save the life of someone experiencing an overdose, and to the person experiencing the overdose for whom emergency services are contacted.

While both houses of California's state legislature thought this made sense, Schwarzenegger thought since this humane bill to help save lives "fails to address problematic, high-risk drug use and behavior. Accountability, and the need for the legal consequences arising from such high-risk behavior, is eliminated under this bill," he had to veto it.

That such "elimination" of legal punishment for behavior that harms no one else's life or property directly comes only in the context of saving someone's life doesn't seem to matter to the Gov, though to their credit it did matter to California's legislature.

Two other bills affecting that most despised of American minorities, users of needle drugs, that passed the legislature because of their positive effects on health and safety were also vetoed this week by Schwarzenegger: SB 1029 and AB 1858.

The Drug Policy Alliance explained the good sense behind SB 1029:

California is behind much of the country when it comes to preventing HIV and hepatitis C. California is one of only three states in the country that still prohibits pharmacists from selling syringes to an adult without a prescription. Almost no other state restricts pharmacists in this way. In California thousands of people a year still contract HIV or hepatitis C from sharing injection equipment because they are unable to buy them in a pharmacy. HIV and hepatitis are both costly, deadly diseases, and the cost of caring for them often falls on public resources. A current limited pilot program is due to expire at the end of the year, despite clear evidence of success.

Fortunately, though, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) has introduced legislation (SB 1029) that will extend the pilot and allow pharmacies to sell syringes statewide. The legislation has passed the Senate and Assembly…

"Allowing adults to spend their own money to protect their health and the health of others is a no-cost and highly effective way to prevent the spread of deadly diseases," said [the DPA's Laura] Thomas. "We hope Governor Schwarzenegger chooses to leave a legacy of expanding HIV and hepatitis C prevention in California–saving lives and saving money."

Nope, he decided to just veto it instead.

AB 1858 would have, as Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield explains

allow[ed] the California Department of Public Health to authorize community clinics or other health agencies to provide syringe exchange services in any location where the department determines that the conditions exist for the rapid spread of HIV, viral hepatitis or any other potentially deadly or disabling infections that are spread through the sharing of used syringes…..

More than 200 studies have reached the incontrovertible conclusion that syringe exchange service is a cost-effective means to reduce the spread of HIV and viral hepatitis, and that these programs do not contribute to increased drug use, drug injection, crime or unsafe discard of syringes. Most programs not only provide prevention education, but also provide referral to drug treatment and other vital health services, including screenings for HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections.

Schwarzenegger vetoed that too. While he is showing some good sense regarding legal punishments for pot, he still seems to believe, against the wishes of the elected legislature, that anyone using needle drugs deserves whatever they get. It's horribly inhumane, and bad for the state's already staggering bottom line, and just plain dumb.

[Cross-posted at my California news and politics blog, "City of Angles." Thanks to the Drug Policy Alliance's Meghan Ralston, who did heroic work on getting those vetoed bills through the legislature, for leads and info on this very non-reported story.]

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  1. Good morning, Brian. You wanna get high?

    1. [ironic music cue: “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man”]

  2. anyone using needle drugs deserves whatever they get.

    Change “using needle drugs” to anything else and libertarians would find the sentence reasonable and just. But yay for government programs to reduce the spread of diseases and for rejecting the unregulated market of needle drugs.

    1. Not true. For instance I think many libertarians here believe that anyone reading your posts does not deserve such a bleak view into the mind of a statist. I would not wish such a punishment on anyone, no matter what they did.

      1. Statist fuckmonkey.

      2. “But yay for government programs”

        Go back to sleep Tony. You rolled over on the wrong side of the bed and thought you were clicking on the DailyKos instead of Reason..

        It’s ok, it happens.

        Now, show me on the doll where the libertarian touched you.

    2. But seriously, to address your point, what I think Doherty means is that the Governator doesn’t honestly care that the government is actively harming drug users by not letting them buy clean needles. What they are getting is the government punishing them, not the raw consequences of their own willful actions.

      Removing the regulations on needles is not libertarian-supported government interference, it is the removal of government interference.

      But I’m sure you’ll find some noble justification for regulating needles. Run along now and right that up for me, Tony.

        1. Wow. Best RC’z law in a long time.

          1. I believe that’s joez law, BakedPenguin

            1. joez law is “while calling someone else an idiot, you will (almost) always have a typo.”
              RCz law is “a typo will (often) be funnier than had the original message been sent correctly.”

              I thought “right that up for me” almost sounded like “go on and find a spin to that so I can accept it”, which kind of fit what heller was saying.

              1. Right.

                Actually, I think I was off the mark since, doesn’t joez law actually require that your post be correcting someone else’s post with a typo in it?

                1. have any studies been done comparing OTC needle states (like my own) vs. prescription only needle states?

                  here in WA, any dingdong can walk into a pharmacy and buy a syringe & needle. depending on size, type, etc. and quantity bought, they range from a few pennies to .25.

                  in my experience, in interviewing needle users, it is surprising how many of them STILL will reuse needles and even share them here in WA despite the fact that needle availability is there. also, needle exchange programs will distribute free needles usually, for the exchange of used needles. granted, they generally don’t exist in suburban and rural areas.

                  i 100% support the availability of needles over the counter.

      1. I assume you don’t think the government should regulate lawn darts either.

        So would you support a government program to distribute lawn darts free of charge? It would seem consistent with the logic of “once the government regulates something it shouldn’t, libertarianism doesn’t apply anymore”.

        1. So would you support a government program to distribute lawn darts free of charge?

          No, where did you get the idea I would support something like that?

          It would seem consistent with the logic of “once the government regulates something it shouldn’t, libertarianism doesn’t apply anymore”.

          No, where did I say something like that?

          I specifically said libertarians should support the removal of government interference, and that doing so is not libertarians supporting a new government service. The removal of regulations is not the creation of new government services.

          You might want to check this out

          1. AB 1858 would have, as Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield explains

            allow[ed] the California Department of Public Health to authorize community clinics or other health agencies to provide syringe exchange services in any location where the department determines that the conditions exist for the rapid spread of HIV, viral hepatitis or any other potentially deadly or disabling infections that are spread through the sharing of used syringes…..

            You might want to get a refund from that link you posted, since they obviously did a shoddy job.

            1. Well I never tried phonics, but I still managed to comprehend that there are two different needle exchange bills being discussed, and focusing on one and ignoring the other just to make a weak point only serves to make you look like a douchebag.

              1. I always thought it was strange that they were marketing “Hooked on Phonics” during the JUST SAY NO era of the 1980s.

            2. AB 1858 is a separate bill from the one deregulating needles, SB 1029. Tulpa fails at simple reading comprehension once again.

              1. It’s pretty clear the poster you responded to was talking about AB1858, since he wondered why libertarians were advocating govt programs.

                Rubber, glue, back at you. Nyaaaaaaah.

                1. It’s pretty clear what I said in reply, which was about government regulation. You replied directly to what I said, not to what Tony said. You lose.

        2. If the choice were between having lawn darts illegal (i.e. zeropoly) and having a gov’t monopoly on them, I’d take the monopoly. If the choice is between no legal gambling at all and gambling only in gov’t casinos, I’ll take the gov’t casinos. Monopoly is better than zeropoly; duopoly is better than monopoly; etc.

          1. The numbers racket is better than a state lottery. They return more of the chumps’ money in prizes.

            1. Who said illegal activity wouldn’t continue? Gov’t only directly affect what’s legal. So that choice is always there, so it doesn’t count in policy decisions.

    3. You can’t be trusted to regulate your own usage of needles. You’ll die!

      The state never makes mistakes that cost lives. Trust them to do what is right and you will live!

      Yay! Unicorns, Pegasus and Rainbows! Tell me how many needles I can have at one time California. One less than that, I die. One more than that, I die. What is the right number that I may live?

  3. I’m not in any way defending needle restrictions, but thankfully for California’s junkies, HIV infection isn’t as big of a risk with the Mexican black tar heroin found on the West Coast as it is with the high-quality South American brown powder found on the East Coast.

    http://news.ucsf.edu/releases/…..g-users-i/

    1. Um… it’s powder – you can snort it instead of shooting it up. Problem solved.

      1. I saw pulp fiction. One way or another, that powder leads to a needle, a big one, in the heart.

      2. Not so. HIV and Hepatitis can both be transmitted nasally, through damaged mucous membranes. Sharing straws or what have you with an infected user can ultimately be fatal.

        1. In fact, the mucous membrane doesn’t even need to be damaged. I was just doing some reading; apparently mucous membranes contain “dendritic cells” whose function is to transmit infectious agents to the lymph nodes. It’s part of the immune response system. So in the case of HIV, these cells direct the virus to precisely to the source of the cells that HIV is designed to infect.

          Even in the sources that discuss transmission through mucous membranes, I almost never see it explicitly stated that sharing nasal drug paraphernalia can lead to transmission, but I have seen it before and it makes perfect sense.

          Discussion of dendritic cells here:

          http://www.aidsmap.com/resourc…..e/1324028/

          1. Use your own rolled-up paper strips then.

            To Rhywun – I’ve read that junkies consider snorting a wasteful use of heroin. It’s apparently both less potent and not as long lasting.

            I have to say that those considerations would pale for me in comparison with not only the risk of HIV & Hep C, but also Hep A & B, septicemia, and other infections. Not to mention just getting stuck. I can barely deal with the nurse preforming a blood draw.

            1. There might be less needle use if needle use were legal.

              Because heroin is illegal, it is expensive. Because it is expensive, it is not to be wasted. Injecting is the most efficient use of the drug. If it were cheaper, people might choose other means of getting the drug into their systems.

              Caffeine is cheap. Most people choose to drink it, but injecting it would give you more bang for the buck. But because it’s so cheap, people generally choose the more pleasant method of dosing rather than the more efficient.

              1. You mean “less needle use if heroin was legal”, right?

                1. Yes.

                2. You mean “less needle use if heroin was legal”, right?

                  Yes.

              2. again, there are plenty of states where needles are over the counter like mine. is there any hard data as to relative benefits. as a matter of principle, i think needles should be over the counter. however, i have interviewed dozens of IV and subq drug/needle users and it is surprising how many STILL reuse and share needles despite their easy and cheap (and even free) availability here in WA state.

                i would GUESS there is less spread of infectious diseases etc. here but i have no data on it.

                you are correct, btw about price.

                but there is the oxycontin counterexample.

                oxy is VERY expensive here. about $1 per mg on the market. in a bang for the buck comparison, heroin is MUCH cheaper. but so many oxy addicts won’t switch to heroin (which is generally injected here, since it’s tar) vs. oxy which is smoked by the most hardcore.

                anecdotally, it’s a “needle” thing, which is kind of ridiculous, but that’s what they tell me. they could get a lot higher for much longer buying $150 of heroin and some needles than buying two 80 mg oxy’s which sell for the same price.

              3. this is only partially true. there is a reason why some drugs are injected vs. taken orally. GENERALLY speaking, orals engage first pass liver breakdown… injectables don’t. caffeine has a very high oral bioavailability. heroin has only about 35% oral bioavailability. iow, by taking heroin orally, 2/3 of the drug is wasted. ALSO it has slower onset time, and the “rush” is not as potent when it comes on orally vs. IV. also, generally speaking, the higher doses of drugs that are taken, the better it is to administer IV, since the amounts actually absorbed are a lot more precise. metabolism via “the gut” varies more due to enzymes, etc. that’s why, for example, many people take many drugs with grapefruit juice… it substantially increases the absorption of SOME drugs (cytochrome p-450 enzyme).

                iow, given a PRECISE quantity of heroin (realize that most street heroin is very impure. but if it was legal, it wouldn’t be – or at least the exact purity vs. inert would be a known quantity), it can be administered more effectively, precisely and give a stronger “rush” if taken IV vs. orally (or snorted. although tar can’t really be snorted. powder can)

                simply put, certain drugs lend themselves to different means of taking them. oxycontin, when taken PROPERLY relies on the slow metabolism of its time release formulation to provide steady state levels over 8-12 hrs. vs. the non-time release formula of oxycodone, which peaks quicker, and has a much shorter half-life.

            2. Hey, that’s fine. However, it would be helpful if more people knew about the risk. As it is, they assume there is no problem. Harm reduction efforts are enhanced by giving people facts about transmission. And people around here are so quick to dismiss even the most value-neutral comments.

    2. Fascinating…

      Laboratory studies have shown that rinsing syringes copiously with water works well to clean out HIV

      Can’t we just tell junkies to wash their shit out between uses?

  4. If they ever invent a needle exchange that doesn’t exist solely to gratify the fucked-up sadists who run it, who make users stand in an unmoving line, hidden from public view, with violent hobo junky madmen, with fistfuls of needles, who get more violent every second?for hours on end?while the assholes inside do nothing but smirk and laugh through the slot in the door?for hours on end?and Schwarzenegger vetoes that, then he’s an asshole.

    Maybe he knows someone who’s tried to use one. (Arnold does know his way around the needle.) I’ve known a couple. They tried the gov-approved “exchange” once, then switched back to throwing veterinary needles down sewer grates.

    Bonus! The exchange tipped the cops to who they were and where they lived, in case the pigs ever had to interact with them or their needly dwellings. Which suddenly they mysteriously did! Twice a week or so.

    Is California better than that? It can’t be. It’s fucking California.

    1. Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel.

  5. “(Arnold does know his way around the needle.)”

    Yeah…. I usually hesitate to use the “hypocrite” label, but… come ON. It’s just more proof that drug policy is a game everyone plays along with while bearing no resemblance to reality.

  6. Back in the day, before you could buy “works” without a prescription, we used bleach to disinfect, match packs to sharpen the points, and earwax to lubricate the plunger.

    1. Man, those were the days….

      Hey, you wanna get high?

      1. “My veins are aching for the distant reef”

        Sleepless King Crimson

        1. … to the late man, “Where have you been?”

          I Talk to the Wind
          –King Crimson

    2. Can’t you just use your own earwax instead of buying somebody else’s?

  7. The only reason that he signed the pot law is that now they can give you the same fine for possession but if you want to challenge it you have no right to a jury trial or a defense attorney.

    A repost:

    From the governor’s letter:

    This bill changes the crime of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor punishable only by a $100 fine to an infraction punishable by a $100 fine. Under existing law, jail time cannot be imposed, probation cannot be ordered, nor can the base fine exceed $100 for someone convicted of this crime.

    From norml’s state laws page the current law:

    Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana is not an arrestable offense. As long as the offender can provide sufficient identification and promises to appear in court, the officer will not arrest the offender. Upon conviction of the misdemeanor charge the offender is subject to a fine of $100.

    Emphasis added.

    All they did was reclassify the law which means that you no longer have the right to a jury trial for possession of under an ounce.

    Again from the governor:

    Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19, however, I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name. The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney.

    In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket.

  8. Disclaimer: I think drugs should be legal. However…

    Fear of police involvement and criminal punishment for themselves or their friends is statistically one of the most common reasons people cite for not calling 911 when they witness an overdose.

    Right. And most people who blow a high BAC after hitting a pedestrian and driving away cite taking a few drinks at home to calm down afterward as the reason for the high BAC.

    Also, the criminal immunity statute would simply encourage heroin users to get someone else to overdose while they were also using the substance in question, so they could call 911 and get automatic immunity. Perversely, the immunity could actually put more lives in danger as well as making a mockery of the legal system. I know you don’t care for drug laws, Mr Doherty, but if you’re going to pepper your prose with appeals to popular support for these loosenings you have to understand that your own position on drug laws has little popular support.

    1. Failure.

      Do you exhibit the same brilliant logic when doing proofs for your business algebra class, or whatever it is you teach?

      Also, the criminal immunity statute would simply encourage heroin users to get someone else to overdose while they were also using the substance in question, so they could call 911 and get automatic immunity.

      What does this^ even mean? Are you high right now?

      Perversely, the immunity could actually put more lives in danger as well as making a mockery of the legal system

      Wow. Just wow.

      It is no wonder that they call you “Dr. Ratfucker”.

      1. It’s not the state’s responsibility to bend over backwards to protect people from the consequences of their poor choices.

        Would you support a law granting armed robbers immunity if one of them gets shot and the other calls 911 after they flee? After all, lives are at stake.

        1. Reducing the consequences that the state itself imposes is hardly “bending over backwards.”

          1. Of course it is. You’re handing someone a get out of jail free card for reasons unrelated to the severity of their crime or their motivation for committing it. In a very real sense this represents the state giving in to extortion: the companion of the overdoser demands legal immunity in exchange for the life of the overdoser.

            1. Hey dumbass – have they violated someone’s rights? No? Then STFU about their “crimes”. You want a crime? Someone dying because asshole laws make them potentially liable if they make an effort to save their friend’s life.

              1. According to the law, it’s a crime. I agree that the law should be changed so that it’s not a crime (in which case this goofy exception wouldn’t be needed), but you deal with the legal corpus you have, not the one you wish you had.

                1. Which is why it’s better to ameliorate a stupid law on the books than just let it sit and say “teh law = teh law”.

                2. All right. I disagree, but I take back the insult.

        2. Right, because deiciding to inject your own body with something is equivalent to threatening someone else’s life and forcefully taking their property. Maybe you should think about what you’re going to say before you post.

      2. Besides, it’s not that hard to escape legal consequences for reporting. Go to a pay phone and call 911 and leave your friend there for the ambulance to pick them up.

        And it’s better for your friend to be arrested than to be dead, so the fear of legal consequences for the overdoser is silly.

        It seems likely that a lot of people who cited fear of the law as a reason for not calling 911 were actually just too spaced out to know or care and invented the fear of the law as a less despicable reason.

        1. It is like you have an economy sized bottle of weak sauce set to expire, and wanted to use it up all in one go.

          Do you even know what happens when someone ods? Do you realize that leaving them alone and calling 911 is pretty much a death sentence?

          It seems that you have no real experience with the criminal justice system other than what you see on yer teevee stories.

          I have to be at work at noon, and do not have the time to address all of your many logical fallacies. Hopefully someone with the day off can waste a couple of hours doing so.

          1. Fear of police involvement and criminal punishment for themselves or their friends is statistically one of the most common reasons people cite for not calling 911 when they witness an overdose.

            As noted below, I apparently hung with the wrong crowd, so I don’t have experience with ODs. However, I can’t imagine how you being present between calling 911 and the ambulance pickup is going to make any difference to their survival prospects unless you have medical training yourself.

            1. I was responding to L’s characterization of my strategy for evading capture as “a death sentence”. My copy-paste is on the fritz.

          2. It is like you have an economy sized bottle of weak sauce set to expire, and wanted to use it up all in one go.

            Considering some of the arguments he uses, I’d say he homebrews the stuff.

        2. What’s a payphone?

          1. What’s a payphone?

            Great question, Squire! Might we get one in Stratford-upon-Avon?

          2. “They have phones in booths now? Finally, I can stop lugging around this cell phone.”

    2. Did you go to college Tulpa? When I was in college we saw this sort of thing with alcohol and people under 21. If you called EMS because you were worried about a fellow classmate drinking too much, you and everyone else got in trouble for underage drinking if you had also been drinking. It doesn’t take much brain power at all to see how this discourages people from seeking out help that could save someone’s life.

      I half agree with you in that if you regularly use any sort of drug, tobacco up through heroin, you need to be prepared to deal with the consequences. But its downright sadistic to punish people for a victimless crime for doing something that could save someone’s life.

      And your BAC example is ridiculous seeing as that involves a third party having their life or property destroyed.

      With a post like yours I’m sure the DEA would be welcome to have you.

      1. Unfortunately, I was too busy working my ass off to pay for college with no help from my parents to gain the skill in dealing with ODs that everyone else was getting in their ample free time. If I had it to do over again maybe I should have changed my priorities.

        And as far as the law is concerned, drunk driving and heroin use are both illegal, end of story. If you start making exceptions in the law for one crime it’s going to spread to the other ones too. The solution is to legalize drugs, obviously.

        1. If you had to do it all over again you could get a scholarship and not waste your time at work.

          1. Yeah, because full-ride scholarships grow on trees. Trust me, most of the kids at my school learning the ins and outs of binge drinking weren’t there on scholarship either, rather on a grant from the Bank of Daddy.

            1. Scoring in the 99th percentile on the PSAT leads to all kinds of scholarship offers.
              Are you some kind of retard Tulpa?

              1. Are you some kind of retard Tulpa?

              2. Without going into my personal history too deep, there were reasons unrelated to PSAT scores that would have made any college above the level of NIU not give me a full scholarship.

                1. Somebody who got 99%ile on the PSAT writes “Without going into my personal history too deep”? Does the PSAT not cover adverb usage?

    3. Tulpa, do you realize the inherent nonsense in saying “the reason we shouldn’t change Law A is because that would let people get off scot-free who are considered criminals under Law A”

      Your reason for not changing the law is… “BUT THAT WOULD CHANGE THE LAW!!!11”

      Get a real reason dumbfuck.

      1. Even with the grant of immunity they’re still considered to have committed a crime. You’re not changing the law to make what they did legal, you’re changing it so that it looks the other way lest a junkie perish as a consequence of his or her dissipative life choices.

        1. No, immunity means you can’t be prosecuted, meaning you cannot be convicted of a crime.

          Is there any reason we should not look the other way when a junkie is about to die? Is, say, someone who falls and breaks his neck while rock climbing somehow more deserving of medical attention that someone who is ODing?

          I guess drug-users are just sub-human right Tulpa? I’m sure the drug warriors are thankful for you swallowing their propaganda whole. Go fuck yourself.

          1. No, immunity means you can’t be prosecuted, meaning you cannot be convicted of a crime.

            This doesn’t contradict my statement. You still committed a crime, but the state guarantees that they won’t prosecute you for it. Just like immunity for other criminals who agree to testify against their partners.

            If a bunch of kids decide to go hang out on someone else’s property, but one of them rips open an artery on a barbed wire fence trying to get in, do you think there should be immunity from trespassing charges if they call 911?

            1. “If a bunch of kids decide to go hang out on someone else’s property, but one of them rips open an artery on a barbed wire fence trying to get in, do you think there should be immunity from trespassing charges if they call 911?”

              Same deal with your half-baked armed robbery and DUI examples above: an unrelated third party’s rights have been violated. The kids could be, and would rightfully be, held responsible for that by itself. But a couple junkies shooting up hasn’t violated anyone’s rights. The “consequences” here are imposed and created solely by the state.

              What do you not understand about this?

              1. Sigh.

                You’re making the same mistake several others are making. The law is not fundamentally guided by libertarianism. It makes no distinction between things libertarians think should be illegal and things they think should be legal.

                And it’s pretty odd to be throwing out this hysteria about how the state is causing deaths of heroin users by refusing to grant immunity in one breath, and then turning around and saying that those little fucks who climb fences deserve to die rather than be granted immunity. Trespassing not accompanied by threats of property damage, theft, or violence against persons on the property, is an extremely minor violation of rights; that you would rather see someone die than allow people to get away with it puts you in the same boat with those Mr Doherty condemns.

                The “consequences” here are imposed and created solely by the state.

                Really? The state causes the human body to react adversely to too much heroin? You must really be a statist to believe that.

                1. Tulpa, thanks for not responding to this:

                  Is there any reason we should not look the other way when a junkie is about to die? Is, say, someone who falls and breaks his neck while rock climbing somehow more deserving of medical attention that someone who is ODing?

                  I guess drug-users are just sub-human right Tulpa? I’m sure the drug warriors are thankful for you swallowing their propaganda whole. Go fuck yourself.

                  This doesn’t contradict my statement. You still committed a crime.

                  Nope, innocent until proven guilty. You cannot prove they have committed a crime if they have immunity. Maybe to someone who believes in the morality behind the law would say they committed a crime regardless if they get convicted, but to you the law is merely the law, right?

                  Also, you said that you would be fine with legalizing drugs, so doesn’t that make you a big hypocrite? I mean, you advocate legalizing drugs, which would have the exact same effect as granting immunity to ODers. If you believe that people shouldn’t be punished for using drugs, then why are you advocating that people be punished for using drugs?

                  1. A conviction is required for punishment to be levied for commission of a crime. Not for the crime itself to have occurred. If you close your eyes, the world does not cease to exist.

                    If a person is murdered, and the murder is caught on video, but no one is ever convicted of committing it, does that mean no crime was committed?

                    Does that mean that, since the Bush administration officials who violated FOIA will never be prosecuted, they didn’t commit a crime? How about all the cops who are never prosecuted for police brutality when there’s damning evidence?

                    1. If a person is murdered, and the murder is caught on video, but no one is ever convicted of committing it, does that mean no crime was committed?

                      As if I didn’t already answer that in the post you’re replying to. Seriously, just try Hooked on Phonics, you’ll soon be able to read.

                      Really? Then I guess you can stop working to get drugs legalized once they pass an immunity law and it gets signed, since it “has the same effect”.

                      Saying two things have the same effect does not mean the totality of their effects are the same, you illiterate ape.

                  2. I mean, you advocate legalizing drugs, which would have the exact same effect as granting immunity to ODers.

                    Really? Then I guess you can stop working to get drugs legalized once they pass an immunity law and it gets signed, since it “has the same effect”.

                2. actually, the effect is generally that. BECAUSE heroin is illegal, the only way to get it is illegal channels. the most common (BY FAR) reason for overdose is when a junkie gets abnormally PURE heroin, since most street heroin is so impure.

                  and yes, i’ve been to several scenes like this. and the lab tests confirmed this. as well as reports from journals. it’s common knowledge among junkies too.

                  *if* heroin was legal, then one could be assured that pharmaceutical grade heroin was precisely doses, just like other regulated pharmaceuticals.

                  unlike say, MJ – which has no LD50, overdose with heroin is an issue with imprecise dosing.

                  the fact that heroin is criminalized is what means that you can’t trust the supplier to always give you roughly the same potency.

                  imagine if insulin, which IS over the counter in WA state btw (at least some formulations such as Humulin-R), wasn’t available legally, and you had to buy it on the street. would you see more overdoses from NON-pharma grade insulin? yes.

  9. Also, the criminal immunity statute would simply encourage heroin users to get someone else to overdose while they were also using the substance in question, so they could call 911 and get automatic immunity.

    Since it’s so late in the week, I think I’m safe indeclaring this the stupidest sentece in H&R comments this week.

    Tulpa believe that junkies, shooting up at home, in the perceived safe dope house or unpatrolled alley would be encouraged to “get someone else to overdose” in order to have immunity that they wouldn’t need if nobody overdoses.

    Psst, let’s get Freddie to OD, call 911 and we’ll be protected from the one in a 100,000 chance that the cops are gonna raid the place in the next half hour.

    I know, I know. They’re only junkies, it’s not like they’re real people whose lives have value or anything.

    1. A question for the lawyers:

      Suppose you have a person sitting in a California prison now who was convicted of felony possession of less than an ounce of marijuana some years ago. What is that person’s status today? Does he stay in prison, or must he be released because the law under which he was convicted has been changed?

      1. Not a lawyer, but a couple of years ago Reason did a story on a Georgia high school football star who was prosecuted for statutory rape even though the law was changed, to exclude what he did from the definition of statutory rape, between the time he did the deed and the time he was convicted.

        IIRC he was 18 and got a blowjob from a 16 year old, under the age of consent which was was 17. Then the legislature added a provision that excluded sex between people less than two years apart in age, but he was prosecuted and convicted nonetheless.

        1. Age of consent in GA is 16. 14 used to be legal but the General Assembly raised it, just for the 1996 Olympics, so we wouldn’t look to the whole world like a bunch of inbred redneck kid-fuckers .

          I think it is a bad law. I’m sure the statutory rapists and their 14-15 y/o paramours agree.

          1. Yeah, having found the actual story, he was 17 and she was 15…and it was only illegal at the time because it was non-vaginal intercourse. The two-year exception was already in place for sex the way God intended it.

          2. would we? Canada until recently was 14. do they look like ibred, redneck kid-fuckers? wait… nevermind…

    2. I know, I know. They’re only junkies, it’s not like they’re real people whose lives have value or anything.

      They’re the only ones behaving as if their lives have no value.

      1. No, Tulpa, you and the drug warriors are the only ones who actually believe that. Go fuck yourself.

        1. If I played Russian roulette several times a week you’d be correct in concluding I didn’t value my life very much.

          And don’t tell me heroin users are adults who can police their own usage in one breath and then beg for legal exceptions to save them from their dosing mistakes in the next.

          1. No, you are the only ones who believe drug-users’ lives have no value.

            Interesting that you consider the government not punishing them for something they shouldn’t be punished for = saving them from their mistakes. Also, the reason that I support this change is not because it “saves” lives but because heroin use should not be a crime. But then you apparently share that view, you fucking hypocrite.

  10. I thought the ticket for less than an ounce thing had been around for years.

    1. my understanding was it was OPTIONAL. iow, it could be charged criminally, but usually wasn’t. now, it’s ONLY civil infraction.

      i think 🙂

      it’s a de facto infraction pretty much everywhere i’ve been – hawaii, mass, WA, etc.

  11. And then there’s the overarching irony of a person who, every four years like clockwork, claims it’s immoral for libertarians to vote, complaining about elected officials not paying attention to the concerns of voters.

    That’s the price of keeping your conscience clear, Mr Doherty, by refusing to take part in the electoral process. The people to whom you’ve outsourced your voting power are quite fickle and easily distracted by concerns you would consider trivial, and politicians know that.

    You no playa the game you no makea the rules.

    1. Yes, if only Doherty had voted, all our political problems would be gone. Dumbfuck.

      1. Complaining about our political problems has accomplished even less than voting would.

        Our political enemies understand the maxim that you can’t have dollars unless you have pennies first. Unfortunately, we seem preoccupied with crowing about how we’re morally superior to statists that we neglect to actually do something to stop their statism.

        1. Before you can have a majority that votes for you, you have to have a majority that agrees with you. If all the libertarians in this country voted it would not have an effect on national elections.

          1. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a majority that agrees with them on most issues.

            1. So? What does that have to do with the number of libertarians in this country Tulpa?

              Nothing? I thought so.

  12. Needle Drug Users Can Die

    Ha! I heart Brian’s saucy, hyperbolic impertinence!

  13. I’m sorry, but are we supposed to feel sorry for intravenous drug users? “Oooh nooo! The junkies are afraid to call 911 because they don’t want to get arrested, let’s give them legal immunity so we can spare the life of their uninsured junkie friend”. The governator is no more inhumane than selfish junkies who are too afraid of jail time to call an ambulance for their overdosing buddies.

    1. What harm does it do you if cops responding to an od ignore small amounts of contraband at the scene? Which one of your rights is violated?

      None, but you already knew that you sadistic scum.

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