Vote No, Because Otherwise Reckless Cops Enforcing Terrible or Even Non-Applicable Laws Might Arrest You


There's no need for a battle with Washington that you're unlikely to win, Hank.

I suppose there are many ways one could react to the news that the local sheriff is openly threatening to lock people up beginning Nov. 3 for engaging in non-violent activities that may well be 100 percent legal under state law, and that (partly at the sheriff's urging) the federal government, too, is threatening to expend allegedly limited resources to haul away people at gunpoint and toss them into human meat lockers for choosing to ingest a non-deadly substance that the citizens of at least one forward-looking state may have decided is worth making legal. One may react, for instance, by suggesting that this is as blatant an attempt at direct voter intimidation via state gunpower that one can remember. Or, if you're of a milder bent, you may say something like "Hey sheriff, why don't you stick to enforcing relevant state and local laws; and hey Eric Holder, there are better uses of your budget than trying to punish rogue stoners in California."

Or, if you're the Los Angeles Times, you can use these explicit threats to bolster your case against legalization. Swear to God:

[U]nder federal law, smoking  a joint would still be a crime. It isn't news that federal officials oppose Proposition 19 — President Obama himself has said he's against legalizing marijuana — but supporters of the Nov. 2 ballot measure appear to have hoped the administration would be as tolerant toward recreational users as it has been toward medicinal marijuana users. That's not going to happen.

If the proposition is approved, the result would be a legal morass. DEA raids would nab Californians who think they're complying with the law, only to face federal penalties. Fear of such raids would deter legitimate distributors from getting into the business, worsening the gray-market lawlessness that already pervades California's medical marijuana industry. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has vowed to continue arresting people who grow marijuana, but such arrests would be certain to result in litigation. […]

We can understand the frustration that led to the drafting of Proposition 19. It is absurd that the federal government lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no medical uses and is considered as dangerous as heroin or LSD, when it may have therapeutic benefits and is less addictive and harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Yet, as we've said in our ballot endorsements, Proposition 19 is not the answer. […]

There's no need for a battle with Washington that the state is unlikely to win.

It's true that some supporters of Prop. 19 may have hoped, against experience, that the Obama administration wouldn't be as lousy on this issue as every president since Jimmy Carter, but unlike the law-abiders at the L.A. Times (you guys have all refrained from violating federal drug laws, right?), drug policy activist

We can understand your frustration, Martin.

s in particular have taken to heart the fundamental (and fundamentally American) insight of such heroes as Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King: Citizens have a right, even a duty, to openly and peacefully break unjust laws. If in doing so they provoke the men with guns into a counter-reaction that shocks the conscience of decent-minded people, that change will come one helluva lot quicker than if they had sat around and waited for their elected betters (and their enablers in civil society) to locate a basic sense of decency and urgency at long last.

Two final L.A. Times-specific notes: 1) Check out this relevant bit from the Editorial Board's Mission Statement (which I helped write!):

Freedom is our core value. We feel a special obligation to defend civil liberties and human rights. Because newspapers and other news media, uniquely among businesses, enjoy and rely on a provision of the Bill of Rights that protects freedom of the press, we assume an obligation to defend the rights of all citizens.

We reject overreaching moves by public authorities to control the culture or private mores. Citizens' right to privacy, to decide for themselves how best to lead their lives, is fundamental. It is in keeping with our Western roots to champion individual autonomy and the freedom of conscience.

How does the paper's consistent rejection of citizens' private right to peaceably ingest a non-deadly substance square with this "fundamental" pledge, particularly given how the Bill of Rights has been so relentlessly abused in the name of this failed Drug War?

And 2) speaking of which, did you know what the then-publisher of that paper (an evil Republican) said, on my last day of work there? He said (quote not exact), Say, why don't we make a name for ourselves as the biggest paper against the Drug War? But he didn't last, and I doubt it would have mattered if he had.

Read your way backward through previous Prop. 19 editorializing beginning here. Oh look! USA Today is against it too. And libertarian John Stossel has bet prohibitionist Bill O'Reilly $10,000 that it will pass.

NEXT: A Usable Past (Slackers' Edition)

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  1. $100 to the first person who says something that hasn’t been said a hundred times in a thousand prior threads. Go!

    1. Let’s see the money first.

      1. It’s in a government-guaranteed trust. A lock-box, if you will. Do not trouble yourself. The $100 exists. Now, say something original about marijuana legalization.

        1. Marijuana legalization is a benefit to society because it will help more people prepare for and cope with the ongoing and omnipresent transition into the age of aquarius. Authoritarians have been trying to delay the onset of aquarius for decades. This is a major battle in the war for harmony and understanding. Dig?

        2. Something original about marijuana legalization.

        3. I smoked pot once. It made me want to rape and kill. (An old Easyriders cartoon caption under a drawing of two cops talking)

    2. I like turtles.

      1. Site search retrieves 6 hits for that phrase.

      2. I like zombies.

        1. Because there are no fast zombies? And the slow ones can’t run away?
          Oh wait, sorry Epi, I thought you were Steve Smith for a second.

          1. Kool, I’m disappointed. When Tosh had the “I like Turtles” kid on for the Web Redemption, he dressed the kid up like a turtle and had him say “I like zombies”. Come on, man.

            And I’m insulted that you would mistake me for STEVE(N) SMITH. It’s Warty who looks like him, and NutraSweet who smells like him.

      3. I love demonic possession, and hate pea soup as much as any other Sumerian god.

      4. @ Irresponsible Hater

        Why can’t you hate responsibly?

      5. +1
        I knew you were a zombie

    3. If it’s legal, I have to stop pretending that I’m Jamaican, man!

    4. You can lead a yak to water, but you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig in a poke.

      1. Opus? Is that you?

      2. Are you sure about that?

    5. Pus-dripping cuntsicle.

      1. Heterodoxical ass-guzzler.

      2. Wow! Talk about a case of the munchies!

    6. And anonypussy starts the day off with a powerful burst of passive aggressiveness!

      Have I said that before, anonypussy?

      1. Fucking TEAM BEIGE partisans.

        1. “Prepare to continue the epic struggle between good and neutral.”

          1. “What makes a good man go neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?”

    7. People love Warty.

      1. True, that.

    8. or how about:

      Nick does not look cool in his jacket.

      Sugarfree is the smartest person in the world.

      Epi did not get high yesterday.

    9. Am grauen Strand, am grauen Meer,
      Und seitab liegt die Stadt.

      At least it hasn’t been written about here a hundred times before: you didn’t say it had to be a relevant comment. 😉

  2. If in doing so they provoke the men with guns into a counter-reaction that shocks the conscience of decent-minded people…

    I think that “decent-minded people” have been so utterly and completely brainwashed on the absolute evil that is recreational drug use, that they simply cannot be reasoned, counterprogrammed or shocked into changing.

    1. I think you dont know who the decent minded people are. They are the ones who havent been brainwashed.

  3. …hoped the administration would be as tolerant toward recreational users as it has been toward medicinal marijuana users.

    Also, Obama has been tolerant of medicinal marijuana? What does intolerant look like?

  4. There’s no need for a battle with Washington that the state is unlikely to win.

    Quoth Sun Tzu:

    Victory can be known. It cannot be made.

    1. and the feds don’t have the resources to win the WoD in CA.

      1. If the DEA wants to send all of its agents to chase stoners in Cali, I say we let ’em.

  5. Bring it on, Obama.

    Bring on the pot war and show the entire country how illiberal you really are.

    As for Baca, he’s gonna arrest people on what charges? Federal ones? This moron should stick to what he does best — releasing heiresses early from prison.

    1. Isn’t Baca obligated to enforce the state law but cooperate with federal authorities on these matters. If he actively aids the federal government in the enforcement of a law that the feds only enforce on the most tenuous of commerce clause justification anyway….

      Maybe Lee better just shut up and lay low until the matter is settled.

      1. He isnt required to cooperate. He cannot interfere, but that is not equal to cooperation.

        1. Until the matter is settled he can interfere….and he should!

    2. Isn’t this asshole up for election?

      1. Maybe!

        Unfortunately assholes like him always seem to get re-elected!

        They’re like barnacles and have to removed from office with a chisel.

  6. I love the logic here:

    (1) If the Prop is passed, people will get arrested for pot.

    (2) This is bad, which can only mean arresting people for pot is bad.

    (3) Since arresting people for pot is bad, we should not legalize pot.

    Isn’t that about it?

    1. If only the feds arrest people for pot, then that takes jobs away from local police unions.

    2. I think that the logic is something like:

      1) The Sheriff will arrest people for pot no matter what.

      2) If pot is made legal, the Sheriff will be violating the law by doing so.

      3) The Sheriff violating the law is bad and a violation of civil liberties.

      4) Therefore, we must keep pot illegal so as to minimize the civil liberties violations occurring.

      1. Yes, because the whole purpose of law is to make things easier for the cops.

      2. Apparently, the option of reining in the Sheriff so he doesn’t violate the law and violate civil liberties isn’t on the table, then.

        1. Whoa, let’s not get all crazy.

  7. “I shot the sheriff
    But I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh!”

    Bob Marley

  8. That Welchian relic in the LAT’s mission statement is as quaint and long-forgotten as some kooky law in Kentucky that prohibits dyeing your horse blue on Sundays- nobody pays any attention except to remark how weird the old days were.

    1. KY did a complete rewrite on their laws a decade or two ago. Most of the “kooky” laws got tossed at that time.

      1. Okay, the complete reorg was 1942, but it looks like the last major cleanup was 1992. But the numbering system dates to 1942. Im assuming that is when most of the olde timey kooky laws went away.

        1. So wait, you’re saying that it’s okay to dye ol’ Bess this Sunday? Hot fucking damn.

  9. There’s no need for a battle with Washington that the state is unlikely to win.

    That’s exactly right! Which nut should I suck first, O Glorious President?

  10. Yet, as we’ve said in our ballot endorsements, Proposition 19 is not the answer. […]

    Translation: The people should not be writing the laws. Laws should be written by politicians who have been “properly motivated” by contibutions from the right people.

  11. QUESTION AUTHORITY! journalism school style:

    “Am I doing this right, Mister President? Faster? Slower? More spit? Should I slip a finger in?”

    1. Thanks for the visual.

    2. Don’t orphan the balls.

      1. Barry hates that.

  12. The LA is too damn high.

  13. If in doing so they provoke the men with guns into a counter-reaction that shocks the conscience of decent-minded people…

    Based on the depth and breadth of public outcry and rioting following the death of Kathryn Johnston, I’d say the average American conscience is pretty heavily insulated.

  14. Roman Officer: Do you know the penalty for a slave who strikes a Roman citizen?
    [people in the crowd raise hands enthusiastically]
    Roman Officer: Ok, you… you had your hand up first.
    Man in crowd: Death by torture!
    Roman Officer: No… You?
    Man in crowd: Crucifixion!
    Roman Officer: Wrong! You?
    Man in crowd: They shove a living snake up your ass!
    Roman Officer: Ah, no… but that’s very creative!

    Share this quote

    1. Man in crowd: They shove a living snake up your ass!

      Roman Officer: Ah, no… but that’s very creative!

      And in some circles not a punishment at all!

      1. Well maybe for the snake!

      2. Is that modern-day Rome? I can imagine that as part of a tour package.

        1. I wouldn’t recommend shaking a lot a hands while on this junket!

  15. Hah, watching Bill O’Reilly get his head around this will be one of the more entertaining aspects of the legalization fallout.

  16. All this discussion is moot since Prop. 19 will never pass. The sheeple of California always do what their leftist overlords tell them to do.

    1. The leftist overlords seem to be sitting this one out….they really….really want the revenue that they think this will bring in!

      I think that they’re going to be disappointed! Most folks are just going to grow their own!

  17. There’s no need for a battle with Washington that the state is unlikely to win.

    And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

    1. I’m a Rice grad student, and I don’t know the answer to that one either.

      1. The funny thing is, Rice had a decent record v Texas in the 50s (5-3 from 1953 thru 1960), its almost like Kennedy kicked off the losing streak.

        And the answer is 1994. That is why Rice plays Texas.

        1. Huh, just realized something. JFK was clearly an android sent from the future to kick start the space program so that skynet could take over. Hence, him not realizing at the time of his speech, that Rice playing Texas want yet futile. The futility started the fall after his speech.

          Occam’s razor. Its the most reasonable explanation for that line in the speech.

          Maybe John Connor was on the grassy knoll.

          1. You mean the speech line, “We have control of the mind”?

  18. whose the pic of?

    1. Henry David Thoreau and MLK Jr.

      1. I appreciated the picture of MLK, Jr. When people debate me about disobeying/disagreeing with bad laws, I usually end up pointing to “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”.

        1. That letter disappointed me. Lots of misspellings and grammatical errors. Dr. my ass.

  19. Hey, Epi, weren’t you saying something earlier about leftists having no moral consistency? I guess they felt the need to immediately provide you with an example.

    Everyone at he LAT who doesn’t publicly speak against this is a fucking half-wit, coward with no moral fiber. They can never lecture anyone about anything again. An fuck that brain-dead, would-be-dictator of a sheriff. In better days he would be tarred and feathered for merely uttering such authoritarian nonsense.

    Okay, so those insults were common at best. I’m in such disbelief over the authority ball licking that my mind is blank. Can someone help me out?

  20. Maybe John Connor was on the grassy knoll.

    Very nice.

    1. It makes more sense than the magic bullet.

  21. “the Obama administration wouldn’t be as lousy on this issue as every president since Jimmy Carter”

    I suppose this makes sense. Since the DEA was Dick Nixon creation, he was arguably worse than Obama.

    However, Tricky Dick probably believed the prohibitionist propaganda, and genuinely thought marijuana was a scourge on the nation. He may have even thought he could win a war on drugs.

    Obama knows better. Unlike Nixon, he knows that marijuana smokers can accomplish anything, even become POTUS, as long as they’re not tarred with a criminal conviction. Obama also knows that, after forty years, the drug war is an abject failure.

    Obama’s pot policy is far more cynical than Nixon’s.

    1. Eh, I have a general policy against trying to guess what a politician “really believes” or whether they “know better.”

  22. “Say, why don’t we make a name for ourselves as the biggest paper against the Drug War?”

    Every week I smoke a joint for David Hiller.

  23. Taking a hit to relieve your pain, or taking a swig – BIG DEAL!! The only time these becomes a problem to all of us is when these people try to do sensitive tasks. Does anybody believe that the Mexican cartels are backing the legalization measures? The Feds and the Federales are in this together because there’s too much MONEY to be lost here folks!

    1. @IM patrolling. You are absolutely correct. All about the denero. The almighty dollar. And just maybe the USofA might miss out on much of it. Cause you can always get pot some where.I think this country has far bigger problems than worrying about whether or not they will profit if marijuana is legalized. Who friggin cares.

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