Drug War

Marijuana Has Never Been Legal Before?

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In a pretty good Newsweek piece on how the feds might react if California legalizes marijuana next week, Ryan Tracy opens by describing passage of Proposition 19 as enacting "a process for legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana use that no one else in the world has ever attempted." If he means no government has ever approved legislation exactly like Prop. 19, he's right. But it's worth remembering that cannabis has been banned for less than a century. It was legal throughout the world for almost all of human history and until 1937 in the United States. Historically, it is prohibition that's anomalous.

There are a few other mistakes, including the misidentification of former DEA administrators as "former DEA agents," the assertion (corrected at the end of the article) that you need a state-issued ID card to obtain medical marijuana in California, and the claim that "the Obama administration has stopped busting dispensaries." But Tracy gets several important points right:

The administration's cheapest course of action, a challenge to Prop 19 in the courts, looks doomed. Constitutional-law experts say California has no obligation to have the same criminal laws as the federal government, so Holder's Justice Department can forget any lawsuit compelling the state to make marijuana use a crime….

During the Bush years, the DEA boosted its enforcement of marijuana laws in California, to little or no real effect…

If Prop 19 decriminalizes recreational marijuana use for everyone over age 21, the number of retailers would almost certainly skyrocket, and it's unlikely that the DEA would have the resources to arrest them all.

History suggests that enforcement likely would not stop Californians from selling and consuming legal marijuana.

A companion piece by Eve Conant discusses support for legalization among Republicans, citing the reversal of expected drug policy positions in John Dennis' challenge to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Tom Tancredo's battle with Democrat John Hickenlooper (mayor of Denver and a bête noire of the marijuana reform group SAFER) for governor of Colorado. Conant also mentions Barney Frank challenger Sean Bielat, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Fox News personalities Glenn Beck and Andrew Napolitano, former Secretary of State George Shultz, Milton Friedman, and William F. Buckley. The fact that Conant felt compelled to include a couple of antiprohibitionists who are no longer with us should tell you that the list of prominent Republicans who publicly question the war on drugs is not very long. But as I noted a few weeks ago, the same can be said of prominent Democrats, despite their generally undeserved reputation for being more tolerant in this area. Conant does not get too carried away, noting that libertarian-leaning Republicans contend with a powerful faction of social conservatives and that politicians in both major parties are much more likely to express private doubts about the drug war than to take a public position against it. But I think/hope she's right that a shift is coming, if not next week then soon:

Prop 19 has sparked a surprisingly sober national discussion lacking in the hyperbole that has long surrounded marijuana….

Few Americans today can say they're complete strangers to marijuana; they either had stoner friends in high school, or they got a contact high at a Guns N' Roses concert, or they themselves have inhaled….

Conservative attitudes are changing at the grassroots level….The percentage of Republicans in favor of legalizing marijuana has risen quickly since 2005, jumping 7 points. And as their constituents have moved on the issue, more Republican candidates and lawmakers are refusing to toe the party line….

"We are two years away from reaching a tipping point," says Johnson, the former New Mexico governor.

Conant quotes the Marijuana Policy Project's Steve Fox, who says:

The Democrats are just so squeamish about this, that's the problem. This issue is wide open for Republicans to take. If [California gubernatorial candidate] Meg Whitman held a press conference tomorrow and said she supports Prop 19 and would defend the state against federal interference, she would probably win.

Whitman's Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown, though he signed a decriminalization bill during his last stint as governor and has defended the legality of medical marijuana sales as attorney general, is against Prop. 19, for some pretty dumb-sounding reasons.

For more on the myth that the Obama administration has stopped busting medical marijuana dispensaries, start here. Previous discussion of the federal response to Prop. 19 here, of pot-tolerant Republicans here, of John Dennis in particular here, and of the bogus Supremacy Clause argument against Prop. 19 here. For evidence that anti-pot hyperbole is not entirely absent from the Prop. 19 debate, go here, here, and here.

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125 responses to “Marijuana Has Never Been Legal Before?

  1. The last part of the entire article begs the question: What the fuck is Meg Whitman thinking?

    This should be a no-brainer for her. There aren’t enough “social conservatives” in California to sink her candidacy.

    1. Meg is a complete moron. Just listen to her advertisements. She couldn’t pass junior high Cal civics.

    2. Probably thinking “If there aren’t enough patriots left to vote for me, I’m getting out of this shitty state and moving to somewhere more sensible where the actual patriots live. Maybe Arizona. Let the Commiecrats and their Losertardian enablers stay there and rot.”

  2. The discussion has certainly caused the masks to slip, making it easier to ID the statists in the crowd, from both the left and the right.

    On the ‘nobody has done this before’ point, how are Portugal, Uruguay, and the Netherlands classified then?

    1. As “Failed States”.

      1. Inches away from becoming Somalia

        1. Actually worse than Somalia. Since it’s in Africa, they can’t help it if they’re all fucked up. The Europeans and South Americans should be more enlightened, right?

    2. While bullets fly into El Paso and bodies pile up in the streets of Juarez, and thugs with gold-plated AK-47s and albino tiger pens are beheading federal officials and dissolving their torsos in vats of acid, here are some facts concerning the peaceful situation in Holland. –Please save a copy and use it as a reference when debating prohibitionists who claim the exact opposite concerning reality as presented here below:

      Cannabis-coffee-shops are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side.

      A poll taken earlier this year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures.

      It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly marijuana-tourists and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. Public nuisance problems with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops.

      While it is true that lifetime and past-month use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition.

      According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.
      In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15 to 24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

      The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

      In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

      Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 — roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.

      In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. That’s drugs, he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

      Here is a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing Drug Czar misinformation
      http://tinyurl.com/247a8mp

      Now let’s look at a comparative analysis of the levels of cannabis use in two cities: Amsterdam and San Francisco, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health May 2004,

      The San Francisco prevalence survey showed that 39.2% of the population had used cannabis. This is 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample

      Source: Craig Reinarman, Peter D.A. Cohen and Hendrien L. Kaal, The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy.

      Moreover, 51% of people who had smoked cannabis in San Francisco reported that they were offered heroin, cocaine or amphetamine the last time they purchased cannabis. In contrast, only 15% of Amsterdam residents who had ingested marijuana reported the same conditions. Prohibition is the ‘Gateway Policy’ that forces cannabis seekers to buy from criminals who gladly expose them to harder drugs.

      The indicators of death, disease and corruption are even much better in the Netherlands than in Sweden for instance, a country praised by UNODC for its so called successful drug policy.

      The Dutch justice ministry announced, last year, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There’s simply not enough criminals
      http://www.nrc.nl/internationa….._criminals

    3. While bullets fly into El Paso and bodies pile up in the streets of Juarez, and thugs with gold-plated AK-47s and albino tiger pens are beheading federal officials and dissolving their torsos in vats of acid, here are some facts concerning the peaceful situation in Holland. –Please save a copy and use it as a reference when debating prohibitionists who claim the exact opposite concerning reality as presented here below:

      Cannabis-coffee-shops are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side.

      A poll taken earlier this year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures.

      It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly marijuana-tourists and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. Public nuisance problems with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops.

      While it is true that lifetime and past-month use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition.

      According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.
      In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15 to 24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

      The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

      In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

      Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 — roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.

      In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. That’s drugs, he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

      Here’s a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing Drug Czar misinformation. Just put the following sentence in GOOGLE: “Amsterdam Psychiatrist Blasts US Drug Czars for Distortions, Fear-Mongering”

      Now let’s look at a comparative analysis of the levels of cannabis use in two cities: Amsterdam and San Francisco, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health May 2004,

      The San Francisco prevalence survey showed that 39.2% of the population had used cannabis. This is 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample

      Source: Craig Reinarman, Peter D.A. Cohen and Hendrien L. Kaal, The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy.

      Moreover, 51% of people who had smoked cannabis in San Francisco reported that they were offered heroin, cocaine or amphetamine the last time they purchased cannabis. In contrast, only 15% of Amsterdam residents who had ingested marijuana reported the same conditions. Prohibition is the ‘Gateway Policy’ that forces cannabis seekers to buy from criminals who gladly expose them to harder drugs.

      The indicators of death, disease and corruption are even much better in the Netherlands than in Sweden for instance, a country praised by UNODC for its so called successful drug policy.

      Check out YouTube and watch Antonio Maria Costa doing his level best to avoid discussing the success of Dutch drug policy.

      The Netherlands also provides heroin on prescription under tight regulation to about 1500 long-term heroin addicts for whom methadone maintenance treatment has failed.

      The Dutch justice ministry announced, last year, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There’s simply not enough criminals.

  3. “””If Prop 19 decriminalizes recreational marijuana use for everyone over age 21, the number of retailers would almost certainly skyrocket, and it’s unlikely that the DEA would have the resources to arrest them all.””

    True, but you don’t have to arrest them all. When you raid, do so with a level of force that scares the crap out of the others. What’s the odds?

    1. And what’s the odds that you’ve never played chess?

  4. Too early for a threadjack? Too bad.
    Scalia takes Kagen sheet shooting.

    He should be like Jesus……”take it away from you and stick it up your ass and pull the fucking trigger till it goes “click.”

    1. He fucked up. He brought her back.

      1. Too bad Dick Cheney wasn’t invited.

        1. 😉

    2. I have found that to be a good way to help anti-gunners to start opening up their minds a little bit – take them to a well-run gun range and have them do a little shooting. It’s interesting to see the transformation as they realize they’re having fun trying to hit the target.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean they walk away with a completely changed view on gun control, but the ones I have taken to the range definitely find it eye-opening as to how guns work and how responsible gun owners are not all flannel-wearing, tobacco-spitting, mutant, inbred, mouth-breathing rednecks.

      1. I’m afraid to take them to a range. It gives them ammunition to say ranges are the only place guns belong because they are safe and controlled. I’d rather take them to the desert and set up my own targets or shoot at coyotes and jackrabbits.

  5. Gawd Almighty, these friggin’ holier-than-thou politicians need to remember that THEY created the shitrain we’re stuck in right now concerning marijuana…. What we need is a massive class-action lawsuit against this so-called government we have in America. I know, I know, but I can dream, can’t I?

    Pass my friggin’ vaporizer….

    1. America v. US Federal Government. Has a nice ring to it.

  6. Seems like the Feds could easily adjust any block grants for first responders or public safety to exclude those states which do not prohibit marijuana. That would put a ton of monetary pressure on CA while remaining perfectly constitutional. Given that the President and most of the Congress opposes marijuana legalization, this eems at least somewhat likely.

    Have you considered this, Mr. Sullum?

    1. That would put a ton of monetary pressure on CA while remaining perfectly constitutional.

      Well, yeah, the SCOTUS has said Congress can condition block grants to the states, although my copy of the Constitution doesn’t contain that one in its grant of enumerated powers. . . .

      And I agree this will be the first reflex of Our Masters in DC in the(somewhat unlikely, given recent polling) event that Prop 19 passes, but I wonder . . . .

      Assuming some asshole court doesn’t strike it down on some whacked out theory of the Constitution, the timing for the feds pulling the plug on big chunks of federal money is very bad.

      CA is teetering on the brink. A Presidential election is around the corner. If DC gets all bowed up and starts pulling money, that gives CA somebody to blame, and I wouldn’t want to be the Presidential candidate taking the blame for CA’s imploding finances.

      1. Yeah it could piss off a lot of people that support the President, but then again, is California gonna go (R) in 2012? Unlikely.

        A likelier outcome is that the CA congressional delegation/state government does some pant shitting about losing all that money, especially with police and firefighters screaming at them, and caves immediately.

        1. California isn’t as blue as it appears. The Senate and governor’s races in California are both competitive. If the feds allowed California to go down the drain out of spite for legalizing marijuana, I could see California going for a Republican.

          1. Obvious question: what do you guys do if the atrocious Babs and Brown-stain return to power, and you DON’T get legalized marijuana? Are you finally going to be sensible enough to make like a tree and leave that hellish commie state, or are you going to stay and be taxed to death while continuing to risk being raided for weed?

    2. Seems like the Feds could easily adjust any block grants for first responders or public safety public education to exclude those states which do not prohibit marijuana.

      How ’bout this?

      1. Probably not because the funding has to have some rational relationship with the funding condition, though “for the children” probably sounds rational enough to SCOTUS imo.

        1. D.A.R.E.

          1. DARE to keep kids off ritalin.

            DARE to resist government-backed violence.

    3. An equal protection lawsuit by a California fireman or motorist (in the case of fed highway money) would fix that. And I don’t think the statists would want that type of case to get to the current Supreme Court.

      1. Californians are not a protected class, unfortunately.

        1. Then you’d kill two birds with one stone. We could also get the “protected class” bullshit tossed out re: equal protection as well.

          The potential here is giving me a semi-erection.

          1. That’s a big erection. Mine’s only ever been about the size of a bread truck.

            1. That’s a big erection.

              That’s what I’ve been telling myself for the last 20 or so years but every woman I know disagrees.

            2. Oh, I get it now. We grew up calling them tractor-trailers.

    4. I thought about that. It would take an act of congress.

      Then I thought about the size of the California congressional delegation.

      It might happen. It will be harder when you start with 53 no votes in the House.

    5. I can see this scenario happening, but what would it accomplish? If P19 passes, it becomes part of California’s constitution. CA’s legislature has no power to change it, and CA’s criminal justice system has to abide albeit with some foot-dragging.

      So, this withholding funds action by the federal government would punish Californians, but it could not undo prop 19. This would, in effect, be simple retaliation against California voters for voting. How is that going to play out in the media, and amongst Americans. It ain’t gonna happen, the feds hands are tied. If prop 19 passes, the feds might increase DEA enforcement but that is about all they got.

  7. Historically, it is prohibition that’s anomalous.

    That’s because, uh, because primitive people were, uh, because we now know just how dangerous, uh, fabric of society …. Uh, Mr. Anslinger, no, ….

    1. Here’s hoping that Mr. Anslinger is the Tuesday standin for Hitler getting the pineapple up the ass. No Godwin.

  8. Hmmm…..let’s see….African-Americans smoke marijuana (bad); Prop. 19 aims to legalize marijuana (very bad); Prez. Obama is against Prop. 19 (good, of course); therefore: Prop.19 = RACISM!

  9. But it’s worth remembering that cannabis has been banned for less than a century. It was legal throughout the world for almost all of human history and until 1937 in the United States. Historically, it is prohibition that’s anomalous.

    Actually it was not legal, just not banned. But other than that, indeed the prohibition is quite recent and by no means less immoral than other prohibitions.

    1. “Actually it was not legal, just not banned.”

      Fuck you and your girl scout semantics. It grows tiresome.

      1. Re: sloopyinca,

        Fuck you and your girl scout semantics. It grows tiresome.

        That’s what hemlock is for, if you have grown tired…

        1. Sorry, Mexican. He’s right and your wrong.

          Accepting this non-distinction as important accepts that it is natural for the government to divide all behavior into the approved and unapproved and suggests that the “no rule” state is in some way exceptional.

          No rule means legal.

          1. Re: EscapeWestOfTheBigMuddy,

            No rule means legal.

            I don’t subscribe to positivism, EWOTBM. Once you say “this is legal,” you just implied the State allows it – are you ready to grant the State that kind of power (i.e. God-like)?

            1. OM, I am willing to grant the state an limited and explicit list of powers. I know there is a document around here somewhere…

              Your semantics accept that the government get to decide what is allowed, i.e their making it “legal” is different from the government not being involved.

              My semantics are that the government keeping its damn nose out is the normal order of things, and that their making a ruling on some behavior is a special case that has to be justified (and can’t be in the case of drug prohibition, the example of alcohol makes it clear that no such power exists in Article I).

              Tell me again how saying “its not ‘legal’ until the government says it is” gives the government a less ubiquitous presence.

              1. Re: EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy

                OM, I am willing to grant the state an limited and explicit list of powers.

                I am not willing. Is it legal, EWOTBM?

                Your semantics accept that the government get[s] to decide what is allowed, i.e their making it “legal” is different from the government not being involved.

                EWOTBM, once the government says “It’s legal, you serfs,” then it IS getting involved.

                Tell me again how saying “its not ‘legal’ until the government says it is” gives the government a less ubiquitous presence.

                It doesn’t, EWOTBM. That’s not the point. The point is that once you accept that anything the State does not ban is being “allowed” by it (i.e. it is legal by fiat) YOU are the one making the State more ubiquitous than it needs to be.

        2. Sorry, meant for MCP, not sloopyinca. I need to press the “PREVIEW” button!

          1. Fuck you, OM!

            Oops. I need to press the preview button as well.

            1. But at least it’s legal…. right?

              1. Haha. I don’t know. Searching USC right now.

    2. Actually it was not legal, just not banned.
      WTF? Yo-yos aren’t legal, they’re just not banned?

      1. Re: J sub D,

        WTF? Yo-yos aren’t legal, they’re just not banned?

        Show me the statute that clearly indicates you’re allowed by the State to buy and use a yo-yo, otherwise stop wasting my time.

        You want to play Positivist? Go right ahead – the Federal Registry is “only” about 80K pages…

        1. Wrong way ’round. To stop me from “walking the dog” the government must show that the yo-yos are specifically not allowed.

          No rule means legal.

          1. Re: EWOTBM,

            To stop me from “walking the dog” the government must show that the yo-yos are specifically not allowed.

            Yes, and that is correct as you’re putting the state to task. But ONCE YOU ACCEPT that having a yo-yo is legal, you just accepted the power of the state to GRANT YOU ALLOWANCE OR PERMISSION to have a yo-yo. That’s POSITIVISM. The state cannot grant you things by fiat, it is NOT God.

            1. No. Legal is the default, natural state of everything. That’s the point.

              “Illegal” must always be justified.

              When you say it “wasn’t ‘legal’ before” you promote the rule writing process as superior to the simple fact that people will do as they will; you suggest that if the government says “yoyo are allowed” that makes yoyoing more legitimate than it was before they acted.

              Which is simple bullshit. Yoyoing is legitimate unless it can be shown that it does a specific harm to specific other people, and the government’s take on the mater doesn’t change that.

              1. Re: EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy,

                No. Legal is the default, natural state of everything. That’s the point.

                So birds are legal . . . right??

                When you say it “wasn’t ‘legal’ before” you promote the rule writing process as superior to the simple fact that people will do as they will;

                No, you got it exactly backwards: By saying “THIS IS LEGAL” when there’s not a State-imposed ban, you are ipso facto accepting the notion that the State graciously allows us, mere serfs, to use or possess it.

                you suggest that if the government says “yoyo are allowed” that makes yoyoing more legitimate than it was before they acted.

                No, I say the State has NO legitimacy AT ALL. Just because the State declares something “banned” does not make everything else “legal,” as it would mean the State allows it, as in “And Saw That It Was Good.”

                1. I think I’m finally getting it.

                  Do you object to calling the state of activities unaddressed by organized power “legal” because it accepts the existence of law as a evaluator?

                  That makes sense in and of itself. But it doesn’t make your distinction work, because in 1936 we had law, and you were (rightly or wrongly) subject to state power.

                  And the mary jane was legal in the sense that if some constable had dragged you in front of some magistrate and said “Your honor, I caught this man smoking dope.”[+] the judge would have sent you on your way and upbraided the cop for wasting the courts time. Which is the same outcome you could expect after a hypothetical end to drug prohibition in this country.

                  I am willing to grant you that dope wasn’t “legal” when we lived in a state of innocence. Whenever and wherever that was. And “legal” as we know and have an uneasy relationship with probably doesn’t represent the state of things for pre-civillized human communities either, so you can have that too. But I stand by my position vis a vis the early 20th century.

                  [+] Well, actually, I suppose he’d have roughed you up and charged you with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer, but that’s a different thread.

    3. FARTING IS NOT LEGAL!

      1. That’s why it’s so much fun.

    4. What’s the difference? Not banned=legal in my neck of the woods.

      1. Re: sloopyinca,

        What’s the difference? Not banned=legal in my neck of the woods.

        The DIFFERENCE is that by being legal you’re already giving the State the power to grant you permission for use or possession.

        That’s why the question should not be “is it legal” (that should be asked about every action taken by the State, not YOU). The real question is: Is it moral?

        Does the action of smoking marijuana violate someone else’s right to life or property? No? Then it is moral. Yes? Then it is IMmoral.

        1. OK, I get your point now. So, I can say I have a right to have a yo-yo then.

          This almost sounds like the Stan/Loretta argument with Reg in the coliseum in Judea.

          1. Re: sloopyinca,

            So, I can say I have a right to have a yo-yo then.

            But is it legal to have a yo-yo?

            I’m just kidding! Yes, you got the point.

      2. I’m with Old Mexican. Yeah, maybe a degree of semantics, but using the word “legal” to describe something for which there is no law implies that it has, or should have, some kind of recognized legal status under promulgated law.

        To say something is “legal” does seem to imply that there is some law stating that you can do it. I.e., as OM has said, a positive grant of permission from some authority.

        This is not the same a something you can just DO, and the law doesn’t say anything about it one way or the other.

        Is it “legal” to chew gum in an airport? Well, it certainly is not illegal. But where is the law saying you’re allowed to do it? There isn’t one – you just do it without worrying about whether it’s “allowed” or “lawful” or anything.

        If you’re sitting in a Wendy’s eating a baked potato, do you consider whether that’s “legal”? Or do you just do it?

        Unless there is some law expressly prohibiting certain conduct, EVERYTHING is “legal.” As it should be. Rather than the other way around – i.e., a civil code positively stating what is allowed.

        As to the use of MJ before it became prohibited, it’s not really a case of whether it was “legal”; rather, as I undersand it there simply was no law regarding it at all. It was just something that some people used.

        I don’t like the idea that I should go through life considering whether every thing I decide to do is “legal” or allowed. I do my best not to do things that are illegal. Other than that, I’ll do whatever I choose and not worry whether government allows me to do it.

        1. I simple can’t buy that. The government saying “you can sit at Wendy’s and eat a potato” does not make this activity more OK then it was before.

          It was OK before. It is OK after. Therefore the two states are the same, and drawing an artificial distinction puts the government on a superior plane relative the hungry guy at the fast food joint.

          1. OK, this is the best argument so far. The default status of any act is that it is legal. Therefore, until outlawed, I will consider all actions legal.

            The constitution declares (or implies) the legality of all things not made illegal by the powers granted the federal government or states. You wouldn’t say freedom of speech is legal any more so than yo-yoing, but why? One right is implied while another is expressed in the Constitution.

          2. Re:EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy

            I simple can’t buy that. The government saying “you can sit at Wendy’s and eat a potato” does not make this activity more OK then it was before.

            The State has NO legitimacy AT ALL. Just because the State declares something “banned” does not make everything else “legal,” as it would mean the State allows it, as in “And Saw That It Was Good.”

            Nor does it mean that by declaring it “legal” it suddenly becomes MORE legitimate. Again, the State has NO LEGITIMACY, NONE. Zero.

            It is not like just by not having a ban, then the State makes it “legal” just by existing. “Oh, thank you, State, for allowing me to live! You stupid tyrannical fuck!” [not you, the State]

            Therefore the two states are the same, and drawing an artificial distinction puts the government on a superior plane relative the hungry guy at the fast food joint.

            But that is exactly what you’re doing when saying “everything not banned is legal” – you’re giving it a sense of “legitimacy” only because the State allows it! Fuck the State!

            1. And yes, you can enjoy that baked potato at Wendy’s. You just can’t have the toy from the kid’s meal.

            2. OM,

              Before 1937, by your argument, MJ was allowed but not “legal”. Yes?

              In the world we live in it was banned after, but may soon be allowed again (a fact of power, mind you, not one of morals), at which point it will be both “legal” and allowed. Again, I’m trying to use your nomenclature.

              Fine.

              Consider some counterfactuals.

              * Assume in ’37 no drug prohibition movement got started. Presumably the bud remains allowed but not “legal” in your lexicon. Because the government didn’t get involved, no?

              * Assume that in ’37 the body politic debated the beginning of what because our war on drugs, turning it’s collective mind very much to the question of using government power to prevent (well, try to prevent) people from smoking the green, but in the end writes a law making it explicit that Americans can smoke dope. Presumable that would be both allowed and “legal” in your way of thinking. ‘Cause the government got involved.

              * Third case, again, the debate rages over the body politic. There are town hall meeting and passionate speeches, but in this world it’s a draw. Nothing happens and no law is written. Clearly this is “allowed”, but I don’t see how to decide on “legal”. Did the government get involved enough to make the magic word apply?

              The power of governments is at any given time and place a fact. They either have the power to enforce a ban or they do not. If they have the power they either ban some activity or not. I see no meaningful distinction between not banning it by neglect and explicitly not banning it.

              But you do, or so I gather from the distinction you make over the “legal”. And I still don’t see why.

              1. but in the end writes a law making it explicit that Americans can smoke dope

                Which implies (or suggests the shape of) either that

                (a) the default situation is assumed to be ad-hoc prohibitions (as it is now, but wasn’t at the time banning alcohol required an Amendment), or

                (b) it’s an explicit protection against government of a natural right, in the same way as the Bill of Rights, in which case covering only one substance is insufficient or a blatant attempt to crack down on everything not mentioned.

    5. ANYTHING NOT MANDATORY IS FORBIDDEN

    6. Isn’t anything not banned legal?

  10. OK, hippies, we’ll let you “weed up” or whatever you call it on the thirty-second of every month.

    1. Yuckity yuckity yuck

  11. thank you for the informative article.

    in two years our good prez may need to go live tv inhale in order to be re-elected.

    this country desperately needs some chillin.

    peace

  12. I’m really surprised Obama and Holder have come out so strongly against this. Do they actually expect anyone sober to vote for them in 2012?

    1. baked!?

    2. I think The Prez and the AG are just trying to throw a bone to the more rigid social conservatives, maybe placate them by showing his administration is pro ‘law and order’ so they might not be so (especially with the mid-tems looking so bad for him and the dims…) anti- “anything Obama”? Just a thought – I know, it’s a bit of a stretch….

      1. I’m not giving Obama that much credit. I think he just wants to ensure the support of the police (union), corrections officers (union), social workers (union) and health care workers (union) that benefit from keeping pot illegal.

        1. Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaal.

  13. in the public mind marijuana has become an important hot topic issue open to discussion. the momentum has been building since the sixties.

    this is very very good for those of us who believe in the healing powers of the blessed and righteous herb.

    yo ho ho

    1. fo-shizzle…

    2. Personally, I would rather that MJ not be referred to as a “blessed and righteous herb”, “simple herb” works just fine for me. Cannabis is simply a plant that produces chemicals with psycho-active properties. It has medicinal properties that are valuable. It produces euphoria when ingested.

      God didn’t make Cannabis, nature did. The war to eradicate it is stupid and destructive to society. Legalize it and be done with it. If people choose smoke it all night while eating Doritos, and then sleep till noon then next day then let them; it is a self extinguishing behavior.

  14. Shouldn’t James Baker, who kept Al Gore from stealing the 2000 election, be included in a list of prominent anti-prohibition conservatives? IIRC, there was no namby-pamby “just the herb” hippie bullshit in his support for legalization.

  15. Constitutional-law experts say California has no obligation to have the same criminal laws as the federal government, so Holder’s Justice Department can forget any lawsuit compelling the state to make marijuana use a crime….

    Hey, the federal government can pretty much do anything it wants in this country!

    1. Hey, Pete, what are you smoking?

  16. There was a good news story locally in Colorado Springs this morning that focused on the revenue brought in from MMJ places. They said the tax revenue this year alone was ahead of expectations, and they may even start Saturday bus service again.

    1. Colorado and Oregon will probably be the next states in line for props like “19”….

    2. and hiring more cops to make sure nobody is one toke over the line, heaven forbid.

      1. looks like abercrombie will be elected gov of hawaii. he’s an old school progressive who knows his way around a bong and knows his lineage.

        watch hawaii. the people love their da kine.

  17. I agree with the idea that Meg Whitman would win if she supported prop 19 and vowed to defend California from the federal government if it passes–the eeeeEEEEEvil federal government.

    1. Re: That guy

      I agree with the idea that Meg Whitman would win if she supported prop 19 and vowed to defend California from the federal government if it passes–the eeeeEEEEEvil federal government.

      At least it would be a sight to behold how the talking heads at MSNBC construed the move as evidence of yet another “10th Amendment extremist.”

      1. that ol meg needs to light up a biiiig phatty on prime time

        and give us her best alfred e newman smile

        ah yurp

  18. Hey, Pete, what are you smoking?

    Statist cock.

    1. Don’t bogart that thing, dude.

      1. we only vaporize the best.

  19. Why’s that Anslinger dude get all the credit? It’s my signature on the fucking law that keeps them hophead nigger jazz musicians and Mexican laborers from getting “gone” on the mary jane andfucking all the white cooze.

    1. You left out Filipinos…raaaaciiiist

    2. And entertainers.

  20. And, again, the stereotypes continue. You are exposed to marijuana through “stoner friends,” GNR, or may have tried some yourself. Never see anyone mention exposure from high-functioning individuals (some of the better students at Michigan State were users, and don’t forget the friendly confines of University of Michigan).

    Sigh. The stereotypes will die hard.

    1. Stereotypes of people from that school up north will never die, even if you guys do put a decent football team on the field again. Then again, it’s been 6 years (and 8 of the last 9).

      1. Heh. It really drives the SoCon statists into a delightful tizzy when I point out that their opinion about cannabis users is being fully informed by the portrayal offered by one of their faves, Mr. Sean Penn.

  21. Threadjack. This may be the only smart thing anyone in the Obama camp has proposed. Finally, renters without kids will be treated equally. (Or is that people with mortgages and kids will be equally fucked and overtaxed to the same degree?)

    1. The latter. I’m still amazed that Skippy persuaded these bozos to sit on the stools over the dunking tank, and taunt people to toss watermellons at them. They sure aren’t going to fix any tax issues or revenue problems. He might as well have started a blog and asked people to comment and debate the topics online. . .

    2. my name is mr mers and i possess sixty two million electronic mortgages zipping thru galactic hum.

  22. The Corner today at NRO has a pro-legalization post up. Color me pleasantly surprised!

    (Sorry, too lazy for link.)

    1. Can’t find it.

      1. the enemy of my enemy …….

  23. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.

  24. and george soros has just endor$ed prop 19.

    yes on 19

    1. Shit! Now I gotta hate Proposition 19.

      And I was leaning in favor of it before I heard that.

  25. There are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of legal weed. You mentioned Barney Frank’s opponent-how about Barney Frank himself, for instance?

  26. what sucks is that its still illegal at a federal level.

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  30. nt-how about Barney Frank himself, for instance?

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