Marijuana & Controlled Substances

From a possession of dangerous drugs information:

[JAMIE’S CLIENT], the Defendant, on or about [SOME DATE], did then and there intentionally and knowingly possess, a dangerous drug , to wit: [Prescription Medication], a drug that federal law provides shall be dispensed by prescription and a drug which is required to bear the legend: Caution: federal law prohibits dispensing without the prescription,

AGAINST THE PEACE AND DIGNITY OF THE STATE

/s/
Assistant County Attorney of
Travis County Texas

Let’s play “What’s wrong with this charging instrument?”. And I’m deliberately not linking to the Code, because it should be obvious without even referencing the statute.
 

From the San Francisco Chronicle article “Report: Pot use, arrests rising in California”:

Marijuana arrests in California are increasing faster than the nationwide rate, and African Americans are being booked for pot-related crimes much more often than whites, a new report says.

But despite the rise in arrests and in the seizure of marijuana plants, use of pot in California has increased slightly, said the report, part of a nationwide study released Thursday by a Virginia researcher.

Isn’t arresting folks for marijuana possession supposed to discourage use?

Continue Reading Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Oooops. According to Uncle Mike, who was kind enough to email me about it, I have the details wrong in my first marijuana arrest ever post. He’s done a good deal more actual research on it – in the sense that I’ve not done any, and was guilty of playing telegraph – and here’s a snippet of his version:

The historic October 8th, 1937 Denver Post account stated that Caldwell had “…admitted to selling marijuana cigarets [sic] to Baca…” , thereby suggesting they were busted together while conducting business.

This piece of history is contrary to a previous October 6th Denver Post article entitled, “U.S. Agents Arrest Man On Charge Of Selling Marijuana” and Caldwell’s federal criminal files. Evidently, Caldwell was actually convicted for attempting to sell three joints to “a man he met on the street” named Claude Morgan and possession of 4 pounds later found hidden in his Lothrop Hotel room.

When caught dealing to Morgan, Caldwell reportedly threw the three joints in a trash can, providing federal narcotic agents with evidence for his arrest.
 

A few months ago, Don Fitch started writing Your Blain on Bliss, and one of his first posts “Obama, Cigarettes and Cannabis” caught my eye:

Yet still, of all people, the President-elect is not able to summon the will to not smoke tobacco cigarettes. As much as he would like to quit, as much as Michelle and the girls want him to quit, he will presumably duck out of the White House, furtively avoiding his family and to the chagrin of his Secret Service detail, light up a cigarette.

Continue Reading Your Brain on Bliss: 100 Day Grade = D

From John Kelso’s column “Adios, ‘Weed Hill’; Maybe They’ll Like Bong Bowl Better” in the Austin American Statesman:

In a story in this newspaper’s Wednesday edition, [Leander School Board president] McCall was quoted as saying that the Leander school trustees had ditched the name Tumbleweed Hill Stadium because it was possible "the kids are going to say, Tumbleweed Hill — oh, that’s marijuana."

In Longhorn-land it’s pretty common to make fun of Aggies, but they had to go to College Station, of all places, to find someone with some sense:

"None of those things have anything to do with pot," said Jim Manhart, an associate professor of biology at Texas A&M. "These are people who have too much time on their hands, if they worry about stuff like that."

I quickly filed that last quote under “duh” but it got me to wondering.

My sister lives near Hemphill Park here in Austin. What kind of message does that name send to the kids?

Matter of fact there’s lots of people, places and things that could use a name change:

Did Truman, Churchill and Stalin really meet at the Potsdam Conference? (And does that make it a joint meeting?) Two presidents before Truman we have “Herb”ert Hoover… since we usually use the full name with “e-r-t” included, we could consider giving this one a pass. But we might want to have a meeting or two about it.

Spiderman’s girlfriend is Mary Jane Watson? Marketing marijuana in comic books – shameful.

Should we really be telling high schoolers that shots were heard coming from the grassy knoll?

Alcohol is legal while marijuana is not, but there’s no excuse for the fact that America’s number one selling beer is called “Bud”.

And let’s stop doctors talking about chronic diseases; they are clearly just sending not-so-subliminal messages about supporting marijuana decriminalization. (Actually, they do support it, but that’s another story altogether.)

Suggestions from readers are welcomed…
 

Peter Hitchens explaining the difference between alcohol prohibition, universally acknowledged as an abject failure, and marijuana and drug prohibition notes:

Alcohol had been legal for centuries, part of the culture of Christian civilization. You might as well try to make breathing illegal.

But cannabis, cocaine and heroin are alien to our world, and could be driven out by firm action.

Alien to our world? Guither’s response:

Right — it’s not like they just… grow in the ground or anything. They came in spaceships.

We need to be firm and tell the space aliens to load up their cannabis, cocaine and heroin and take it all back to planet Druggie.

Continue Reading ET Go Home

he was being considered for Surgeon General. (With my hearty apologies to the better line: “By the time Mozart was my age… he was dead.”)

 

Right wing nut jobs (see the above link) are going ballistic over the travesty of appointing a neurosurgeon with a healthy background in communicating with the public to a position whose duties require him to be “America’s chief health educator by providing Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury”.

Funny that they didn’t object when the Republican Propaganda Network’s Fox News Network’s Tony Snow was named White House Press Secretary. But enough making fun of the wackos; it’s like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel. 

 

My compatriots at NORML and other marijuana decriminalization supporters may be discouraged to know that Gupta is already on record saying the usual idiotic things about the current state of our marijuana laws

 

Actually, it’s worse than the typical stuff. He freely admits that the science shows marijuana can be good medicine for Alzeheimer’s, cancer, glaucoma and MS patients to name a few… but still wants to allow states to throw people in jail for simple possession. In fact, he’s seemingly all for it.

 

<Sigh> 

 

Well, maybe that’s appropriate for the Surgeon General. After all, it’s a job you can get fired from immediately… if you dare to tell the truth.

 

[Update: I forgot to include one of my first posts ever… the DEA vs. the American Medical Association on the benefits of medical marijuana.]

No kidding.

Last November Massachusetts’s voters approved a ballot initiative which reduced the penalty for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana from a possible maximum of six months in jail and a permanent blotch on your criminal history to a maximum of a $100 civil penalty, no jail and with nothing at all ever being reported to the state’s criminal history board.  Anyone under 18 would also be required to take a drug education program and to complete some community service.

The voters spoke loud and clear. The legislature had until a few days ago to amend or repeal the initiative, but they chose not to. These are the same folks that scream bloody murder when an actual bill to decriminalize is placed on their desks. Truly the definition of political courage there, eh? The world will come to an end if you vote to reduce marijuana punishment, but if the voters insist on it… you’ll look the other way.

At any rate, the measure becomes law, and now the police are apparently befuddled. What should they do? You know, now that this new wrinkle complicates things for them so:

 

Police say they have two main problems with the law.

 

Many complain that their current citation books lack a check-off box for marijuana possession and they have yet to receive updated ticket books, although temporary forms are available through a state website.

 

Seriously? No check-off box for marijuana on your standard preprinted forms? Writing in “possession of marijuana < 1 oz.” somewhere on the ticket is harder than arresting, transporting, booking, interviewing and one presumes eventually releasing a defendant from jail?

 

Ok, so what’s the other problem?

 

More fundamentally, they complain that officers have no way of determining the identity of people they stop on the street for smoking marijuana.

 

Before the law was changed, officers could arrest them, or threaten them with arrest to force them to show identification. Now, they say they cannot force users to show IDs, and cannot arrest them if they refuse to identify themselves.  [N.B. Texans should read Austin Criminal Law Journal’s explanation of why that ain’t so in the Lone Star State.]

 

Oh, so it sounds like any other civil penalty then, right? Like a parking ticket maybe? And maybe someone will – hang on to your hats for this one – not pay their $100 fine.  They might get off scot-free.

 

The mere thought of it sends police organizations scrambling:

 

John M. Collins, general counsel for the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, said he had been fielding calls from dozens of members across the state.

 

This is to be expected since major changes in the administration of justice often cause numerous disruptions in the law enforcement community. Being told to write tickets for simple possession instead of hauling folks off to jail requires lots of planning and reorganizing priorities, etc.

 

How are some police agencies dealing with the situation?

 

[M]any police departments across the state were essentially ignoring the voter-passed law, saying they would not even bother to ticket people they see smoking marijuana…

 

Andrew J. Sluckis Jr., chief of police in Auburn, said his 39 officers would not be issuing $100 citations for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, as required under the ballot initiative known as Question 2.

 

"If the Legislature enacts some changes, we’ll be happy to do it in the future, but as it stands now we’re not going to be issuing civil citations," he said. If an officer spots someone smoking marijuana, he said, "We will confiscate it and the person will be sent on their way."

 

"It is frustrating," he added, "because we have to deal with a law that is almost non-enforceable at best."

 

Don’t give up all hope Chief Sluckis. Turns out that non-enforcement is the goal in and of itself. That ole “voter-passed” law that has you all in a dither? It doesn’t require you to give everyone a ticket…

 

It simply requires you to stop arresting them. So while you might think you are teaching those voters a lesson by throwing up your hands and insisting their wishes are impossible to carry out and therefore you will do nothing at all… you are actually following their instructions to a T.