The ballot title and submission clause numbered Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution asked:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana;

permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana;

providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores;

 permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities;

requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana;

requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund;

and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?

Cleverly titled The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, the Amendment won by a ten point margin yesterday. Predictably, the politicians, in this case Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper, had some really clever things to say about the will of the people…

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," Hickenlooper said in a statement Tuesday night. "This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”

Yeah, OK. First things first. Only someone who has used marijuana, or at the very least knows it to be completely harmless, would make a “joke” like that, so take your hypocrisy and shove it in someone else’s face. The super majority of people, and even the majority of the voters, ain’t buying.

Secondly, a reminder. Tonight’s open meeting of Texas NORML is at 8 o’clock at Flamingo Cantina. Come join us for some news about the overall outstanding results that marijuana measures had nationwide. It wasn’t a clean sweep, but it’s major progress none the less. 

And find out what you can do to help us with these sorts of measures in Texas. It’s an informative meeting, but with a fun group of people. See you there.

                                             Legal Counsel for Texas NORML

                                             Aka, yours truly, Jamie Spencer


From Illegal Utah Marijuana Gardens Dot Com:

Did you know that marijuana is being illegally grown in Utah?

It is? Gee Wally, if I stumble across some marijuana when I’m out and about, what ever should I do?

If you think you have found an illegal marijuana garden, note the location either on a map or GPS unit. We will be able to find it either by latitude and longitude, or a place name.

Avoid any contact with the suspects who may be present and leave the area, undisturbed, as soon as possible. Contact us through this website or your local law enforcement, the sooner the better.

[Hat Tip: Robert Latham through the NORML listserv]

Tax day chatter from the NACDL listserv brought this item, from Page 1 of “Instructions for Form 1099-Misc,” to my attention:

Fees Paid to Informers. A payment made to an informer as an award, fee, or reward for information about criminal activity is not required to be reported if the payment is made by a federal, state or local government agency, or by a non-profit organization exempt from tax under 501(c)(3) that makes the payment to further the charitable purpose of lessening the burdens of government.

Wow. We are now paying so many confidential informants (wooops, I mean… “cooperating individuals”) that the issue of whether they must be 1099’d is addressed on the first page of the instructions.

[Update: since initial posting, Greenfield elaborates, "A Nation Of Rats"]

A recent comment led me to one of my first ever posts, one about the Gateway Theory of drug use. For those unaware of the fallacy, it goes like this: many/most/almost all hard drug users started with softer drugs like marijuana, therefore marijuana causes harder drug use. It is the gateway to cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc.

My post concluded with:

Let’s ignore for now the refutation that a higher percentage of cocaine and heroin addicts consumed alcohol than marijuana, and we all “know” that alcohol use does not cause cocaine or heroin addiction… (since many readers, like me, are occasional alcohol consumers who have never tried cocaine or heroin)

Continue Reading Both Missing And Getting The Point: The Gateway Theory

The Drug Policy Alliance released a paper last week, “Healing a Broken System: Veterans Battling Addiction and Incarceration”. One of several recommendations:

State and federal governments must modify sentencing statutes and improve court ordered drug diversion programs to better treat – rather than criminalize and incarcerate – veterans who commit non-violent drug related crimes.

Continue Reading Veterans In Prison For Non-Violent Drug Offenses

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

Criminal lawyer Thomas Gallagher writes about a case, Minnesota v. Peck, decided by his state’s Supreme Court which overruled a trial court’s determination that including the bong water as a “mixture” used to calculate the weight of methamphetamine possessed by a defendant would be “unjust”.

The difference in the weight of the meth alone vs. the weight including the bong water (approximately 37 grams) raised the offense to a first degree drug felony punishable by a maximum of 30 years, and if I have my Minnesota law right, and I very well might not, a minimum sentence of 87 months, or 7 years and 3 months. Assume the defendant would be probation eligible otherwise, and you Yankee lawyers can write in to tell me I’m wrong.

Continue Reading Everything’s Bigger In Texas

I’m about halfway through “This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History Of Getting High In America” by Ryan Grim which chronicles America’s centuries old love/hate relationship with various intoxicants (short version: the people seem to love, the legislators hate).

Then this gem from Drug WarRant, an op-ed piece from 99 years ago in a San Francisco newspaper:

Continue Reading Severely Repressive Legislation Unable To Stop Use Of Narcotics