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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Democrats Call Lies “Lies” and Republicans Call the Truth “Lies”

posted by on September 17 at 15:36 PM

Just when you thought you’d heard the biggest whopper from a Republican official—e.g., John McCain, Thomas Edison of the BlackBerry—the White House’s Drug Czar shoves his hoof in his mouth and spits out a unicorn.

At a press conference last week, an activist pressed the Bush appointee to explain why Holland, which allows pot smoking, has lower use rates than the U.S., which arrests over a quarter-million pot smokers a year. And this is what happened:

“We didn’t arrest 800,000 marijuana users,” Walters says about 1:35 minutes into the video. That’s a “lie.”

But not only did law-enforcement agencies report over 800,000 pot arrests last year, they reported five percent more this year. That’s 872,721 arrests for pot. But Walters wasn’t done. He went on to equate people arrested for pot possession as fanciful creatures that don’t exist.

“The fact is today, people don’t go to jail for possession of marijuana. I know you like to pretend it does, and there’s a lot of misinformation about that. But finding someone in jail or prison for a first-time nonviolent possession of marijuana is like finding a unicorn. You find one, you will make a big story, because it doesn’t exist.”

Granted, he gets selective by describing these fantasy beasts as nonviolent first-time offenders. But out of the 775,138 people busted for possession last year, hundreds of thousands of them meet his criteria. For instance, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office prosecuted 109 people for marijuana possession in 2007; 40 of them—unicorns, each one of them—were charged only for possession. And I’m not in a position to name manes here, but I’ve spoken to several unicorns.

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This BLOWS ME AWAY. Also? He has girly hands.

Posted by Procrastinator | September 17, 2008 3:41 PM
2 live in a World that actually cared about the truth.

Posted by Timothy | September 17, 2008 3:43 PM

I'd contend that the very worst laws on the books are those laws that are entirely subjective in their application. In other words, when a Prosecutor or a Cop can either charge or not charge, and nobody cares either way, then the decision as to whether or not to charge becomes open to influence of things entirely unrelated to the offense itself. For example, race. Or class. Or attitude. Or meeting quotas. Or boredom.

If as cops and others frequently contend, we aren't arresting people for possession, then why keep those laws on the books?

Posted by Timothy | September 17, 2008 3:48 PM

I have an idea how he could be playing with the truth to be factually correct, but entirely misleading. When he says "we didn't arrest 800,000 marijuana users", did he mean that the Federal Government didn't arrest arrest people under federal drug statutes, but meanwhile the arrests by states under state drug laws has gone up? The NORML pages you linked to just say arrests. It doesn't differentiate between state and federal arrests.

Posted by Andrew | September 17, 2008 4:07 PM

all this revolves around the bullshit that marijuana is on any level harmful.

All those real bad people that he described that they arrested (i.e. NOT the so called innocent first tim non-violent consumer) wouldn't be doing anything illegal IF WEED WASN'T FUCKING ILLEGAL!!!!!!

Keep it illegal, and criminals will continue to run the market. Making something that millions of people like to do and is 100% harmless, then depending on everyone cooperating is fucking stupid.

Posted by Mike in MO | September 17, 2008 4:55 PM

Here's a thought...if marijuana laws were enforced, it would probably equalize the jail population between blacks and whites.

Posted by John Bailo | September 17, 2008 4:57 PM


I think what he meant was that they were arrested for other crimes (drunk driving, robbery, assault & etc.) and that the marijuana charges were secondary.

Is NORML trying to say that there were 800,000 people arrested solely on marijuana charges, with no other charges pressed?

That would surprise me.

Usually its something like either a hooker busted for prostitution and hey she's carrying, so charge her for the drugs also, or a drunk driver careens through a daycare, and he's gotta a baggy in the glove box so lets hit him with Vehicular Homicide, Drunk Driving, and Possession.

Any one know the actual stats on first time offenders charged with Possession only (no other charges)?

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | September 17, 2008 5:05 PM

In other words, even if pot were legal, those 800,000 people would have been busted on other charges...

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | September 17, 2008 5:06 PM
Posted by bcNsea | September 17, 2008 5:08 PM
Posted by bcNsea | September 17, 2008 5:09 PM

god what a douche.

Posted by max solomon | September 17, 2008 5:19 PM

you gotta be kidding me is right, except that a large number of the periphery criminal offenses stem from the fact that pot is illegal and exists on a black market. the 800,000 figure is more complex than either that reporter or that douche portrayed it.

also the douche didn't answer his question about non pot obsessed countries, which was more the central issue of the question.

Posted by douglas | September 17, 2008 5:35 PM

I am an attorney who practices criminal law and I can tell you from first hand experience people are arrested and go to jail all the time on the sole charge of possessing mj. In fact, in Washington, 24 hours of jail is mandatory for a first time conviction for possession of forty grams or less of mj.

Posted by Mac | September 17, 2008 8:18 PM

Many of those serving possession crimes are actually serving concurrent sentences for crimes committed while possessing.

A man is arrested for rape and assault, and at the time of his arrest police discover a bag of marijuana in his pocket. After being found guilty at trial of all charges, the man is sentenced to 20 years in
prison for rape and assault, and one year concurrent for marijuana possession.

Posted by danrand | September 17, 2008 11:05 PM

So, despite appearances, Mr. Walther isn't a lying sack of shit-- but a misunderstood dissembling douchebag? OK... if that's what it takes to run the War on Drugs, well, take it away! ^..^

Posted by herbert browne | September 17, 2008 11:36 PM

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