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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Retired DEA Heads Tell Obama to Stop Pot-Legalization Initiatives

Posted by on Sat, Sep 8, 2012 at 9:20 AM

dea_signatures.png

Nine former directors of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who represent 34 years of tenure in the federal effort to stop drug use, asked the White House yesterday to publicly oppose initiatives to legalize marijuana in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State. "To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public and the global community a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives," says their letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.

(I've uploaded the letter here.)

But John McKay, the former US Attorney for the Western District of Washington, says the danger is in perpetuating a system that empowers drug cartels.

"Washington State citizens want a regulated system that will better protect public safety and public health and one that does not enrich violent drug trafficking organizations," says McKay, a sponsor of Initiative 502 on Washington State's fall ballot. The initiative to legalize marijuana possession, cultivation, and sales has been "carefully drafted to give us a policy that can actually work," he says.

For their part, the retired DEA officers speculate that it won't work: "Since these initiatives would 'tax and regulate' marijuana, there is a clear and direct conflict with federal law."

Both this letter and message is part of a tested political strategy. It echoes a 2010 letter opposing a legalization Prop 19 in California. In that case, the Obama Administration and former drug czars beat the drum that Prop 19 would be voided by federal law, and the measure failed by about five points. But it's plainly misleading: The proliferation of more than a dozen medical marijuana laws demonstrate that the fed's reach in drug enforcement is limited. And, uh, if the law is moot, then what are they so worried about?

This time, their letter concerns I-502 in Washington, Amendment 64 in Colorado, and Measure 80 in Oregon. Speaking as a co-sponsor of Washington's measure, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes responds: "Initiative 502 provides a one-year rule-making process, open to the public, that will allow federal officials to observe and provide input on the writing of regulations. Commenting now on a system that has yet to be developed would be premature and unnecessary."

Should the Obama Administration listen to the DEA heads? They essentially claim to have a silver bullet to reduce the harm of drugs, by keeping up drug criminalization. But in their tenure—ratcheting up enforcement and opposing legalization for decades—we saw the most dangerous cartels proliferate, growing richer and more lethal, without the feds making a dent in drug use.

 

Comments (116) RSS

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116
It has been proven harmless and beneficial recreational and medical . What is the problem ? If you dont like marijuauna dont use it ! I dont like abortion but I dont have the right to influence other people concerning thier most personal issues . If I want you to respect my personal life and privacy I have to respect yours . We cant let a bunch of power hungry incompetent greedy ogres force thier will upon us . They probably get high on prescription meds themselves ! Change.org and NORML !
Posted by Dohmer! on September 11, 2012 at 3:10 PM · Report this
115
@113
"Would you want to hard drugs legalized?"

You're just going to run all over the place because you cannot address the issue.

There is NO money to be saved from not prosecuting "stoners" because Seattle has ALREADY made prosecuting "stoners" the LOWEST PRIORITY.
Which means that MORE money would have to be spent to find the "stoners" that you keep claiming are taking financial-aid in college.

And what, EXACTLY, would be the goal of spending MORE money to save LESS money on a non-existent problem?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 10, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Report this
thelyamhound 114
What do you mean by "hard drugs"? I would legalize opiates and coca extracts or derivatives if that's what you mean. But I think they should be regulated with regards to potency. If someone wishes to take the time to distill crack or heroin from low potency opiate lace liqueurs of coca-laced chewing gum (for instance), the way meth-cookers distill amphetamine from cold medicine, that strikes me as something worth regulating. So I support "hard drugs" being decriminalized in "soft" levels of concentration.

I also think that we should be able to buy cheese made from unpasteurized milk; we're the laughing stock of Europe because we can't.
Posted by thelyamhound http://thebayinghound.blogspot.com on September 10, 2012 at 5:23 PM · Report this
113
@112 I think the libertarian principal of "if the customer knows what he's getting and understands the risks, then it's not illegal" would dramatically change our system of health and safety regulations. Under current law it's illegal to sell cheese made from unpasteurized milk. It doesn't matter how many warning labels you put on it, it's still illegal. Would you want to hard drugs legalized?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 10, 2012 at 2:15 PM · Report this
thelyamhound 112
Alcohol and tobacco are both exempt from many of the rules governing most consumer products.
I don't have enough information to be able to speak to that. Aspartame is carcinogenic; it seems to me that a certain amount of toxicity is considered acceptable in our consumer products. Caffeine is addictive; taurine has effects on the body similar to most amphetamines. My guess--and I admit it's mere hypothesis, grounded in fact, but not yet established as fact in itself--is that rules and exemptions regarding the health risks and benefits of consumer products is more fluid than you care to recognize.

Given that alcohol and cigarettes are age restricted and come with health warnings, what "exemptions," exactly, am I answering for? You may be surprised both at what kinds of regulations I would allow for all consumer goods, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, opiates, etc., but also refined sugars, aspartame, bleached flour, GMOs, and the like, as well as what regulation I might oppose (that is, I don't think anything should be made unavailable, and am ambivalent, leaning hostile, to the notion of using the tax code to punish or encourage behavior). But I'd need it in front of me to make that call.
If somebody invented a new product as addictive as tobacco and with comparable health effects and asked for the government's permission to sell it the FDA would say "Hell no!"
I'm not sure I would support that. Then again, I don't have such an example; we're talking about a substance that, while hardly "harmless", is considerably less addictive and linked to far fewer health effects than tobacco.
Posted by thelyamhound http://thebayinghound.blogspot.com on September 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
111
@110
You are still avoiding the issue.
There is NO money to be saved from not prosecuting "stoners" because Seattle has ALREADY made prosecuting "stoners" the LOWEST PRIORITY.
Which means that MORE money would have to be spent to find the "stoners" that you keep claiming are taking financial-aid in college.

And what, EXACTLY, would be the goal of spending MORE money to save LESS money on a non-existent problem?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 10, 2012 at 11:20 AM · Report this
110
@109 Alcohol and tobacco are both exempt from many of the rules governing most consumer products. If somebody invented a new product as addictive as tobacco and with comparable health effects and asked for the government's permission to sell it the FDA would say "Hell no!" Cigarettes are only legal because they have been grand-fathered into the system. Do you think marijuana deserves similar exemptions from health and safety regulations?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 10, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 109
Do you think marijuana should be 100% legal?
In a sense, alcohol, cigarettes, and even driving are not "100% legal": all three have age requirements; all require special licensing for vendors who sell the products at hand; the third even requires that the implement used be registered to an owner and a limited number of operators.

So when I say I think marijuana should be as legal as those things, I leave it to you to determine whether that adds up to "100%". I support licensing vendors, checking IDs for age, regulating potency, amount that one can buy at any one time, and field sobriety tests for individuals pulled over for driving infractions.
Posted by thelyamhound http://thebayinghound.blogspot.com on September 10, 2012 at 10:03 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 108
Why is it the 50% of Americans regularly consume alcohol, but only 16% smoke marijuana? Could the fact that marijuana is illegal and that using it can result in arrest or the loss of employment account for some of the that difference?
My guess is that those numbers rely on self-reporting, and that marijuana use is grossly underreported--precisely because admitting to use can result in arrest or loss of employment.

To whatever degree that there is a discrepancy (almost certainly smaller than the one you cite), I would say that prohibition simply makes it harder to acquire, and most people would rather deal in quantities they can buy in simple exchanges over counters in well-lit areas.

Of course, I'm pretty sanguine about the notion of a bump in marijuana use among adults. Those whose function is impaired will likely lose their jobs over poor job performance, or their driver's licenses over driving infractions; responsible, moderate users would be as invisible as responsible, moderate users of alcohol.
Posted by thelyamhound http://thebayinghound.blogspot.com on September 10, 2012 at 9:46 AM · Report this
107
@106 Oh-no their onto me!
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 10, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Ipso Facto 106
@52: Your references don't substantiate your claims.

Your first reference is simply an account of the position of one person -- Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal research institution. I wouldn't regard NIDA as a credible source for marijuana science -- I don't think it's a stretch to suspect that NIDA's subordinacy to the federal government leaves it susceptible to political manipulation. (NIDA actually spawned a synthetic THC analog called "Spice", which is now itself a controlled substance and yet another focus of the drug war.)

And according to your second reference, marijuana "addiction" is of little concern:


So, to wrap up, is marijuana addictive? For most people, no. About 10% of recreational users will develop problems serve enough to impair their work and relationships. Many more will come to depend on pot for relaxation and social purposes. This will be problematic if they don't learn more effective coping mechanisms and come to rely on marijuana instead of solving their problems. When ready, most people will be able to quit with only mild withdrawal symptoms. And, compared to other recreational drugs, marijuana is relatively harmless. But, it is not completely harmless. And...what is more serious than its addictive consequences are the legal ones. This relatively harmless herbal plant is unregulated and illegal in the U.S.
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on September 10, 2012 at 1:38 AM · Report this
105
@101
"Oh please, nothing is that clear cut in the social sciences."

And yet you seem to be claiming exactly that.
Even when you are presented with facts that contradict your claims.

"Price is only one of a multitude of factors that determine how many people smoke and how much they smoke."

You're an idiot.
Before you were saying that the price DOES affect it now you're saying that there are "a multitude of factors".
And you are still avoiding the issue.
There is NO money to be saved from not prosecuting "stoners" because Seattle has ALREADY made prosecuting "stoners" the LOWEST PRIORITY.
Which means that MORE money would have to be spent to find the "stoners" that you keep claiming are taking financial-aid in college.

And what, EXACTLY, would be the goal of spending MORE money to save LESS money on a non-existent problem?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 9, 2012 at 9:08 PM · Report this
104
I don't recall having ever voted for any DEA officials, past or present. What gives them the right to decide what Americans can or cannot do?
Posted by montex on September 9, 2012 at 6:56 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 103
102,

try breaking it down by age group, and you will find that more persons under 25 consume pot than consume alcohol. It's only as a person becomes older that s/he abandons pot in favor of alcohol, which is to say, people outgrow (forgive the pun) marijuana consumption.

In my mind, that's all the more reason to legalize it. I do not favor seeing our youth have their futures destroyed, their career prospects aborted, and their ability to become productive members of society ruined because they bought an ounce of pot at some point in their teens or twenties.

And does the illegality of pot prevent young people from using pot? Not on any college campus I've ever visited.

Look, growing up is a process, not an event. And for a period in one's late adolescence/early adulthood, marijuana is something that is very popular to use. The illegality of this substance does not inhibit it's use. Maturity inhibits its use.

Look, when I was 8-12 years old, the best thing in this world was grape flavored frozen ice pops. I consumed the hell out of purple ice pops during that period of my life. I haven't eaten one in decades, and nowadays they don't seem very appealing. The same thing happens with young people and pot. So leave those young people alone. Let them grow up, and don,t ruin their lives because they acted like juveniles when they were in fact juveniles.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on September 9, 2012 at 6:24 PM · Report this
102
@100 Why is it the 50% of Americans regularly consume alcohol, but only 16% smoke marijuana? Could the fact that marijuana is illegal and that using it can result in arrest or the loss of employment account for some of the that difference?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 6:12 PM · Report this
101
@99 "So, no, taxing cigarettes does NOT result in fewer smokers.
If it did, you would be able to identify the price point at which 10 million people would give up cigarettes.
And the price point at which 20 million people would give up cigarettes.
And so on."

Oh please, nothing is that clear cut in the social sciences. Price is only one of a multitude of factors that determine how many people smoke and how much they smoke. The best social scientists can do is to say that when A happens B tends to follow, which they have done w/ tobacco taxes and people not smoking.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 5:55 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 100
I believe marijuana should be legal. I do not believe that marijuana is comparable to cocaine, heroin, alcohol or tobacco, since all of these drugs require a complicated process involving both equipment and knowledge that the average person does not have. Pot can be grown by anyone in possession of a few seeds, soil that hasn't been totally depleted yet, and a stick.

Nor do I base my argument on taxation. Since marijuana is so incredibly easy to produce, it will be as impossible to tax as it is currently impossible to stop people from growing it, despite it's illegality. Nor do i think it will be any more controllable if it's illegal than it is now that it's illegal.

I base my argument on the following premises.
1) If making marijuana illegal hasn't stopped anyone from using it, then the illegality of marijuana is ineffective and pointless.
2) An 18 year old kid who gets picked up on a minor possession charge. He then gets sent to prison, where he learns how to steal cars, break into houses, and kill people. Then he gets out, and finds that nobody will hire him since he has a felony criminal record. His survival instinct is just as powerful as ever, so in order to make a living, he now turns to the skills he learnt in prison. So you've transformed a teenage pothead into a car thief. You know, i think I preferred him as a pothead.
3) Drug cartels, gangsters, and associated sociopaths make a lot of money from selling drugs to otherwise law-abiding people. Said law-abiding folk must now interact with a segment of the population that will happily lace their pot with meth or other crap out of sheer disregard for human life. I'd rather the law-abiding potheads buy their dope from a store clerk, where the stuff is less likely to kill them, and the profits don't go to support the fucking Mafia.

Lest you try some ad hominem attack, I do not smoke pot or consume any other illegal drug. I am not motivated by a desire to get stoned and spend my whole life playing video games and listening to Deep Purple while munching on nachos. I support marijuana legalization because making it illegal to begin with was an incredibly stupid idea.
More...
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on September 9, 2012 at 5:53 PM · Report this
99
@98
"Are you still saying taxing cigarettes doesn't result in fewer smokers?"

Did I not quote that exact point from the link you claimed showed that otherwise?
Here, I'll try to make it even clearer for you.

First off, you're saying "tax" when you really mean "cost". The taxes are rolled into the cost.

So if your claim was correct, there would be almost NO marijuana trafficking BECAUSE IT IS ALREADY SO EXPENSIVE.

So, no, taxing cigarettes does NOT result in fewer smokers.
If it did, you would be able to identify the price point at which 10 million people would give up cigarettes.
And the price point at which 20 million people would give up cigarettes.
And so on.

You cannot because you are an idiot.

Which is why you are trying to focus on something you think you can win instead of addressing the points that contradict your claims.

Raising the price means that crime related to that product becomes more economically viable AND it means that more of the disposable income of the users is tied up with it.

Do you need ANOTHER example?
By your "logic", Starbucks should be out of business. They charge 1000% more for coffee than it costs to make it yourself. So, by your "logic", no one should be buying Starbucks coffee because of the Starbucks "tax" on it.
But people DO spend 1000% more for coffee at Starbucks.

Did you get that yet?

Now, address the issues.
There is NO money to be saved from not prosecuting "stoners" because Seattle has ALREADY made prosecuting "stoners" the LOWEST PRIORITY.
Which means that MORE money would have to be spent to find the "stoners" that you keep claiming are taking financial-aid in college.

And what, EXACTLY, would be the goal of spending MORE money to save LESS money on a non-existent problem?
More...
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 9, 2012 at 4:48 PM · Report this
98
@96 Are you still saying taxing cigarettes doesn't result in fewer smokers?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 4:27 PM · Report this
97
@94 All kidding aside, I don't approve of marijuana use, but I think the lengths our government goes to in order to prevent people from getting stoned are excessive.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 4:22 PM · Report this
96
So, "Ken Mehlman", are you going to address the points that counter your claims or are you just a troll?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 9, 2012 at 4:15 PM · Report this
internet_jen 95
Two articles about high powered and most likely Type-A personality uppper middle class types, who are stoners:

High Society: Washington’s Love Affair With Marijuana
Medical marijuana is set to arrive in DC this summer. But the drug is already a much bigger part of upper-middle-class life here than you might think.
http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/pr…

Stiletto Stoners
They've got killer careers and enviable social lives. They're also major potheads. Why are so many smart, successful women lighting up in their off-hours?
http://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity-lif…

Posted by internet_jen on September 9, 2012 at 4:15 PM · Report this
LEE. 94
@93

See?? Who says pot has no positive qualities? It gave you the ability to troll like no other!
Posted by LEE. on September 9, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
93
@89 That was just a crazy idea I came up when I was high.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
92
Seem to remember a little thing called prohibition enriching "violent drug trafficking organizations" quite a bit (the drug at the time being alcohol). Do these guys even attempt to provide evidence for their claim that legalization will increase cartel activity? Tres ridiculous.
Posted by bonobo buddhi on September 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM · Report this
91
@88
"Yes, but not as many people and the people who do buy them don't buy as many as they otherwise would."

Your first point kind of contradicts your second point.

1. People do NOT buy them because they're taxed so high.
2. People DO buy them but in lower quantities.

Marijuana is VERY expensive (but inexpensive to produce).
Yet people still purchase it.
Which means lots of profit for the retailer.
Again, which CONTRADICTS your claims.

Anyway, on to that paper you attempted to site.
"Townsend, et al. (1994), for example, using data from the British General Household Survey, concluded that people in the lowest income groups were most responsive to price increases."

So that means that poor people should NOT be buying cigarettes.

"Over time, tobacco use has become increasingly concentrated in lower income groups and tobacco taxes paid as a share of income falls as income rises."

But poor people ARE buying the cigarettes.

So no, that does NOT support your claims.
You are an idiot.

And you STILL refuse to address the issue.
There is NO money to be saved from not prosecuting "stoners" because Seattle has ALREADY made prosecuting "stoners" the LOWEST PRIORITY.
Which means that MORE money would have to be spent to find the "stoners" that you keep claiming are taking financial-aid in college.

And what, EXACTLY, would be the goal of spending MORE money to save LESS money on a non-existent problem?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 9, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
LEE. 90
That should say personal experiences....
Posted by LEE. on September 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
LEE. 89
@88

Great. That still doesn't explain WHY you think college students who have used marijuana should be stripped of their financial aid and expelled, basically ensuring they have no opportunities in life unless they happen to come from a privileged background. No, the unfortunate person experiences in your past, coupled with some tired stereotype of stoners playing Skyrim and hacky sack while barely skating by in their woman's studies courses aren't acceptable evidence.
Posted by LEE. on September 9, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this
88
@86 "No they have not. People are STILL buying them."

Yes, but not as many people and the people who do buy them don't buy as many as they otherwise would. There's no need to take my word for this Fairly, it is a generally accepted scientific fact. If you doubt me click on the link @80 or fire up Google and see for yourself.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
87
@85 "We've cut youth initiation of tobacco use in half in this state in the past decade not by criminalizing cigarette smoking (or conditioning young people's ability to attend college on successfully passing nicotine drug tests), but by investing in multimedia public health education strategies that help and encourage people to make better decisions."

Washington state also taxes tobacco products at a rate that is more than twice the national average. I'd imagine that helps to cut youth initiation of tobacco.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this
86
@80
"You think raising the price of an addictive drug doesn't stop people from using it?"

I know it does not.
Cigarettes are heavily taxed and people are still smoking.

"Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to man but cigarette taxes have been shown to be an effective way to make people quit smoking."

No they have not. People are STILL buying them.

"What I'm suggesting is that in some cases withholding government benefits, such as student financial aid, might be a more cost effective way of discouraging drug abuse than criminal prosecution."

No.
What you are proposing is that the government PAY for drug tests for an entire segment of the population.
And if someone in that segment should show as positive for drug X then that person would lose their financial aid for college.
You CLAIM that the money for that program would come from savings THAT DO NOT EXIST.
They do not exist because marijuana prosecutions are the lowest priority in Seattle.

"Putting a stoner in jail costs money, taking away a stoner's Pell Grant saves money."

Which is why Seattle made marijuana prosecutions the LOWEST PRIORITY. Why do you not understand that? Seattle is ALREADY not spending that money.
Therefore, that money is NOT available for your claims.
Therefore, MORE money would have to be spent to find the "stoners" that you keep claiming are taking financial-aid in college.

And what, EXACTLY, would be the goal of spending MORE money to save LESS money on a non-existent problem?

You are an idiot.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM · Report this
85
@73, it is much more plausible that differences in tobacco and heroin use are attributable to people being more willing to smoke a substance than stick a needle in their arm, as well as (and probably more relevantly) the cultural norms surrounding smoking vs. heroin use. Compare, e.g., the portrayal of heroin use in "The Man with the Golden Arm" with the images of cigarette use in just about any other movie from Hollywood's Golden Age. Heroin use has never been glamorized the way tobacco (and alcohol) use has.

That the DEA, criminalization of marijuana use, and concurring price increases are ineffective tools in impacting use rates is underscored by the fact that, according to this year's Center for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System results, more high school students have smoked marijuana in the past 30 days than have smoked tobacco. This speaks to your argument @80 -- price manipulation is clearly an incomplete strategy since marijuana remains more expensive than tobacco by a factor of ten.

We've cut youth initiation of tobacco use in half in this state in the past decade not by criminalizing cigarette smoking (or conditioning young people's ability to attend college on successfully passing nicotine drug tests), but by investing in multimedia public health education strategies that help and encourage people to make better decisions.

@71 has it right: parents, schools, community groups and public health departments are the right tools. Pushing kids out of school due to a failed drug test only increases their risk of developing a substance use disorder.
Posted by Alison Holcomb http://www.newapproachwa.org/home on September 9, 2012 at 1:12 PM · Report this
84
@Mehlman: no one likes a public health nazi in a free society!

Yes, Prohibition and taxes reduce consumption but heroin isn't used more because it's extraordinarily powerful and most people prefer lower levels of intoxication of all kinds!

Strict restrictions on advertising and availability should constrain use and be better for everyone than the current DEA preferred approach to reduce heroin use (btw, the overuse of opiate prescriptions kinda undermine the current prohibition of heroin, don't ya think?)

Finally, your proposal for college students is leotarded! Why so much anti-pot and anti-student hate? Did the cool gay stoners make you feel like you missed out on all the fun in your college years? Go get some therapy and stop bothering these nice commenters on Slog!
Posted by DannyG on September 9, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
83
@82 I don't, but I bet some of those former DEA chiefs who signed that petition do. Most of them are far more rabidly anti-drug than I am.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
treacle 82
The only thing I'll say at this point is that I'm glad that this Ken Mehlman fellow probably has no position of influence over government or social policy ... and as such can't affect our lives beyond mere Internet comments.
Posted by treacle on September 9, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
81
@77, read Sec. 10 of Initiative 502. "The state liquor control board, subject to the provisions of this act, must adopt rules by December 1, 2013, that establish the procedures and criteria necessary to implement the following: ..." http://www.newapproachwa.org/sites/newap…
Posted by Alison Holcomb http://www.newapproachwa.org/home on September 9, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
80
@78 You think raising the price of an addictive drug doesn't stop people from using it? Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to man but cigarette taxes have been shown to be an effective way to make people quit smoking. You can read more about that here,

http://tigger.uic.edu/~fjc/Presentations…

"You are proposing that the savings from NOT prosecuting people for using X be used to PROSECUTE people for using X."

What I'm suggesting is that in some cases withholding government benefits, such as student financial aid, might be a more cost effective way of discouraging drug abuse than criminal prosecution. Putting a stoner in jail costs money, taking away a stoner's Pell Grant saves money.

Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
internet_jen 79
@ 78 - hah, after the above comment

"because professors in non-technical majors are not encouraged to grade rigorously."


It made me want to post a link to this: http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/orig…

(I refrained because I don't like to mix my internets too much, but you gave such a good prompt to do so)
Posted by internet_jen on September 9, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
78
@75
"During the 1920s alcohol prohibition was fairly effective at preventing people from getting drunk. It was abandoned because it doubled the murder rate ..."

And most people understand that being drunk is better than being dead.
Most people.
The other problem being that the additional murders were not in the same category as the previous murders.
It's one thing if criminals kill criminals.
It's a different thing if criminals kill police and other government agents.

And it did not stop anyone from getting drunk.
It just raised the price and the danger.

"Drug prohibition is expensive, brutal, and perhaps more trouble than it's worth, but it's a pretty effective way to stop people people from getting high."

You are an idiot.
Anyone who wants to buy marijuana can buy it.
It's not stopping anyone.
All it is doing is raising the price and the danger.

And it is only people like you (who have a problem with OTHER people using marijuana) who do not see the obvious problem there.

I'd rather a hundred college students used marijuana than one innocent person be killed because of drug-trafficking-related crime.

"So we could use some of the money we save by not throwing pot heads in jail to root out drug use among college students."

You do not know what "legalize" means, do you?
You are proposing that the savings from NOT prosecuting people for using X be used to PROSECUTE people for using X.

Not to mention that enforcement of marijuana possession laws are now the lowest priority in Seattle.
But you aren't happy with that so you want to change it and make marijuana usage an issue (for college students).

You have no idea what you're talking about.
More...
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 9, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
77
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes responds: "Initiative 502 provides a one-year rule-making process, open to the public, that will allow federal officials to observe and provide input on the writing of regulations.
That is a lie nothing can be done on this bill for two years except by Legislative action or a new bill. They will say anything to gut the medical cannabis community, and get this bill passed. I think it is convenient that the state legislature just passed a bill allowing police to be able to take you down for a blood test just because he has probable cause. they are already paving the way to make the 2 billion in 5 years all from DUI revenue, read it here http://www.ofm.wa.gov/initiatives/2012/5…
Posted by Sean Dorman on September 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Report this
76
How can any government forbid you to use something that naturally grows on this earth?! absurd!! Isn't that part of the way humans became more intelligent than animals, by cultivating and use earths natural food, medicine and textiles?? Marijuana should not be classified the same as other drugs that are illegal. THC, being fat soluble stays in our systems longer than any thing else, could this possibly be because our bodies don't recognize it as a toxin?! prohibition only fuels drug cartels from getting richer and more violent, making it legal will allow honest people get high while supporting their own government. STOP subsidizing corn farmers who do nothing but add to the obesity problems in America and start use all parts of the marijuana plant for fuel, textile, and medicine.
Posted by lkast on September 9, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
75
@74 Studies show that about 50% of adult Americans drink alcohol on a regular basis. Whereas only 16% regularly use marijuana. During the 1920s alcohol prohibition was fairly effective at preventing people from getting drunk. It was abandoned because it doubled the murder rate and gave vast wealth and power to sociopaths like Al Capone. Drug prohibition is expensive, brutal, and perhaps more trouble than it's worth, but it's a pretty effective way to stop people people from getting high.

As to your question about where the funds to drug test college kids would come from, if you'll refer to comment #17 you will see that my original modest proposal also called for the production, sale, and possession of marijuana be legalized. So we could use some of the money we save by not throwing pot heads in jail to root out drug use among college students.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 10:26 AM · Report this
74
@73
So you are continuing to avoid the questions that have been asked.

"Is it possible that the relatively small number of heroin addicts is to some extent the result of the efforts of law enforcement agencies such as the DEA?"

And by "to some extent" do you mean 1 person?
Because spending all that money and time just to persuade 1 person to not try HEROIN seems like a bit of a waste.

Never mind that the discussion was about legalizing marijuana.

When you cannot win on the original topic, switch to something you think you can win at. Even if you have to abstract your argument to the point where your argument can be spending hundred of millions of dollars to convince 1 person to not try heroin.

You have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

Where is the money going to come from for testing all those college students? Those tests are NOT free.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 9, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
73
@71 Tobacco is only slightly more addictive than heroin. Yet, 47 million Americans smoke while only about 2 million use heroin. Is it possible that the relatively small number of heroin addicts is to some extent the result of the efforts of law enforcement agencies such as the DEA?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 9, 2012 at 8:58 AM · Report this
72
@69
"Legalize it, market it, and tax the hell out of it."

I think it should not be marketed.
Instead, the packs or whatever containers it is sold in should be black writing on a white background with the quantity/weight and the registration number of the producer.
No pictures. No cartoons. No brand names.
No more "Joe Camel" campaigns aimed at kids.

Kind of like this was for beer:
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/attachmen…
Although I'd also get rid of the different fonts. You get one, boring, font in one size.

I think the goal should be to reduce drug-trafficking-related crimes by reducing the non-taxable profits from the distribution/sale of drugs.
But to do so in a way that does not encourage/entice/glamorize the usage of such.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 9, 2012 at 8:39 AM · Report this
71
Reducing drug use is a job for parents, schools, community groups and public health departments. Law enforcement has no business being involved, because it has proven a hundred times over that it's the wrong tool for the job.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on September 9, 2012 at 7:46 AM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 70
@67 - False premise. His support is not knee-jerk and he shouldn't feel shame for it.

For your second statement, that can be shared with ll Slog writers.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on September 9, 2012 at 7:20 AM · Report this
69
I really wish we could treat it just like booze. Legalize it for the 21 and up crowd - or at least 18 and up. Show up to work high and get your ass fired. Get pulled over high and get your license suspended. Get in an accident high, or miss safety issues that cause someone else harm because you're high, be royally fucked. Legalize it, market it, and tax the hell out of it.

Oh, and while we're at it, crank up the punishments for driving drunk and high until they actually mean something. Especially if it takes someone's life.
Posted by NateMan on September 9, 2012 at 7:03 AM · Report this
Drug Truth Network 68
Those who support drug prohibition of any sort are representing intelligence while actually providing eternal support for deep and dark forces of evil. We could run their asses off any debate stage in a minute flat. But they are cowardly pussies who fear said debate for it would ruin their legacy (coming soon enuf any way, but they want to enjoy they last moments in the sun.) FUCK 'EM!
Posted by Drug Truth Network on September 9, 2012 at 6:34 AM · Report this
67
I propose two theorems for consideration.

Dominick Holden has no shame in his knee jerk support for I-502.

The level of comment on this site accurately reflects the maturity
and intelligence of his readers, which is none to high, way too high,
or not high enough, as the case may be.

Posted by Haxo on September 8, 2012 at 10:54 PM · Report this
66
KM - I recently watched this very good video on the drug war in Baltimore, especially relevant to this conversation were the insights from the creator of the Wire, a former cop and teacher.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla…

I think you'll especially love that it was produced by Al Jazeera. Anyway, interesting to see how people in other countries see us, no?
Posted by gnot on September 8, 2012 at 10:43 PM · Report this
65
Hahahaha, You're an idiot and duly noted. None of the above. Perfectly middle aged and just a guy. You're a fucking fool.
Posted by ortolan on September 8, 2012 at 10:30 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 64
63 can't understand me. I need a translator. Does anyone here speak hipster? i think he got confused and thought this thread was about Urban Outfitters, trucker hats and PBR.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on September 8, 2012 at 10:28 PM · Report this
63
Literally, what the fuck are you even talking about @62?
Posted by ortolan on September 8, 2012 at 10:17 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 62
61,

Duuude, why bother voting when you can macrame your ass to the sofa and talk shit about everyone else? Being a lazy self-righteous asshole is sooo much easier than mailing in a stupid ballot form before the deadline. I mean, the reason why voter turnout in the primaries was so low isn't because people like you don't vote. It's because of the MAN. Keeping you DOWN. By making it so hard to get off your sofa and walk to a MAILBOX. Duuuude! Those fuckin' idiots who say you should vote are suuuuuch asshooooles! Duuuuuude!
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on September 8, 2012 at 10:05 PM · Report this
61
I smoke pot maybe a few times a year, but I just wanted to join in on the pile on on this Mehlman. Dude, you're a fucking idiot.
Posted by ortolan on September 8, 2012 at 9:44 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 60
I do wonder why opponents of legalization are so worried.

Most ballot initiatives favor the status quo. Voters rarely vote in favor of a major structural change, unless the shit is really hitting the fan in a way that effects the majority of voters.

1) most people under 35 do not vote.
2) Groups of marijuana growers oppose legalization, since the status quo (dispensaries) artificially inflates prices
3) Anarchists generally do not vote.
4) Medical marijuana users already have the right to purchase, use and possess it.

So, the deck is already stacked against legalization. While medical marijuana users are significantly more motivated than 25 year old recreational users, they only benefit in the sense that prices will drop once it becomes legal for anyone to grow small amounts of the stuff. In every other sense, they are unaffected by the change.

And while the rest of us (myself included) do not want to see the 25 year old recreational user arrested for marijuana possession, we're not directly impacted in the same way that said 25 year old stoner is. And while the young recreational anarchist hippie punk stands the most to gain, s/he is likely not going to vote. Not standing up for your own rights at the ballot box does not translate into electoral victory, no matter how much those of us older non-stoners care about you and don't want you to get arrested.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on September 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM · Report this
59
I'm curious to see how all those "states rights" Republicans react to marijuana legalization, instead of things like the voting rights act. If nothing else, it will once and for all reveal these so-called federalists to be the racists most of them are (gay marriage statutes do the same thing of course but pot doesn't have the same resonance with the social con crowd)

Incidentally, Colorado resident here too and I will be voting to legalize, even though I'm not a pot-smoker myself.
Posted by Corydon on September 8, 2012 at 9:16 PM · Report this
58
Cute wil' pups! ;)
Posted by michael bell on September 8, 2012 at 7:18 PM · Report this
57
I support fully legalizing marijuana because too many little dogs have been injured or harmed in the way of these nasty bad cartels. I want every puppy to be able to live to their cuteness potential and make me happy!!!!!!!!
Posted by michael bell on September 8, 2012 at 7:17 PM · Report this
56
Mehlman, have you ever met Tom Waits? Because I can't help but think he must have had you in mind when he wrote that someone "...is a mental midget, with the IQ of a fence post).
Posted by Pol Pot on September 8, 2012 at 7:11 PM · Report this
55
Fuckers!
Posted by Nate Dogg on September 8, 2012 at 6:31 PM · Report this
blip 54
Screening fin-aid recipients based on their grades is much cheaper and easier - not to mention infinitely more intelligent - than using drug tests as a proxy for poor performance. Not all stoners are slackers and not all slackers are stoners. What the fuck are YOU smoking, Mehlman?
Posted by blip on September 8, 2012 at 6:29 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 53
Rob @47: Well, that's good to know. And to think that for all these years I've been forced to get by drinking blood. Thanks, bud!
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on September 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
52
BTW It's not just anonymous internet trolls like me who say that marijuana is an addictive drug and not a condiment. You can read more about that here,

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/05/marij…

and here,

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 51
@46: This is what 'reinforcement theory' looks like in real life. Doofus.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on September 8, 2012 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 50
Every political p[project exists because a politician thinks it will get them re-elected. Prohibition was voted in by Congress, the Senate, and 2/3 of the state legislatures. it was signed into law by the President and 2/3 of the governors. Was it the right thing to do? Obviously not, given it's disastrous effects. But right and wrong have nothing to do with politics.

This is not to say that politicians do not do the right or wrong thing. Jimmy Carter was in favor of marijuana legalization during his Presidency. He was also accurately assessed the energy crisis, and was absolutely correct in his recommendations for how we should address it. As right as President Carter was on these and so many other issues, he did not get re-elected. The guy who replaced him was wrong on those issues, but he won and therefore got to implement his view of how they should be handled.

President Obama wants to win re-election. This is an election year. Polls show that Obama and Romney are neck-and-neck. And we all know that if Romney wins, not only will marijuana not be decriminalized/legalized, we know that the incoming administration will very aggressively prosecute marijuana users.

Knowing this, and knowing that supporting marijuana legalization/decriminalization, or allowing himself to be perceived as tacitly supporting such measures, it seems obvious that he will come out against them. Obama may very well have not brought the issue up before this, but now that the spotlight is on him, and he has to take a stand, it's no mystery as to which stand he will take.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on September 8, 2012 at 5:16 PM · Report this
49
@42 maybe you have a father-son issue.

Many "pot heads" I have known, are business owners, accountants, engineers, military officers, construction workers, realtors, sales, janitors, teachers, equipment operators ....the list goes on and on.
Attitude and perserverence are more important than whether you smoke pot. Why do you know so many lazy people? I ask again, which came first, laziness or Cheech and Chong?

I have a real life and my butt is sore. I'm ought here!

Posted by charliebickle on September 8, 2012 at 5:09 PM · Report this
48
@46 Well you don't know everything about stoners, do you? I've been stoned most of my highly productive adult life, including during my education, and yet here I am. Fit, happy, well compensated, great past, great future. Sorry to piss on your piety parade. Maybe you should just butt the fuck out of other peoples lives and stop worrying about what is a pittance of cash compared to what your military buddies burn in an afternoon. I don't need your permission, history has proved that. Stop wasting everyone's time with your moralistic bullshit.
Posted by Fuck you and the horse your rode in on on September 8, 2012 at 4:59 PM · Report this
rob! 47
Cancoon is that place where young people (and sometimes even old people like me and Fifty-Two-Eighty) go to absorb the life-force present in the waters, even though it means the Antareans must suffer another 10,000 years on this planet.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on September 8, 2012 at 4:27 PM · Report this
46
@42 I grew up in a college town and spent much of my youth in institutions of higher learning. My own father is a long time 'medicinal' marijuana user. I think I know a few things about pot heads.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 4:23 PM · Report this
internet_jen 45
Hey, you should be happy that is the only word I butchered.

I mean. Re-invented!
Posted by internet_jen on September 8, 2012 at 4:19 PM · Report this
44
@38 I actually did go through four years of college as an under-grad, plus two years of grad school. Granted that was many years ago when financial aid programs were a bit more generous than they are today. I don't think tying financial aid to academic performance is a very effective way to keep out the riffraff because professors in non-technical majors are not encouraged to grade rigorously. Every student comes w/ a certain number of financial aid dollars and the school wants to hold onto as many as it can.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 43
Now wait just a fucking minute here. "Cancoon?????"
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on September 8, 2012 at 4:15 PM · Report this
42
@35 What came first, lazy people or dope smoking people? I have known a lot of lazy people who didn't or don't smoke dope.

I spent quite a few years as a professional business manager. Drunks are far worse. "Hung over employees are never productive. Give me a stoner and we'll still get the job
done. (I'm not advocating smoking at work....but the night(s) before no big deal.)

Your concept of pot heads just lying on the couch watching TV and consuming Cheetos is something you have learned from TV or Movie Comedies. Reality is calling in sick because of the "Irish Flu" and then lying of the couch. I know, I know.... conservatives don't need facts.



Posted by charliebickle on September 8, 2012 at 4:01 PM · Report this
rob! 41
You don't fucking get it, @40. "Accurate" is a relative term. Yes, tests are used in the real world, imperfect though they are. Yes, unions sometimes go along with them. Yet people get unfairly hurt by them all the time and have little to no recourse.

What false-positive rate would you think acceptable for a pre-employment physical? in order to keep your existing job, if you're one of the many people a single payday away from consumer-lending default? to avoid being given a death sentence for a murder you didn't commit?
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on September 8, 2012 at 4:00 PM · Report this
40
@37 I'm fairly sure urine tests are accurate because I know of Border Patrol Agents who have been fired for failing them. The Border Patrol is represented by a powerful union so I don't think that would be allowed if those tests weren't accurate. The government can't fire an agent who flunks a lie-detector test because the polygraph has been shown to be unreliable.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 3:48 PM · Report this
39
"Goal would be to prevent stoners from using public universities and financial aid to subsidize their lifestyle"

You're a nut case.
Posted by Rhizome on September 8, 2012 at 3:41 PM · Report this
internet_jen 38
@33 - you obviously have never been through a 4 year college. Otherwise you'd have a sense of the size of the student population; WA's four state schools total over 96k students - those are a lot of tests to be given.

You would also know that fin-aid is only available for three quarters per year and minimum load is 12 credits per quarter. Traditionally the quarter spent off is summer. Would you test everyone once a year? If students take winter quarter off would you re-test for spring & summer?

Also you would know that financial aid is tied to performance - there are minimum requirements of credits achieved per year to maintain fin-aid. If you do not meet the standard, fin-aid is revoke for following quarter/semester and you have to appeal for its return.

There is a cap to financial aid too, once you reach around 180 credits they start to put the squeeze on you so you cannot stay in undergrad forever. Most degrees can be finished up with under 200 credits. Astronomy and Physics class overlap so much most people go for the double major. Business is often times paired with foreign language minors. Stuff like that can put you over the top, but that is when you meet with an adviser and map out a agreed plan for graduation and then you can get the fin-aid back for those classes.

You cannot stay in undergrad forever on the pell grant, no matter how much you wanted to hate liberal arts students for doing so.

Posted by internet_jen on September 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
rob! 37
Holy fuck, @33, somebody really hit you with the stupid stick today.

I'm going to help you out with testing theory since you're too lazy to lift a finger. EVERY BIOCHEMICAL TEST has an inherent level of sensitivity (the "false-negative" rate, or those specimens which pass the test although the test subject ingested the substance or otherwise matched the design parameter) and specificity (the "false-positive" rate, or those specimens which fail the test although the test subject never ingested the target substance or otherwise fell outside the design parameters). Both rates in commonly accepted tests can be surprisingly high.

You may think a pre-employment drug-screening test is no biggie, but what if YOU were the guy who's never snorted or injected heroin in his life, nor taken oral opiates whether prescribed or not, but fails the test because he ate a poppy-seed muffin at Starbuck's on the way to the lab? What if that was the only job offer you've received out of all the hundreds of applications you've submitted since 2008?

False positives can arise because of unique or unusual biochemical characteristics of the test subject, cross-reacting but irrelevant substances present in the specimen, defects in the test materials (a scratch in the test plate allows intermediate detection reagents to adhere through multiple rinsing steps), and many other reasons. Often these cases can be resolved by repeat testing. But ignorant people like you who have attained gatekeeper positions in HR and other arenas are unlikely to authorize a retest because there were dozens of other qualified job applicants who passed on the day your test was processed.

There are already adequate quality-control mechanisms present in academia—among others, the reputation of the school in which you matriculate, and the minimum-GPA requirements pertaining thereto.
More...
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on September 8, 2012 at 3:31 PM · Report this
36
@33
"This means that people whose goal in life is to get stoned and watch TV tend to go to college rather than getting a job and stay in college as long as they can."

Yeah. That's going to go along with your other weird claims such as:
http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives…
"I think this makes African Americans less inclined to follow society's rules."

"My proposal is that we drive the pot heads out of academia by making all financial aid contingent, among other things on, on passing regular urine tests."

Yes, you've posted that before.
You've still managed to refuse to explain how you know that the pot wasn't purchased with non-financial-aid funds. Or how you know that the pot wasn't given/shared with the student.

But you do know that colleges are where stoners are and lots of the teachers there are also stoners or were stoners and so stoners get an easy life in college.

And you don't like that.

I'm guessing that you didn't see how STUPID that plan was when "alcohol" was substituted for "marijuana".

You don't like marijuana use but you want to frame it as something else so you can demand a completely unrelated response to it.

You're an idiot.
"I think this makes African Americans less inclined to follow society's rules."
You are an idiot.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM · Report this
35
@34 Alcohol is more likely to cause people to behave in a violent or reckless fashion, but pot is worse in terms of making people lazy and forgetful. Stoners don't usually hurt anybody, but I think they are more likely than drunks to become a burden on society because they don't work.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
34
In my 65 years of life's great adventure, whenever I did something crazy or stupid it was because of the likes of Rainier Beer or Johnnie Walker Red etc.

Smoking some weed never hurt anybody! Most people just ignore the law anyway. Conservatives should learn to live and let live.
Posted by charliebickle on September 8, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
33
@28 A college kid in an easy major has a lot more leisure time than somebody who works 40 hours a week. This means that people whose goal in life is to get stoned and watch TV tend to go to college rather than getting a job and stay in college as long as they can. Eventually the money runs out and they join the Occupy movement. Ideally, the way to break this cycle would be to raise academic standards, but I can't see that happening. To many humanities professors are former tokers themselves for that to happen. My proposal is that we drive the pot heads out of academia by making all financial aid contingent, among other things on, on passing regular urine tests.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 3:05 PM · Report this
32
Why listen to them? The policies they oversaw failed. They solved nothing and their resistance to these state-level moves solves nothing. They are do-nothing, achieve-nothing hand wringers. Human boat anchors with a history of failure. What possible credibility do they have? They fear change and are reflexively authoritarian. This letter says more about their personal emotional issues than it does about the issue of drug regulation, organized crime, public health impacts, and all the things real people actually care about.
Posted by nullbull on September 8, 2012 at 2:45 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 31
@19 - I have been and @18 is right. It's pretty prevalent although not directly out in the open for obvious reasons. And from experience, all you need to pass a drug test is the right connections.

Would you also support having breathalyzers installed in every public university students' car (at taxpayer expense) too? Any alcohol content and they're locked in their car until they're picked up by police. They can all lose their loan money too. Hopefully they'll steer clear of cold medicine! Rich kids could get a free pass, either buying their way out of trouble via the family lawyer or just going to private schools instead. No skin off their back.

Hell lets just put cameras on any underage poor kids' heads, and monitor them. Build some software to analyze all the footage and if any suspected illegal activity goes on (like speeding when borrowing the car! Not stopping at a stop sign on their bikes!) we can take away all their futures too!
Posted by Pridge Wessea on September 8, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
rob! 30
If differences exist between these former officials and the current DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart or "drug czar" Gil Kerlikowske, they are subtle and deserving of reportage.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on September 8, 2012 at 2:13 PM · Report this
internet_jen 29
@26 - so World of Warcraft, hard drugs that can flush out of the body quickly, alcohol, strip clubs, hookers, spring break in Cancoon - all okay - but stoners can GTFO?

How many highly tuned plans would you implement to safeguard fin-aid?
Posted by internet_jen on September 8, 2012 at 2:11 PM · Report this
28
@26
"Goal would be to prevent stoners from using public universities and financial aid to subsidize their lifestyle."

First off, how are "using public universities"? How?

Second, you disapprove of the action so you are trying to punish the people who engage in that action.

Third, you seem to have missed the point of this thread. It's about LEGALIZING the action that you disapprove of.

Which is why you are unable to answer any of the questions that have been brought up about your position. Such as, how do you know that the money came from financial aid? How do you know that the student purchased it at all? And so forth.

Say, isn't alcohol still illegal for many college students?
So if an under-age student has a blood alcohol level of ... ANYTHING ... then that student should be kicked out of college and face "revocation of all government financial aid".
And there should be random breathalyzer tests.
Right?

Do you now see how stupid that sounds?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 8, 2012 at 2:05 PM · Report this
27
The DEA is clearly wrong here. And just look at the track record of Obama. Of course he will side with them on this issue. His administration has raided more dispensaries in four years than Bush did in 8.

Beyond this, I-502 is too flawed.

Mr. Holden, you have been claiming through out this campaign to claim to thoroughly address all of the science.

Well here are three things which I have not seen you address.

One is that the very report which Norml uses to justify the 5 ng/ml limit ( www .canorml .org/healthfacts/DUICreport.2005. pdf), does also indeed mention that this limit may not be fair to regular or medical users:

"Background THC concentrations of regular users are also an uncertainty factor when estimating impairment based on THC blood concentrations."

The same report mentions that zero tolerance policies for youth are unrealistic, bad for designated drivers and completely recommended against:

"Extended or complete abstinence, as implicitly stipulated by a zero THC limit in blood, is not a realistic option, particularly for many younger drivers, who are the primary target for DUIC control. A zero limit also interferes with the concept of using designated drivers. A driver who used cannabis more than 12 hours before an event may still present with measurable THC."

Even this Fox affiliate in Colorado shows why 5 ng/ml is not fair.

( kdvr. com /2012/05/16/your-questions-answered-driving-under-the-influence-of-marijuana/)

If a Fox affiliate can even conclude that a 5 ng/ml as being unfair to individual rights, something is definitely wrong.

You keep mentioning racial bias in Washington State marijuana convictions. Where do you think those convictions are stemming from? From traffic stops.

You claim to have the science to refute these issues, then please I politely challenge you to respond to these issues in a way which makes I-502 still seem like the best policy. Because based on the above info, it just isn't.

Further more, people are saying your stance is biased because you never drive. Care to address this?

Thanks.
More...
Posted by Please resond, okay thanks on September 8, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Report this
26
@22 & 23 Goal would be to prevent stoners from using public universities and financial aid to subsidize their lifestyle. You can spend your life hitting the bong and watching Ren and Stimpy if you want to, just not on the taxpayer's dime. I suspect there would be fewer people with $30,000 in student loans and nothing to show for it but a degree in basket weaving if being in college ment not smoking pot.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
25
@23 the answer to why is that he is a "small government" "conservative" and therefore cannot stand the thought that someone he views as inferior to him self could be able to make a decision like that without his or the government's say so.
Posted by Bohica on September 8, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
NaFun 24
@17: I'll play along. The answer is no. Depriving college students of their financial aid for failing a pee test will have several unintended consequences. College students will move to other, unknown and potentially far more dangerous drugs that don't show on such a test (there are thousands of synthetic cannabinoids, cocaine, speed, mdma are undetectable after 6 days, etc). Furthermore, college age kids will take risks and experiment. They are biologically less risk averse than older people. We want them to survive that risk-taking phase without ruining their lives over something so relatively trivial as taking a bong hit at a weekend house party.

Posted by NaFun http://www.dancesafe.org on September 8, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
23
@22
Don't forget that money is fungible.
If the goal really is to prevent financial aid money from being used to purchase marijuana then the only possible way is your idea with the student ID.
Otherwise, who is to say that the money did not come from the kid collecting aluminum cans?
Or that someone else shared theirs with the college kid?

So, "Ken Mehlman", answer the "WHY" question.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 8, 2012 at 1:23 PM · Report this
internet_jen 22
@17 - That'd be a major violation of privacy, or you know, the 4th amendment.

Is the end result of those hypothetical restrictions to keep fin-aid money from buying pot? The first year of college I bought a DSLR with my fin-aid money (decided to commute from Tacoma instead of taking out extra money to pay for dorms/rent in Seattle, ended up with a surplus). Don't think the poster store on The Ave doesn't make a killing each time fin-aid is disbursed.

Constitutionally it may be easier to pass a restriction of where funds can be spent, maybe attaching them to the magnetic strip to the student ID, like a debit card. BUT since it isn't a real debit card it will only be accepted where POS can support the transactions.

Or do you not care of fin-aid is spent on junk food, cameras, posters, or hotpants; but weed just get's your panties in a knot.
Posted by internet_jen on September 8, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
21
@20
"I'm no expert on the chemistry of urine analysis, but it is my understanding that drug tests are accurate enough to be considered a valid basis to fire people from their jobs."

Do some research, okay?
No test is 100% reliable.
Those tests are not free.
Why?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 8, 2012 at 1:08 PM · Report this
20
@18 I'm no expert on the chemistry of urine analysis, but it is my understanding that drug tests are accurate enough to be considered a valid basis to fire people from their jobs.

@19 I've never been in the military, but I know quite a few people who have. From what I hear, drug use among military personnel is extremely rare.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM · Report this
19
Uhhhh, commercial pilots and military personnel ignore the rules. Cannabis use gas been when to affect pilots like it does drivers. Studies have shown SOME cannabis users to be among the better commercial pilots.
Posted by SamWayneSmith on September 8, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
18
@17
Where's the money for all that testing going to come from?
What about "false positives"?
Why?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on September 8, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
17
What if we legalized the production, sale, possession, and use of marijuana, but subjected college students to a rigorous system of drug testing comparable to that used on commercial pilots and active duty military personnel. The penalty for failing or refusing a drug test would be expulsion from any publicly funded school and revocation of all government financial aid. What do slog liberals think of that? Would you guys agree to that kind of grand bargain?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this
16
Not to mention even Paul Ryan came out and defended state's rights to legalize MJ. If the fed tried to prosecute state employees, all hell would break loose.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on September 8, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 15
There is drug consumption and drug production. Do these need to be analyzed separately?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on September 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
watchout5 14
If Washington keeps weed illegal while privatising alcohol I'm just going to laugh all the way to the bank. What the Fuck ever at this point, I'm already voting against my economic interest, if you instead would prefer me and my friends keep making boat loads of cash selling drugs to people a regulated market wouldn't don't vote for I502. I don't give a Fuck your reason anymore either. You're voting against this initiative for selfish personal reasons, so id rather embrace what it is than fight it, rent is due or something *roll eyes*
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on September 8, 2012 at 11:30 AM · Report this
13
@11 One thing I will say for Ron Paul style libertarians is that at least they are philosophically consistent. I don't understand conservatives who favor the most draconian drug policies but start screaming about tyranny when Obama tries to impose a $500 a year tax on people who refuse to buy health insurance.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
12
@8 These are former heads of the DEA saying marijuana should remain illegal. I don't think the career prospects of a guy who was in charge of the DEA for three years twenty years ago will be significantly effected by how much money congress gives the DEA in the next budget.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 11
Ken @3: Absolutely. As an initial precept, I don't believe that "free" citizens should be told by their government that anything is illegal, as long as you're willing to deal with the consequences. (Note: The consequences can get pretty ugly.) Secondly, after 32 years on the force, I can tell you that the vast majority of the calls involved people who were drunk, not stoned. OK, I'm not saying you should drive stoned, but there's no comparison between the two.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on September 8, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this
treacle 10
Of COURSE they want to keep pot illegal, it ensures the ability to selectively arrest people, especially the poor, activists, and blacks.

USA! USA! #1! ... In incarceration.
Posted by treacle on September 8, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
9
@5 From a public health perspective few things make more sense than alcohol prohibition. The trouble is that alcohol use is so deeply rooted in our society that such a law would be unenforceable. We found that out the hard way during the roaring '20s. Marijuana use is less wide spread than alcohol use and doesn't have same cultural/historical significance (Jesus didn't turn grass clippings into kind bud). Hence the enforcement of marijuana prohibition is less problematic. I'm not necessarily against loosening restrictions on marijuana use. However, I don't think the standard stoner retort of " . . . but alcohol's worse" settles the issue.

@4 By your logic almost nothing is actually illegal. For example the people who train drug sniffing dogs can legally posses cocaine and heroin. Does that make cocaine and heroin legal but highly regulated substances?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Lew Siffer 8
The DEA solely exist to protect their billion dollar enterprise. They don't give a flying fuck if a single gram of dope is removed from the streets. Drug eradication would be their ultimate nightmare. Maintain dope levels, maintain funding.
Posted by Lew Siffer on September 8, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 7
This is an issue of the bureaucracy protecting it's turf and power. They have no interest in correcting any wrongs. They have only self interest at heart. They failed and they don't care.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on September 8, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this
6
For a while I naively thought that the DEA really thought they were effectively helping mankind through the war on drugs, even though at the street level it was obvious they weren't accomplishing anything.

Then I realized it has nothing to do with helping people, or with morality in general.

The DEA feels so strongly about the war on drugs because it is their market. Without a huge group of people to go after, there is no reason for them to exist, no reason for them to have a job, no reason for them to collect a pension.

I don't give a fuck that most of the people these DEA chiefs know will lose their job if we start legalizing drugs. I care about the thing they started out claiming to care about: people, and I can tell you throwing them in jail and treating drug use like a criminal issue (as opposed to a health issue) is the wrong way to do it.

The DEA still has a huge and legitimate role to play in the medical world, but its role in the war on drugs should be over.
Posted by Swearengen on September 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
5
I really don't understand why alcohol is legal and marijuana is not. Alcohol kills, and the only way marijuana kills is with drug cartel involvement. MJ is a natural plant with numerous benefits. Alcohol benefits court and prison systems. Personally, I think the DEA would serve their purposes better to go after the drugs that do kill. The feds are trying to penalize dispensaries for being within certain ranges of schools and playgrounds...under what idea does this come from ? Alcohol can be purchased just about anywhere now, next to playgrounds, etc. I just don't understand.
Posted by Hammy on September 8, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
4
@3. Legal is like pregnant .... there is no "almost".. I think "legal" becomes confused with "free of regulation". Cannabis is currently "legal" to produce and distribute in the US. It is merely highly regulated.
Posted by SamWayneSmith on September 8, 2012 at 10:02 AM · Report this
3
@2 Do you think marijuana should be 100% legal?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2012 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 2
FYI, Amendment 64 in Colorado is currently polling at about 60% for approval, so don't think it's going to make much of a difference what they do. It's looking like we, at least, will be the test case on this. It should be interesting.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on September 8, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
seatackled 1
Gosh, it's like these former DEA heads are trying to justify their roles in destroying the lives of the small time users whose prosecutions they facilitated for decades.
Posted by seatackled on September 8, 2012 at 9:25 AM · Report this

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