Cannabis News Stop the Drug War!
  Prison -- for Pot?
Posted by CN Staff on May 28, 2008 at 13:33:10 PT
By Maureen Turner 
Source: Valley Advocate 

cannabis Massachusetts -- I call Dick Evans to interview him. But he has his own question—or, more specifically, an assignment—for me: "I challenge you to find anyone who believes adults who choose to use marijuana responsibly deserve to be arrested, prosecuted and locked up."

Evans is pretty sure I'll come up empty; he's even willing to bet a lunch on it. A Northampton attorney and former member of the Board of Directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, Evans spent decades advocating for the reform of drug laws, and while officially "retired" from the cause, he still tracks it closely.

These days, there's a lot to track. In November, Massachusetts voters could have the chance to decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, making it a civil, not criminal, infraction. On the federal level, U.S. Reps. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Ron Paul, a Texas Republican (and renegade presidential candidate), are co-sponsoring legislation that would remove federal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

("The notion that you lock people up for smoking marijuana is pretty silly," Frank said as he announced the bill on Bill Maher's HBO show "Real Time." That's one for Dick Evans.)

Add to that the increasing public debate about who ends up behind bars for drug crimes, and how much we as a society pay to prosecute and imprison them, and it's tempting to say there's a groundswell of interest, from across the political spectrum, in re-examining our drug laws. But as Evans and other long-time activists will tell you, when it comes to drug policy, change is slow in coming. Progress is made in small, incremental steps, which sometimes fall far short of what reformers would like to see.

"I think we can get lost in the increments," says Evans. While small changes can be important, he urges that focus be kept on what, in an email to the Advocate, he called "the 900-pound gorilla that terrifies so many people, and that is the broad question of whether, in 2008, the responsible use of marijuana by adults with no visible harm to themselves or anyone else ought to remain a crime, wrecking people's lives and diverting public revenues from urgent needs."

Plenty of Massachusetts voters share Evans' view, at least according to a series of questions that have appeared on local ballots in recent years.

Since 2000, activists—most notably, the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, or MASS CANN (the state affiliate of NORML)—have worked to get non-binding public policy questions on marijuana reform on the ballots in four state Senate districts and 33 Representative districts. All were approved by a majority of voters.

A handful of the ballot questions addressed the legalization of medical marijuana; there was also one that would allow the growing of industrial hemp, and another to allow the state-regulated—and state-taxed—sale of marijuana to adults.

But the vast majority of the questions—28 of the total 37—went directly to the issue of decriminalization, asking voters whether possession of a small amount of pot should be a civil violation. Voters in every district approved the question, by majorities ranging from 59 to 76 percent.

While public policy questions are non-binding, they do serve as an important way of demonstrating to legislators the priorities of their constituents. Whether or not legislators heed those messages is, of course, another matter.

At the very least, the message was heard by activists, who saw Massachusetts presenting a prime opportunity for reforming marijuana laws. That led to the creation of the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, or CSMP, the group behind the proposed November ballot question.

Under current Massachusetts law, marijuana possession can lead to jail, probation or a fine; a conviction can also result in the suspension of your driver's license, the loss of your right to possess firearms and the denial of student loans. While first offenses without mitigating circumstances are typically continued without a finding and dropped after one year if the defendant has no further legal problems, critics of the system say there are a number of ways prosecutors can pursue a tougher penalty—if, for instance, the arrest happened near a school zone. They also contend that the defendant's race and class can affect how aggressively a drug charge is pursued, a contention borne out by several recent studies.

Even if a defendant's charges are continued and then dropped, she still has to go through the costly and onerous legal system; as MASS CANN puts it, "Prosecution itself is used as a form of punishment."

If approved, the November ballot question would amend state law so that adults found guilty of possessing one ounce or less would face a $100 fine; those under 18 would also have to complete a "drug awareness program" and perform community service. The initiative has been endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union as well as NORML and MASS CANN.

Last fall, CSMP cleared the first hurdle for getting the question on the ballot, collecting about 81,000 valid petition signatures (15,000 more than needed) in support. Now the group is conducting a second required signature drive, and needs to collect another 11,000 valid signatures by June 18.

At the same time, the Legislature is considering similar legislation that would create civil penalties for personal possession by adults. Given the historically slow progress of such bills, though, reformers see the ballot question as a way to put the issue directly in the hands of voters. "On this issue, the public is ahead of the politicians," says Whitney Taylor, manager of the ballot question committee.

To Taylor, existing laws regarding marijuana are too harsh. A person convicted of possessing a relatively small amount of pot could end up with a criminal record that would haunt him for years, standing as a barrier every time he applies for a job, a loan, an apartment. According to CSMP, 7,500 new criminal records are created each year in Massachusetts for people found guilty of possessing one ounce or less of pot.

The criminal record issue has a lot of traction on college campuses. "Historically, the war on drugs has been waged to protect young people. After decades of failed punitive prohibitionist policies, we as young people are here to say this war is actually hurting us," says Tom Angell, government relations director for Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a national group with chapters at about 125 high schools and colleges.

SSDP focuses on drug policies that affect young people, such as student drug testing. One particularly hot issue has been the 2000 Higher Education Act, which denied federal financial aid to students convicted of any drug offense, even if it happened before they were in college. While the law was amended in 2006 to apply only to students convicted at the time they are receiving aid, blocking anyone's access to education is wrong-headed, Angell says. Students forced to drop out of college for financial reasons will feel the repercussions for a lifetime; some may even be more likely to turn to drugs when other opportunities are denied. "We think that's an incredibly counter-productive policy," Angell says.

And in these days of municipal shortfalls, reformers have in their arsenal an especially persuasive argument: cost savings. Whitney points to a 2007 study by Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, that found that Massachusetts police departments spend a total of $29.5 million a year to arrest and process suspects for possession of an ounce or less of pot.

"Let's let that $29.5 million stay in police coffers," Taylor says. "Let's let it stay in local communities and fight violent crimes."

Several studies have found that in the 11 states that already have similar laws in place—some going back as far as the 1970s—marijuana use and crime rates have not increased. "'Use is going to go through the roof; addiction is going to go through the roof'—all the Chicken-Little arguments the opponents will make did not come to fruition," Taylor says.

In making the case for the ballot question, advocates tread carefully. They emphasize the cost-saving aspect of decriminalization, and point to the backing of sober-minded economists, including the 500 who endorsed a 2005 study by Miron that estimated that federal, state and local governments could save $7.7 billion a year if pot were legalized.

And, no doubt aware of the risk of being dismissed as leftover hippies or punky college kids, reformers enjoy pointing to the surprising array of people who have supported decriminalization: George Shultz, secretary of state during the Reagan administration; Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman; conservative columnist William F. Buckley, whose recent death was mourned by anti-prohibitionists around the country. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, a Medford-based nonprofit, counts current and former cops, judges and legislators among its members.

"This is a reform that liberals and conservatives support, that people from all walks of life can support," Taylor says.

Not everyone, of course, supports the reform. LEAP notwithstanding, strong opposition is expected from within the ranks of law enforcement. The Massachusetts District Attorneys Association has condemned the CSMP ballot question, contending it will increase marijuana use and reverse recent trends of declining pot use among teens. "The District Attorneys ask Massachusetts parents, 'Do you really want to encourage your kids to smoke dope?'" the association asks in its official statement on the question.

The DAs also argue that there's a "direct link between marijuana use and public safety and public health." The group points, by way of example, to a study showing that 41 percent of men arrested in Chicago tested positive for marijuana; what it fails to report is what charges these men faced, and if, in fact, they were arrested solely for pot possession.

Similarly sketchy is the assertion that "the criminal justice system is the largest single source of referral to drug [not just marijuana] treatment programs"; left out is the question of whether these referrals were made, as a condition of law, to people arrested solely for possession of a small amount of pot.

More persuasive are statistics linking marijuana use to impaired driving, although, as the report notes, more impaired drivers have alcohol—a legalized drug—in their systems than pot. Likewise, the DAs point out the health risks of inhaling tar and carbon monoxide from pot, but sidestep the question of why cigarettes, which contain the same substances, are legal.

That line of reasoning also raises a sticky question: most reasonable people can agree that alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana all pose personal and public health risks; why, then, are two of them legal, and one illegal?

It's not surprising the DAs oppose decriminalization, Taylor says: "They want all the tools to convict people. That's their job."

Indeed, lots of jobs are directly tied to drugs remaining illegal, from those of prosecutors, police and jailers to business that goes to ad agencies contracted by the government to produce anti-drug campaigns, and to community groups that receive government funding for anti-drug work, notes Bill Downing, president of MASS CANN. "Their income depends in part on this 'war [on drugs],'" he says.

Backers of the ballot question are mindful of the public safety arguments that will be used against their cause. They point out that the question is narrowly defined, applying only to people carrying what's considered a "personal" amount of pot; it would have no effect on laws applying to the sale, trafficking or cultivation of marijuana, or to crimes like driving under the influence.

More to the point, the question would not legalize pot, but rather decriminalize it—an important distinction. If it passes, Taylor points out, "marijuana remains illegal. We're just creating a different type of penalty system. It deals with the fact that the law is broken, but it allows people to move on with their lives."

As November gets nearer, opposition to the ballot question will likely intensify. The district attorneys have already signaled one likely line of attack: questioning the political and financial support behind CSMP.

According to its most recent finance report, filed with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, CSMP's money comes largely from one source: George Soros, who donated $400,000 of the almost $430,000 raised in 2007. (Most of the money—$316,000—was used to hire a Worcester-based firm that runs petition signature campaigns.)

On the finance reports, Soros is listed as a self-employed "entrepreneur" and Manhattan resident. To the DAs and others in favor of prohibition, Soros is the bane of their existence. A 77-year-old native of Hungary, Soros is a self-made billionaire investor who's used his fortune to fund numerous philanthropic and political causes, including Democratic campaigns. Soros also sits on the board of the Drug Policy Alliance, an anti-prohibition group that calls for, among other things, the decriminalization of marijuana, the legalization of medical marijuana and an end to discriminatory drug laws.

The Drug Policy Alliance is hardly a crackpot group; its board includes business executives, mental health experts and religious leaders, with "honorary" members including George Shultz, past Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. Still, as Allen St. Pierre, NORML's executive director, notes, when it comes to the heated debate over drug policy, "there's probably not a more polarizing figure" than Soros. He predicts the proponents of the ballot question will be painted by opponents as out-of-state "fringe drug legalizers."

Ironically, while drug law reform might still be cast as a "fringe" movement, drug use—specifically, pot smoking—has become increasingly mainstream. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the government's chief anti-drug agency, a 2006 federal study found 40 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have smoked pot, 10 percent in the last year (and some suspect those figures are low, given respondents' reluctance to admit to committing a crime). A 2000 survey by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services found that 20 million Americans smoke pot every year, 2 million on a daily basis.

Perhaps those figures explain the easy acceptance of pot smoking in popular movies and TV shows (like Showtime's Weeds, about a suburban widow who makes ends meet by selling marijuana, and CBS' How I Met Your Mother, with its unapologetic references to its characters getting high). We've got a sitting president who has indicated, although never directly admitted, that he has smoked pot, and is rumored to have dabbled in considerably harder stuff, and one contender for that job, Barack Obama, who is more forthcoming about his history of pot and cocaine use.

Of course, Bush and Obama speak of their past use with an air of repentance, and neither favors ending the prohibition on drugs (although Obama does criticize the Justice Department for raiding and prosecuting medical marijuana users). The other two major presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, also oppose decriminalizing marijuana. Other presidential candidates have supported decriminalization, including Ron Paul; Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio congressman who dropped out of the race months ago; and Mike Gravel, a Springfield native and former senator from Alaska, who promised at one debate that, if elected, he would "do away with the 'war on drugs,' which does nothing but savage our inner cities and put our children at risk."

Gravel, however, will never be president; neither will Paul or Kucinich. They have devoted supporters and well-honed positions, but they garner minimal coverage from the media. Much of that coverage is dismissive, in large part due to their outside-the-mainstream positions on issues like drug policy. Polls and public policy questions might signal that the public's view of drug use—particularly marijuana—is softening, but most establishment politicians are too wary to follow their lead.

That's why reformers are excited to put the decriminalization question before Massachusetts voters. "Any issue that comes with any amount of controversy at all, politicians are not ready to take a stand on if they don't have to," notes MASS CANN's Downing. "The Legislature wants to avoid the issue completely because they can only lose by addressing this."

Reformers could find some support from Gov. Deval Patrick, who's spoken out about inequities in the justice system, including the undue hurdles created for many under the existing criminal records system. "He's made the kinds of noises of someone who'd be amenable [to drug reform]," St. Pierre says. "At his core, he's got to be keen on some reform. It's a waste of money."

Still, Patrick is a politician, and with that comes a degree of caution. "Clearly, from a political, pragmatic view, he'd be very happy to never have to say the word 'marijuana,'" St. Pierre says.

It's getting harder for politicians to avoid drug policy issues, though, in light of a mounting pile of evidence about inequities in how those policies are executed. In May, the Sentencing Project, a justice reform group based in Washington, D.C., and Human Rights Watch, which tracks global human rights issues, released reports showing deep racial disparities in how drug laws are enforced. In large part, the problem stems from the intense focus on poor urban minority communities.

In 2006, 1.89 million people were arrested for drug violations in the U.S. More than 80 percent of the arrests were for possession; about 40 percent were for marijuana possession.

While the rate of drug use among whites and blacks is roughly equal, and blacks make up about 13 percent of the total population, they accounted for two-thirds of the drug arrests. And black men are nearly 12 times as likely to be sent to prison for drug convictions as white men, according to the HRW report. (The reports do not indicate rates for Hispanics, since they used FBI data that collects stats by race but not ethnicity.)

"The race question is so entangled in the way the drug war was conceived," Jamie Fellner, author of the HRW report, told the New York Times. "If the drug issue is still seen as primarily a problem of the black inner city, then we'll continue to see this enormously disparate impact."

Indeed, race has shaped U.S. drug policy from the start. In his 2003 book, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, journalist Eric Schlosser traces drug prohibition back to the influx of Mexican immigrants in the early 20th century. The new arrivals were not, generally, warmly greeted, and that anti-immigrant sentiment extended to what Schlosser calls "their traditional means of intoxication: smoking marijuana."

Meanwhile, the association of marijuana with African-Americans, and particularly with the jazz scene in cities like New Orleans, added more racial fuel to the fire. Before long, government officials were warning of the alleged dangers of pot smoking. Users were described as extremely violent, possessing superhuman strength when under the influence, and prone to insanity—all depicted, to unintentionally comic effect, in the now-cult classic 1936 film Reefer Madness. By 1931, 29 states had banned pot; in 1937, Congress passed a federal ban.

Attitudes toward pot smoking softened somewhat in the 1960s, when it became the drug of choice of white, middle-class kids. In 1970, federal law was amended to differentiate marijuana from other narcotics and lessen penalties for possession of small amounts. At the time, NORML's St. Pierre recalls, marijuana reform "appeared to be on greased tracks."

Then came the conservative '80s, and Ronald Reagan's "Just Say No" anti-drug agenda. Marijuana was again vilified as a highly dangerous "gateway" drug that would lead to use of harder substances. Drug laws were toughened; the laws regarding pot now vary widely from state to state, and, critics say, are open to varying interpretation that can lead to harsher results for, say, a black kid from a distressed urban area than a white kid with a suburban address and parents who can afford a lawyer.

"It's because black folks used it—that's why marijuana and cocaine and heroin are illegal, and that's why tobacco and alcohol are legal and receive government subsidies. They're white folks' drugs," Evans says. The recent reports about racial disparities in the enforcement of drug laws, he adds, demonstrate "that marijuana prohibition laws have been very effective in achieving their original purpose, which was to repress minority communities."

It's not drugs that have devastated America's inner cities, critics say—it's the government-sponsored, publicly funded "war on drugs." In the same way that alcohol prohibition created a thriving black market for bootleggers and speakeasies—planting the seeds for modern-day organized crime in the process—the prohibition on drugs has created a black market that is thriving despite the billions spent in the quest to end it.

"Certainly, there is a dangerous level of violence and crime associated with the drug trade, but that's only because drugs are illegal," argues Tom Angell of SSDP. "Drug abuse is a serious issue. & But there's no drug known to man that gets safer when its production is handed over to violent drug cartels."

Which is why, reformers say, it's time to consider withdrawing the troops and declaring an end to the drug war. That doesn't mean that crimes associated with drug selling or use—violence, theft—wouldn't continue to be prosecuted; rather, anti-prohibitionists say, eliminating the black market for drugs would significantly reduce those related crimes. "In terms of the big picture, we can keep chasing our tail and busting a drug gang here or there, or we can put it all out of business by making it legal," Angell says.

And this is where drug law reformers will lose some of their base of support; plenty of mainstream Americans might see smoking the occasional joint as no big deal, but are they ready for a wholesale lifting of the ban on harder drugs?

They might, Evans says, if they consider just how little the prohibitionist agenda has accomplished. "What is your definition of victory in the war on drugs?" he wonders. "And when we achieve that victory, how many people will be in prison, and how much will it cost?"

Decriminalizing marijuana could be an important, and generally palatable, first step toward rethinking how we as a society view drugs. "It's 2008—it's two generations, almost, since the cultural revolution—and we still lock people up for pot," Evans notes. "What have we accomplished by wrecking millions of lives and spending jillions of dollars? What have we accomplished?"

Note: Massachusetts voters can Just Say No to bad drug policy.

Source: Valley Advocate (Easthampton, MA)
Author: Maureen Turner
Published: Thursday, May 29, 2008
Copyright: 2008 New Mass Media
Contact: tvannah@valleyadvocate.com
Website: http://www.valleyadvocate.com/

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Comment #38 posted by Hope on May 31, 2008 at 10:46:15 PT
This is a journalistic masterpiece.
It's informative and "Down in the middle of it".

It would be nice if this paper was well and widely read. I'm not familiar with it.

Of course, the sad truth probably is that the people that need most to "hear" this piece of reporting won't likely be able to, because of blocks they have set up in their hearts and minds.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #37 posted by museman on May 31, 2008 at 10:00:42 PT
exactly
"The politicians work for the corporations and the corporations oppose legal marijuana because it would make life too easy. Corporations are composed of vampires and vultures; blood-suckers and predators that prey on the weak. They like it that way and want it to stay that way. That's why they oppose legal weed."

And until the bottom line reality is addressed, and people start choosing for themselves instead of lazily, and foolishly delegating their authority to lizard-people who can't wait to dine on your vital energies, those things who act like gods on earth will continue to rule.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #36 posted by FoM on May 30, 2008 at 13:17:00 PT
Hope
That's so funny. The days of innocence! LOL!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #35 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 13:09:23 PT
As I've said before...
I thought Bob Dylan's song, "Everybody must get stoned"... which was popular here... was about people getting mad at you.

:0)

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #34 posted by FoM on May 30, 2008 at 12:37:37 PT
Hope
You and I are so much alike but we have a slightly different cultural experience. It's great we've become friends. I've learned so much.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #33 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 12:33:33 PT
:0)
I played that album so many times.

It was finally ruined when my daughter had her senior graduation party and it was left overnight on an open deck in the stereo and the Texas sun came up and destroyed the record and the plastic lid of the stereo.

It made me so sad. I baked it in the oven. Left it under stacks of books in the back window of the car. All that. It never unwarped.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #32 posted by FoM on May 30, 2008 at 12:31:23 PT
Hope
I was older then our friends. Stick is younger then me. I guess I robbed the cradle! LOL!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #31 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 12:29:52 PT
It was here, too. 21, I mean.
I didn't smoke until the early seventies, when I was about twenty three or twenty four years old. Maybe not even until 73 or so when I would have been twenty five years old. I was born in 48.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #30 posted by FoM on May 30, 2008 at 12:24:54 PT
Hope
We sat around in a circle and passed the pipe around and talked of poems, prayers and promises and things that we believed in.

I couldn't resist.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #29 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 12:24:35 PT
I just thought about this morning...
and I thought you guys might have liked it, too... on occasion. Guess not.

No one, absolutely no one wanted to get drunk or see anyone drunk or be around anyone drinking heavily.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #28 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 12:22:18 PT
In the evenings...
we shared a smoke in a circle, laughed, talked, and listened to music.

In the daytime, early evening really, we sometimes played baseball or even croquet or went swimming... and listened to music.

My friends and I weren't really that anti-establishment... so much as having our own way of doing things... which was different than the establishment, I suppose. We were very aware of the "Don't tell anyone over thirty" rule, though. For sure.

I don't care for alcohol much to this day though. I might have a drink with a meal or something... but as I said, it makes me feel unwell pretty easily.

But I do remember that bottle of Boone's Farm was enjoyed on occasion at get togethers around here.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #27 posted by FoM on May 30, 2008 at 12:20:33 PT
Hope
Maybe I wasn't around drinking because most of our friends were under 21. I think that was the legal drinking age back then in Pa.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #26 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 12:14:30 PT
I don't remember anyone ever getting drunk
on it. But I do remember lots of us enjoyed a glass of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine and sometimes and icy pitcher of Sangria with fruit slices floating in it.

But that's all.

Everyone then, here, so looked down on drunks.

But sharing a bottle of cold Strawberry Hill at a summer afternoon or evening party wasn't thought of as being drunken, by people my age... in their twenties, in the seventies.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #25 posted by FoM on May 30, 2008 at 08:50:08 PT
Hope
I remember that young people were anti-establishment and shunned alcohol and picked cannabis instead. They saw what alcohol did to adults and wanted a better way. Just like SAFER basically. It wasn't cool to drink back then. The one friend we had that also drank beer was killed in a single car accident at 23. He stood up for us when we got married. He had just left a bar and they said he was really drunk when he left. We went back to PA for the funeral. It was really sad.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #24 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 08:03:31 PT
Think...
Summertime. Summer nights. The countryside.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #23 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 08:02:28 PT
Quiz... except what.. occasionally?
Think. Think. Think.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #22 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 08:00:20 PT
Quiz... talking about number nine...
Sipping. I never saw anyone get drunk on it.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #21 posted by Hope on May 30, 2008 at 07:57:39 PT
Quiz: Except what occasionally? Here, anyway.
"it wasn't popular to drink if a person smoked cannabis"

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #20 posted by FoM on May 30, 2008 at 05:57:05 PT
This is Interesting About Alcohol
Pro-Pot Group Gets County Alcohol Permit

May 30, 2008

http://www.timescall.com/News_Story.asp?id=9052

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #19 posted by Dankhank on May 29, 2008 at 21:59:20 PT
# 9 ...
that's how I always viewed it ...

still do ...

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #18 posted by John Tyler on May 29, 2008 at 21:06:57 PT
on being drunk
Some of my daughter’s friends are way into alcohol (which I can not understand) to the point of being drunks. She has told me that sometimes some of them get so drunk they do not know what they did in the previous evening… total black outs. They don’t remember who they woke up in bed with, or making a passes at someone’s else’s wife, or getting into fights, or how they got home. So if George says he was drunk on occasions and doesn’t remember if he did something or not, I can believe it. It does say something unflattering about his personality and character though. Drunks often use that excuse. I was drunk and don’t remember it. In effect saying my excuse is I was drunk so if I did something it shouldn’t be held against me because I was drunk, and so it doesn’t count. Remember George came home drunk one night and got into a fight with his father? Remember Dick Chaney was drunk and shot a friend in the face with a shotgun? These guys are real paragons of rectitude aren’t they? So yeah drunks and alcoholics, not.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #17 posted by FoM on May 29, 2008 at 20:36:01 PT
Hope
Thank you for the link. The whole thing didn't seem right to me from the beginning. They are different but are they bad? I guess I don't think so. Different isn't bad. We know that all too well.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #16 posted by Hope on May 29, 2008 at 20:25:59 PT
If you are interested in that YFZ ranch
business... the best site for keeping up with it... and I have... and I'm thrilled with todays decision... is

http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/

It's been really a great site from the start for keeping up with it all.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #15 posted by FoM on May 29, 2008 at 19:26:09 PT
Hope
The case that is going on in Texas with all the kids being removed from their home is interesting to me. What has gone on there is adultery I guess but are people allowed to be different? I really don't know what to think. Can different types of people co-exist within society?

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #14 posted by Hope on May 29, 2008 at 19:16:42 PT
Remember when adultery was against the law,
illegal, in many places? It was here in Texas during my lifetime.

Do I want people to commit adultery? Certainly I don't... but I don't want them to be arrested and dragged into the legal system because of it.

Does taking those laws off the books in most places in the United States today mean that I... or they, want people to commit adultery or that I or they or we approve of adultery? Of course not.

The District Attorneys and everyone like them that use tactics like they use, are just acting like wienies. Acting ignorant. Acting stupid.

Perhaps they aren't acting... but it's just more of their subterfuge to keep their pockets filled with the gold they reap from prohibition.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #13 posted by Hope on May 29, 2008 at 19:09:41 PT
Why do they do it? It's so infuriating!
""The District Attorneys ask Massachusetts parents, 'Do you really want to encourage your kids to smoke dope?'" the association asks in its official statement on the question."

Isn't it called obfuscating or something? I don't remember the word defined as twisting an argument or discussion into something else entirely. But it makes me furious.

No. I don't "want to encourage my kids (or any "kids" or anyone) to smoke dope"!

But I'm damned sure I don't want them being put in the position these prohib monsters and enforcers and cartels ... like these District Attorneys, put them into over it. The horror and threats our government hangs over their heads and prohibition in general, put them in a far, far more dangerous than what they like to call "Dope" does. It's the law that kills and destroy so many of them ... not cannabis use itself.

I truly despise their ignorance and cruelty.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 29, 2008 at 17:16:53 PT
BGreen
I think he might be remembered that way.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #11 posted by BGreen on May 29, 2008 at 16:54:25 PT
Bush doesn't remember if he snorted cocaine
He thinks he did, but it could have been crystal meth or PCP, so he's just not sure.

I wonder what it's like to be forever known as the worst president in the history of the United States?

The Reverend Bud Green

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #10 posted by unkat27 on May 29, 2008 at 14:16:26 PT
My 2 cents
"Do you really want to encourage your kids to smoke dope?'" the association asks in its official statement on the question."

-- Note how they cannot even call it by its respectable title and use a term that implies it makes people stupid. To hell with the whole lot of them.

"While public policy questions are non-binding, they do serve as an important way of demonstrating to legislators the priorities of their constituents. Whether or not legislators heed those messages is, of course, another matter."

-- This is the problem, of course. The majority in the US do not rule on this matter. If the majority did rule, marijuana would have been decriminalized to a misdemeanor a long time ago. The politicians work for the corporations and the corporations oppose legal marijuana because it would make life too easy. Corporations are composed of vampires and vultures; blood-suckers and predators that prey on the weak. They like it that way and want it to stay that way. That's why they oppose legal weed.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 29, 2008 at 13:19:57 PT
Hope
I agree with you about alcohol. Back in days gone by it wasn't popular to drink if a person smoked cannabis or even took LSD. Cannabis was the alternative to alcohol.

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Comment #8 posted by Hope on May 29, 2008 at 13:10:36 PT
Memory of everything...
Me, too. FoM.

I think it's really only alcoholics that have that problem... and as they say... concerning Bush... "There you go."

I think his alcoholism, although often glossed over, must have been pretty severe.

A friend of mine drank too much too often, it seemed ... and the morning she woke up and could not remember the previous evening was a major wake up call for her.

Too much, and it's but two or three drinks, too close together, to be too much... makes me sick and puking in a hurry. People that really get into trouble with alcohol seem to be those people that don't get sick on it easily.

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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 29, 2008 at 09:37:49 PT
dongenero
Back in the days in the 70s when from time to time I got wasted I still remember what I did. Sorry I just had to laugh. LOL!

The only thing I wonder is if he didn't know what the white powder was they he must have snorted.

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Comment #6 posted by dongenero on May 29, 2008 at 09:33:20 PT
comment 2
It could be he doesn't remember if he used cocaine or not. He was an alcoholic, and I think a bad one at that. He could have had blackouts.

Not that that is an excuse so much as a testament to the severity of this guy's substance abuse problems.

On the other hand I would expect the statement to go, "I don't remember using cocaine".

To say, I don't remember if I did or didn't, is a bit off. To me that implies you probably did and you probably know it.

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Comment #5 posted by tintala on May 29, 2008 at 07:07:31 PT:

I saw on ad the other day, about HOPS
I think it was samuel adams beer, how they hand choose HOPS from a field and smell them and handl them with loving care. I would say the majority of americans have no quams about this, however,what are those hops producing.BEER and alcohol.

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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on May 28, 2008 at 18:57:29 PT
Waste of our Tax Dollars
Can governments afford to continue spending scarce tax dollars on arresting cannabis consumers (courts, jails and treatment)?

Is this the best way to manage budgets as people lose their homes and jobs as the domestic economy slides into recession?

Will you continue to vote for government pirates who have self-destructive economic policies?

We can change! Yes we can! American Dream or American Nightmare, your choice.

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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 28, 2008 at 17:43:35 PT
DEA Pot Raid Today in Oakland
Employees at Neldam's See Big DEA Pot Raid Today in Oakland

By William Brand, Staff Writer and Sean Maher, Correspondent

May 28, 2008

URL: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_9406826

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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 28, 2008 at 17:20:53 PT
Cocaine Use Rumors
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Excerpt: McClellan also tackles media reports that Bush had used cocaine in his past an issue that swirled during the 2000 presidential campaign.

In 1999, at a hotel suite "somewhere in the Midwest," McClellan recalls hearing Bush's end of a phone conversation as the candidate dealt with the rumors about his drug use.

Writes McClellan: "'The media won't let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,' I heard Bush say. 'You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember.'

"I remember thinking to myself, How can that be? How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense."

Full Article: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/national_world&id=6170740

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 28, 2008 at 17:12:34 PT
LA Times: 'Legal Weed' is Just Beer
'Legal Weed' is Just Beer, but Feds Want To Cap Sales

May 28, 2008

URL: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-weed29-2008may29,1,2287909.story

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