Pot Clouds Political Judgment

Pot Clouds Political Judgment
Posted by CN Staff on January 07, 2008 at 06:04:26 PT
By Robert Sands
Source: Rutland Herald
Vermont -- Consider this. In your right hand you hold green, dried plant material, an illegal drug believed by many to be highly dangerous, a gateway to even more pernicious substances, a drug not suitable for alternative court processes, and one that needs a strong, punitive, criminal justice response.In your left hand you hold green, dried plant material ingested by many, recognized by state legislatures for its medicinal value, suitable for court diversion and appropriate for humor (recall how two state officials described a large quantity of marijuana as enough to keep a UVM fraternity happy for a year and then some).
Alas, the marijuana paradox: a dangerous, gateway drug, yet a substance suitable for a frat house joke. A substance consuming vast criminal justice resources with nearly 1,800 arrests in Vermont annually -- -- yet one that fully one-third of Americans want legalized -- 2005 Gallop Poll: Can anyone think of another area of criminal law for which so many people think the law itself should not exist?Why the paradox? Why the contradictions? One word: politics. Marijuana has proven over the decades to have great political value as a wedge issue, separating users from those who benefit from distancing themselves from users. Whether the targeted groups were Latinos, African-Americans, musicians, hippies, young people or those addicted to other drugs, marijuana has served politicians well in an effort to divide the electorate. Does marijuana cloud our judgment? Absolutely.What an evolutionary accomplishment: A plant that not only intoxicates those who ingest it, but also those who react to those who ingest it.So, with what should we tackle the intoxicating influence of marijuana on users and politicians alike? Again, one word: truth.As a society we have seen how truth can influence and support a decline in use of that most dangerous and addictive legal drug: tobacco. With truth we may fairly confront the problem of marijuana use and abuse, a problem that according to the 2007 Vermont Youth Risk Survey has resulted in 55 percent of Vermont high school seniors trying marijuana: http://healthvermont.govAs we enter this important political year with criminal justice and, perhaps, drug policy issues prominently featured, let us all try to avoid divisiveness, proselytizing, and demagoguery and focus instead on science, medicine, and truth. We owe that to ourselves.Peace.Robert Sand is the Windsor County State's Attorney. Source: Rutland Herald (VT)Author: Robert SandsPublished: January 6, 2008Copyright: 2008 Rutland HeraldContact: letters rutlandherald.comWebsite: Related Articles: Why is Pot Cultivation for Personal Use Illegal?'s Time To Decriminalize Marijuana Says Drug War Isn't Working
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Comment #19 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 10, 2008 at 14:16:42 PT:
The Murderers have done it again
Texans Mourn FugitiveThomasi McDonald
January 9, 2008
The News & ObserverMedical marijuana advocates in Texas lament the fate of a cancer patient turned federal fugitive who was shot and killed during a drug raid last week at his North Raleigh home.Stephen Scott Thornton, 45, of 5401 Alpine Drive died Friday afternoon from wounds received as sheriff's deputies and Wake County Alcohol Beverage Control officers forced their way into his home that morning to search for evidence of marijuana plants.On the Web site of Texans for Medical Marijuana, a grass-roots organization that lobbied for legalizing the drug for pain management, Thornton in 2006 described himself as a thyroid cancer survivor who used marijuana to control chronic pain, eliminate nausea and gain weight.A Wake County sheriff's deputy, Sgt. Ronnie Byrd, was shot in the leg during the raid. Byrd was treated at WakeMed and released.The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident, standard procedure when a law officer shoots someone. No ABC officer or Wake deputy has been placed on administrative leave as a result of the shootings. ABC Chief Lew Nuckles declined to comment Tuesday."It's being investigated by the SBI, and we don't want to hinder their investigation," Nuckles said.When sheriff's deputies and ABC officers entered Thornton's home, they found evidence of a full-scale marijuana-growing operation, including 43 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, soil additives, lights and plant-growing chemicals, according to a search warrant made public Monday.Thornton was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service. He fled Texas in late 2005, before he was to be sentenced by a federal judge for possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance and for distributing marijuana and marijuana plants.Texans for Medical Marijuana disbanded in May after two bills the group supported to legalize the medical use of marijuana stalled in the state legislature. Its former executive director, Noelle Davis, did not know Thornton but said that he was likely living with a lot of shame because he had to use an illegal substance for relief from his illness and that his fear of prison was probably compounded by the prospect of receiving inadequate medical treatment."It could have been a death sentence for him," said Davis, who now works as a consultant for the Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States.A Republican activist and medical marijuana advocate, Ann Lee of Houston, called Thornton a casualty of a failed war on drugs."They took a life because of it," said Lee, whose paraplegic son is a medical marijuana user. "Why have they spent $30 billion and not achieved a single goal?"Davis said Texans for Medical Marijuana did not endorse the distribution of marijuana, but the organization did acknowledge the practice."We have to understand why people go to those extremes," she said. "When your quality of life is on the line, you are going to take a risk."
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Comment #18 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 08, 2008 at 06:24:23 PT
Marijuana Law Kills More People That Marijuana
It's interesting to note how many citizens are outright killed for using a substance that doesn't hurt anyone, except maybe, maybe the user a little. This is not justice, this is cruelty.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on January 07, 2008 at 23:43:13 PT
Of course. It was SWAT.Dynamic entry. Armed home invasion. Terror. Murder.War in our own country. Our government killing mothers and babies and children and innocents of all ages, races, and genders right here in our country... in their own homes.They didn't kill this 13 month old baby though... or at least not as quickly as they did 7 month old Charity Bowers. They just shot this little boy's finger off and mangled his arm. Baby arms and bones sometimes don't recover from these sorts of injuries. They stop growing. Something about growth plates. His 26 year old mother was holding him and trying to protect five other children in an upstairs bedroom. They knew children were in the house. The child's mom, though, is as dead as Charity's mom.
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Comment #16 posted by The GCW on January 07, 2008 at 22:28:00 PT
Awe shucks & SWATSTIKA at it again?
I think I missed the poll. Unless I didn't see it, I missed the poll and now there is a new one about implanting tracking chips in pets.I was getting excited; I always get excited about the chance to vote in polls to show support for cannabis.-0-About the recent murder of the woman in Ohio; I haven't read past the headlines yet but I'm going out on a limb and guessing it was SWATSTIKA.SWATSTIKA is primed to kill.
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Comment #15 posted by John Tyler on January 07, 2008 at 20:29:56 PT
Just took the poll. Yes 66%
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Comment #14 posted by Toker00 on January 07, 2008 at 20:26:02 PT
"How long are they going to be allowed to keep getting away with these crimes against humanity?"Until our Corrupt Congress ends the Drug War, or someone starts breaking into THEIR houses and killing THEIR dogs and children, I would guess. Unfortunate, isn't it?SWAT, DEA, FBI, CIA, INS, all murderers, all racists, all fascists and ALL guilty of Crimes against Humanity. Ever wonder where all those mean hateful people you bumped into growing up went? Into these agencies, all of them.Only one solution. Destroy the power of the Military/Police/Prison Industrial Complex by levitating all their employees One Thousand feet above the ground, and then dropping them straight down, preferably upon the tops of their heads. Ohmmmm.... Toke.
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Comment #13 posted by afterburner on January 07, 2008 at 14:09:39 PT
Legal Medical 'Marijuana' Struggles with Backlash
Canada: PUB LTE: Pot Has Improved Their Lives, National Post, (04 Jan 2008) BC: PUB LTE: Medical Marijuana Grow-ops Okay For Kids, Richmond News, (01 Jan 2008)
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Comment #12 posted by dongenero on January 07, 2008 at 11:51:51 PT
Lima , Ohio...what a horrible crime.
This is really disgusting. Jack booted thug SWAT team bursting into a family's home as if they are in Fallujah or something.Now this family's mother is dead, the 13 month old child has a finger blown off and may never use his arm again.There is not a one of these SWAT thugs that should still be in a job. Their assets should be seized to pay restitution for these people's lives, and then send them off to the Afghanistan frontier where they can lead this sort of life and career. Not in America!I just do not know how this is acceptable in our society today. This is absolutely disgusting.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on January 07, 2008 at 11:41:45 PT
Every time... I wonder, how many more?
6th Ward residents demanding answers after Friday night drug raid makes me so sad and so angry. How long must prohibitionists continue their hateful war?How long are they going to be allowed to keep getting away with these crimes against humanity?Prohibitionists are Killers.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on January 07, 2008 at 11:27:29 PT
More about their most recent killing and maiming.
Woman defends her deceased sister here
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on January 07, 2008 at 10:38:38 PT
Prohibitionists are killers.
Most of the time, sure, they didn't pull the trigger themselves, but they hired someone, law enforcement, to do it for them.They killed all these people and many more not listed here.http://victims.drugwarrant.comThey killed this unarmed 26 year old woman in her own home and shot her baby. He's already had his finger removed and is in more surgery today. There were five more children under the age of eight in the house. The police shot both their dogs. One was dead as of yesterday. said they found marijuana and crack cocaine in their house. The neighbors think the police are lying. Wonder why?Could it be that official's history of lying in these cases is a matter of record? Lying or not, what the police and the prohibitionists did to these people was hideously wrong. Police and prohibitionists are cold blooded murderers and home invasion gangs.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on January 07, 2008 at 10:15:00 PT
The no voters in that poll are killers
and they want to keep up their killing. They want more people to suffer and die. They're killers.
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Comment #7 posted by dankhank on January 07, 2008 at 10:10:00 PT
voted ....
64.42Y29.05Nrest are uninformed ...
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on January 07, 2008 at 10:03:08 PT
No votes?
All the no votes are cops and prosecutors, I'll betcha a dollar to a doughnut!
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Comment #5 posted by Toker00 on January 07, 2008 at 09:42:10 PT
284-Yes-63.39%135-No-30.13%29-Not sure-29-6.473%The odds are increasing...Toke.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 07, 2008 at 08:45:43 PT
Thanks For The Poll!
Pipe dream? Should marijuana be legalized? Current Results:Total Votes = 389 Yes -- 238 Votes, or 61.18 % No -- 129 Votes, or 33.16 % I'm not sure -- 22 Votes, or 5.655 % 
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Comment #3 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 07, 2008 at 08:22:46 PT:
Sam Adams
You beat me to the punch with the poll. 
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on January 07, 2008 at 08:03:23 PT
POLL: Should cannabis be legal?
please take a minute to help out:
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on January 07, 2008 at 08:02:56 PT
Roberts Sand you rock!
This is great, he is de-cloaking and taking his view public! What a great guy. Way to go Rutland Herald.
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