Between The Lines: The Pot Test

Between The Lines: The Pot Test
Posted by CN Staff on November 11, 2008 at 16:44:16 PT
By Tom Vannah
Source: Valley Advocate
Massachusetts -- Like many Americans who supported Barack Obama, I want to believe all of the post-election talk about his landslide victory being a mandate for change, a repudiation of the policies not only of George W. Bush, but of policies going back decades. I want to believe that Obama's electrifying election-night speech was, indeed, the prologue to a new beginning for America.
Perhaps most of all, I want to believe that Obama's victory is a victory for intellectual honesty, an unequivocal rejection of longstanding mythology crafted by ideologues—government is a drag on the free market, for example, or marginal modifications to a progressive tax system is Marxist—in favor of political discourse enriched by critical thinking and an openness to nuance.Looking closer to home, though there wasn't much doubt that Massachusetts electors would end up in Obama's column, I take hope from the Election Day results, particularly the overwhelming passage of a ballot initiative that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana. I want to believe that the victory of Question 2 reflects at the local level the desire for sweeping change expressed nationally.Did Massachusetts voters, by supporting Question 2, suddenly see the harm done by America's so-called War on Drugs? Did they suddenly grasp how unfair and wasteful it is to treat people arrested for minor possession of marijuana—6,902 people in 2006, representing more than 38 percent of all drug arrests in Massachusetts that year—as felons, tainted forever by a criminal record or, in some cases, incarcerated in a prison system that grows bigger and more costly while policy makers cut nearly all other areas of domestic spending?I don't think so. Barney Frank, the U.S. Congressman from Newton who introduced a bill earlier this year that would decriminalize possession of marijuana in amounts of 3.5 ounces or less anywhere in the United States, was dead-on last week when he said, "This is a case of the people being ahead of the politicians."Frank's remark may be colored by the optimism of the moment, an expression of faith in the ultimate wisdom of voters by a leading Democrat whose team just won big. But there is also an implicit warning in his comment, one that voters should keep in mind over the next few weeks. If the voters were ahead of the politicians on Question 2, they nonetheless will need many of the very politicians who opposed the measure to see it safely enacted into law. Already, state officials have begun wringing their hands, warning that implementing the new law will be very difficult. The legislature has 30 days from the election to enact it, modify it or reject it.The politicians who opposed the initiative—a group that included Gov. Deval Patrick, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, Sen. John F. Kerry, Boston Mayor Tom Menino and district attorneys throughout the state—used dubious tactics in an effort to defeat it, the most egregious of which involved a claim that replacing criminal penalties with a new system of civil penalties would increase marjiuana use. That no evidence to support such a claim can be found in studies of the 12 other states that have similar laws serves as a clear example of the rampant intellectual dishonesty that typifies the old politics that Obama and his followers hope to change.In the past, I'd be inclined to suspect the politicians who opposed Question 2 of putting personal political ambitions ahead of their public responsibility to follow the will of the people; does Patrick, for example, really believe smoking pot is a crime, or is he simply afraid to be cast as pro-drug should he run eventually for national office? In the spirit of a new day, I'll stop short of impugning their motives while offering this: Question 2 is a test not only of the politicians but of the voters, whose will can only be ignored if we allow it.Note: The overwhelming passage of Question 2 is not the end of the story.Source: Valley Advocate (Easthampton, MA)Author: Tom VannahPublished: Thursday, November 13, 2008 Copyright: 2008 New Mass MediaContact: tvannah valleyadvocate.comWebsite: Articles:Police Fear MJ Law Will Lead To Increased Use Law Advocates Seek Wider Change
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Comment #16 posted by afterburner on November 18, 2008 at 23:10:47 PT
Drop Marijuana from Banned Sport Enhancers List
CN SN: Edu: Marijuana In Sport, The Sheaf, (13 Nov 2008)
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on November 13, 2008 at 06:04:53 PT
Thank you. Now that the election is over it is really nice to be calm again and not worry all the time. We're looking forward to the holidays. 
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Comment #14 posted by gloovins on November 13, 2008 at 01:42:09 PT
Hi all 
Very happy with the Michigan win, FoM Happy belated birthday too...This link is for those in Michigan who may qualify for their new program... everyone is well and enjoys the upcoming schedule precludes me from posting as much as I'd like here...but there really is no other site like this with, I love it. Lots of info about such a broad range of topics...Hemp Hemp Hooray 4 2008 (esp in Mich!) : ]And here's to gettin' .99/gal back and all indicted Republicans! (except Ron Paul -- haha) 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on November 12, 2008 at 09:13:08 PT
Legalize It? Michigan and Massachusetts Say Yes
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on November 12, 2008 at 08:31:26 PT
Please, don't buy into their bullsh*t, there is NOTHING logistically wrong with the new decrim law. It couldn't be more clear or simple. Cannabis offenses are now equal to jaywalking or off-leash dog violations - there is ZERO logistical difficult to enforcing those laws.
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Comment #11 posted by Commonsense on November 12, 2008 at 08:25:15 PT
"Mmm ... So a law voted in by the people can get rejected by the legislature."Most states I believe don't even have ballot initiatives. All laws are passed by the legislators. Some that do have ballot initiatves have a provision that allows the legislature to modify or rescind the new laws. The Massachusetts legislature might feel like they have to modify this one some for logistical purposes, so that fine payments go through easily like traffic tickets or whatever, but I doubt they change the substance of the law much. This thing got the majority in all but something like three Massachusetts towns. About 65% of voters were for it. If the legislature now comes in and wipes this thing away, they'll tick off a lot of people. Some representatives would end up losing their seats because of it. If they modify this one, I bet it the modifications will be slight and designed mainly to make the process of writing the tickets and collecting the fines run smoothly. I doubt they try to buck the strong majority on this one, but I've been wrong before. 
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Comment #10 posted by OverwhelmSam on November 12, 2008 at 06:50:04 PT
No Relief From Prohibition
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — A 28-year-old man reporting a burglary faces drug charges after responding officers say they found a marijuana pipe in his bedroom. A criminal complaint filed Tuesday said officers saw the pipe in plain view in Justin Luecke’s bedroom and found marijuana stems and seeds in the living room. Comments!
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 12, 2008 at 06:36:18 PT
What a nice comment to wake up and see. I agree with you. 
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Comment #8 posted by runruff on November 12, 2008 at 03:42:24 PT
 A mystery wrapped in an inigma guarded w/ lies.
 After 70 some years the politics of cannabis prohibition have become a Gordian Knot of misinformation and lies mixed with truth and and facts. The truth is now nearly impossible to sort out. I believe it is this confused mass rhetoric fueled by an addiction to power that has kept the feds from telling people the truth, low all these years.It is a natural phenomenon that all forms of government seek to expand power. It is the nature of the beast. Anything that comes up that looks like it would behoove current government to control it, they will try. I believe that in our hearts we want to see Mr. Obama as Alexander the Great where he will ride up and slash the knot to pieces with his sword. OT: I think Michelle may be the classiest, smartest, best educated, first lady to ever occupy the white house. To me, it is so refreshing to see such a person in this position. 
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Comment #7 posted by Mike on November 11, 2008 at 22:03:58 PT
Obama's position(s) on cannabis
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 11, 2008 at 18:29:22 PT
I haven't followed Prop 8 closely. They put something on our ballot in 04 that brought out the religious right. It had no place on our ballot in my opinion. Needless to say Bush won Ohio then.
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on November 11, 2008 at 18:04:35 PT
No kidding - how glad are we that Romney is not here any more! Yikes, I can only imagine what he would be doing right now.I have been reading more about the Mormons and gay marriage in California, I find it very disturbing.I actually have a theory. Supposedly the reason Romney lost the Republican primary is because of anti-Mormon fervor among the evangelicals. Could the anti-Prop. 8 move be the Mormons trying to suck up to the Christians? With Romney running again 2012? I hope not. The Mormons defintely seem to have a imperialistic mentality, they seem bent on expanding until they fill the US. They are already a major force in Idaho.I totally agree with a boycott of Utah, they should not be messing around in another state, especially to persecute people who have done nothing to Utah.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 11, 2008 at 17:59:05 PT
I like your Governor. He's respecting State's Rights. That's a good beginning! 
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on November 11, 2008 at 17:46:58 PT
"The voters have voted," Governor Deval Patrick said at a press conference. He directed Public Safety and Security Secretary Kevin Burke "to confer with the attorney general and district attorneys on what the implications are for implementation."Afterward, Joe Landolfi, a spokesman for Patrick, said there are no plans to try to repeal the law. Spokesmen for Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi added that they have not heard of any effort to block the initiative from becoming law.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on November 11, 2008 at 17:34:27 PT
why dress up a pig
this is a great column! But..."intellectual dishonesty"??? There's nothing intellectual about it! it's just flat out lying, as far as I can see.Don't give them credit for "intellectual". How about "devious lying"?  Or "cunning dishonesty"? "malevolent dishonesty"?  "malignant deceit"?so far I don't see the state legislature or governor doing anything, btw. The AG and cops are still squawking like they were before they spanked on election day. But from what I've read the governor has ordered them to implement the law, that doesn't sound like the legislature is going to change it.There are a few huge corruption scandals going on right now, and the governor is probably jockeying for a spot with Obama, so far I don't see the will to tamper with this. 
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on November 11, 2008 at 17:02:35 PT
" Question 2 is a test not only of the politicians
but of the voters, whose will can only be ignored if we allow it.""Already, state officials have begun wringing their hands, warning that implementing the new law will be very difficult. The legislature has 30 days from the election to enact it, modify it or reject it.Mmm ... So a law voted in by the people can get rejected by the legislature. This has happened before, I believe (New Mexico I cannot recall exactly now).Is this how democracy works in the US? I'm finally starting to get it ...
On a mission from God!
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