A Dopey Measure on Marijuana
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A Dopey Measure on Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on October 11, 2010 at 05:11:19 PT
By George Skelton, Capitol Journal
Source: Los Angeles Times 
From Sacramento -- The state Capitol is pathetically dysfunctional. One in eight workers statewide is out of a job. UC Berkeley is arrogantly eliminating baseball. Things are not going well in California. What can we do?Well, if Proposition 19 passes on the Nov. 2 ballot, we can all go get stoned. Legally. Buy some joints down at the corner convenience store. We can become an even bigger laughingstock to the nation.
It was tempting here to write again about the Capitol's broken governing system that resulted in another bumbling, bleary-eyed, all-night legislative session needed to pass a 100-day-late budget Friday.But there's little left to say about this never-ending clown act. Besides, the adopted budget wasn't all that important. The hard decisions were left for the next governor and Legislature.Prop. 19 is more interesting and would have a greater long-term impact on California.The ballot initiative, bankrolled primarily by a prospering entrepreneur of the pot industry, would permit local governments to regulate and tax commercial cultivation and retail sales of marijuana. And it would permit all Californians at least 21 to grow and possess their own weed for personal use.Such activity, however, still would violate federal law.In California, selling marijuana for non-medicinal use is a felony. But possessing less than one ounce — about a sandwich baggie-full — is a low misdemeanor punishable by a fine.Starting Jan. 1, pot smoking will be even less of a state crime. Under a bill recently signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, it will be deemed an infraction, equivalent to a traffic ticket.Since 1996, when voters approved Prop. 215, it has been legal in California to grow, sell and smoke marijuana for medical purposes, subject to local control. A "patient" needs only a doctor's "recommendation," not a prescription.Merely a quarter of buyers at medicinal pot shops "are truly in need of it because of a medical condition," says attorney George Mull, president of the California Cannabis Assn., which advocates "reasonable regulation of medical marijuana."Mull opposes Prop. 19, illustrating a split in the marijuana community."We think it's kind of goofy to jump ahead to recreational marijuana when we haven't done medical marijuana correctly yet," he says."We'd like to see medical marijuana truly made legal. In many areas, you can grow your own but can't sell it. There should be a more incremental approach."He adds that "this whole [initiative] was set up by folks trying to make millions."That would be primarily Richard Lee of Oakland, founder of "Oaksterdam University," the nation's first marijuana trade school. Lee says his medical marijuana dispensary, nursery and other pot-related merchandising generate up to $7 million a year, according to a Times article by reporter John Hoeffel.Lee is in a good position to make a bundle off marijuana legalization. So far, he has spent $1.5 million to qualify Prop. 19 for the ballot and pitch it to voters.The pitch basically is this: Cops currently waste many millions chasing down nonviolent pot smokers. There's a $14-billion industry that could be taxed to help the debt-ridden state. And marijuana "prohibition" has created killer drug cartels.Opponents counter that relatively little, in fact, is spent nabbing or prosecuting marijuana users. "There's nobody in jail for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana," says Fontana Police Chief Rod Jones.State prison data show that fewer than 1% of inmates have been sentenced for marijuana crimes of any kind."Long, long ago in the John Lennon era, people got thrown in prison for possession of marijuana," says Cassandra Hockenson, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "Not so much today."Opponents also point out that there's no marijuana regulation or taxing provisions in the initiative. That would be left to local governments, and there'd be a confusing hodgepodge from county to county.But Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) last week introduced legislation to create a uniform statewide regulatory system. "If 19 passes, we'll be ready," he asserts.Prop. 19 supporters are united behind the belief that what someone inhales or ingests in the form of muffins or brownies ought to be his business only."Let the criminal justice system control people's actions, but not what they put into their bodies," says James P. Gray, a retired Orange County Superior Court judge, who describes himself as a libertarian "flame thrower."And he adds: "Along those lines, it makes sense to me to strictly regulate and control heroin. It makes as much sense to put Robert Downey Jr. in jail for heroin addiction as it would have putting Betty Ford in jail for alcohol addiction."Gray has long advocated the legalization of all drugs. "But let's start with marijuana," he says. "Each drug should be decided on its own merit."Such talk scares Dr. David Sack, a psychiatrist and chief executive of Promises celebrity rehab centers. "Drugs cause tremendous hardships to children and families, and the risk of addiction goes up with exposure," he says."Marijuana is clearly addictive, impairs judgment and increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents and interferes with brain development, particularly in adolescents…."The biggest concern I have is that legalization will create a societal validation that marijuana is not harmful."Legalizing "recreational" dope would create yet another problem for the state.Prop. 19 is a crackpot idea. Therefore, California voters just might pass it.Note: California has enough problems without legalizing pot.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author:  George Skelton, Capitol JournalPublished: October 11, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #12 posted by Paint with light on October 12, 2010 at 22:17:44 PT
Legal like alcohol
My idea of legal like alcohol includes the fact that each person is allowed to brew a certain amount of alcohol each year without paying any tax or registering for a license.You are allowed to consume it or share it.That includes beer and wine which can have a high alcohol percentage.White lightning or pure alcohol is currently prohibited.Maybe a plant that produces 100 per cent THC should be treated the same but I haven't been lucky enough to experience that strain yet.Even then if cannabis caused the same harm as alcohol I might could go along with that.It doesn't.As for taxes.....Two to ten percent for commercial growers of recreational,Two to ten percent for commercial growers of industrial,Zero percent for growers of medical and Zero percent sales tax.Standard sales tax would apply to sales of recreational or industrial(maybe lower to encourage industrial job growth).As relates to driving I could see having a penalty if the impairment was on a scale equal to alcohol which usually it isn't.Fully stoned is usually less impairing than .08 alcohol.Legal like alcohol sounds a lot better than what the rest of the country has.
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Comment #11 posted by runruff on October 12, 2010 at 10:45:23 PT
LA Times...
...sells woof tickets!
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Comment #10 posted by museman on October 12, 2010 at 09:28:18 PT
some duplicity here..
"Let the criminal justice system control people's actions, but not what they put into their bodies," - I understand what is meant, but the probably unnoticed Freudian slip is the use of the word 'control.'Who 'controls' the criminal justice system? Hmmm.How about all the things 'put in peoples bodies' that have to do with conforming to the status quo, and master-slave economics? Just try disagreeing with the curriculum in your local slave mill -the public school- a student gets expelled, a parent gets threatened.It is a crime, punishable by getting beat up and sometimes murdered by those representatives of the justice system erroneously called 'peace officers' for being homeless -without any 'due process' at all.It is a crime punishable by ostracism, bigotry, and social stigma to be poor. Poor people walking in a rich neighborhood is grounds for harassment, fines (that the poor cannot pay, therefore a 'gateway' to other 'crimes' like 'failure to pay' or 'failure to appear.') and imprisonment.It is a crime to do anything without 'proper credentials.' -just try driving without a license, registration, or insurance. And how about that insurance scam? Still going strong, even though 'the economy' has tanked?Can't get a living wage job? The loser government tells you to 'go back to school to get retrained' but after the 'school' gets the money, there you stand with a piece of paper, and no job in sight. If you want a job, work for the government, in one of their many funded institutions, otherwise you might find yourself being viewed askance by those who were supposed to be your peers.Let the criminal justice system go after criminals, regardless of what they put or don't put in their bodies AND HEADS - the head is part of the body right? Though some talk as if it isn't. -but then they'd have to take too many non-violent no-victim 'criminals' out of their dungeons to make room for all the politicians, cops, lawyers, and corporate planet rapers. Not gonna happen while they still have their 'control.' Hypocrisy, lies, and BS is all they got.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on October 12, 2010 at 06:29:21 PT
Stop saying "make pot legal"!
Cannabis has always been legal, it has never been illegal, we have had our freedoms deposed!The CSA is and always has been a fraud!All laws and regulations concerning the herb are fraudulent and a a ruse!If we were the "free nation" they tell young people about so they will die for a lie, prohibition would not be an issue! 
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Comment #8 posted by DrDunkleosteus on October 12, 2010 at 00:47:53 PT:
Pretty good, but what about paraphernalia? What do you think the law would be for driving with a pipe? I suppose it would have to be in the trunk too or perhaps locked in the glove compartment? I like the idea of a sealed container, just like alcohol. That would protect us from allegations that the cannabis was being consumed in the vehicle. No driving with ziplock baggies, only vacuum-sealed or heat-sealed bags. Also, you didn't mention outdoor grows at home locations. How would those be inspected? Perhaps a required 6ft. fence surrounding the property, similar to the law for people with pools in their back yards?Good points.
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Comment #7 posted by shielde on October 11, 2010 at 22:04:23 PT
Just a quick thought
Here is my take on how to make cannabis legal like alcohol.I know I am probably missing some things here but I got bored and decided to stop typing out legal sounding stuff, the numbers are just a guesstimate 1. All cannabis is to be taxed and must have a tax sticker on it (unless it is located in the grow location). Failure to have a tax sticker is a fine of $250 plus a 75 % value of the cannabis.
  a. Types of Tax Stickers -
    I - Recreational - Tax amount is 50% of cannabis value if cannabis is industrially grown, 20 % if cannabis is grown for personal non sale use.
   II - Medical   - Tax amount is 10% of cannabis value.2. No cannabis is to be in unopen packaging in a vehicle. The cannabis must be in a manufactured sealed container or unaccessable to anyone in the vehicle (ie in a trunk). If the cannabis is open then the operator of the vehicle is to be fined with a $250 fine.3. Any operator of a vehicle must be able to pass a field sobriety test or submit to a blood test that shows the operator does not have any active cannaboids (if memory serves me correctly there is a test that shows the difference between having thc in ones system from previous times of smoking and recent smoking)4. No one under the age of 18 (or 21) is allowed to be in possession of cannabis.5. No one under the legal age of consumption is allowed to work in an establishment that grows, proccesses, or sells cannabis.6. Medical - A doctor can prescribe (not reccomend, only if cannabis is changed under federal level) cannabis to those to whom it would be beneficial. Those under the legal age can only posses it medically if precscribed by a doctor, have a second recomendation for it to be prescribed and are then registered for the prescription through a state run organization. 7. Cannabis can be grown in home locations only if the grow is registered.
  a. Home locations cannot exceed 10 plants.
  b. Home locations must be inspected to insure proper safety is met (wiring and fire hazards).
  c. Home grown cannabis cannot be sold. If it is sold then the Home location must be registed as an industrial home grow location and must have the proper permit.8. Transport of cannabis - 
  a. All cannabis must have a tax sticker if it is transported from the grow location.
  b. All cannabis must be a sealed container.
  c. Cannabis is not to be transported over state lines (if federal law tries to use the federal transport merchandise thingee)
  d. No more than eight ounces can be in a vehicle without having an industrial transport license and cannabis must be taxed as industrial recreational or medical.
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on October 11, 2010 at 15:59:57 PT
LA Times...
...suffers from a disease called cranium rectus.The worst part of this disease is the methane poisoning which results in decrepid thinking!
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Comment #5 posted by DrDunkleosteus on October 11, 2010 at 14:37:11 PT:
I mean...
"Long, long ago in the John Lennon era, people got thrown in prison for possession of marijuana," says Cassandra Hockenson, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "Not so much today."...are you kidding me?
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Comment #4 posted by GentleGiant on October 11, 2010 at 11:51:19 PT:
Alert!! Drug Warrior Clowns Talks!!
If only these two clowns, Mr. Skelton and Dr. Sack, had really done some objective research (and their statements speaks that they haven't) about cannabis and just maybe, if we could just get them to sit down and smoke a bowl of some real, fine, tasty bud, they could just prove themselves to be two funny guys.
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on October 11, 2010 at 10:06:28 PT
LA Times: Inquiring minds want to Annoy!
People who want to learn the "other sides" talking points [or in our case the facts], just want to do so in order to convolute and confiscate the truth because they are not served by it!
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on October 11, 2010 at 08:47:31 PT
very funny Prop. 19 video!!
The view of Prop. 19 from Taiwan - really funny video....
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on October 11, 2010 at 08:45:33 PT
CA & crackpots
I think people are laughing at you buddy, not the state of CA. Are people laughing at all the smart, hardworking folks in Silicon Valley that invented the personal computer and internet? pretty much the ONLY industry that we've developed in the last 20 years that's still growing?Yeah, I'd say CA is the laughingstock among ignorant hillbillies that think the Bible is science.
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