Woodland Arrest Sets Stage for Legal Battle on Medical Marijuana in Yolo County

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Last week, Josh Fernandez of the Woodland Daily Democrat reported that Bobby Harris owned the pot that was involved in a late night Woodland arrest. For those who do not remember or were not here, Mr. Harris had been a candidate for the Woodland City Council when his house was raided in early 1990 and a number of marijuana plants were seized after being found growing in his basement. Since then, Mr. Harris has become one of the leading advocates for medical marijuana and lynchpin behind the medicinal marijuana initiative and subsequent laws that aid individuals suffering from serious illness.

I interviewed Bobby Harris this week and he told me that he charges well below market rate to people who are in need of the drug for medicinal use. For him this is not about getting rich or even making a lot of money, it is about helping people in need to get the treatment that they deserve.

Mr. Harris has lived in Arcata up in Humboldt county for the last 11 years or so, working with that county in hope of setting up a system to implement the law to enable medicinal use. The laws up there are much more conducive toward helping people get the treatment they need.

However those efforts have now run squarely into Yolo County law enforcement. As Bobby Harris wrote in a letter to State Assemblywoman Lois Wolk:

“One basic and very serious problem I’m running into… is that the local DA is starkly and dramatically violating state law.

It’s like a Kafka novel about a police state. Now, that can’t be Yolo County, can it?”

Following the passage in February by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors of a medical ID card law—a law that Harris calls fundamentally flawed and aimed at helping law enforcement and their “laziness” rather than helping medical marijuana patients—Harris decided to take the fight for medicinal use back to Yolo County.

“Initially, I had to go to Arcata to begin the task of implementation. Now, I have to return to Yolo County to complete this job. Yolo County (in my estimation) is the lynchpin of political policy, for affecting eventual, statewide implementation”

Unfortunately, his legal battle in the early 1990s left him without much in the way of resources—no car, no place to live in Woodland, and no money. He got two young friends in Woodland—Brian and Chris—to bring his belongings from Arcata to Woodland—a five or six hour drive.

This included bags full of marijuana plants. Along with the marijuana, Harris provided Bryan with documentation that stated that he was Harris’ caregiver including written permission from his physician certifying that he was transporting the marijuana for the needs of a patient. According to Harris, this should have made the transport legal.

However, Woodland and Yolo County authorities would argue otherwise as we’ll see shortly. Harris probably made at least two errors, one of which was to try to transport the entire plants down there. The other was allowing the two young men to travel with a jeep that was not in perfect condition.

When asked how it was that they were contacted by the police, Harris told me that as the men entered the outskirts of Woodland, they were pulled over by Woodland Police Officers. “Basically it was what they call a pretext stop,” he said. The back window of the vehicle had been broken and the young men put a plastic cover over it as a opposed to repairing it. The police noticed the plastic flapping around. “Unfortunately we are in a system where it is legal to pull people over for such things.” As the officer approached the car of course, he quickly smelled the large quantity of marijuana and searched the vehicle and found nine pounds of marijuana plants.

Proposition 15 which was passed by California voters and overwhelmingly passed by Yolo County voters in 1996 does not contain any kind of limitations for the amount of marijuana that can be transported. However, AB 420 authored by John Vasconcellos does.

Mr. Harris believes that Vasconcellos’ law was an unnecessary sell out and compromise of Proposition 215. It gives statewide guidelines pertaining to the amount of marijuana that can be transported and given to patients. These limits are up to 6 mature or 12 immature plants and up to half a pound of dried, processed marijuana.

Mr. Harris’ friends were found with 9 pounds. But as he explained, about 8 of those pounds are unusable parts of the plant. There was only about a pound worth of usable marijuana and the rest was basically trash. Of course neither the police nor the DA’s office see it this way.

Moreover, as Bobby Harris pointed out to me, there are exemptions in the law if there is a physician statement that they need more than one half pound. His physician gave him a document that authorized pounds and 25 plants. He adamantly told me that he made those specific preparations and that he was fully authorized to transport the amount that was transported.

I recently spoke with a former prosecutor who told me of a case that happened awhile back whereby they had seized a large quantity of marijuana plants. But because the plants will rot if you keep them in plastic bags, you have to wrap them in paper, like you would vegetables. Once you wrap them in paper they dry out and they lose a considerable amount of weight. By the time the evidence got to court, there was much less in weight and they had to account for where the rest of the marijuana went. A key question they said will be whether the court will weigh usable versus unusable quantities.

I asked Bobby Harris whether they are being charged with a federal law or a state law. And he said, “state law.” If they are being charged with a violation of state law, it would appear that the DA’s office will have a legal battle on their hands. My sources tell me that the DA’s office is a bit apprehensive about the case.

According to Fernandez’s article in the Daily Democrat:

“Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig has another opinion.

Reisig has made it quite clear that he favors federal law over state law when it comes to medical marijuana.”

As the Vanguard reported in February, both Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig has argued that he is bound by federal law over state law. He and Sheriff Ed Prieto argued that the county should not pass an ordinance authorizing the use of medical marijuana ID cards.

“Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig and Sheriff Ed Prieto both argued against this proposal from a legal standpoint. Reisig argued, “If this passes, it puts law enforcement in between a rock and a hard place.” He pointed out that the majority of counties have not gone this route. Moreover this is a “Violation of federal law, period.” The U.S. Supreme Court he argued, made it clear that federal law through supremacy cause makes federal law binding in the states.

Supervisor Mike McGowan asked District Attorney Reisig if an officer stopping someone is enforcing federal or state law?

Reisig completely avoided that question and simply repeated that this put a law enforcement officer between a rock and a hard place.

However, Reisig avoided the question because he knows full well that the county and local police do not enforce federal laws, rather they enforce state laws and the state law of California is clear, not only does the law allow the use of marijuana with the permission of a doctor for the purposes of medicinal use but the state law Senate Bill 420 requires counties to provide identification cards. And the State Supreme Court upheld this law this past December.”

The fundamental problem according to Mr. Harris is inadequate training on the part of law enforcement authorities to deal with these issues.

“Local law enforcement officials (from the top to the bottom) are inadequately trained to understand, engage and evaluate matters in this area of state policy — and they are being used through the agency and power of the local DA to blatantly violate state law.

This is not simply reckless or indifferent behavior by the local DA, it is plainly intentional conduct, based upon his obviously incorrect understanding of the law and the huge responsibilities of his office.”

Harris told the Daily Democrat:

“If (Reisig is) going by federal law, he’s violating his oaths of office… There’s a little understanding on the part of law enforcement.”

The argument from Reisig makes as little sense today as it did in February, I have not heard of a District Attorney charge an individual and prosecute a federal crime.

Overall Bobby Harris is not impressed with Yolo County’s efforts on the medicinal use of marijuana front.

“You say that Helen and some other local politicians are supportive of P215, but the facts are that (even) SB420 has been on the books for several years, without adequate response and support by them. They haven’t acted to expand the – – spectacularly absurd – – state (supposedly “threshold”) limits on possession and cultivation, for example; while, Humboldt Co. has responsibly done so.

So far, Yolo Co. has failed to properly implement this initiative, after more than a decade, despite this latest small (and unlawful, as earlier explained) consideration and program given to patient ID cards.”

Still, Mr. Harris saves his most pointed criticism for Jeff Reisig, Yolo County’s new district attorney.

“Yolo County is much more sophisticated than to permit this sort of gibberish which is emanating from the DA to prevail as public policy. What’s going on over there in Yolo County?”

Bobby Harris was well aware of the problems involving Dave Henderson’s tenure as District Attorney, what he was not as well aware of was that Reisig was Henderson’s handpicked successor.

Listening to Jeff Reisig back in February arguing against state mandated identification cards on the basis of federal supremacy, it was clear that at some point this type of situation would occur, where there would be a major bust of an individual transporting medicinal marijuana. With good counsel, it seems likely that this arrest could be thrown out, however, this case does represent a bit of gray area. Part of the problem here has been the lack of aggressiveness of state and local official to implement voter mandated programs in the face of federal opposition. However, contrary to the viewpoint of Reisig, he represents the state of California in legal hearings, not the federal government and as such he has a duty to uphold the laws of the state of California. If federal officials wish to prosecute individuals for possession and transport of marijuana for medicinal use, let them come here and do that.

Reisig, the Woodland Police, and Yolo County Sheriff’s Office need to follow state and county law. It would be helpful if the county supervisors would follow-through after their 3-2 vote in February to make the law even stronger and prevent county law enforcement agencies from making such arrests.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see where this case ends up going as it has the potential to be a landmark case in the fight for medicinal use of marijuana for patients who are suffering from debilitating and in many cases terminal illnesses. It would be very nice to see the two local County Supervisors who are health and welfare advocates step up here and prevent this from occurring in the future.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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96 thoughts on “Woodland Arrest Sets Stage for Legal Battle on Medical Marijuana in Yolo County”

  1. Doug Paul Davis

    I did not want to put this into the main article of the story, but those who saw the article on Harris in the Daily Democrat, he does not look like the picture anymore. He said he now has short hair.

  2. Doug Paul Davis

    I did not want to put this into the main article of the story, but those who saw the article on Harris in the Daily Democrat, he does not look like the picture anymore. He said he now has short hair.

  3. Doug Paul Davis

    I did not want to put this into the main article of the story, but those who saw the article on Harris in the Daily Democrat, he does not look like the picture anymore. He said he now has short hair.

  4. Doug Paul Davis

    I did not want to put this into the main article of the story, but those who saw the article on Harris in the Daily Democrat, he does not look like the picture anymore. He said he now has short hair.

  5. Anonymous

    My next door neighbor has a medical marijuana card. He has colon cancer and he lives in pain. He had surgery – they removed a large portion of his colon, his badder and his tail bone. They had done so much radiation therapy earlier that the tissue in the lower area was not healthy enough to sew back together, so instead they cut all of that away and replaced it with tissue from his leg. He can no longer go to the bathroom (either way) the way you and I do and he suffers from pain. One day I asked him if the marijuana helps and he told me it absolutely does. He said he had doubts before he tried it, but it has really helped.

    I insist my neighbor (he is 55) should live the remainder of his life in a pain free condition. I am angry our Federal Government ignors the suffering of these people – it has been remarkable to view the general indifference the Bush Administration has displayed toward people in need (for whatever reason)over the past seven years.

    If the DA tries to apply the Federal stutute – it will just be another reflection of how distorted the Justice System is in Yolo County.SAH

  6. Anonymous

    My next door neighbor has a medical marijuana card. He has colon cancer and he lives in pain. He had surgery – they removed a large portion of his colon, his badder and his tail bone. They had done so much radiation therapy earlier that the tissue in the lower area was not healthy enough to sew back together, so instead they cut all of that away and replaced it with tissue from his leg. He can no longer go to the bathroom (either way) the way you and I do and he suffers from pain. One day I asked him if the marijuana helps and he told me it absolutely does. He said he had doubts before he tried it, but it has really helped.

    I insist my neighbor (he is 55) should live the remainder of his life in a pain free condition. I am angry our Federal Government ignors the suffering of these people – it has been remarkable to view the general indifference the Bush Administration has displayed toward people in need (for whatever reason)over the past seven years.

    If the DA tries to apply the Federal stutute – it will just be another reflection of how distorted the Justice System is in Yolo County.SAH

  7. Anonymous

    My next door neighbor has a medical marijuana card. He has colon cancer and he lives in pain. He had surgery – they removed a large portion of his colon, his badder and his tail bone. They had done so much radiation therapy earlier that the tissue in the lower area was not healthy enough to sew back together, so instead they cut all of that away and replaced it with tissue from his leg. He can no longer go to the bathroom (either way) the way you and I do and he suffers from pain. One day I asked him if the marijuana helps and he told me it absolutely does. He said he had doubts before he tried it, but it has really helped.

    I insist my neighbor (he is 55) should live the remainder of his life in a pain free condition. I am angry our Federal Government ignors the suffering of these people – it has been remarkable to view the general indifference the Bush Administration has displayed toward people in need (for whatever reason)over the past seven years.

    If the DA tries to apply the Federal stutute – it will just be another reflection of how distorted the Justice System is in Yolo County.SAH

  8. Anonymous

    My next door neighbor has a medical marijuana card. He has colon cancer and he lives in pain. He had surgery – they removed a large portion of his colon, his badder and his tail bone. They had done so much radiation therapy earlier that the tissue in the lower area was not healthy enough to sew back together, so instead they cut all of that away and replaced it with tissue from his leg. He can no longer go to the bathroom (either way) the way you and I do and he suffers from pain. One day I asked him if the marijuana helps and he told me it absolutely does. He said he had doubts before he tried it, but it has really helped.

    I insist my neighbor (he is 55) should live the remainder of his life in a pain free condition. I am angry our Federal Government ignors the suffering of these people – it has been remarkable to view the general indifference the Bush Administration has displayed toward people in need (for whatever reason)over the past seven years.

    If the DA tries to apply the Federal stutute – it will just be another reflection of how distorted the Justice System is in Yolo County.SAH

  9. davisite

    ……sounds like more political grandstanding by Reisig. Remember his gang injunction fiasco? Bad decisions by Harris’ compatriots handed this one to Reisig on a platter which he will attempt to milk for the maximum publicity. Perhaps the best strategy is to deny Reisig this publicity by just being dismissive of this affair and publicly ignoring it, leaving it to the courts to resolve.

  10. davisite

    ……sounds like more political grandstanding by Reisig. Remember his gang injunction fiasco? Bad decisions by Harris’ compatriots handed this one to Reisig on a platter which he will attempt to milk for the maximum publicity. Perhaps the best strategy is to deny Reisig this publicity by just being dismissive of this affair and publicly ignoring it, leaving it to the courts to resolve.

  11. davisite

    ……sounds like more political grandstanding by Reisig. Remember his gang injunction fiasco? Bad decisions by Harris’ compatriots handed this one to Reisig on a platter which he will attempt to milk for the maximum publicity. Perhaps the best strategy is to deny Reisig this publicity by just being dismissive of this affair and publicly ignoring it, leaving it to the courts to resolve.

  12. davisite

    ……sounds like more political grandstanding by Reisig. Remember his gang injunction fiasco? Bad decisions by Harris’ compatriots handed this one to Reisig on a platter which he will attempt to milk for the maximum publicity. Perhaps the best strategy is to deny Reisig this publicity by just being dismissive of this affair and publicly ignoring it, leaving it to the courts to resolve.

  13. localdem

    Landmark case, DPD? Not likely. Bobby Harris is a pretty unsympathetic plaintiff, regardless of how Harris and your blog wish to paint him as a crusader. His two young buddies are going nowhere but to Yolo Drug Court.

    Even in Gonzalez v. Raich, the med-pot case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court, the plaintiff was about as sympathetic as you could get: a woman actually using medical marijuana to ease her suffering from a debilitating disease. We know how that case ended up.

  14. localdem

    Landmark case, DPD? Not likely. Bobby Harris is a pretty unsympathetic plaintiff, regardless of how Harris and your blog wish to paint him as a crusader. His two young buddies are going nowhere but to Yolo Drug Court.

    Even in Gonzalez v. Raich, the med-pot case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court, the plaintiff was about as sympathetic as you could get: a woman actually using medical marijuana to ease her suffering from a debilitating disease. We know how that case ended up.

  15. localdem

    Landmark case, DPD? Not likely. Bobby Harris is a pretty unsympathetic plaintiff, regardless of how Harris and your blog wish to paint him as a crusader. His two young buddies are going nowhere but to Yolo Drug Court.

    Even in Gonzalez v. Raich, the med-pot case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court, the plaintiff was about as sympathetic as you could get: a woman actually using medical marijuana to ease her suffering from a debilitating disease. We know how that case ended up.

  16. localdem

    Landmark case, DPD? Not likely. Bobby Harris is a pretty unsympathetic plaintiff, regardless of how Harris and your blog wish to paint him as a crusader. His two young buddies are going nowhere but to Yolo Drug Court.

    Even in Gonzalez v. Raich, the med-pot case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court, the plaintiff was about as sympathetic as you could get: a woman actually using medical marijuana to ease her suffering from a debilitating disease. We know how that case ended up.

  17. Anonymous

    Ridiculous. What an Orwellian world we are living in where physicians can prescribe opiates or cocaine and no one thinks twice about it, and you can buy hard alcohol at every drug store, but prescription marijuana will get you thrown in jail for years on end.

  18. Anonymous

    Ridiculous. What an Orwellian world we are living in where physicians can prescribe opiates or cocaine and no one thinks twice about it, and you can buy hard alcohol at every drug store, but prescription marijuana will get you thrown in jail for years on end.

  19. Anonymous

    Ridiculous. What an Orwellian world we are living in where physicians can prescribe opiates or cocaine and no one thinks twice about it, and you can buy hard alcohol at every drug store, but prescription marijuana will get you thrown in jail for years on end.

  20. Anonymous

    Ridiculous. What an Orwellian world we are living in where physicians can prescribe opiates or cocaine and no one thinks twice about it, and you can buy hard alcohol at every drug store, but prescription marijuana will get you thrown in jail for years on end.

  21. Rich Rifkin

    If it were up to me, we would not have legalized medical marijuana with Prop 215; we would have legalized canibus for all adults.

    But in that we have this strange situation — where marijuana is considered an illegal drug, but some California patients can use it for medicinal purposes, possibly in violation of federal statutes — I have a suggestion for how our state ought to deal with the growth, transport and distribution of canibus for medicinal purposes:

    The State of California ought to create a legal monopoly in marijuana. (It could be done with a private contractor or with a state agency, such as UC Davis or Fresno State.) The state would then be in charge of growing however many thousands of pounds are needed each year by patients with valid prescriptions. The state would then transport the crop to distribution points — say county hospitals, county medical clinics or sheriff’s stations. And at those points, patients would legally purchase their medical marijuana, which would be priced at cost.

    That would obviate the need for anyone who really needs pot for medical purposes to ever grow or transport or sell his own supply. And with the state in charge of the program, the supply would be controlled, clean and not incorporated into the supply chain for other narcotics.

  22. Rich Rifkin

    If it were up to me, we would not have legalized medical marijuana with Prop 215; we would have legalized canibus for all adults.

    But in that we have this strange situation — where marijuana is considered an illegal drug, but some California patients can use it for medicinal purposes, possibly in violation of federal statutes — I have a suggestion for how our state ought to deal with the growth, transport and distribution of canibus for medicinal purposes:

    The State of California ought to create a legal monopoly in marijuana. (It could be done with a private contractor or with a state agency, such as UC Davis or Fresno State.) The state would then be in charge of growing however many thousands of pounds are needed each year by patients with valid prescriptions. The state would then transport the crop to distribution points — say county hospitals, county medical clinics or sheriff’s stations. And at those points, patients would legally purchase their medical marijuana, which would be priced at cost.

    That would obviate the need for anyone who really needs pot for medical purposes to ever grow or transport or sell his own supply. And with the state in charge of the program, the supply would be controlled, clean and not incorporated into the supply chain for other narcotics.

  23. Rich Rifkin

    If it were up to me, we would not have legalized medical marijuana with Prop 215; we would have legalized canibus for all adults.

    But in that we have this strange situation — where marijuana is considered an illegal drug, but some California patients can use it for medicinal purposes, possibly in violation of federal statutes — I have a suggestion for how our state ought to deal with the growth, transport and distribution of canibus for medicinal purposes:

    The State of California ought to create a legal monopoly in marijuana. (It could be done with a private contractor or with a state agency, such as UC Davis or Fresno State.) The state would then be in charge of growing however many thousands of pounds are needed each year by patients with valid prescriptions. The state would then transport the crop to distribution points — say county hospitals, county medical clinics or sheriff’s stations. And at those points, patients would legally purchase their medical marijuana, which would be priced at cost.

    That would obviate the need for anyone who really needs pot for medical purposes to ever grow or transport or sell his own supply. And with the state in charge of the program, the supply would be controlled, clean and not incorporated into the supply chain for other narcotics.

  24. Rich Rifkin

    If it were up to me, we would not have legalized medical marijuana with Prop 215; we would have legalized canibus for all adults.

    But in that we have this strange situation — where marijuana is considered an illegal drug, but some California patients can use it for medicinal purposes, possibly in violation of federal statutes — I have a suggestion for how our state ought to deal with the growth, transport and distribution of canibus for medicinal purposes:

    The State of California ought to create a legal monopoly in marijuana. (It could be done with a private contractor or with a state agency, such as UC Davis or Fresno State.) The state would then be in charge of growing however many thousands of pounds are needed each year by patients with valid prescriptions. The state would then transport the crop to distribution points — say county hospitals, county medical clinics or sheriff’s stations. And at those points, patients would legally purchase their medical marijuana, which would be priced at cost.

    That would obviate the need for anyone who really needs pot for medical purposes to ever grow or transport or sell his own supply. And with the state in charge of the program, the supply would be controlled, clean and not incorporated into the supply chain for other narcotics.

  25. Richard

    For once, Rich has this 100% right.

    Or, let’s say, 97%.

    The only thing that I would add is that the state could also conduct a research program as to the medicinal benefits along with the production and distribution.

    –Richard Estes

  26. Anonymous

    The problem of course is that the state universities don’t want to run afoul of federal law. It would be a great idea otherwise. I see no reason why people should have to be growing their own medical pot when they don’t have to produce their own, say, amoxicillin or ibuprofen.

  27. Richard

    For once, Rich has this 100% right.

    Or, let’s say, 97%.

    The only thing that I would add is that the state could also conduct a research program as to the medicinal benefits along with the production and distribution.

    –Richard Estes

  28. Anonymous

    The problem of course is that the state universities don’t want to run afoul of federal law. It would be a great idea otherwise. I see no reason why people should have to be growing their own medical pot when they don’t have to produce their own, say, amoxicillin or ibuprofen.

  29. Richard

    For once, Rich has this 100% right.

    Or, let’s say, 97%.

    The only thing that I would add is that the state could also conduct a research program as to the medicinal benefits along with the production and distribution.

    –Richard Estes

  30. Anonymous

    The problem of course is that the state universities don’t want to run afoul of federal law. It would be a great idea otherwise. I see no reason why people should have to be growing their own medical pot when they don’t have to produce their own, say, amoxicillin or ibuprofen.

  31. Richard

    For once, Rich has this 100% right.

    Or, let’s say, 97%.

    The only thing that I would add is that the state could also conduct a research program as to the medicinal benefits along with the production and distribution.

    –Richard Estes

  32. Anonymous

    The problem of course is that the state universities don’t want to run afoul of federal law. It would be a great idea otherwise. I see no reason why people should have to be growing their own medical pot when they don’t have to produce their own, say, amoxicillin or ibuprofen.

  33. 無名 - wu ming

    i agree with rich here for the general point about legalization, and with doug that reisig is totally out of bounds enforcing federal laws and refusing to enforce state laws. i hope this case blows up in his face, and that it is a step towards getting yolo county moving towards humboldt’s comparatively sane position on medical marijuana.

    i had a lot of friends who worked with an AIDS hospice project back in the 90s, and from what they said the pot played a huge role in making life bearable for people with extreme nausea and pain.

    it is absurd for opiate-based painkillers to be no problem legally while pot – which does not have a fraction of the potential problems with addiction as oxycontin or other opiates – is treated as a huge public health threat. utterly absurd.

    just legalize the stuff and be done with it. but if you can’t bring yourselfto be that sane, at least let the sick folks get their medicine, and spend your law enforcement time trying to solve murders and robberies, with actual victims, instead of just playing culture war games.

  34. 無名 - wu ming

    i agree with rich here for the general point about legalization, and with doug that reisig is totally out of bounds enforcing federal laws and refusing to enforce state laws. i hope this case blows up in his face, and that it is a step towards getting yolo county moving towards humboldt’s comparatively sane position on medical marijuana.

    i had a lot of friends who worked with an AIDS hospice project back in the 90s, and from what they said the pot played a huge role in making life bearable for people with extreme nausea and pain.

    it is absurd for opiate-based painkillers to be no problem legally while pot – which does not have a fraction of the potential problems with addiction as oxycontin or other opiates – is treated as a huge public health threat. utterly absurd.

    just legalize the stuff and be done with it. but if you can’t bring yourselfto be that sane, at least let the sick folks get their medicine, and spend your law enforcement time trying to solve murders and robberies, with actual victims, instead of just playing culture war games.

  35. 無名 - wu ming

    i agree with rich here for the general point about legalization, and with doug that reisig is totally out of bounds enforcing federal laws and refusing to enforce state laws. i hope this case blows up in his face, and that it is a step towards getting yolo county moving towards humboldt’s comparatively sane position on medical marijuana.

    i had a lot of friends who worked with an AIDS hospice project back in the 90s, and from what they said the pot played a huge role in making life bearable for people with extreme nausea and pain.

    it is absurd for opiate-based painkillers to be no problem legally while pot – which does not have a fraction of the potential problems with addiction as oxycontin or other opiates – is treated as a huge public health threat. utterly absurd.

    just legalize the stuff and be done with it. but if you can’t bring yourselfto be that sane, at least let the sick folks get their medicine, and spend your law enforcement time trying to solve murders and robberies, with actual victims, instead of just playing culture war games.

  36. 無名 - wu ming

    i agree with rich here for the general point about legalization, and with doug that reisig is totally out of bounds enforcing federal laws and refusing to enforce state laws. i hope this case blows up in his face, and that it is a step towards getting yolo county moving towards humboldt’s comparatively sane position on medical marijuana.

    i had a lot of friends who worked with an AIDS hospice project back in the 90s, and from what they said the pot played a huge role in making life bearable for people with extreme nausea and pain.

    it is absurd for opiate-based painkillers to be no problem legally while pot – which does not have a fraction of the potential problems with addiction as oxycontin or other opiates – is treated as a huge public health threat. utterly absurd.

    just legalize the stuff and be done with it. but if you can’t bring yourselfto be that sane, at least let the sick folks get their medicine, and spend your law enforcement time trying to solve murders and robberies, with actual victims, instead of just playing culture war games.

  37. Rich Rifkin

    “The only thing that I would add is that the state could also conduct a research program as to the medicinal benefits along with the production and distribution.”

    This is not news, but for those unaware, the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has a federal monopoly on growing marijuana for research purposes — I think they grow theirs in Mississippi (probably because Trent Lott wanted the research done there). I have read that NIDA has been uncooperative with many academics who want to study the medicinal effects or benefits of marijuana.

    FWIW, I remember, when I was a kid in Davis, hearing stories about the monkeys out at the Primate Center being given tons of pot to determine the effects of cannabis usage and or abuse.

  38. Rich Rifkin

    “The only thing that I would add is that the state could also conduct a research program as to the medicinal benefits along with the production and distribution.”

    This is not news, but for those unaware, the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has a federal monopoly on growing marijuana for research purposes — I think they grow theirs in Mississippi (probably because Trent Lott wanted the research done there). I have read that NIDA has been uncooperative with many academics who want to study the medicinal effects or benefits of marijuana.

    FWIW, I remember, when I was a kid in Davis, hearing stories about the monkeys out at the Primate Center being given tons of pot to determine the effects of cannabis usage and or abuse.

  39. Rich Rifkin

    “The only thing that I would add is that the state could also conduct a research program as to the medicinal benefits along with the production and distribution.”

    This is not news, but for those unaware, the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has a federal monopoly on growing marijuana for research purposes — I think they grow theirs in Mississippi (probably because Trent Lott wanted the research done there). I have read that NIDA has been uncooperative with many academics who want to study the medicinal effects or benefits of marijuana.

    FWIW, I remember, when I was a kid in Davis, hearing stories about the monkeys out at the Primate Center being given tons of pot to determine the effects of cannabis usage and or abuse.

  40. Rich Rifkin

    “The only thing that I would add is that the state could also conduct a research program as to the medicinal benefits along with the production and distribution.”

    This is not news, but for those unaware, the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has a federal monopoly on growing marijuana for research purposes — I think they grow theirs in Mississippi (probably because Trent Lott wanted the research done there). I have read that NIDA has been uncooperative with many academics who want to study the medicinal effects or benefits of marijuana.

    FWIW, I remember, when I was a kid in Davis, hearing stories about the monkeys out at the Primate Center being given tons of pot to determine the effects of cannabis usage and or abuse.

  41. Josh

    As a point of annoyance: It’s a little disturbing how Rich Rifkin is treated on this blog, seeing as most of his arguments are heavily backed up with fact and despite taking tons of verbal abuse, he still contributes to the discussion with much more than a “You liberals are kinda dumb.”

    How dare he have an opposing viewpoint that he’s passionate about and how good of you to pat him on the head every once in a while.

    Anyway, I think the DA’s office is going to work from the fact that section 11362.5 of Prop. 215 places many (ambiguous) restrictions on the rights of a medical marijuana patient so he can’t just wander the earth selling his weed.

    Harris (ambiguously) followed those restrictions.

    It will be an interesting case, to say the least.

    And yes, Rich is right.

  42. Josh

    As a point of annoyance: It’s a little disturbing how Rich Rifkin is treated on this blog, seeing as most of his arguments are heavily backed up with fact and despite taking tons of verbal abuse, he still contributes to the discussion with much more than a “You liberals are kinda dumb.”

    How dare he have an opposing viewpoint that he’s passionate about and how good of you to pat him on the head every once in a while.

    Anyway, I think the DA’s office is going to work from the fact that section 11362.5 of Prop. 215 places many (ambiguous) restrictions on the rights of a medical marijuana patient so he can’t just wander the earth selling his weed.

    Harris (ambiguously) followed those restrictions.

    It will be an interesting case, to say the least.

    And yes, Rich is right.

  43. Josh

    As a point of annoyance: It’s a little disturbing how Rich Rifkin is treated on this blog, seeing as most of his arguments are heavily backed up with fact and despite taking tons of verbal abuse, he still contributes to the discussion with much more than a “You liberals are kinda dumb.”

    How dare he have an opposing viewpoint that he’s passionate about and how good of you to pat him on the head every once in a while.

    Anyway, I think the DA’s office is going to work from the fact that section 11362.5 of Prop. 215 places many (ambiguous) restrictions on the rights of a medical marijuana patient so he can’t just wander the earth selling his weed.

    Harris (ambiguously) followed those restrictions.

    It will be an interesting case, to say the least.

    And yes, Rich is right.

  44. Josh

    As a point of annoyance: It’s a little disturbing how Rich Rifkin is treated on this blog, seeing as most of his arguments are heavily backed up with fact and despite taking tons of verbal abuse, he still contributes to the discussion with much more than a “You liberals are kinda dumb.”

    How dare he have an opposing viewpoint that he’s passionate about and how good of you to pat him on the head every once in a while.

    Anyway, I think the DA’s office is going to work from the fact that section 11362.5 of Prop. 215 places many (ambiguous) restrictions on the rights of a medical marijuana patient so he can’t just wander the earth selling his weed.

    Harris (ambiguously) followed those restrictions.

    It will be an interesting case, to say the least.

    And yes, Rich is right.

  45. Vincente

    Josh:

    You have a point, but it’s only half the story.

    First of all, I think people in this thread a joking around more than ill-treating Rich.

    Second, Rich is not resented for his view points, he is the target for the way he chooses to argue them. At times, he makes very good points. At times I agree with those points, at times (more often) I do not.

    Where I got annoyed is when he takes a small semantic or linguistic point and uses that to hang someone’s opinion. That gets old.

    Also his chapter-long dissected response of Doug’s articles are tiresome.

    I agree people should be more civil towards him, but it’s not for his opinions. Or at least not just for his opinions.

    There were a couple of pretty pointed letters to the editor about his piece from a few weeks ago from NAMI. Many of the concerns raised on this blog were raised there are well. I think that criticism is warranted. He’s entitled to his opinions, we’re entitled to criticize them.

  46. Vincente

    Josh:

    You have a point, but it’s only half the story.

    First of all, I think people in this thread a joking around more than ill-treating Rich.

    Second, Rich is not resented for his view points, he is the target for the way he chooses to argue them. At times, he makes very good points. At times I agree with those points, at times (more often) I do not.

    Where I got annoyed is when he takes a small semantic or linguistic point and uses that to hang someone’s opinion. That gets old.

    Also his chapter-long dissected response of Doug’s articles are tiresome.

    I agree people should be more civil towards him, but it’s not for his opinions. Or at least not just for his opinions.

    There were a couple of pretty pointed letters to the editor about his piece from a few weeks ago from NAMI. Many of the concerns raised on this blog were raised there are well. I think that criticism is warranted. He’s entitled to his opinions, we’re entitled to criticize them.

  47. Vincente

    Josh:

    You have a point, but it’s only half the story.

    First of all, I think people in this thread a joking around more than ill-treating Rich.

    Second, Rich is not resented for his view points, he is the target for the way he chooses to argue them. At times, he makes very good points. At times I agree with those points, at times (more often) I do not.

    Where I got annoyed is when he takes a small semantic or linguistic point and uses that to hang someone’s opinion. That gets old.

    Also his chapter-long dissected response of Doug’s articles are tiresome.

    I agree people should be more civil towards him, but it’s not for his opinions. Or at least not just for his opinions.

    There were a couple of pretty pointed letters to the editor about his piece from a few weeks ago from NAMI. Many of the concerns raised on this blog were raised there are well. I think that criticism is warranted. He’s entitled to his opinions, we’re entitled to criticize them.

  48. Vincente

    Josh:

    You have a point, but it’s only half the story.

    First of all, I think people in this thread a joking around more than ill-treating Rich.

    Second, Rich is not resented for his view points, he is the target for the way he chooses to argue them. At times, he makes very good points. At times I agree with those points, at times (more often) I do not.

    Where I got annoyed is when he takes a small semantic or linguistic point and uses that to hang someone’s opinion. That gets old.

    Also his chapter-long dissected response of Doug’s articles are tiresome.

    I agree people should be more civil towards him, but it’s not for his opinions. Or at least not just for his opinions.

    There were a couple of pretty pointed letters to the editor about his piece from a few weeks ago from NAMI. Many of the concerns raised on this blog were raised there are well. I think that criticism is warranted. He’s entitled to his opinions, we’re entitled to criticize them.

  49. Richard

    josh, I’d suggest that you venture out carefully onto other blogs and comment boards on the Internet, perhaps with an cyberchaperone, if you think that Rich has been treated poorly here

    for example, be very careful before reading the comments at places like The News Blog, Lenin’s Tomb and even the blogs at SFGate.com

    I wouldn’t want you to be unnecessarily traumatized

    –Richard Estes

  50. Richard

    josh, I’d suggest that you venture out carefully onto other blogs and comment boards on the Internet, perhaps with an cyberchaperone, if you think that Rich has been treated poorly here

    for example, be very careful before reading the comments at places like The News Blog, Lenin’s Tomb and even the blogs at SFGate.com

    I wouldn’t want you to be unnecessarily traumatized

    –Richard Estes

  51. Richard

    josh, I’d suggest that you venture out carefully onto other blogs and comment boards on the Internet, perhaps with an cyberchaperone, if you think that Rich has been treated poorly here

    for example, be very careful before reading the comments at places like The News Blog, Lenin’s Tomb and even the blogs at SFGate.com

    I wouldn’t want you to be unnecessarily traumatized

    –Richard Estes

  52. Richard

    josh, I’d suggest that you venture out carefully onto other blogs and comment boards on the Internet, perhaps with an cyberchaperone, if you think that Rich has been treated poorly here

    for example, be very careful before reading the comments at places like The News Blog, Lenin’s Tomb and even the blogs at SFGate.com

    I wouldn’t want you to be unnecessarily traumatized

    –Richard Estes

  53. Josh

    Hey Vincente, it’s true, but you’d think that an opposing viewpoint would be highly valued on a site such as this. Otherwise, it’s just a chorus singing.

    When The People’s Vanguard first started, there was a lot of “Yeah, Doug, thank you for this site that mirrors exactly how I think and feel.”

    Now there’s actually debate going on.

    I just think it would be beneficial to be less condescending and more argumentative.

    An aside: As somebody who has been institutionalized myself and having a father who is a schizophrenic, I agreed with Rich’s “controversial” column wholeheartedly.

    As a liberal, I find other liberals who pussyfoot around issues annoying and unproductive. As a direct result, I’m trying to institute a program that will provide a free set of balls, free of charge, to my fellow bleeding hearts.

  54. Josh

    Hey Vincente, it’s true, but you’d think that an opposing viewpoint would be highly valued on a site such as this. Otherwise, it’s just a chorus singing.

    When The People’s Vanguard first started, there was a lot of “Yeah, Doug, thank you for this site that mirrors exactly how I think and feel.”

    Now there’s actually debate going on.

    I just think it would be beneficial to be less condescending and more argumentative.

    An aside: As somebody who has been institutionalized myself and having a father who is a schizophrenic, I agreed with Rich’s “controversial” column wholeheartedly.

    As a liberal, I find other liberals who pussyfoot around issues annoying and unproductive. As a direct result, I’m trying to institute a program that will provide a free set of balls, free of charge, to my fellow bleeding hearts.

  55. Josh

    Hey Vincente, it’s true, but you’d think that an opposing viewpoint would be highly valued on a site such as this. Otherwise, it’s just a chorus singing.

    When The People’s Vanguard first started, there was a lot of “Yeah, Doug, thank you for this site that mirrors exactly how I think and feel.”

    Now there’s actually debate going on.

    I just think it would be beneficial to be less condescending and more argumentative.

    An aside: As somebody who has been institutionalized myself and having a father who is a schizophrenic, I agreed with Rich’s “controversial” column wholeheartedly.

    As a liberal, I find other liberals who pussyfoot around issues annoying and unproductive. As a direct result, I’m trying to institute a program that will provide a free set of balls, free of charge, to my fellow bleeding hearts.

  56. Josh

    Hey Vincente, it’s true, but you’d think that an opposing viewpoint would be highly valued on a site such as this. Otherwise, it’s just a chorus singing.

    When The People’s Vanguard first started, there was a lot of “Yeah, Doug, thank you for this site that mirrors exactly how I think and feel.”

    Now there’s actually debate going on.

    I just think it would be beneficial to be less condescending and more argumentative.

    An aside: As somebody who has been institutionalized myself and having a father who is a schizophrenic, I agreed with Rich’s “controversial” column wholeheartedly.

    As a liberal, I find other liberals who pussyfoot around issues annoying and unproductive. As a direct result, I’m trying to institute a program that will provide a free set of balls, free of charge, to my fellow bleeding hearts.

  57. Josh

    Dick,

    It’s actually part of my job to “venture carefully onto other blogs,” but I’m talking about this blog and this situation.

    Just because the internet is full of cyber-courage, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

    It must be in your nature to be so condescending, but you might want to be careful with that.

  58. Josh

    Dick,

    It’s actually part of my job to “venture carefully onto other blogs,” but I’m talking about this blog and this situation.

    Just because the internet is full of cyber-courage, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

    It must be in your nature to be so condescending, but you might want to be careful with that.

  59. Josh

    Dick,

    It’s actually part of my job to “venture carefully onto other blogs,” but I’m talking about this blog and this situation.

    Just because the internet is full of cyber-courage, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

    It must be in your nature to be so condescending, but you might want to be careful with that.

  60. Josh

    Dick,

    It’s actually part of my job to “venture carefully onto other blogs,” but I’m talking about this blog and this situation.

    Just because the internet is full of cyber-courage, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

    It must be in your nature to be so condescending, but you might want to be careful with that.

  61. Anonymous

    Yes even fools and bigots can be right once in a while but this is not a case where Rifkin’s idea passes muster.

    Cannabis sativa L. has the specific epithet sativa for a reason, sativa means cultivated. Things with this name are easy to grow. For examples there are the radish Raphanus sativa and lettuce Lactuca sativa. To suggest that the state should indulge in growing something that anyone can grow in their yard is feeding into the notion that this substance needs to be regulated.

    I have a better solution, how about the federal government gets over this stupid prohibition and takes marijuana off the class 1 drug list something, I believe, the courts have advocated the government do. Further the feds could turn regulation over to the states which would solve the legal obstacles for the local Sheriff and DA.

    Something else about this guy Harris, in the article he talks about how he sells his weed to sick people at below market rates. This to me seems like a cover for dope dealing. If he said he did it at cost or for free I might have a little sympathy, after all, Cannabis sativa by definition is easy to grow.

    Finally, if you really wanted to get government involved you would tax the sale of Marijuana and use the money to alleviate some of societies problems just like we do with alcohol and tobacco. If we did this we could get rid of California’s structural deficit.

  62. Anonymous

    Yes even fools and bigots can be right once in a while but this is not a case where Rifkin’s idea passes muster.

    Cannabis sativa L. has the specific epithet sativa for a reason, sativa means cultivated. Things with this name are easy to grow. For examples there are the radish Raphanus sativa and lettuce Lactuca sativa. To suggest that the state should indulge in growing something that anyone can grow in their yard is feeding into the notion that this substance needs to be regulated.

    I have a better solution, how about the federal government gets over this stupid prohibition and takes marijuana off the class 1 drug list something, I believe, the courts have advocated the government do. Further the feds could turn regulation over to the states which would solve the legal obstacles for the local Sheriff and DA.

    Something else about this guy Harris, in the article he talks about how he sells his weed to sick people at below market rates. This to me seems like a cover for dope dealing. If he said he did it at cost or for free I might have a little sympathy, after all, Cannabis sativa by definition is easy to grow.

    Finally, if you really wanted to get government involved you would tax the sale of Marijuana and use the money to alleviate some of societies problems just like we do with alcohol and tobacco. If we did this we could get rid of California’s structural deficit.

  63. Anonymous

    Yes even fools and bigots can be right once in a while but this is not a case where Rifkin’s idea passes muster.

    Cannabis sativa L. has the specific epithet sativa for a reason, sativa means cultivated. Things with this name are easy to grow. For examples there are the radish Raphanus sativa and lettuce Lactuca sativa. To suggest that the state should indulge in growing something that anyone can grow in their yard is feeding into the notion that this substance needs to be regulated.

    I have a better solution, how about the federal government gets over this stupid prohibition and takes marijuana off the class 1 drug list something, I believe, the courts have advocated the government do. Further the feds could turn regulation over to the states which would solve the legal obstacles for the local Sheriff and DA.

    Something else about this guy Harris, in the article he talks about how he sells his weed to sick people at below market rates. This to me seems like a cover for dope dealing. If he said he did it at cost or for free I might have a little sympathy, after all, Cannabis sativa by definition is easy to grow.

    Finally, if you really wanted to get government involved you would tax the sale of Marijuana and use the money to alleviate some of societies problems just like we do with alcohol and tobacco. If we did this we could get rid of California’s structural deficit.

  64. Anonymous

    Yes even fools and bigots can be right once in a while but this is not a case where Rifkin’s idea passes muster.

    Cannabis sativa L. has the specific epithet sativa for a reason, sativa means cultivated. Things with this name are easy to grow. For examples there are the radish Raphanus sativa and lettuce Lactuca sativa. To suggest that the state should indulge in growing something that anyone can grow in their yard is feeding into the notion that this substance needs to be regulated.

    I have a better solution, how about the federal government gets over this stupid prohibition and takes marijuana off the class 1 drug list something, I believe, the courts have advocated the government do. Further the feds could turn regulation over to the states which would solve the legal obstacles for the local Sheriff and DA.

    Something else about this guy Harris, in the article he talks about how he sells his weed to sick people at below market rates. This to me seems like a cover for dope dealing. If he said he did it at cost or for free I might have a little sympathy, after all, Cannabis sativa by definition is easy to grow.

    Finally, if you really wanted to get government involved you would tax the sale of Marijuana and use the money to alleviate some of societies problems just like we do with alcohol and tobacco. If we did this we could get rid of California’s structural deficit.

  65. Rich Rifkin

    Josh,

    Thanks for the nice words.

    As there was another series of letters recently attacking me for my column on mental illness — where I said two basic things: 1) we should not allowing mentally ill people to purchase fire arms and 2) we need to make sure that people who are dangers to themselves, due to their disorders, are kept under the care of a psyhciatrist for the rest of their lives, unless it is determined that they’ve been cured — I want to point out one major error by the leader of the local NAMI Chapter. She claimed that it was because I don’t have any family members with mental disorders that I am callous to their problems. However, she was entirely wrong about that. In fact, it was my personal experience in dealing with a family member who has schizoprhenia and would not take his medications on his own — which made him crazy — that inspired me to think about this issue from a public policy standpoint.

    Frankly, because the politically correct crowd got so upset over my calling mental hospitals ‘looney bins’ — which I only did in reference to how they were back 40 years ago, prior to the development of a lot of good pharmacology — I regret using that wording.

    I still don’t regret using the term crazy. Anyone who’s ever been around a person with mental illness, when it is not being treated properly (or in some cases is not responsive to treatment) knows that crazy is just the right word. It describes the condition (colloquially). I never, ever blame a person for being crazy. In fact, I specifically in the column said I do not blame Mr. Cho for what he did — I say it was our societal fault for not treating his illness, which was widely known in Blacksburg, seriously.

    The most irritating point made by the multiple letter writers published in The Enterprise is the false claim that I suggested that mentally ill people are likely to be criminals or that we should fear people with mental illnesses. Rather, what I said is that many people with untreated mental illnesses end up homeless or in prison — and that we need to treat them long before they ever reach those conditions.

    I didn’t say this in my column. But I would add that I think every person now in a prison who has a mental illness (that can be fairly diagnosed by qualified psychiatrists) ought to be released into the custody of a psychiatric care facility and treated. How we can punish people for committing crimes when they are not of sound mind due to a mental disorder is beyond me.

    Finally, as far as how I am treated on this site, I would of course prefer to have an intelligent discussion. But I must concede at times that I have gotten overly emotional with my commentary — especially directed against David Greenwald — and so getting crap thrown back at me is not always undeserved. That is to say, I am no saint.

  66. Rich Rifkin

    Josh,

    Thanks for the nice words.

    As there was another series of letters recently attacking me for my column on mental illness — where I said two basic things: 1) we should not allowing mentally ill people to purchase fire arms and 2) we need to make sure that people who are dangers to themselves, due to their disorders, are kept under the care of a psyhciatrist for the rest of their lives, unless it is determined that they’ve been cured — I want to point out one major error by the leader of the local NAMI Chapter. She claimed that it was because I don’t have any family members with mental disorders that I am callous to their problems. However, she was entirely wrong about that. In fact, it was my personal experience in dealing with a family member who has schizoprhenia and would not take his medications on his own — which made him crazy — that inspired me to think about this issue from a public policy standpoint.

    Frankly, because the politically correct crowd got so upset over my calling mental hospitals ‘looney bins’ — which I only did in reference to how they were back 40 years ago, prior to the development of a lot of good pharmacology — I regret using that wording.

    I still don’t regret using the term crazy. Anyone who’s ever been around a person with mental illness, when it is not being treated properly (or in some cases is not responsive to treatment) knows that crazy is just the right word. It describes the condition (colloquially). I never, ever blame a person for being crazy. In fact, I specifically in the column said I do not blame Mr. Cho for what he did — I say it was our societal fault for not treating his illness, which was widely known in Blacksburg, seriously.

    The most irritating point made by the multiple letter writers published in The Enterprise is the false claim that I suggested that mentally ill people are likely to be criminals or that we should fear people with mental illnesses. Rather, what I said is that many people with untreated mental illnesses end up homeless or in prison — and that we need to treat them long before they ever reach those conditions.

    I didn’t say this in my column. But I would add that I think every person now in a prison who has a mental illness (that can be fairly diagnosed by qualified psychiatrists) ought to be released into the custody of a psychiatric care facility and treated. How we can punish people for committing crimes when they are not of sound mind due to a mental disorder is beyond me.

    Finally, as far as how I am treated on this site, I would of course prefer to have an intelligent discussion. But I must concede at times that I have gotten overly emotional with my commentary — especially directed against David Greenwald — and so getting crap thrown back at me is not always undeserved. That is to say, I am no saint.

  67. Rich Rifkin

    Josh,

    Thanks for the nice words.

    As there was another series of letters recently attacking me for my column on mental illness — where I said two basic things: 1) we should not allowing mentally ill people to purchase fire arms and 2) we need to make sure that people who are dangers to themselves, due to their disorders, are kept under the care of a psyhciatrist for the rest of their lives, unless it is determined that they’ve been cured — I want to point out one major error by the leader of the local NAMI Chapter. She claimed that it was because I don’t have any family members with mental disorders that I am callous to their problems. However, she was entirely wrong about that. In fact, it was my personal experience in dealing with a family member who has schizoprhenia and would not take his medications on his own — which made him crazy — that inspired me to think about this issue from a public policy standpoint.

    Frankly, because the politically correct crowd got so upset over my calling mental hospitals ‘looney bins’ — which I only did in reference to how they were back 40 years ago, prior to the development of a lot of good pharmacology — I regret using that wording.

    I still don’t regret using the term crazy. Anyone who’s ever been around a person with mental illness, when it is not being treated properly (or in some cases is not responsive to treatment) knows that crazy is just the right word. It describes the condition (colloquially). I never, ever blame a person for being crazy. In fact, I specifically in the column said I do not blame Mr. Cho for what he did — I say it was our societal fault for not treating his illness, which was widely known in Blacksburg, seriously.

    The most irritating point made by the multiple letter writers published in The Enterprise is the false claim that I suggested that mentally ill people are likely to be criminals or that we should fear people with mental illnesses. Rather, what I said is that many people with untreated mental illnesses end up homeless or in prison — and that we need to treat them long before they ever reach those conditions.

    I didn’t say this in my column. But I would add that I think every person now in a prison who has a mental illness (that can be fairly diagnosed by qualified psychiatrists) ought to be released into the custody of a psychiatric care facility and treated. How we can punish people for committing crimes when they are not of sound mind due to a mental disorder is beyond me.

    Finally, as far as how I am treated on this site, I would of course prefer to have an intelligent discussion. But I must concede at times that I have gotten overly emotional with my commentary — especially directed against David Greenwald — and so getting crap thrown back at me is not always undeserved. That is to say, I am no saint.

  68. Rich Rifkin

    Josh,

    Thanks for the nice words.

    As there was another series of letters recently attacking me for my column on mental illness — where I said two basic things: 1) we should not allowing mentally ill people to purchase fire arms and 2) we need to make sure that people who are dangers to themselves, due to their disorders, are kept under the care of a psyhciatrist for the rest of their lives, unless it is determined that they’ve been cured — I want to point out one major error by the leader of the local NAMI Chapter. She claimed that it was because I don’t have any family members with mental disorders that I am callous to their problems. However, she was entirely wrong about that. In fact, it was my personal experience in dealing with a family member who has schizoprhenia and would not take his medications on his own — which made him crazy — that inspired me to think about this issue from a public policy standpoint.

    Frankly, because the politically correct crowd got so upset over my calling mental hospitals ‘looney bins’ — which I only did in reference to how they were back 40 years ago, prior to the development of a lot of good pharmacology — I regret using that wording.

    I still don’t regret using the term crazy. Anyone who’s ever been around a person with mental illness, when it is not being treated properly (or in some cases is not responsive to treatment) knows that crazy is just the right word. It describes the condition (colloquially). I never, ever blame a person for being crazy. In fact, I specifically in the column said I do not blame Mr. Cho for what he did — I say it was our societal fault for not treating his illness, which was widely known in Blacksburg, seriously.

    The most irritating point made by the multiple letter writers published in The Enterprise is the false claim that I suggested that mentally ill people are likely to be criminals or that we should fear people with mental illnesses. Rather, what I said is that many people with untreated mental illnesses end up homeless or in prison — and that we need to treat them long before they ever reach those conditions.

    I didn’t say this in my column. But I would add that I think every person now in a prison who has a mental illness (that can be fairly diagnosed by qualified psychiatrists) ought to be released into the custody of a psychiatric care facility and treated. How we can punish people for committing crimes when they are not of sound mind due to a mental disorder is beyond me.

    Finally, as far as how I am treated on this site, I would of course prefer to have an intelligent discussion. But I must concede at times that I have gotten overly emotional with my commentary — especially directed against David Greenwald — and so getting crap thrown back at me is not always undeserved. That is to say, I am no saint.

  69. Rich Rifkin

    “Yes even fools and bigots can be right once in a while but this is not a case where Rifkin’s idea passes muster.”

    No matter what errors I have made, I have never been a bigot. I would greatly appreciate your not slandering me with such terms.

  70. Rich Rifkin

    “Yes even fools and bigots can be right once in a while but this is not a case where Rifkin’s idea passes muster.”

    No matter what errors I have made, I have never been a bigot. I would greatly appreciate your not slandering me with such terms.

  71. Rich Rifkin

    “Yes even fools and bigots can be right once in a while but this is not a case where Rifkin’s idea passes muster.”

    No matter what errors I have made, I have never been a bigot. I would greatly appreciate your not slandering me with such terms.

  72. Rich Rifkin

    “Yes even fools and bigots can be right once in a while but this is not a case where Rifkin’s idea passes muster.”

    No matter what errors I have made, I have never been a bigot. I would greatly appreciate your not slandering me with such terms.

  73. Rich Rifkin

    “I have a better solution, how about the federal government gets over this stupid prohibition and takes marijuana off the class 1 drug list something, I believe, the courts have advocated the government do.”

    Anon,

    Please read my very first sentence over again. I wrote:

    “If it were up to me … we would have legalized cannibus for all adults.”

    We likely do not disagree on this question.

    However, insofar as cannibus is sold commercially, I do think its sale ought to be regulated — much the way prostitution is regulated in most of Nevada. But if someone wanted to grow it in their garden for their own purposes and not sell it, I say it’s a free country. Do what you like.

    Not that it matters, but I feel like adding that I don’t smoke pot or take any illegal drugs. However, with the back ache I’m suffering from now, I’d sure like to have some opiates. 🙂

  74. Rich Rifkin

    “I have a better solution, how about the federal government gets over this stupid prohibition and takes marijuana off the class 1 drug list something, I believe, the courts have advocated the government do.”

    Anon,

    Please read my very first sentence over again. I wrote:

    “If it were up to me … we would have legalized cannibus for all adults.”

    We likely do not disagree on this question.

    However, insofar as cannibus is sold commercially, I do think its sale ought to be regulated — much the way prostitution is regulated in most of Nevada. But if someone wanted to grow it in their garden for their own purposes and not sell it, I say it’s a free country. Do what you like.

    Not that it matters, but I feel like adding that I don’t smoke pot or take any illegal drugs. However, with the back ache I’m suffering from now, I’d sure like to have some opiates. 🙂

  75. Rich Rifkin

    “I have a better solution, how about the federal government gets over this stupid prohibition and takes marijuana off the class 1 drug list something, I believe, the courts have advocated the government do.”

    Anon,

    Please read my very first sentence over again. I wrote:

    “If it were up to me … we would have legalized cannibus for all adults.”

    We likely do not disagree on this question.

    However, insofar as cannibus is sold commercially, I do think its sale ought to be regulated — much the way prostitution is regulated in most of Nevada. But if someone wanted to grow it in their garden for their own purposes and not sell it, I say it’s a free country. Do what you like.

    Not that it matters, but I feel like adding that I don’t smoke pot or take any illegal drugs. However, with the back ache I’m suffering from now, I’d sure like to have some opiates. 🙂

  76. Rich Rifkin

    “I have a better solution, how about the federal government gets over this stupid prohibition and takes marijuana off the class 1 drug list something, I believe, the courts have advocated the government do.”

    Anon,

    Please read my very first sentence over again. I wrote:

    “If it were up to me … we would have legalized cannibus for all adults.”

    We likely do not disagree on this question.

    However, insofar as cannibus is sold commercially, I do think its sale ought to be regulated — much the way prostitution is regulated in most of Nevada. But if someone wanted to grow it in their garden for their own purposes and not sell it, I say it’s a free country. Do what you like.

    Not that it matters, but I feel like adding that I don’t smoke pot or take any illegal drugs. However, with the back ache I’m suffering from now, I’d sure like to have some opiates. 🙂

  77. Bobby Harris

    Howdy,

    Bobby Harris here.

    Comment by “localdem” implies that anyone (including myself) who is not lying on their deathbed, or terminally ill is “unsympathetic,” for various reasons.

    The main point here is that “localdem” is writing about federal law / attitude (in a federal case), as if that was the legal bottom-line. But from a practical standpoint, it’s not.

    I know that Dems are a large / wide group, but still wonder about whether “localdem” properly fits into this big picture.

    P215 says that “serious illness” is the definition of legal import, per
    physicians’ determinations. That’s what this law literally demands.

    Rich’s notion of a state monopoly on cannabis production is entirely unworkable, although I enjoy his support for P215 in general.

    Forcing patients into some program of state monopoly supply is directly contrary to P215, which (- supposedly -) immunized patients and caregivers from legal jeopardy (under state law) for cultivation and possession, plus whatever else is legally relevant to these immunities — such as transportation, as the state courts have ruled for years.

    The state could not now adopt a law (without going back onto the ballot) which qualifies or infringes on these, clearly enunciated rights.

    There is no way to mesh P215 with Rich’s notion, from a legal standpoint.

    Enough said (despite earlier statements of agreement by various bloggers).

    The actual solution is to demand that state officials obey and enforce state law. It’s just that easy. If patients simply possess their state law rights, they will be able to arrange their affairs in a successful manner.

    The feds can’t go generally searching into all potential P215 patients’ cupboards. A proliferation of modest and responsible, medicinal-cannabis cultivation operations would be irrepressible.

    That’s the way to proceed.

    Thanks to all blog commentators, for your interest and participation on this matter of public policy.

    * I’m happy to answer any questions posed by the readers of this wonderful blog.

  78. Bobby Harris

    Howdy,

    Bobby Harris here.

    Comment by “localdem” implies that anyone (including myself) who is not lying on their deathbed, or terminally ill is “unsympathetic,” for various reasons.

    The main point here is that “localdem” is writing about federal law / attitude (in a federal case), as if that was the legal bottom-line. But from a practical standpoint, it’s not.

    I know that Dems are a large / wide group, but still wonder about whether “localdem” properly fits into this big picture.

    P215 says that “serious illness” is the definition of legal import, per
    physicians’ determinations. That’s what this law literally demands.

    Rich’s notion of a state monopoly on cannabis production is entirely unworkable, although I enjoy his support for P215 in general.

    Forcing patients into some program of state monopoly supply is directly contrary to P215, which (- supposedly -) immunized patients and caregivers from legal jeopardy (under state law) for cultivation and possession, plus whatever else is legally relevant to these immunities — such as transportation, as the state courts have ruled for years.

    The state could not now adopt a law (without going back onto the ballot) which qualifies or infringes on these, clearly enunciated rights.

    There is no way to mesh P215 with Rich’s notion, from a legal standpoint.

    Enough said (despite earlier statements of agreement by various bloggers).

    The actual solution is to demand that state officials obey and enforce state law. It’s just that easy. If patients simply possess their state law rights, they will be able to arrange their affairs in a successful manner.

    The feds can’t go generally searching into all potential P215 patients’ cupboards. A proliferation of modest and responsible, medicinal-cannabis cultivation operations would be irrepressible.

    That’s the way to proceed.

    Thanks to all blog commentators, for your interest and participation on this matter of public policy.

    * I’m happy to answer any questions posed by the readers of this wonderful blog.

  79. Bobby Harris

    Howdy,

    Bobby Harris here.

    Comment by “localdem” implies that anyone (including myself) who is not lying on their deathbed, or terminally ill is “unsympathetic,” for various reasons.

    The main point here is that “localdem” is writing about federal law / attitude (in a federal case), as if that was the legal bottom-line. But from a practical standpoint, it’s not.

    I know that Dems are a large / wide group, but still wonder about whether “localdem” properly fits into this big picture.

    P215 says that “serious illness” is the definition of legal import, per
    physicians’ determinations. That’s what this law literally demands.

    Rich’s notion of a state monopoly on cannabis production is entirely unworkable, although I enjoy his support for P215 in general.

    Forcing patients into some program of state monopoly supply is directly contrary to P215, which (- supposedly -) immunized patients and caregivers from legal jeopardy (under state law) for cultivation and possession, plus whatever else is legally relevant to these immunities — such as transportation, as the state courts have ruled for years.

    The state could not now adopt a law (without going back onto the ballot) which qualifies or infringes on these, clearly enunciated rights.

    There is no way to mesh P215 with Rich’s notion, from a legal standpoint.

    Enough said (despite earlier statements of agreement by various bloggers).

    The actual solution is to demand that state officials obey and enforce state law. It’s just that easy. If patients simply possess their state law rights, they will be able to arrange their affairs in a successful manner.

    The feds can’t go generally searching into all potential P215 patients’ cupboards. A proliferation of modest and responsible, medicinal-cannabis cultivation operations would be irrepressible.

    That’s the way to proceed.

    Thanks to all blog commentators, for your interest and participation on this matter of public policy.

    * I’m happy to answer any questions posed by the readers of this wonderful blog.

  80. Bobby Harris

    Howdy,

    Bobby Harris here.

    Comment by “localdem” implies that anyone (including myself) who is not lying on their deathbed, or terminally ill is “unsympathetic,” for various reasons.

    The main point here is that “localdem” is writing about federal law / attitude (in a federal case), as if that was the legal bottom-line. But from a practical standpoint, it’s not.

    I know that Dems are a large / wide group, but still wonder about whether “localdem” properly fits into this big picture.

    P215 says that “serious illness” is the definition of legal import, per
    physicians’ determinations. That’s what this law literally demands.

    Rich’s notion of a state monopoly on cannabis production is entirely unworkable, although I enjoy his support for P215 in general.

    Forcing patients into some program of state monopoly supply is directly contrary to P215, which (- supposedly -) immunized patients and caregivers from legal jeopardy (under state law) for cultivation and possession, plus whatever else is legally relevant to these immunities — such as transportation, as the state courts have ruled for years.

    The state could not now adopt a law (without going back onto the ballot) which qualifies or infringes on these, clearly enunciated rights.

    There is no way to mesh P215 with Rich’s notion, from a legal standpoint.

    Enough said (despite earlier statements of agreement by various bloggers).

    The actual solution is to demand that state officials obey and enforce state law. It’s just that easy. If patients simply possess their state law rights, they will be able to arrange their affairs in a successful manner.

    The feds can’t go generally searching into all potential P215 patients’ cupboards. A proliferation of modest and responsible, medicinal-cannabis cultivation operations would be irrepressible.

    That’s the way to proceed.

    Thanks to all blog commentators, for your interest and participation on this matter of public policy.

    * I’m happy to answer any questions posed by the readers of this wonderful blog.

  81. Richard

    Let me suggest George Bush and Dick Cheney for lifetime institutionalization under the Rifkin plan for mentally disordered people who are a danger to others who cannot establish that they have been, in his words, “cured”.

    Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and a million and a half displaced ones, and a child mortality rate of 125 out of a 1000, certainly makes the case for it.

    –Richard Estes

  82. Richard

    Let me suggest George Bush and Dick Cheney for lifetime institutionalization under the Rifkin plan for mentally disordered people who are a danger to others who cannot establish that they have been, in his words, “cured”.

    Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and a million and a half displaced ones, and a child mortality rate of 125 out of a 1000, certainly makes the case for it.

    –Richard Estes

  83. Richard

    Let me suggest George Bush and Dick Cheney for lifetime institutionalization under the Rifkin plan for mentally disordered people who are a danger to others who cannot establish that they have been, in his words, “cured”.

    Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and a million and a half displaced ones, and a child mortality rate of 125 out of a 1000, certainly makes the case for it.

    –Richard Estes

  84. Richard

    Let me suggest George Bush and Dick Cheney for lifetime institutionalization under the Rifkin plan for mentally disordered people who are a danger to others who cannot establish that they have been, in his words, “cured”.

    Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and a million and a half displaced ones, and a child mortality rate of 125 out of a 1000, certainly makes the case for it.

    –Richard Estes

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