No Basis For Challenging California’s Proposition 19

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marijuana2 US Attorney General Eric Holder and and Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), have inserted themselves into the debate on Prop 19, arguing that they would not only enforce marijuana laws in California but that the Department of Justice would sue to overturn Proposition 19 should it be approved next month by California voters.

It was a move inspired by the possibility that the measure would pass, although recent polls now show it modestly behind as the election next week rapidly approaches.

In response to implied threats, the ACLU has written a letter arguing that there would be no legal basis for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to sue to overturn Proposition 19 should it be approved next month by California voters, and urging the Justice Department  not to change its current law enforcement focus on major criminal activity in favor of new enforcement activities against California marijuana users.

“Proposition 19 will let Californians decide whether to change the failed policy of using scarce state law enforcement resources to prohibit, under state law, the adult consumption and possession of small amounts of marijuana,” the letter says.

The letter asks Holder and Kerlikowske to stop threatening costly litigation and the deployment of federal drug police to arrest individuals who might use marijuana if the state enacts the proposition, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal use and allow cities and counties to regulate and tax commercial sales.

The letter calls such rhetoric “unnecessarily alarmist” and says it does little to foster a balanced discussion of a legitimate policy issue.

“Proposition 19 would remove state criminal penalties for certain adult marijuana use,” says the ACLU’s letter. “The new law would not require anyone to do anything in violation of federal law. There would be no positive conflict.”

In a letter to the nine former Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs made public earlier this month, Holder said he will “vigorously enforce” federal laws against marijuana in California, even if Proposition 19 is approved.

But realistically, the federal government lacks the resources of local law enforcement to do enforce anything other than going after large-time drug dealers, something that they are doing now.

The ACLU’s letter argues that states do not have to march in lockstep with the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana possession and that California can decide for itself whether it wishes to remove state criminal law penalties for adult marijuana use.

An explicit clause of the Controlled Substances Act, passed by Congress in 1970, holds that preemption of state drug laws is limited to a narrow set of circumstances where there is a “positive conflict” between state and federal law “so that the two cannot consistently stand together.”

The ACLU’s letter also highlights the fact that African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately arrested for low-level marijuana possession in California and across the nation even though their usage rates are the same as or lower than those of whites.

“The ACLU took heart from Director Kerlikowske’s acknowledgment that the ‘war on drugs’ has failed,” states the ACLU’s letter. “But instead of scaling back the rhetoric associated with that ineffective and out-of-date campaign, it appears the administration would resist California’s modest attempt to begin dismantling one of the defining injustices of our failed drug policies: that the war on drugs has become a war on minorities.”

A new report released last week shows that from 2006 to 2008, police in 25 of California’s major cities arrested blacks at four to 12 times the rate of whites.

“The historical and racially-disparate enforcement of marijuana laws is a primary reason why [the ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties] have endorsed Proposition 19,” the ACLU’s letter reads.

The ACLU’s letter to Holder also questions why the federal government’s response to the enactment of Proposition 19 should be any different than its approach to the existence in California and 13 other states of laws allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“We commend DOJ’s instruction last year to U.S. attorneys that prosecuting medical marijuana patients who comply with state laws should not be a federal law enforcement priority,” the ACLU’s letter reads. “The very same standards should apply if Proposition 19 is enacted. Regardless of the federal government’s disagreement with California’s choice to amend state criminal law, it makes no more sense for the federal government to waste scarce resources policing low-level, non-violent marijuana offenses after Proposition 19 passes, than before.”

Californians have every right to enact Proposition 19, the ACLU’s letter asserts, in an effort to curtail the wasting of criminal justice resources on the policing of low-level adult marijuana offenses and to help end the selective enforcement of drug laws.

“This is about priorities,” the ACLU’s letter reads. “Given the state of the economy, record unemployment and foreclosure rates, and thousands of troops deployed abroad, should voters enact Proposition 19, we hope the federal government will re-evaluate its priorities and use scarce federal enforcement resources wisely.”

The key point, as we have previously written, is that there is no inherent conflict between state and federal law.  The federal government is free to attempt to apprehend any violators of federal law, but state and local law enforcement is not compelled to enforce federal laws.

The letter comes at a time when support for Proposition 19 is slipping.  A poll released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that only 44 percent of likely voters plan to vote for Proposition 19, while while 49 percent plan to vote against it, with 7 percent undecided. This is an 8-point drop in support since September (52% yes, 41% no, 7% undecided).

Support has declined among Democrats (56% today, 63% September), dropped sharply among independents (40% today, 65% September), and remains low among Republicans (30% today, 32% September). Support has declined across nearly all demographic groups, most strikingly among Latinos (42% today, 63% September). Most of the likely voters say the outcome of the vote on Proposition 19 is important (52% very important, 28% somewhat important). Those planning to vote no are more likely to consider the outcome very important (67%) than those planning to vote yes (40%).

–David M. Greenwald 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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31 thoughts on “No Basis For Challenging California’s Proposition 19”

  1. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “Californians have every right to enact Proposition 19, the ACLU’s letter asserts, in an effort to curtail the wasting of criminal justice resources on the policing of low-level adult marijuana offenses and to help end the selective enforcement of drug laws.”

    This is a bogus argument in light of the new law promulgated by Schwartznegger that now makes it only a misdemeanor punishable by fine to possess a very small amount of marjuana for personal use.

    dmg: “The letter comes at a time when support for Proposition 19 is slipping. A poll released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that only 44 percent of likely voters plan to vote for Proposition 19, while while 49 percent plan to vote against it, with 7 percent undecided. This is an 8-point drop in support since September (52% yes, 41% no, 7% undecided).”

    The voters are beginning to see the light…

    dmg: “The key point, as we have previously written, is that there is no inherent conflict between state and federal law. The federal government is free to attempt to apprehend any violators of federal law, but state and local law enforcement is not compelled to enforce federal laws.”

    Some would disagree w this statement. See:
    http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000634

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/oct/16/california-g-vows-enforce-federal-marijuana-laws/
    “County Sheriff Lee Baca and District Attorney Steve Cooley said at a news conference that the law would be unenforceable because it is trumped by federal laws that prohibit marijuana cultivation and possession.
    “We will continue as we are today regardless of whether it passes or doesn’t pass,” Baca said. His deputies don’t and won’t go after users in their homes, but public use of the drug will be targeted, he said.
    Both gubernatorial candidates — Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman — oppose Prop 19 and declined comment Friday.”

    http://www.hebetsmccallin.com/blog/?p=52

  2. Perezoso

    J-Edgar Holder, the Obama Admin’s Snitch-in-Chief has spoken!
    The CA demopublicans are united in their opposition to legalizing the fiendish Cannabis as well–Brown, Boxer, Feinstein all oppose 19 (Feinstein was in LA with the LASD a few days ago saying how much she hates 19, and in effect lying that it would not raise any taxes). The DINO par-tay leaders also sent out orders–do not support this Evil law!–probably following orders from mob connections afraid some legal homegrown might cut down on sales.

    Few CA “liberal” blogs have dared to post a Yes on 19 banner either. As with the DINOs of New Worlds–featuring Davis’s own confused Al Gore wannabe…Byronius!—, there’a great deal of phony moral outrage and grandstanding about distant GOPers, but little if any concern with Yes on Prop 19, or No on 23, or CA politics at all (including Evita Fiorina).

  3. Musser

    I think this letter by the ACLU is a glaring example of why the organization is politically motivated, and the causes they push have little to do with Amercians or civil liberties.

    DPD: The ACLU’s letter argues that states do not have to march in lockstep with the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana possession and that California can decide for itself whether it wishes to remove state criminal law penalties for adult marijuana use.

    on what grounds? States must march in lockstep with Federal Law.

    DPD: “We commend DOJ’s instruction last year to U.S. attorneys that prosecuting medical marijuana patients who comply with state laws should not be a federal law enforcement priority,”

    note, this does not mean that medical marijuana is legal. it means US attorneys will not use resources to enforce the law against marijuana for medical purposes. That does not make medical marijuana legitimate by a longshot.

    DPD: The key point, as we have previously written, is that there is no inherent conflict between state and federal law. The federal government is free to attempt to apprehend any violators of federal law, but state and local law enforcement is not compelled to enforce federal laws.

    David, this is a personal question, but do you smoke weed? because that would make more sense than anything you are writing here. I refuse to believe you are this stupid. I have seen all of your other pieces on commissions and other issues and many of those are nothing short of brilliant so I know you have a high degree of intelligence. Thus I can’t believe you really belive that there is no conflict with Federal Law. It is very cut and dried about the Federal Ban on Pot, and you know that states cannot decide for themselves on a law when the federal law is clear. That has been true ever since the end of the civil war and YOU KNOW IT. so can we please cut the crap?

    if you want to advocate pot use, then a sensible alternative (or as sensible as you can get for legalizing weed) would be to argue a change in laws at the Federal level. that would make more sense than what you are doing here.

  4. Musser

    DPD: The ACLU’s letter argues that states do not have to march in lockstep with the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana possession and that California can decide for itself whether it wishes to remove state criminal law penalties for adult marijuana use.

    this is a TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE of how a lie is repeated often enough to get it to become fact. The aclu can say over and over that states can decide for themselves against federal law, but that doesn’t make it any truer no matter how often it is said. Federal law is clear and the ACLU and You know it is.

    DPD: “Californians have every right to enact Proposition 19, the ACLU’s letter asserts, in an effort to curtail the wasting of criminal justice resources on the policing of low-level adult marijuana offenses and to help end the selective enforcement of drug laws.”

    and how many criminal justice resources are we going to waste when the traffic death toll rises? how many resources are we going to waste dealing with a higher number of domestic violence disputes? and how many resources are going to be wasted enforcing vagrancy because of increasing amounts of public intoxication?

    Look at the resources needed to police picnic day. THe entire Davis police force couldn’t stop all of the crime. Now imagine those people not only drunk, but stoned on cheap dope as well? (the multiplier effect) nice.

  5. Don Shor

    “how many resources are we going to waste dealing with a higher number of domestic violence disputes?”

    Ah yes, because we all know that marijuana causes people to become violent. I’ll leave the rest of your arguments alone. I’ve already voted, and I think people are pretty much done with this topic now.

  6. Robin W

    With at least 44% of the voting public supporting Prop 19 (more in every other poll), it is pretty outlandish to assert that a smart person cannot support Prop 19 unless it is because they smoke marijuana.

  7. Perezoso

    “””and how many criminal justice resources are we going to waste when the traffic death toll rises? how many resources are we going to waste dealing with a higher number of domestic violence disputes? and how many resources are going to be wasted enforcing vagrancy because of increasing amounts of public intoxication?”””

    Musser sounds fairly ridiculous here, not worth responding to–but that is the mindstate of the conservatives (including many “democrats”) who oppose the law, or choose not to become involved.
    Granted the DEA/Feds could (assuming 19 passes–unlikely) probably choose to enforce Fed laws, especially with Holder at the reins (and current SC). Either way Prop. 19 would save money by reducing the courts’ times spent with petty pot cases, etc., and also eliminate the drug cartels’ role in marijuana. Even some cops agree it will cut down on crime.

    The real culprits keeping 19 from passing are mainly CA liberals, or pseudo-liberals, aka Snitches. Democrats were at one time the partay of…sex, drugs, and rock and roll–now they’re the party of unions, schoolmarmies, and cops. Where is say the celebrity/entertainer support for 19? Even in Sac/Davis people refuse to get involved.

    As with the aforementioned Byronius New Worlds. This person was the leader of a Sac band “Jupiter Sheep”, a “space rock” band, and, well—pot was in abundance at their shows (that is, before Byronius joined a local fundamentalist church and went into…denial about his previous life). So where’s the pro-19 writing, B-ron (instead of the usual blow-hard moral liberalism)?? The Oaksterdam people support 19. It’s apathetic phonies such as B-ron–and many other Sac/Bay Area entertainment/music types– who are doing their best to defeat 19.

  8. E Roberts Musser

    Perezoso: “Granted the DEA/Feds could (assuming 19 passes–unlikely) probably choose to enforce Fed laws, especially with Holder at the reins (and current SC). Either way Prop. 19 would save money by reducing the courts’ times spent with petty pot cases, etc., and also eliminate the drug cartels’ role in marijuana.”

    This boat won’t float – Schwartznegger has made possession of a small amount of pot a mere misdemeanor that only comes with a fine.

  9. Perezoso

    19 may not float your boat, ERM, but 19 allows for citizens to grow cannabis for their own use, which is still illegal–don’t have the CA–PC, but probably a felony with a few plants–notwithstanding Ahhhnuld’s minor modification. And what’s a small amount? So a joint or two, and one may catch a misdemeanor (still carries weight) and hefty fine. With a few ounces or more, yr still headed to prison. Moreover, you overlook the real positive of 19–mucho tax revenues, which might repair some of the damage done by Ahhnuld-nomics.

  10. E Roberts Musser

    Perezoso: “Moreover, you overlook the real positive of 19–mucho tax revenues, which might repair some of the damage done by Ahhnuld-nomics.”

    I suspect this is a bogus argument too, once you factor in the costs to keep kids from smoking pot, the costs of those driving under the influence, the costs in reduced productivity of those smoking pot while employed, and if the costs of pot are vastly reduced if it is legalized as proponents of Prop 19 claim, there won’t be much in the way of tax revenue generated anyway.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    “once you factor in the costs to keep kids from smoking pot,”

    I’m not one who buys that there is going to be tax revenue from legalized Marijuana, certainly not while it is illegal by the federal government. But I’m not convinced this is a costly expenditure either.

    One of the interesting facts of life is if you ask kids or look at studies, it is easier to get marijuana now for kids than it is to get alcohol or tobacco. The reason is simple, marijuana is sold on the black market, alcohol and tobacco are legal and therefore regulated. The marginal cost of regulating marijuana in addition to cigs and alcohol is probably small as will any cost to regulating those driving under the influence.

  12. Perezoso

    The tax revenues would supposedly come from head shops, pot-related merchandise, etc. The supporters of Prop. 19 say it will be significant–even Ahhnuld agreed with that at one point, probably until Princess Maria told him she would like go party with Ellen DeG and friends if he dared to support it. How Cali politics works. Anyway, were it to pass DiDi Feinstein would most likely be on the phone immediately to the Feds, ATF agents, CIA, Larry Ellison to immediately imprison any and all Pot-perps. (btw ERM–they could still bust people for DUI, even under pot…so just a scare tactic)

  13. E Roberts Musser

    Perezoso: “(btw ERM–they could still bust people for DUI, even under pot…so just a scare tactic)”

    Problem is, arresting people for DUI is after they have done the damage/killed someone…

  14. David M. Greenwald

    [quote]Problem is, arresting people for DUI is after they have done the damage/killed someone…[/quote]

    That’s not necessarily true, but regardless how is that different with marijuana than alcohol?

  15. Musser

    Don Shor: “Ah yes, because we all know that marijuana causes people to become violent. I’ll leave the rest of your arguments alone. I’ve already voted, and I think people are pretty much done with this topic now.”

    Don, marijuana may not do it alone, but marijuana mixed with alcohol…..

    “it is pretty outlandish to assert that a smart person cannot support Prop 19 unless it is because they smoke marijuana.”

    I asserted no such thing. I said based on the arguments that I was hearing…

    DPD: “One of the interesting facts of life is if you ask kids or look at studies, it is easier to get marijuana now for kids than it is to get alcohol or tobacco. The reason is simple, marijuana is sold on the black market, alcohol and tobacco are legal and therefore regulated.”

    I’m not sure I agree. who says alcohol and tobacco don’t work their way to underage teens?

    when you say “when you ask kids” they are not necessarily going to be open about their drinking or smoking habits, which are illegal. They have good reason to lie. I suspect that it is still very much a mystery how much kids have access to weed. Furthermore, if Daddy can grow pot in his backyard, you couldn’t make it any easier for kids to get weed than if you handed it to them on a silver platter.

  16. Musser

    That’s not necessarily true, but regardless how is that different with marijuana than alcohol?

    it isn’t different. it adds to the problem. one available intoxicant is linked to X traffic deaths.

    that intoxicant plus a second is linked to x + y traffic deaths. not a pretty picture.

    WHY ADD TO THE PROBLEM?

  17. David M. Greenwald

    David:

    DMG: “One of the interesting facts of life is if you ask kids or look at studies, it is easier to get marijuana now for kids than it is to get alcohol or tobacco. The reason is simple, marijuana is sold on the black market, alcohol and tobacco are legal and therefore regulated.”

    DM: I’m not sure I agree. who says alcohol and tobacco don’t work their way to underage teens?

    That’s an interesting shift you made, I said it was “easier” and you says, “who says” they “don’t” – well certainly not me since I didn’t say they didn’t, I simply said it was easier to get marijuana.

    “Furthermore, if Daddy can grow pot in his backyard, you couldn’t make it any easier for kids to get weed than if you handed it to them on a silver platter.”

    That’s true, just as Daddy can do that now with alcohol.

    “it isn’t different. it adds to the problem. one available intoxicant is linked to X traffic deaths. “

    Then why are we arbitrarily choosing one over the other? If you want to make the case only one should be legal, I would choose marijuana, the negative impacts are far less.

    Moreover I don’t see it necessarily adding to the problem.

  18. Don Shor

    “it isn’t different. it adds to the problem.”
    You’re absolutely right. So I believe that possession of a six-pack of beer, a bottle of wine, or a flask of whiskey should be subject to a citation and a fine, since that is the current status of possession of small amounts of marijuana. Possession of larger amounts of alcohol should be presumed to be intent to distribute.
    I’d suggest the same for possession of a pack of cigarettes, but we need the tax revenue we get from the current status of tobacco.

  19. Don Shor

    Don Shor: “Ah yes, because we all know that marijuana causes people to become violent. I’ll leave the rest of your arguments alone. I’ve already voted, and I think people are pretty much done with this topic now.”

    Musser: Don, marijuana may not do it alone, but marijuana mixed with alcohol…..

    Marijuana mixed with alcohol probably reduces the likelihood of violence. The effect certainly isn’t synergistic.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    Exactly Don, Marijuana mixed with alcohol pretty much puts you to sleep. My guess is David’s never smoked pot, which is fine, but it does leave him a little bit on the guessing side here.

  21. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “That’s not necessarily true, but regardless how is that different with marijuana than alcohol?”

    It isn’t. Why add to the already deadly mix. Marijuana has a multiplier effect.

  22. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “Exactly Don, Marijuana mixed with alcohol pretty much puts you to sleep. My guess is David’s never smoked pot, which is fine, but it does leave him a little bit on the guessing side here.”

    I know this is a wicked shot, but it is just too easy – Perhaps those who haven’t smoked pot are a little more clear headed in their thinking for the obvious reason – their brain cells have not been fried! LOL

    I was just thinking of that old ad against doing drugs – you know the one, with the egg in the frying pan sizzling as it cooks – and the announcer says “this is your brain on drugs”…

  23. Musser

    DPD: “That’s true, just as Daddy can do that now with alcohol.”

    your point being? kids have easy access to weed and alcohol?

    DPD: “it isn’t different. it adds to the problem. one available intoxicant is linked to X traffic deaths. ”

    Then why are we arbitrarily choosing one over the other?

    I DIDNT. YOUR SIDE DID, WHEN THEY PUT WEED ON THE BALLOT.

    If you want to make the case only one should be legal, I would choose marijuana, the negative impacts are far less.

    on what grounds do you make this claim? how much criminal activity in terms of marijuana goes on that is never reported?

    Moreover I don’t see it necessarily adding to the problem.

    you are correct. alcohol mixed with drugs has a multiplier effect. my bad.

  24. Musser

    Don: Marijuana mixed with alcohol probably reduces the likelihood of violence. The effect certainly isn’t synergistic.

    but it doesn’t reduce intoxication. it increases it. people are more likely to make bad decisions when they are intoxicated:

    financial decisions, whether to get behind the wheel, sex, and more.

    “Exactly Don, Marijuana mixed with alcohol pretty much puts you to sleep. My guess is David’s never smoked pot, which is fine, but it does leave him a little bit on the guessing side here.”

    lol!

  25. Musser

    “Exactly Don, Marijuana mixed with alcohol pretty much puts you to sleep. My guess is David’s never smoked pot, which is fine, but it does leave him a little bit on the guessing side here.”

    I almost cannot believe you wrote this! lol! but it does put this entire article in context. thank you.

  26. David M. Greenwald

    David:

    My point was that right now kids have easier access to weed than cigarettes and alcohol. That is pretty well-established.

    “I DIDNT. YOUR SIDE DID, WHEN THEY PUT WEED ON THE BALLOT.”

    That’s actually not true either. I think adults should have the right to decide for themselves what they should put into their body. It is not for you or the government to determine. Now if I harm you or others, then I get punished – for harming you and others.

    “how much criminal activity in terms of marijuana goes on that is never reported?”

    The only criminal activity surrounding marijuana has to do the fact that it is illegal and therefore obtained through the black market. It does not induce violence. It does not generally cause addiction. And there are no known cases of overdose.

    “you are correct. alcohol mixed with drugs has a multiplier effect. my bad. “

    There is no multiplier effect. Alcohol triggers in some people violence. Marijuana actually counteracts that and the combination produces a calming effect not an violent interaction.

    “but it doesn’t reduce intoxication. it increases it. people are more likely to make bad decisions when they are intoxicated:”

    This is really why I made the comment that you are making statements that are not accurate based on presumptions you. People make plenty of bad decisions on alcohol. People on marijuana become lethargic. People who use marijuana with alcohol become more lethargic.

    “I almost cannot believe you wrote this! lol! but it does put this entire article in context. thank you. “

    Again you are jumping to conclusions based on a very limited set of experiences and certainly a very small amount of information about me. I have a wife and family and work 20 hour days, you’re calling me a pothead because I may have smoke it occasionally in college and grad school? That’s ridiculous of you. You are criticizing something that you more and more are showing you really do not understand.

    You don’t have to personally take drugs to understand them. I’ve never taken meth, but I have seen first hand what it does to people and I would be very reluctant to support a strict legalization of meth. That said, I do think that current laws and efforts are costly and do not work. We need to put our resources into long term therapy and rehabilitation. Current programs last far too short and people relapse as soon as they get back to their previous lives.

    But marijuana and meth are very different, just as marijuana and alcohol are.

  27. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “This is really why I made the comment that you are making statements that are not accurate based on presumptions you. People make plenty of bad decisions on alcohol. People on marijuana become lethargic. People who use marijuana with alcohol become more lethargic.”

    People who are lethargic make plenty of bad decisions… look at George Michael high on marijuuan and prescription drugs, who drove his car through the front window of a store. I would say that was pretty poor decision-making and very violent…

  28. Musser

    DPD: My point was that right now kids have easier access to weed than cigarettes and alcohol. That is pretty well-established.

    because you say so? on what grounds do you make that claim?

    Musser “I DIDNT. YOUR SIDE DID, WHEN THEY PUT WEED ON THE BALLOT.”

    DPD: That’s actually not true either. I think adults should have the right to decide for themselves what they should put into their body. It is not for you or the government to determine. Now if I harm you or others, then I get punished – for harming you and others.

    we are discussing weed because YOUR SIDE DECIDED IT WAS OKAY and thus PUT IT ON THE BALLOT. THAT IS WHY WE ARE NOT DISCUSSING ALCOHOL. the reason it is FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO DETERMINE IS BECAUSE WEED causes one to be intoxicated, and thus impairs judgment. people who get stoned on dope are more likely to do things like DUI, and RESOURCES MUST BE USED TO DEAL WITH THE AFTERMATH. thus the GOVERNMENT DOES HAVE AN INTEREST IN MARIJUANA USE TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS.

    DPD: The only criminal activity surrounding marijuana has to do the fact that it is illegal and therefore obtained through the black market. It does not induce violence. It does not generally cause addiction. And there are no known cases of overdose.

    people who get behind the wheel while intoxicated on marijuana commit a crime.
    people who are stoned and neglect their own children commit crime.
    furthermore, people can get addicted to anything, including marijuana.

    “I almost cannot believe you wrote this! lol! but it does put this entire article in context. thank you. ”

    DPD: Again you are jumping to conclusions based on a very limited set of experiences and certainly a very small amount of information about me. I have a wife and family and work 20 hour days, you’re calling me a pothead because I may have smoke it occasionally in college and grad school? That’s ridiculous of you. You are criticizing something that you more and more are showing you really do not understand.

    DPD: You don’t have to personally take drugs to understand them.

    which is it?

    The reason I wrote what I did is because your article doesn’t make any sense. The Title says: “No Basis for Challenging 19.” in your entire article here you still don’t spell out how there is no basis to challenge 19. There is a basis and it is simple. There is a FEDERAL BAN ON POT. Federal Laws OVERRIDE STATE LAWS. Thus your claim is blatantly false. States cannot determine for themselves anything. You say no, but you cannot say on what grounds you claim that. Thus your again, your logic and reasoning don’t make sense. And I know for a fact that its not because you have an inability to reason things out, because some of your other pieces are Extremely well reasoned and thought out. but what DOES MAKE SENSE, is that you admitted you personally smoke dope and want to see it enacted for your personal use.

    DPD: I’ve never taken meth, but I have seen first hand what it does to people and I would be very reluctant to support a strict legalization of meth.

    why not? you said in the above that the government should let people decide for themselves what they put in their bodies,and it is not for the government to determine. right?

    DPD: That said, I do think that current laws and efforts are costly and do not work. We need to put our resources into long term therapy and rehabilitation. Current programs last far too short and people relapse as soon as they get back to their previous lives.

    I disagree. we keep hearing how “the war on drugs has failed” because law enforcement cannot police all drug users and they slip through the cracks. but what is not considered in those tallies and figures is how many people never smoke dope in the first place BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL. I personally have never tried them for JUST THAT REASON.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    David:

    On the grounds that several decades worth of research back up my view. All you had to do was google. This is the link to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University ([url]http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/Home.aspx?articleid=287&zoneid=32[/url]), really the experts on this topic, you should be able to find multiple studies that back up that view.

  30. David M. Greenwald

    David:

    I simply differ in the calculations here with you. First, I see the issue as one of consistency. I believe in erring on the side of less government interference in private lives and thus if we allow alcohol and cigarettes I fail to see a compelling argument for limiting marijuana use.

    Second, I think the amount of resources we spent combating it can be better used in other areas. I also believe that the overall impact and resources used will be less for the government in dealing with legalized marijuana than it uses currently.

    “people who get behind the wheel while intoxicated on marijuana commit a crime.
    people who are stoned and neglect their own children commit crime.
    furthermore, people can get addicted to anything, including marijuana.”

    And we have laws to deal with people who drive while intoxicated and who neglect their children. We do not prevent people from eating foods that are bad for them that could make them sick or die prematurely because they neglect their children.

    I don’t agree that people can get addicted to anything.

    “which is it? “

    The two statements are not in conflict. The question is really whether you are basing your knowledge of marijuana on personal experience or reading something in a book. From reading your arguments, I would argue the later.

    “There is a FEDERAL BAN ON POT. Federal Laws OVERRIDE STATE LAWS. “

    But federal law does not compel state law. What the state cannot do is pass a marijuana law and forbid the federal government from enforcing there’s. What they can do is pass a marijuana law and not use state resources to arrest or incarcerate individuals for marijuana possession or distribution under prescribed amount. That is what Prop 19 would do, it would make the federal government decide whether it is worthwhile to use federal resources to catch casual users.

    “why not? you said in the above that the government should let people decide for themselves what they put in their bodies,and it is not for the government to determine. right?”

    There are two points that you missed in my statement. First, is the issue of “strict legalization” – what I would favor in the case of meth is that possession would not be a criminal offense, it would rather be treated as a health issue and that the resources used currently to interdict be diverted to those purposes. As such I would favor a decriminalization of meth, but not allow people to legally sell or purchase in a mainstream location.

    “I disagree. we keep hearing how “the war on drugs has failed” because law enforcement cannot police all drug users and they slip through the cracks. but what is not considered in those tallies and figures is how many people never smoke dope in the first place BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL. I personally have never tried them for JUST THAT REASON.”

    Given the resources and money that we have spent, the number of people clogging the jails, clogging the court system, the danger that the black market trade poses to the general populace, I believe that the efforts have failed and that we would be safer with a different approach.

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