End The War On Drugs
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January 7, 2014 8:37 AM EST
END THE WAR ON DRUGS IN THE
MARIJUANA THEATER OF OPERATIONS:
1) THE GATEWAY ARGUMENT:
There is a debate as to whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug. This debate is basically between government on one side, and a growing number of citizens (perhaps even a majority) on the other side The government has the weight of possession of power on its side (which is a far more dangerous narcotic than marijuana) and on the side of people arguing against the government is logic and fact.
One of the reasons - if not the ONLY reason why marijuana is a gateway drug, is that it is illegal.
Psychologically speaking, once an individual knowingly and intentionally crosses the threshold from the sanctity of lawful behavior to the forbidden areas of illegal behavior in any domain, it is that forbiddenness - and not "marijuana" itself or any other similar condition - which is the true gateway factor.
What I am saying here is this: If you want people to stay inside the gate, MOVE THE GATE toward an outlying area into which fewer people are far less likely to stray. Then, and only then, will you come to a point where you need far fewer guards to patrol that gate. (Conversely, if the gate is in the wrong place to begin with; or if the gate is moved inward toward an area where more people are caught in its net, you can have all the guards in the world, and you won't stop illegal behavior or effectively punish the worst types of illegal behavior in that particular domain. For example, an attempt by Government to do away with bank robberies by making possession of cash a crime would result only in attempts to jail billions of innocent people, while bank robbers would be enabled to rob banks with impunity, because of the fact that law enforcement would be spread too thin to catch the worst offenders).
Here is a gateway story which illustrates the harm of moving the gate too far away from outlying behavior:
The son of a deposed duke and a daughter of an exiled countess, who were both commoners and down on their luck, were strolling around Paris on their first date, admiring the Tour Eiffel; when suddenly they both were confronted by one of the ladies of the evening who propositioned the man - while ignoring his companion. The man, of course refused her request. As the lady of the evening turned to walk away from the royal couple, she said quite loudly, "Well, it's quite alright, I've had several customers already today, and I will probably have ten more by the end of the night. At least I have no trouble paying the rent!" The countess' daughter pulled the son of the duke to a standstill by tugging on his sleeve, as she said, "I would NEVER do that!" . So then this son of a duke, smiling mischievously, and knowing of the financial distress of the daughter of the countess, asked his lady companion this question: "Suppose the richest man in England were to contact you very discreetly and say, 'If you will stay with me for just one night, I will give you ten million euros cash plus the key to my palatial vacation home on the Spanish Riviera for five years, and you can come and go as you please, no questions asked.' What would you say to him?" Her eyes widened at the thought, and she sighed, and smiled as she looked upward and said, "Hmmmm, well I would have to honestly say that this would be an irresistible offer if someone were to actually make such an offer to me. I won't lie and say that I would turn it down; because I would be a fool to refuse such an offer."
Then the son of the duke said to the daughter of the countess: "Well, I have five worn Mexican silver pesos on the top of my bureau; if you come up to my bedroom and spend some time with me, you can have them!" She slapped him in the face and ran into the darkness of the night, as he shouted after her: "We've both already agreed on what you are. All I was trying to do is to figure out the going rate!"
This story, to be honest, is a fable about gateway psychology perversely applied - an example of moving the gate too far inward toward behavior which is not what the son of the duke represented it to be - and in any case such as this, he deserved to be slapped. Laws against this certain type of activity are meant to protect the integrity of public morals, and to prevent the spread of disease and the fathering of children by men who are untraceable. But to define this type of activity in a way which implicates anyone who has ever made a financial consideration relevant in considering a spouse or any other type of close relationship, would potentially draw everyone in within its net, and thereby criminalize everyone - and that should never be the purpose of criminal laws.
The best laws are those which are limited and precise in describing what is to be prohibited, and under precisely which circumstances: laws which can be interpreted clearly and unambiguously and which do not turn into a license for a fishing expedition - and which attempt to prohibit and prevent and punish only the most dangerous types of behavior in that realm; only those behaviors and incidents which are or could reasonably be construed if not prevented, to be truly harmful to life, liberty, property or actual protection of the nation.
The further a law roams from that limited definition, the more hysterically enforced it is likely to become, and the more harm it does to society - and no law should ever do more harm to any society or individual than the harm which it could be reasonably construed to be a reasonable attempt to prevent or punish.
There is no such thing as unjust or excessive punishment with impunity. Those Governments whose officials think that they are above divine retribution for such smug behavior should remember the fate of officials who once thought the same thing, and who fell by the hand of divine retribution as expressed through the processes of historic cause and effect. As historian Charles Beard said once: "The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small." - and "Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power."
2) CHEMICAL ANALYSIS OF BODY CHEMISTRY
Law enforcement uses laboratory testing, and heavily relies upon chemical measurement, in determining what to bring to court as evidence against people charged with violating drug laws. . These tests can be tainted, and the results as presented in court or otherwise can be forged and fraudulently twisted. Most importantly, these tests and the results can be obtained and unlawfully presented as evidence in courts of law in clear violation of certain Constitutional prohibitions: for example, the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, and even begging questions of Bill Of Attainder prohibition violations. . These tests, and the purported results thereof, are often presented in court to convict and sentence people who are harmless, or even innocent, as if the Constitution doesn't matter.
But the fact that we have this testing technology causes Government to evade the heart of the issue here. Technology, rather than becoming the way to determine whether the law has been broken, becomes the law itself in too many instances.
The issue with regard to drug and alcohol testing is not bodily chemistry - and Government confuses the issue by presenting it in this way repeatedly.
If this remains the issue, there is no limit to the amount of harmful substances which could be traced. Everything from artificial colorings and flavorings to unintentional inhalation of pollutants (including so-called "second-hand smoke") could conceivably be made into a legal issue against defendants. The way Government is becoming so heavily reliant upon chemical testing in order to determine the arrestability of a defendant, as well as guilt or innocence and extent of punishment, is as legally trumped up as it is scientifically accurate - and it opens Door #1 to a wide range of horrors running the gamut of possible results of such chemical testing, and the way in which tests are interpreted. Maybe some Government laboratory genius will come up with a chemical test which "proves" the tendency of a detainee to commit an act of espionage - or a crime against a child. Then, after thousands of people are found guilty on the basis of too much tuna fish residue in their blood, this Government science will finally be debunked and many of those unfortunates who have been convicted (and perhaps executed) as enemies of the State, will be pardoned - maybe years after they are dead in many if not most instances.
Did you say that Government scientists don't make mistakes? Remember the "ozone hole" theory? How about "earth warming"? The thermometer in downtown Philadelphia, PA (which is considerably warmer than the surrounding suburbs) right now reads five degrees above zero Fahrenheit - which equates to fifteen degrees below zero Centigrade or Celsius. And the temperature in Texas is not much different than that.
"Obamacare" legislation opens Door #2 to all types of Government intrusion in the name of protection .
We need to slam these open doors shut. And the marijuana laws are a gateway toward even more legal abuse by the system against the people.
The real issue, with regard to THC ingestion (the active ingredient in marijuana) is not chemical level of the controlled substance, but rather an issue of social behavior and its consequences.
If we decriminalize marijuana in a way which says, "OK, we will allow this except when it comes to its use by airline pilots, and we will insist on rigorous testing of pilots to make sure that they aren't using marijuana; so all pilots will be required to take a blood test prior to boarding any passenger plane they are about to fly," this blood testing will create more dangers than would unimpeded use of marijuana. When used as it is typically used, marijuana normally does not make anyone, including airline pilots, faint. A blood sampling is much more likely to cause a lowering of blood pressure which could cause the wrong kind of "cabin fever" for an airline pilot, even in flight.
Airline passengers are laying their lives on the line every time they fly in a commercial aircraft, in a way which entails some degree of considerable faith in Government regulation of the entire process, as well as the good intent of the people who are making all this possible. Airline passengers have a right to expect that Government will protect them from flying in a plane where the pilot is "stoned out of his mind". But the way to ensure this level of safety should not be through blood testing. It should be this: Whenever a pilot is suspected of using marijuana, alcohol, or any prescription or OTC drug which is labelled precautionarily with regard to driving or using machinery, and co-workers notice behavior or reaction reflexes which are abnormal and perhaps endangering, those co-workers should be empowered by law to report the suspected pilot or co-pilot to airport authorities, who will then remove the pilot from that flight, or substitute that pilot with another who is ready in reserve for exactly such a substitution purpose; and the pilot who is under the weather or intoxicated may then fly as a passenger in the cockpit or in another section of the plane. Most likely, this precaution will be used most commonly not for pilots who are suspected of using marijuana, but rather for pilots who are simply too tired to manage the course of an aircraft containing passengers. No automatic sensory device which can trigger an alarm or shut down the plane in the process of takeoff or at any other point (!) should be installed in airplanes. It is too dangerous to build in or install any such THC sensing device. Such a device could be triggered by the fact that a pilot had just eaten a pizza loaded with certain healthful spices or herbs. Common sense will work much better and will guarantee safety much more.
The magic words, "He's acting funny; he can't fly the plane now" are the procedure which should protect the public in the event of suspected airline pilots who are flying a little too high prior to liftoff. Not an arrest, not a search, not a drug test - but just those nine magic words in English.
The same is true of people working in the medical profession. If I am scheduled for a heart operation, I think I have the right to expect that Government regulation will not be so extremely lax as to make it possible that the surgeon who is going to operate on me will be serendipitously out of joint, so to speak. But again, Government policing and criminal penalties are not the answer. The answer is co-worker vigilance and due diligence.
Of course, people will raise the question, "What about teachers?" Looking back on my college days, and even high school and elementary school days, I distinctly recall that there were quite a few teachers in the classrooms which I and my sisters suffered through, about whom it can be truthfully said that they would have been much better off walking into class every morning with a jolt of Panama Red instead of that raised eyebrow that they used every day to cast a pall of fear and a cold chill across the spine of every child in their torture chamber of a classroom. "Miss Benjamin", for one. (Name changed to protect the innocent and indignant). God Himself might have trembled at the sight of this miserable wretch of a first-grade teacher who was all of four feet nine inches tall, and whose every whim turned into a sadistic punishment. I never had a problem with her myself, and she regarded me with a strange sort of solicitative and adoring kindness, for some odd reason - perhaps because she, knowing her own behavior, totally feared my reputation as a child of superior intelligence - and perhaps this spinster (no WONDER) somehow knew that I would be writing her 21st century biographical sketch here, amidst the seeds and stems and leaves of a later age. But it seemed to me that my little sister who was forced to endure the torture of her cruelty every day, for five days a week, was being subjected to some infernal and (what must have seemed to a child) eternal punishment for something that, it seemed to me, she never did. Oh, the horror stories coming out of that corner of the east wing of Enfield Elementary School, sometimes on an hourly basis if it happened to be that certain time of the month - and no one among us kids in those days quite knew why. It seemed to me that "Miss Benjamin's" day wasn't complete unless she reduced some poor child to tears - and this is an example of a person who probably should have been jailed for life for NOT using "happy-smoke" on a daily basis with her morning coffee. (Ahhh, coffee - maybe THAT was the problem. Hmmmm. What to regulate next? They're already over-regulating Spam on Facebook.)
We have this wonderful technology to test for the chemical presence of just about any substance in anyone's blood - or hair - or stool samples, or the sweat on anyone's brow. However, just because Government CAN do something, doesn't automatically mean that Government SHOULD do whatever it is physically, electronically, scientifically, or socially capable of. The history of the Third Reich should have settled that question for all time. Yet we are greeted with the appalling spectacle, that given the fact that Government in the United States seems so hell-bent on establishing a Constitution-shredding dictatorship, that they have chosen that worst dictatorship of all time to emulate in more ways than one.
There are ways in which such drug testing should be used, but never in a blanket sense as it is used in DUI traffic stops and other blanket edicts enforced by Government (such as drug testing for "welfare recipients" - and does it ever occur to the politicians who formulate and vote for such proposals that THEY THEMSELVES, as well as the corporations who supply them with campaign cash, are all on the public dole - and with whopping pensions to boot?)
One way in which drug testing can be used for public benefit is in child protection law. This might be one example: Whenever any child under the age of eight dies, and it is subsequently found that there are traces of certain substances in their remains, a criminal investigation should ensue in which the charges should range from criminal negligence to homicide. The message should be clear: decriminalization of marijuana doesn't mean that it is not a crime to force a child to ingest it or to fail to keep it out of reach of small children. To the contrary - any adult or elder minor who causes or carelessly permits any child under the age of eight who is under their supervision or care to injuriously ingest a controlled substance will be punished by law. This should not entail house-to-house searches by the local Gestapo. The public should generally be trusted to obey laws keeping controlled "narcotics" and intoxicants out of reach of children. The deliberate intoxication of a child with amounts of such substances, as measured by a threshold which reflects immoderate levels (as opposed to "secondhand smoke" or accidental ingestion or prescription use, for example) should be punishable by jail time, if death or injury to a child results.
The instances in which the use of chemical testing for marijuana use should be few and far between and restricted to worst-case scenarios such as this, in order to assure that the "cure" for abuse of this substance is not "worse than the disease."
Chemical testing for THC should never be a first line of defense to protect society from the consequences of inebriation. The first line of defense should be behavioral and non-invasive testing. Furthermore, the benefit of the doubt should always be extended by law enforcement and legislation to individuals who might be subjected to any such testing. The law should not behave as though people are guilty until proven innocent in any such context. Any individual should have the right to cordially refuse to be tested at any time, and to provide their word of honor that they are not "over the limit" or abusing marijuana (or alcohol) and that should be the end of the issue and the test, right then and there - unless, in leaving the scene of the encounter with law enforcement, there is actionable cause for alarm.
On the other hand, if an individual is so intoxicated or "high" that they cannot formulate a cordial, non-belligerent and non-violent response to such a request by law enforcement, then law enforcement should be able to conduct such a test at a hospital, under medical supervision, under reasonable conditions in which the standards are honestly met. If the individual then passes the test and does not fall within the standards set by law for an arrest, then the entire detainment should be ended, quashed and expunged from the record.
3) THE METHOD OF AND UNIQUE HISTORIC
OPPORTUNITY FOR DECONTROL
Since the late 1960s, tobacco in the United States has increasingly become a controlled substance, in more and more ways. Over the same time, marijuana has been the object of one effort after another aimed at decontrolling its use, or at least decriminalization of its use.
The creeping control exerted over tobacco and the repeated attempts to decontrol and decriminalize marijuana are two converging trends which have tended toward, and will inevitably tend to meet, at a certain midpoint. That midpoint, obviously, will involve a little more control over tobacco, but not much more - because as Rush Limbaugh pointed out, the tobacco fund compensation plan depends on Government encouragement of the continued controlled sale of tobacco products. If the envelope on control of tobacco is pushed too far, this will cause the growth of an already existing and flourishing black market which is beyond the range of Government ability to collect taxes from. The midpoint also will tend toward the radical restructuring of marijuana to the point where the use of it is treated less as a crime, and more like an issue of smoking regulation; although not in exactly the same type and way of regulation that we have seen and will continue to see with tobacco; because obviously these are two different products. However, tobacco and marijuana can and should be regulated in almost exactly the same way, the exceptions being geared toward two situations: first, "smoking areas" for tobacco are sometimes quite close to areas of public access and are out in the open where they are designated. The smoking areas for marijuana, on land, should not be identical to or admixed with tobacco smoking areas, but should be different places which are a little more restrictive and which are indoors, in sealed-off and well-ventilated areas where no people who do not wish to be bothered or influenced by second-hand marijuana smoke will be subjected to an accidental whiff. Eventually, it may be that the "smoking areas" designated for tobacco users will be cordoned off in exactly the same way as suggested in the preceding sentence for marijuana users; and of course there will be two different types of areas - not a generic "smoking room" for both tobacco and marijuana jointly. . One major difference in the way "smoking areas" for tobacco and marijuana are handled by law should be in the airspace of motor vehicles. Since THC is an identifiable chemical substance, it is possible to build in to the dashboard of cars and trucks a THC sensitized test device which will warn the driver that THC is detected, and warn the driver not to drive the car (it should not SHUT DOWN the ignition, because that could have some disastrous consequences). However, the driver will then proceed at his or her own risk, as the penalties for disregarding this dashboard warning could be as serious as those provided by law for disregarding any other traffic warning signal, in the event the driver is pulled over or involved in an accident. This type of device could be activated at any time during the course of any "road trip".
One flaw in this idea could be cited: the warning device might be activated by a passenger in the car, not the driver. Since that is the case, the law should be written to ensure that the driver is not punished in any such issue regarding the disregarding of a traffic signal by the driver, as long as the driver provides no lawful cause for authorities to suspect and make a lawful arrest for driver impairment.
4 FOURTH AMENDMENT COMPLIANCE
The War On Drugs has led to massive disregard for and violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:
Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or Affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
There are other Amendments and clauses in our Constitution which forbid the behavior of so-called "law enforcement" in the War on Drugs, both as it has been waged unlawfully in the past and contemplated in terms of future further encroachments, and one of those Constitutional Amendments is the Third, which is very relevant to drone snooping and other forms of electronic surveillance, including, for all practical purposes and in all its techniques, all NSA spying - which is FORBIDDEN in almost all its forms by the Third Amendment.
Right now, as the temperature in Philadelphia has dipped down to a new record low of four degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 15.5 degrees below zero on the C scale, the Fourth Amendment is the clearest means of doing away with this War on Drugs insofar as it has been focused on marijuana possession.
This record temperature drop, of course, is happening at exactly the same time as new laws have just been put into effect to reduce "earth-warming". This "earth cooling" would have happened without these new laws. Some of these new laws require that the lightbulb, as we have known it for nearly 140 years, will be banned. Whose bright idea was that? And why reach for a legislative solution to every problem - real or imagined? Maybe what we need is a rebuttal to the old comic strip:
"There Oughta Be A Law" - a new comic strip ABOUT laws which have done far more harm than good, or which have worked contrary to the original intent. Maybe it could be called: "WHY DID WE MAKE THIS LAW?" The comic strip subsection under this heading, about how laws designed to "protect" children have done more harm to children than anything else, should be a particularly "funny" comic. Maybe we can say that it would be funny, if it weren't so colossally grim.
No one in the United States or in any place under the jurisdiction thereof (such as territories: Puerto Rico, Washington DC, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam or the Northern Marianas) should ever again be punished as a criminal for growing or cultivating marijuana in their own home, or on their own property, or on someone else's property in any situation not involving an actionable trespass.
No one in the United States or anywhere under its jurisdiction should ever be punished for transporting marijuana in a boat or other navigable vessel, as long as the transporting is in compliance with laws such as tax laws, inspection laws, sobriety laws and customs laws. In fact, in amounts below a certain legal limit, even tax laws and other similar laws as listed here should be waived, and should not apply to legally insignificant amounts. Law enforcement should never be authorized by a War on Drugs pretext to conduct a fishing expedition on someone else's private boat in a search-and-destroy mission regarding marijuana. This should be true on continental waterways such as rivers, lakes and canals, as well as on the open sea.
5) REPRIEVES AND PARDONS
John F. Kennedy, when he was President, used his power to grant pardons in order to overturn all past convictions of people who had been sentenced under a Narcotics Act which President Kennedy considered unconstitutional. There were no adverse consequences as a result of that cluster pardon granted by President Kennedy.
The anti-Constitutional nature of the War on Drugs is much worse than that of the Narcotics Act passed in the 1950s. In fact, the War on Drugs is based at least in part on the law which Kennedy himself effectively overturned in the early 1960s. The War on Drugs is a byproduct of the domestic surveillance and early police-state methods of the Nixon Administration.
It is time that we, in this day and age, acknowledge that Kennedy has won this debate with Nixon too.
It is time for the current President to grant a series of cluster pardons and reprieves to people who have been convicted not only of Federal drug offenses; the prosecution of which involved violations of the Constitution by Government at the Federal, State or municipal level or in any Court, but also to those who have been convicted at the State level. The number of pardons to be granted will be in six figures, in terms of the number of people who will be granted pardons and reprieves. Tens of millions of Americans will benefit from this process, and the economy will be stimulated. There is an economic drag on the United States which has been caused by the triumph of prison-for-profit over Constitutional law.
Historically, the only way to end and resolve a war is to grant amnesty of some sort, or to grant pardons and reprieves.
We might empty plenty of prisons in the United States this way. Some of them might be left just as they are, and sold by the Government to law schools, who can then allow law students to use these facilities to study in - as a first-hand lesson on what happens to clients who are represented by a lawyer driven by complicity or corruption rather than by conscience. Other prisons might be sold to real estate companies who can then transform them into a retirement apartment complex for corrupt judges, as well as Constitution-busting wardens and police officers; and all they will need to change is the sign at the front of the gate. Still other prisons might be marketed as an exclusive country club for corporate lobbyists and others who have pestered Congress into spending the money of American taxpayers wastefully, on foreign aid and on corporate welfare, and on destroying the civil rights of people in the USA. Maybe practicing their golf swing on the rockpile with a sledgehammer could prove to be a favorite activity. Maybe working for a dollar a day might teach them the value of that dollar and be a cause for reflection on how many billions and trillions they have wasted. And still other vacant prisons would be ideal housing for predatory lenders, fraudulent foreclosure perpetrators and banksters - after all, they will sleep as soundly as if they were in a vault, and guarded as though they were in Fort Knox.
The President, in granting these marijuana-related clemency edicts now, must focus not only on that aspect of clemency, but also on all other types of victims of prosecutorial and law-enforcement abuse which violates the Constitution of the United States, both at the Federal and State level. It is the President's obligation, as per his Oath of Office, to do this, and he is running way behind on that obligation, to a degree that is Constitutionally negligent if not abdicative of that sacred Oath, which Abraham Lincoln described as "registered in Heaven."
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