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March 2008
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Living in the U.S.A.

– photo by Bruce Chambers, Orange County Register –

See Drug Law Blog: Drug Raid at Orange County Hotel Fails to Locate Drugs

Hard-wired for prohibition

Remember that mild marijuana decrim bill in New Hampshire that I mentioned yesterday? Well, apparently it’s strong enough to cause Mayoral insanity.

Mayor Frank Guinta has asked state Rep. David Scannell to resign as spokesman for the Manchester school district after Scannell voted Tuesday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Scannell insisted he will not resign, saying his vote is a form of political speech protected by the U.S. Constitution. He also raised the possibility he would take legal action against the mayor or anyone who tries to strip away his job.
In a letter signed yesterday, Guinta said Scannell’s vote on the bill, which passed the House but is unlikely to become law, “permanently and irrevocably harms” Scannell’s ability to serve Manchester’s schools. The mayor argued Scannell’s resignation is necessary to “help restore the integrity” of district anti-drug policies.
“He’s the face of the district,” Guinta said yesterday. “He interacts with kids on a daily basis, and he is taking a position to decriminalize marijuana. That is counter to logic, in my view.”

The notion of calling for the resignation of someone from a public position for their vote as a representative in the State House is extraordinarily absurd, particularly when coming from a public official invoking logic while demonstrating a complete lack of it.
But it’s also a very telling moment as it relates to drug policy. Sure, Guinta’s a moron. But how did he arrive at such a low point of humanity?
I’m convinced that there is a small core segment of the population that has so thoroughly drunk the kool-aid of prohibition that they firmly believe two propositions to be as true as the law of gravity:

Marijuana is very, very bad. Always.
An effective way, and the only way, to deal with marijuana is through strict prohibition

Despite being completely wrong, these two points are so ingrained that these people will not/cannot comprehend/listen to any rational arguments, so they assume that no rational opposing viewpoint exists. Thus, anyone who has an opposing viewpoint must want bad things to happen and should therefore certainly not be put in any connection with young people.
Prohibition propaganda overrides parts of the brain that actually allow rational thought. This makes our job much harder.
I’m not sure I’m as pessimistic as Dr. Tom O’Connell, but he makes some interesting points…

I found that I hadn‰t been prepared for just how truly mistaken and destructive the policy really is; not only was is it far worse than I‰d imagined, the reasons that drug prohibition and similar punitive policies have always found favor with a significant fraction of humans probably has a lot to do with our physical evolution; but not necessarily as imagined. In other words, a profoundly mistaken policy has now been based on erroneous assumptions for nearly a century. […]
fixing the mess we‰ve created may actually be impossible in the time left to pull it off. On the other hand, Earth is the only planet we‰ve got; so long as there‰s even a remote chance of saving it as our habitat, we‰d be foolish not to make the effort.

More on the New Hampshire zaniness from Paul Armentano at NORMLblog: Pot Makes You Lose Your Mind.

Short Takes

“bullet” Aren’t statistics interesting? Especially the ones not mentioned. For example, in Report urges LAPD to change SWAT unit we have:

Intensely proud and tightly knit, the unit is used largely to serve warrants on dangerous suspects and handle standoffs involving barricaded people. Its record is impressive. In its 3,371 operations between 1972 and 2005, […]

The Mark Souder Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

New Hampshire residents could possess one-quarter ounce or less of marijuana without facing jail under a bill headed to the state Senate. The House voted 193-141 Tuesday to decriminalize the small amount of the drug, making possessing it a violation subject to a $200 fine. Under current law, possessing that amount could mean spending a […]

The Lie of Balance

Congrats to friend Grits for Breakfast for reaching some blogging milestones. In the mandatory blogself-reflection that such milestones bring, he makes these observations:

With the exception of occasional investigative articles or self-styled “analyses,” modern journalism too often reverts to a formula where “fairness” and “balance” – to use the famous buzz words – prevail over […]

Cop who shot Tarika Wilson charged with two misdemeanors

Lima, Ohio

An Allen County grand jury today indicted a Lima police sergeant on two misdemeanors for shooting 26-year-old Tarika Wilson to death and injuring her 14-month-old son during a Jan. 4 drug raid at her home.

The charges are negligent homicide (for Tarika’s death) and negligent assault (for her son’s injury). Reactions:

Wilson’s family […]

U.N. Drug Czar refuses to answer a simple question

Via — Thanks, jackl

I was at the small group Q & A when Costa was asked that same question and avoided it.
Update: This really is a telling video. Kudos to Frederick Polak, who respectfully, yet firmly and persistently, tried to get an answer to a very basic question: “If prohibition is the only way to contain the drug problem, how do you explain that the prevalence of cannabis use is lower or similar in the Netherlands than in many neighboring countries?”
Peter Sarosi reports that

Some NGO representatives on the other end gave a standing ovation to Mr. Costa when he left the hall (you can see the same people applauding his anti-coffee shop statements in our video). The celebration was initiated by the lapdogs of the U.S. and Swedish governments of course, like the European Cities Against Drugs, an international organization funded by the Swedish government to promote its drug policy, praising ‹treatmentŠ services in Russia notorious for chaining and humiliating drug users, or SUNDIAL, an ‹NGOŠ led by the former speechwriter of the American drug czar. Among them we found the representative of the Partnership for a Drug Free America as well, who advocates the idea that we can solve drug problems by forcing schoolchildren to piss to a flask, despite the growing evidence that school drug testing doesn‰t work at all.

Pretty amazing when you watch the video and hear these people applauding Costa’s obvious avoidance tactic. I mean, if you understand even the basics of English, it’s obvious that Costa was purposely not answering the question and refusing to allow it to be considered. And for that they applauded?
It’s almost as though they were sitting there thinking “Uh, oh, that druggie guy got nailed us good on that one — how will Costa respond? … Oh, excellent technique! You simply dodged it! Bravo!”

Open Thread

A busy day for me — I’ll have more later. “bullet” It’s not just a war…

Ahmadu Giade has assured Nigerians that the agency will continue its onslaught on illicit drug dealers.

“bullet” Idiot. We’re going to have a little lesson on logic later today. “bullet” Court Ruling Limits Employment Drug Testing – a rare […]

Happy Saint Urho Day!

This is the day that Saint Urho drove the grasshoppers out of Finland, thus saving the grape and (some say) marijuana crops. Enjoy.

Lock ’em all up, for Crist’s sake!

There’s a must-read article by Marc Caputo in the Miami Herald today: Crist wants to maintain drug penalties Check out the well-constructed lede:

Though he has admitted to smoking marijuana, Gov. Charlie Crist said he still favors Florida’s tough drug laws and doesn’t support legislative plans to review whether to lessen penalties for some crimes […]