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November 2009
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Setting priorities

Perhaps the leaders of California’s law enforcement community, that has spent so much time and money fighting against any kind of reform of marijuana laws, would be willing to explain this:
rates

Via MPP

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19 comments to Setting priorities

  • Johnny B. Rotten

    Not surprised.

  • L.Victor

    Would make a nice T-shirt graphic.

  • Chris

    Saw this the other day. Imagine if cops had to do the other stuff on that list.. they might actually have a difficult job then.

  • kaptinemo

    Nothing like a little perspective as to how dangerous the job of policing is. And who cops prefer to bust, namely, people who generally don’t shoot back. But we all knew that…

  • Buc

    The more hardcore and violent the criminal, the less they want to put the effort in to track them down. Would you expect anything less from the thugs in blue?

    Either that or rape has gone down 67%, murder 63% and people walking around with cannabis has increased 127%.

  • Tim

    Speaking of cops, Gil the Drug Czar was a guest on Talk of the Nation yesterday ( link: http://is.gd/4N61z ) and skated masterfully around someone debunking the gateway myth:

    KATHLEEN (Caller): Thank you. Thank you for taking my call. I just wanted to say that, of course, in Colorado now we have legalized medical marijuana. It’s helping a lot of people. And it’s helping a lot of people who are selling it get jobs in this economy. But beyond that, in my personal experience, having grown up in Boulder, Colorado, in the ’70s, I have never known anyone who started smoking marijuana and then went on to harder drugs because they had started smoking marijuana. And I know that law enforcement has told us that for years, but I haven’t ever seen it.

    So I really think that when we’re talking about drug laws, we need to separate marijuana from other hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, et cetera, because I don’t see that they have much of a relationship. And the students at the University of Colorado now are drinking themselves to death, and yet alcohol is legal.

    ROBERTS: Kathleen, thank you for your call.

    Mr. KERLIKOWSKE: Well, and I think she brings up, I mean, several excellent points. And that’s why when states look at how to deal with marijuana and what types of treatment systems, prevention programs are available as a result of the criminal justice system, what can be most cost-effective – that makes a lot of sense. There’s lots of debate around whether marijuana is a gateway drug. And rather than get into that, I would also tell you that I have not met a heroin addict who didn’t start smoking marijuana. It doesn’t mean that everyone who smokes marijuana – and that is something I think law enforcement used to say. I frankly don’t hear that too much from them anymore.

    So in addition to vocabulary problems, seems Gil has a hearing disability.

  • Nick Zentor

    The war on cannabis is all about Empowering the Police State so that more dumb cops get to play hero without actually doing anything heroic. By the stats, it looks like cannabis busts represent significant pay-dirt for thug-clubs.

    No wonder they generally oppose legalization, considering how much $$ they would lose to run their fun anti-drug clubs. Can you say WHITE FASCIST POWER? Obviously, they started targeting the stoners after too many charges of racism from blacks and browns made them look really bad.

  • kaptinemo

    I can just see a new toy coming out for Christmas: Gill the Dancing DrugCzar. Flip the switch, and a 3-piece-suited, 1 foot tall mannequin with Gil’s face manically gyrates around a pole labeled ‘drug law reform’ with an outstretched-but-not-quite-touching right arm reaching for the it, held at a distance with an invisible plastic strap. In his left hand it’s holding a thick Webster’s dictionary with pages from the “L” section ripped out of it and falling from the book.

    C’mon, Gil, you know that the job requires mendacity and dissembling; why’d you take it if you have any self-respect? Johnny Pee was an inveterate liar, everyone on both sides knew that, so why follow in his footsteps? Did ya need the money that badly to pimp your intellectual honesty for it? Shameful, just shameful…

  • kaptinemo

    Nick, actually the DrugWar is a continuation of the ‘Southern Strategy’ used to attack minorities using what is today referred to as ‘dog whistle politics’ that peeled away support from the Democratic Party and attached it to the Republicans back in Tricky Dick’s day.

    As Lee Atwater, who utilized the Southern Strategy himself for Reagan, explained it: (and please keep in mind, I am providing verbatim quotes, so save the tar and feathers for those more deserving, as I find the following to be morally repugnant, but we all deserve the truth, no matter how bitter it tastes):

    Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964… and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster…

    Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps…?

    Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

    And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

    The DrugWar was a perfect bludgeon to use against minorities, as that had been it’s original purpose to begin with. It was already in place thanks to people like the racist bigots Hamilton Wright and Anslinger. People like Nixon and Atwater merely retooled it and gave it a turbo-charger. But it was just old wine in a new wine skin; just as disgustingly sour as always…

  • kaptinemo

    Incidentally, this business of using ‘State’s rights’ as camouflage for dirty dealings against minorities is partly why the so-called ‘progressives’ that should be screaming their heads off about the innate immorality of the DrugWar and how destructive of civil rights it is are sheepishly silent. I rub their faces in this regularly at various ‘Liberal’ blogs that I comment on, and the most reaction I’ve ever had was hurt, defensive comments that didn’t even come close to addressing the problem.

    So, even though this is indeed a legitimate ‘State’s rights’ issue as far as the concept of ‘federalism’ is concerned (as outlined by Supreme Court Justice Brandeis and his ‘States as laboratories’ ruling went) neither so-called ‘progressives’ nor putative ‘neo-conservatives’ want to touch this. Only a traditional, Goldwater conservative like Congressman Dr. Ron Paul dares say anything.

  • kaptinemo

    And for the curious, I offer what that very wise man said:

    “Some people assert that our present plight (the Great Depression) is due, in part, to the limitations set by courts upon experimentation in the fields of social and economic science; and to the discouragement to which proposals for betterment there have been subjected otherwise. There must be power in the States and the Nation to remould, through experimentation, our economic practices and institutions to meet changing social and economic needs. I cannot believe that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment, or the States which ratified it, intended to deprive us of the power to correct the evils of technological unemployment and excess productive capacity which have attended progress in the useful arts.

    To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the Nation. It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country. This Court has the power to prevent an experiment. We may strike down the statute which embodies it on the ground that, in our opinion, the measure is arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. We have power to do this, because the due process clause has been held by the Court applicable to matters of substantive law as well as to matters of procedure. But in the exercise of this high power, we must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles. If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.”

    Contrast this with the decidedly timid approach of the Roberts Court to the Commerce Clause issue of Raich vs. Gonzales. Clearly, Brandeis had the huevos, and the Roberts Court, well, pardon the crudity, but those 5 Justices who ruled against Raich had nothing between their legs but air…

  • kaptinemo

    Also, please note that Brandeis uses the proper capitalization of the word ‘state’ (as I do) to make clear he is referring to a sovereign political entity, not a mere postal routing convenience code.

    In forgetting this and allowing this practice to continue, we have created the condition where States have become provinces’ of an empire, not de facto countries voluntarily engaging in a federation, as The Founders intended. Which is why the Feds act so blatantly arrogant with regards to the only bulwarks against centralized tyranny crushing individual rights…the State governments, themselves.

    Brandeis understood the necessity for this, but later Courts have ruled on greater and greater erosion of those bulwarks to the point that nothing stands between the citizen and the overwhelmingly powerful centralized government. Hence our present misery.

  • claygooding

    Since Gil is receiving a salary in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,plus perks,and is controlling the purse strings of a 40 billion dollar a year bureaucracy
    I guess it’s enough to get over any loss of face because
    his job requires lies and going against scientific evidence
    or medical opinions.
    If you were running an organization that was budgeted for 40 billion,would you do anything that might cut your budget in half?
    I can understand his motives.
    I can also understand our elected officials for taking the pharmaceutical and banking lobby money too keep marijuana illegal.
    After all,they are just protecting their money,big pharm from losing billions for their dangerous pills,and the banks because they are the ones laundering those billions of dollars in untaxed cartel money.

  • Joe Schmo

    I think marijuana should be legal and that resources are being wasted by pursing marijuana users.

    However, this graph is terribly misleading. MPP does not even take into account the various number of other things that could have caused a spike in marijuana possession and lower arrest rates in the other categories.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the reason they are claiming but they should cite more sources and compare other correlations before coming to a conclusion like this.

  • Nick Zentor

    Thanks for the political science info Kap!

    What a bunch of Machiavellians American politicians have become. Exactly why i don’t trust them. While they are spinning the economic BS and pretending to help the common people, they always have selfish, ulterior motives that work for the wealthy, corporate ruling-class and against the common people.

    The only thing that stops the common people from seriously planning the demolition of their high castle is the dumbed-down, sold-out, undemocratic, traitorous, fascist police departments everywhere, ready to protect the governor and his parties even if it means cutting down the masses on the opposition.

  • Joe Schmo don’t even try to side-step this issue.

    MPP is saving human life in their cause.

    The cold hard facts of life are sometimes hard to swallow…this graph might be mis-leading but only to someone like you!

  • Source: Criminal Justice Statistics Center (2009) and Demographic Research Unit (2009)

  • kaptinemo

    Nick, what you described was exactly the reason why the Posse Comitatus Act was created, to prevent the use of the military in civil law enforcement, because all too often that enforcement was at the behest of the corporations that had the pols in their back pockets.

    It was also the reason for the Hatch Act, so that bureaucrats couldn’t use the taxpayer’s money against them by employing the resources purchased with those taxpayer dollars to lobby against popular referenda and legislation that would negatively affect the bureaucracies. It was supposed to maintain the neutrality of the civil service, but that has been all but nullified thanks to the GAO’s cowardly refusal to call the ONDCP out on its’ blatant abrogation of the Hatch Act…and the equally cowardly refusal of Democrats to do something about it.

  • DdC

    “”First they ignore you,
    then they ridicule you,
    then they fight you,
    then you win.””

    — Mahatma Gandhi

    Save The Pot Dealers! By Joel Stein
    CN Source: Time Magazine November 05, 2009 California

    There are more medical-marijuana dispensaries in L.A. than Starbucks. Most are like nice tea shops, where salespeople behind a counter open glass jars so you can smell the Sugar Kush, look at the Purple Urkel under a magnifying lens and ask about the effects of Hindu Skunk. At the Farmacy, I spun a wheel to determine my first-time-buyer gift and was handed a pot lollipop. If the pot-dispensary people ran General Motors, the recession would be over. Although GM cars would be engineered to just stare idly at the road for hours. Which is more than they’re good for now.

    Medical Marijuana Shops Abound in California
    By Marcus Wohlsen and Greg Risling, AP Writers
    The medical marijuana dispensary in this California wine country town is in a former auto dealership, and has more registered patients than the town has residents. Los Angeles has more pot shops than Starbucks or schools.

    The Futility of Pot Prohibition
    Seventy-two years ago, the federal government took marijuana off the market through the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, based on various reports and hearings about the effects of the substance, which included testimonies that cannabis caused “murder, insanity and death.” Although the act did not criminalize the usage or possession of the herb, it levied a tax of about one dollar for anyone who dealt it and included penalty provisions and complex rules of enforcement that, if they weren’t followed, would lead to heavy fines and even prison time. The act made it extremely difficult to sell pot and increased the risk in doing so.

    More Ski Towns May Vote To Change Pot Laws

    States Should Decide Usage Laws