One of the basic foundations of the drug war is that, since it outlaws a fully consensual act, it is difficult to enforce as there are no aggrieved parties to cooperate with the police. Add to that the high demand and the incredibly easy means of supply and you get frustrated prohibitionists.
This leads to a plethora of back-door and sideways attacks by legislators and law enforcement, as they add volumes of laws outlawing things even peripherally related to drugs.
In Ohio, they’re looking to make it illegal to have a hidden compartment in your car.
A proposed state law, advocated by Gov. John Kasich, would make it a fourth-degree felony to own a vehicle equipped with secret compartments. A conviction would mean up to 18 months in jail and a potential $5,000 fine.
Note that with this law it doesn’t matter whether you’re using the secret compartment for anything illegal. It’s the existence of the compartment itself that is banned.
After all, you could have a very legitimate reason to have a secret compartment. If you’re traveling with valuables and you’re concerned about thugs with guns pulling you over and taking your cash for no reason… (Oh, yeah…)
… yes, the asset forfeiture aspect of the drug war has been a huge peripheral part of it, with cash, cars, and buildings being seized merely for the suspicion of being connected to drug trafficking, even if you are not charged.
Drug warriors had a hard time sometimes catching people in the act of selling, so the lawmakers decided to make possession of a certain quantity of drugs proof of selling whether you actually did sell or not. So trafficking can merely mean that you didn’t want to go to a criminal to buy your drugs so often and got a larger quantity for yourself.
And I find almost amusing that if you merely allow a plant to grow by itself in your back yard you can be charged with “manufacturing” (taking a lot of credit away from Mother Nature/God).
Drug-free school zones have nothing to do with selling to kids and merely add on penalties for selling drugs in the city.
Money laundering and conspiracy laws are used to convict people when they don’t have the evidence to convict people.
Drug paraphernalia laws are absurd, since almost anything can have multiple uses, and we have endless dances around what stores can sell, related to other merchandise that they have.
A Chicago politician tried to outlaw small plastic bags. In some states, it’s illegal to sell “rose tubes” (which can also be used as crack pipes). In Georgia, they arrested 32 Indians named Patel, among others, for failing to understand the drug slang that undercover officers were using when the cops bought common household items from them in convenience stores.
Of course, these days all of use have to be careful not to have too many colds. Now you can’t even buy the useful cold medicine with Sudafed at night when you need it, and you risk jail if you buy too much in one month.
And, of course, this hasn’t stopped anything. Meth is still widely available.
The absurdity is pointed out in this delightful tongue-in-cheek article in the Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry: A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From
N-Methylamphetamine by O. Hai, and I. B. Hakkenshit
A novel and straightforward synthesis of pseudoephidrine from
readily available N-methylamphetamine is presented. This practical synthesis is expected to be a disruptive technology replacing the need to find an open pharmacy.
Maybe I’ll try that next time I get a cold.
So, what other bizarre laws related to the drug war do you know?