Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
October 2010



To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making

bullet image Why I Support Legal Marijuana by George Soros, in the Wall Street Journal.

…In many respects, of course, Proposition 19 already is a winner no matter what happens on Election Day. The mere fact of its being on the ballot has elevated and legitimized public discourse about marijuana and marijuana policy in ways I could not have imagined a year ago.

These are the reasons I have decided to support Proposition 19 and invite others to do so.

bullet image What the Feds Can Do About Prop 19: The attorney general will have a tough decision to make if California legalizes marijuana. in Newsweek. A pretty good article.

For one, the administration’s cheapest course of action, a challenge to Prop 19 in the courts, looks doomed. Constitutional-law experts say California has no obligation to have the same criminal laws as the federal government, so Holder’s Justice Department can forget any lawsuit compelling the state to make marijuana use a crime. “Arguably a state could decriminalize murder” and the federal government could not force it to do otherwise, says Ruthann Robinson, a constitutional-law professor at the City University of New York. On the legalization question, then, Holder’s hands are tied.

One bit of stupidity in the article:

Prop 19 is, by many accounts, a flawed initiative. “I would rather be talking about the merits of legalization than the demerits of this cockamamie kluge of a bill,” says Kleiman, the UCLA drug-policy expert, expressing his frustration with the slew of media calls he’s received on the subject. “If a law is properly drafted, you know when it’s valid and you know what will happen if it passes. It seems to me neither is the case.”

That’s just nonsense. How many laws have you dealt with, Mark, that involved eliminating a decades-old prohibition against the active wishes of the federal government and replacing it with a brand new system of regulation built from scratch? Gee, could that have something to do with the uncertainties? Mark apparently wants… neatness.

bullet image ACLU Letter To Attorney General Argues There Is No Basis For Challenging California’s Proposition 19

Here’s the actual letter

Threats of federal interference, however, go beyond just poor policy; suggestions of a facial challenge to Proposition 19 misconstrue the preemptive reach of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and ignore constitutionally-imposed limitations on the federal government’s authority to dictate state criminal laws. Politics should not confuse the legal analysis here. The express anti-preemption provision of the CSA and the anti-commandeering principles embodied in the 10th Amendment plainly foreclose any claim that Proposition 19, if enacted, would be void under the Supremacy Clause because preempted by federal law. […]

Californians have every right to enact Proposition 19 to stop this incredible waste of criminal justice resources and to dismantle one of the most shameful legacies of the war on drugs, the selective enforcement of these laws.

bullet image The Closing of the Marijuana Frontier
California is not just deciding whether pot should be legal. It’s determining the shape of a major new American industry.
by John Gravois

Mendocino County’s second-largest product—wine—may provide the best alternative vision for dope. Thanks in part to a legal loophole that always allowed for home producers, wine has been much slower to consolidate than other industries, and no single winery has the political clout of an Anheuser-Busch. This has been better not only for small producers, but also—more importantly—for the public. So maybe we should all hope that Matthew Cohen is right: that Mendocino will become the Napa Valley of marijuana, and that the premium growers can charge for a sustainably grown, artisanal product backed by a helluva marketing narrative—America’s last frontier! Land of the organic outlaw!—won’t turn out to be too much lower, in the end, than the premium they charge now for growing a crop under conditions of abject fear. It’s not such a bad dream, anyway.

[Thanks, Tom]

bullet image For those of you interested in the Stewart/Colbert Rally this weekend, Just Say Now is organizing a Prop 19 Day of Action to take place all over the country on Saturday, October 30.

This is an open thread.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

9 comments to To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making