Who’s going to prison for getting high?

A little exchange over at the reality-based community

Brett: As long as Obama is putting people in prison for getting high, he is, unavoidably, an evil drug warrior. […]
Mark: Of course, “putting people in prison for getting high” is utter fantasy. But I suppose that doesn’t matter to you…

I see what Mark’s doing here, of course. The same thing the drug czar does all the time. It’s about downplaying the seriousness and destructiveness of prohibition, because they still want to use prohibition.

You often hear the drug czar say that nobody is (or very few are) in prison for possession of marijuana, usually as a way of claiming that legalizing marijuana wouldn’t make much of a dent in the prison population, so therefore that particular argument by legalizers isn’t a strong one. That’s a common shady debate trick – attacking just one of many arguments by the opposition and downplaying it, then using that to claim that the opponent’s position is weak.

Interestingly, the other commenters at the site stood up for Brett. It was clear to pretty much anyone reading Brett’s statement that it wasn’t so much a literal statement (as Mark was interpreting it), but a general statement about actively prosecuting marijuana laws.

You can’t separate the act of “getting high” from the rest of what goes on in this misguided drug war as if that is an activity that is somehow exempt from drug warrior extremes. You can’t just “get high.” First, you have to get marijuana. And unless you happen to stumble across some ditch weed on public lands, then something else has to happen — and that connects you to the world of people going to prison. Grow your own? That’s a felony. Buy from someone? They can go to prison for you getting high. Share some with friends? You’re a trafficker. Possess more than some arbitrary small amount? Intent to distribute. Pass a joint within 1000 feet of a day care center while discussing building a tunnel from Mexico? Don’t drop the soap.

Perhaps Brett should have worded it: “As long as Obama is putting people in prison because someone is getting high, he is, unavoidably, an evil drug warrior.” But we knew what he meant.

And people are going to prison. All of us know about people who absolutely shouldn’t be going to prison, and yet are.

And then, of course, don’t forget the “unintended consequences.” Remember Daniel Chong? 5 days locked up in a DEA cell without food or water, merely because he went to a house to “get high” and it was being raided by the DEA.

Marijuana prohibition and legalization are not about the single individual sitting in a room by himself getting high on some weed that he dialed up on his Star Trek replicator. It is a massive enterprise of prohibition activities and criminal activities that needs to stop. And we won’t be deterred by someone pointing at a pot smoker and noting that she isn’t in prison.

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45 Responses to Who’s going to prison for getting high?

  1. ezrydn says:

    Oooo, someone released the “Get High” Kracken again. Made by the uber-secret Umbrella Corp., their Kracken sniffs out cannabis and devours the user. Congress has decried that April 1st is the day everyone will be presented to said Kracken for scrutiny.

    Those that fear and hate “getting high” have no idea about that which they complain about. People are proving to be such good little robots.

  2. darkcycle says:

    I read that exchange. There were a lot of good points, but I suspect if the numbers of people in JAILS for marijuana (county, city, military) were included (prohibitionists in my experience specifically exclude sentences served in non-prison facilities), Mark and the prohibition brigade would have to put a sock in it. Unfortunately these numbers are not kept, and are difficult to uncover. I worked in a City Jail, and there were many people serving sentences there in the 1 month to eleven month range. Generally only sentences exceeding one year are sent to State Prison here. I expect if you expressed it as “the number of prisoners serving sentences for marijuana” instead of “people in prison for pot” the results would more accurately reflect the reality. I’m guessing in that instance Mark would mumble something unintelligible and change the subject.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Most people don’t realize there’s a difference between jail and prison in most States. Pennsylvania doesn’t differentiate, at least not using those particular words.

      The State of Washington has a 1 day mandatory minimum for petty possession IIRC. If the response is something along the lines of “Oh WTF is a day” tell them you want to see them do one. Short timers always cry the loudest.

      Your post implies that it’s possible for Mr. Kleiman to say something intelligible. Just a brain fart on your part, no doubt.

  3. pt says:

    Obama is putting NO ONE in prison for weed! Just show me ONE video of him arresting, detaining, prosecuting, or handing down judgement on a pot smoker!! See folks, all the arguments for legalization are OBVIOUSLY RIDICULOUS! /lol

  4. Peter says:

    The usual deceptive lies from a prohibitionist. Even if he were correct, and nobody was locked up for more than 24 hours (in fact, everyone of the 3/4 million arrested for cannabis each year gets locked up for a period of hours at least) he would still be denying the huge costs to the individual of a lifelong felony record.
    For the benefit of Mark Kleiman this can mean career death in most of corporate america, education, L/E and the prospect of long term unemployability. It can mean a lifetime ban on public housing, immigrating to the US, denial of student loans, foodstamps, healthcare and even seeing your own children. It can result in the forfeiture of any and all property with the onus of proof of legitimacy reversed. Rather than being a minimal crime it is treated as a kind of super-crime with special sanctions which do not apply to real crimes like murder, rape and armed robbery. When I hear drug war apologists like Kleiman minimalizing what they are doing to their victims every day in the hope that public sympathy will not be aroused I feel like shouting out of my window “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!”

    OT the NYT has this
    regarding a judge with cancer who has admitted to breaking the law to get relief through MMJ. He says “Cancer is a nonpartisan disease…”
    (oops, just saw DC beat me to it)

  5. Duncan20903 says:


    If nobody goes to jail for getting high, then why is re-legalization a problem? Continuity certainly isn’t one of the priorities of prohibitionist parasites.
    Time for the war on Coke!

    Woman’s Coca-Cola habit cited in death

    A representative of the Coca Cola Company even admitted that their product (as well as other beverages) can be deadly!

    Experts say a New Zealand woman’s 2-gallon-a-day Coca-Cola habit probably contributed to her death, a conclusion that led the soft-drink giant to note that even water can be deadly in excessive amounts.

    • Jeff Trigg says:

      Obama’s buddy, former Mayor Dick Daley, is now on the board of Coca-Cola. They are preparing for the progressive nannies that are starting to come after them like they have tobacco and cannabis before that.

    • allan says:

      which is why one of Coca-Cola®’s early commercials was such blatant and actual truth-in-advertising:

      Nothing is better than Coke”


      Way back in the 1970’s 😉 Dick Gregory was calling sugar “America’s deadliest drug.” I don’t know where everyone else has been…

  6. claygooding says:

    As congress debates which social programs to cut funding from and just hand billions more to the drug warriors to keep filling our prisons and court systems it appears to me that every legislator in DC is a drug warrior,,even our reputed supporters are not raising an eyebrow or asking Fox News why our social programs must fund the war on some drugs.

    At least the food stamps and s/s are allowing some people to eat and live off the streets.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Have you considered the meme that drug users are using a disproportionate share of, if not the entire budget, and that if we re-legalize that the number of “addicts” would “skyrocket” costing the taxpayers a huge sum of money? Boy if you think we’re broke now, just legalize “drugs.”

      That argument seems much more likely to backfire than to work to me.

  7. Benjamin says:

    Humphreys and Kleiman really have so very few arguments on their side. It’s amusing to watch them get indignant in defending Obama’s hard work to help addicts by citing 4 provisions of the ACA, only two of which are specifically about addiction, and none of which are likely to significantly change the face of the American Drug War. Maybe a few thousand fewer people will develop addictions or will recover from addictions. Huzzah. Meanwhile, the millions upon millions of addicts will continue to fuel the black market, which won’t even notice these pitiful countermeasures.

  8. Sorry for going off-topic, but I have a poll question I’d like to hear people’s thoughts on.

    I was thinking about sending a donation to the Montana First campaign to help them gather signatures. However, I decided not to after their campaign manager let me know how far they still had to go. I definitely can’t contribute the kind of cash that would ensure success and I don’t want to put what money I do have into an intiative that ends up not making the ballot (as I did with the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act).

    This got me wondering how many other small donors end up not sending money due to the same calculus. When George Soros or Peter Lewis pony up, they know their initiative’s going to make the ballot because they’re covering all or most of the cost. Little guys… well, if no billionaire steps up, we really don’t know if enough others will join us to make our donation count.

    I think that I would be far less hesitant to contribute to an initiative campaign if I knew for sure that it was either going to make the ballot or that I would get my money back. The campaign team could do a cost projection and say, “OK, it’s going to cost $100,000 to gather enough signatures by June 22. If we can collect this amount by April 22, we will hire enough professional signature-gatherers to ensure we make the ballot. If we do not reach this amount by April 22, we will return all donations we have received and re-attempt at a later date.”

    Have any of you ever decided against donating due to uncertainty about whether an initiative would actually make the ballot? If so, would a system as described above make you more likely to donate?

    • darkcycle says:

      pfroe, I understand. One thing I’ve come to understand about the initiative process (at least in Wa. State) is that it is not a “single initiative” effort. Early initiatives are very likely to fail, for the reasons you suggest as well as semantic concerns, but they serve a further purpose. They act as a bell-weather for initiative efforts that follow. They introduce the public to the effort and the issue, they sort out problematic wording, and they send the message to those big donors that the time may be right. Reverse the position you find yourself in, just as a thought exercise. For arguments sake, imagine you have a million dollars you want to give to one effort. How DO you decide to give that money? Wouldn’t you look in the places that already have seen initiative efforts and have a positive measure of current support? Wouldn’t you go where dedicated people had already attempted, have an organization on the ground and have a solid track record?
      If you reverse your position, you’ll see how important the early initiative attempts are, even if they fail.
      The initiative that removed liquor from the State’s control here in Washington was tried no fewer than four times, it was transparently self serving for large retailers, and obviously not in the interests of ordinary residents, yet they wore people down propagandized and eventually succeeded. How do you get people to hand over one of a state’s major revenue sources to private business, when the State is on the verge of being BROKE? Here, take this gun and shoot your own foot. That’s what they talked people into.

    • Rita says:

      pfroe — Have you demanded a refund of your taxes used to combat drug use, since that war has obviously failed to meet its stated objectives? How about the war on terror? How long will it go on before you admit that terror still exists and demand your money back? If you believe in freedom, support it any way you can. If you don’t believe in it, sit on your hands and do nothing. The only person you have to answer to is the man in the mirror.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Rita, I’ve written a letter demanding exactly that. Actually, I’ve written 7 in the last 18 years (3 that mention the WoT). Still no response but I’ll be sure to let everyone know the answer as soon as I find out. The wheels of government turn slowly indeed.

        pfroehlich2004, doesn’t Montana require only 30,000 signatures to get certified? I only recall that number because of how hard I laughed when the enemies of freedom failed to get a repeal of that State’s medicinal cannabis patient protection law on the ballot in 2010. Be careful what you laugh at, it would have been much better had they succeeded and then been kicked to the curb on Election Day.

      • Hi Rita. Try to comprehend what you read before you reply. You don’t have a f***ing clue how much time and money I put into this movement 365 days a year.

    • Jeff Trigg says:

      Maybe a small token contribution to help with their moral and perhaps influence other donors to do the same. Every drive needs something to get going if it isn’t pre-funded. If it can get off the ground and make enough progress more funding will usually come.

      I’ve run petition drives without enough $ to start, and a lot of people approach this just like you are, because it makes sense. Ours was 90 days, and 30 days in was make or break time. Perfectly logical to conclude at some point its failed and move on, or they are reaching goals and its within reason will be successful. After 30 days when enough sigs were already there and the money used efficiently, more donors will come and previous donors will give again in my experience.

      I don’t know enough about their situation to guess what their success rate might be. How many sigs needed by when, how many they got, how much money they got, how much will they need to assure success, what the going sig rate, do they have pros available in this prime season, and 50 other questions. You did good contacting them and asking some. Whatever you’re comfortable with is what you should do. Yeah, maybe you throw a little bit down the drain if this fails, its a risk. If they are trying, they are at least learning how to do it, if not for now, but for the future. There is value in that.

    • Ok, here is the question that I really wanted people to answer:

      I think that small donors, like myself, could be persuaded to play a bigger part in financing signature-gathering campaigns by creating a donation system that would function similarly to Groupon, i.e. a total cost is determined for the signature-gathering phase of the campaign and potential donors are then invited to purchase a “coupon” of, say, $20 (obviously, one can buy multiple “coupons”). Just as with Groupon, the “coupon” would have an expiration date. If all the “coupons” are sold before this date, professional signature-gatherers are hired. If not enough “coupons” are sold, the “deal” expires and holders of “coupons” can redeem them and use this money to fund other campaigns if they so choose.

      I would be less hesitant to donate to a signature-gathering campaign if it had such a system in place. What about you guys? Do you think applying the Groupon model could encourage more small donors to contribute and lessen our movement’s reliance on billionaires?

      (A quick summary of how Groupon works for anyone who’s unfamiliar: http://www.groupon.com/faq)

  9. Francis says:

    “No one goes to prison for simple possession.” There are a couple of ways to respond to that claim, most of which have already been touched on: 1) you can demonstrate that it’s factually inaccurate; 2) you can point out that serving time in prison is only one of the ways in which an arrest and conviction for possession can harm an individual; and 3) you can point out that a narrow-minded focus on prison time ignores the larger devastation caused by prohibition, e.g., empowering organized crime, promoting official corruption, and fueling black market violence, etc. But I think there’s a fourth response to consider: treat it as an admission. WHY are the drug warriors so eager to insist that no one goes to prison for simple possession? Because they realize that it’s indefensible. When the stark reality of the drug war is presented in an honest way — incarcerating non-violent people for the “crime” of possessing (in most cases) a plant, most people instinctively recoil in horror. So when a drug warrior claims that “no one goes to prison for simple possession,” ask them if they think that people SHOULD go to prison for simple possession. If they’re not willing to say yes, ask them why they don’t support decriminalization. After all, why not make it official?

    • Peter says:

      They are terrified of the public seeing the real harm that they are doing with their war and, as a result, becoming sympathetic to their victims. They remember what happened in another unethical war, Vietnam, when the public saw the pictures of a naked Phan Thi Kim Phuc set on fire by a US napalm bomb. Suddenly the public had a face for “collateral damage” and could see what was being done in their name and turned against the war. Unfortunately many of the victims of the drug war are behind walls, literal or bureaucratic, where their pain is conveniently deniable by people like Kleiman.

    • Freeman says:

      Francis: After all, why not make it official?

      You’ve hit upon a key hypocrisy I’ve noticed in the latest “prohibition light” fad being pushed — selective enforcement offered as a solution to the negatives of prohibition. Yeah, that’ll work alright.

      In another recent RBC article, Harold Pollack said “Had politics permitted, states would have been wise to openly de-penalize the use of illicit drugs during pregnancy. Although data are scanty, there’s no solid evidence that criminal sanctions deter prenatal drug use. Such sanctions lead some women to go underground rather than to seek medical help. Prosecutions also drive a wedge between legal authorities and front-line medical and social service professionals, who rarely believe that prosecution is effective to help children.

      Now there’s a coherent message: We must take punitive measures to prevent illegal drug use and all the harm it causes, and for the protection of the user. Unless the user is pregnant, then it’s OK, and safe enough.

      One highly-publicized recently proposed approach to dealing with the violent drug trade south of our border is to advertise selective enforcement as an incentive to reduce the violence caused by prohibition’s denial of equal protection under the law to those involved in the trade.

      Logic that can be twisted like that has to be extremely soft. The drug warriors have never had a coherent rational leg to stand on, hence the long history of lies, propaganda, and misdirection as substitute for rational debate.

  10. Servetus says:

    A major reason marijuana users aren’t necessarily sent to U.S. federal and state prisons, or kept in municipal or county jails for any length of time, is because there are way too many pot smokers. Confining pot smokers would fill all the detention cells in America in a single day if the government chose to put them there for extended periods.

    There’s no altruism or leniency being shown to marijuana arrestees; it’s merely a practical and economic matter for the state that they’re not treated far worse. The situation is being exploited by people like Mark Kleiman to make themselves look like good guys to their intended victims. Except that it doesn’t work. Most people are well aware of the consequences of a drug arrest.

  11. kaptinemo says:

    The prohibs, when they try so strenuously to force reality to fit their ideologies, invariably remind me of an old Far Side cartoon.

    Only, then as now, there’s no ‘miracle’ to make prohibition work. Never has been, never will be. No Deus ex machinas on the horizon in the foreseeable future. Didn’t happen last time; won’t happen now. You’d have more luck trying to legislate gravity out of existence.

    But that doesn’t stop those with an emotional or monetary or academic motivational stake in providing apologias for prohibition from continuing their Quixotic quest in trying…and hoping against hope for that Larsonian ‘miracle’. Which puts such academics in the same loony bin as this fella…who also believed in such ‘miracles’.

    Sad, really.

  12. TrebleBass says:

    Under federal law, possession of any amount of marijuana for personal use constitutes jail time. It can be a fine for the first offense, but the law allows for a one year prison term at most for a first offense. A second offense not less than 15 days, not more than two years; and a third offense not less than 90 days not more than 3 years.

    This is where i got it from: ( http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title21/html/USCODE-2011-title21-chap13-subchapI-partD-sec844.htm )

    Correct me if i’m wrong, i haven’t read all the laws pertaining to drugs, so maybe i’m wrong. What surprised me is that penalties are apparently not schedule dependent. As far as i understand, unlawful possession of any scheduled drug carries the same penalty (except when otherwise specified, like for crack and pseudoephedrine and i think some other things).

  13. Dante says:

    So, let’s review:

    Since the War on Drugs began over 40 years ago, there have been over 20 Million Americans arrested for pot.

    And now the drug warriors are saying that not one of those 20 Million Americans who was arrested for pot went to jail/prison? Not one? Really? Not even one?

    Gotta get me some of whatever they are smoking.

    • Maria says:

      Yeah. It’s hard to swallow such nonsense when only a few years ago they where touting drug arrest stats as holy grails of success. Now they obfuscate stats with associated and piled on charges.

      A better question is how many people are stopped for looking high or looking like someone who might get high and THEN thrown into jail over the laundry list pinned on them.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      No Dante, that’s not what they’re saying.

      The prohibitionist says, “The [use] of illegal drugs is down 30% since 1979”

      …while conveniently ignoring the skyrocketing use of “legal” drugs like oxycodone.

      The prohibitionist says, “Well, there’s no such thing as smoked medicine”

      …while conveniently ignoring alternative delivery methods.

      We have to stay aware of the fact that they go to an awful lot of trouble to parse their words with the intention of causing people to infer that which they want them to believe without “actually” lying

      …while conveniently ignoring the fact that deception is deception, and that lying by inference is still lying.
      ———- ———- ———- ———- ———-

      Did anyone else notice that Mr. Kleiman speaks of the ACA as if it is in effect, when in fact it likely may never see the light of day?

    • Benjamin C. says:

      Naw. They’re just claiming that it doesn’t happen anymore. It fits in with their whole “The drug war is over!” narrative they’ve been (rather unsuccessfully) pushing the last few years.

      • B.Snow says:

        They say no one goes to jail for “simple possession” = Now, that’s probably because the undercover folks don’t just arrest people the first time/chance they get…

        OHW, Hell No!

        They “try and make a buy”, often repeatedly — in the process they’re spending weeks or even several months & they can keep do this for up to a year or so – if memory serves…”gathering evidence”.

        Which they’re entrapping people with (but that’s not ‘illegal’ = it used to be a legal ‘defense’ to claim “entrapment” – Up until some point when LEO’s basically said they couldn’t catch anyone if they couldn’t make use of various/multiple entrapment techniques.

        To build up a big stack of charges – because people would snitch over a minor charge — UNLESS they “throw a book” (a huge stack of charges) at them AND/OR offer to not bend them over so badly = if they rat out the next person up the chain.

        (Assuming of course there is some such person, AND that the suspect knows who the next person “up the ladder” is, OR they send in 2 LEO’s = the 1st to sell/make a supply available to a person they want to target, and a 2nd to make a purchase from their “Newly Minted Dealer”.)

        Then there’s the other “non”/”just”-“simple possession” route they get people in court for ANYTHING under the damn sun then stick them on Probation/parole/deferred adjudication/etc. With all the standard stipulations of “can’t go anywhere where alcohol is sold or served”, has to pass a UI screening (however often)
        = And, THAT is where they tend to get people back in jail =
        via a “Technical Violation” of the one of the above conditions of whatever the FIRST (often relatively) VERY minor B.S. charges/situation they got in trouble for!
        That’s why there are so many damn Americans locked up for marijuana/(drugs) – The Prohib-LEO’s “Well, they’re not just locked up for simple possession alone” line is just that = A Bullshit Line!

  14. Powdered Toast Man says:

    Living in a fading Bankster Banana Republik is enough to drive someone to want to get high. Only alcohol and crap pills for escape? No thanks. I’ll stick with nature’s own cannabis sativa.

  15. Irie says:

    Here is something to read….don’t forget to read some of the comments at the end of the article, surprise, surprise!!

  16. Duncan20903 says:

    A funny thing happened to the 5 ng/ml per se “limit” on its way to the Colorado Legislature…

    Your Questions Answered: Driving under the influence of marijuana
    May 16, 2012
    by Mark Meredith

    Will someone using marijuana put themselves–or you–in danger out on the road?

    We wanted to find out for ourselves. So we setup a test using a simulator, police officer, and a group of volunteers.

    Ranging in age from their early 20s to their mid 60s, our volunteers let us test not only their driving skills but their THC levels both before and after taking their marijuana.

    But before we even started our driving test, a surprise–we found at least two of our volunteers would be considered impaired, under the recently proposed state standard, even though they hadn’t smoked or ingested marijuana all day.

    For experienced drivers, like 63-year-old Fran of Littleton, driving after taking her marijuana is a challenge.

    “At least it is make believe crashes,” she says.

    “She showed a lot of mental impairment,” Ashby says. “Not really just a physical impairment; she was stopping for no reason in the roadway.”

    Officer Ashby would have pulled Fran over.

    But the results of Fran’s blood test are shocking.

    “She would have passed that test for Delta 9 because nothing showed up in her system,” Knill says.

    That’s right; Fran’s blood test comes back clean.

    The results show there’s no Delta 9 in her system even though she ingested her pot an hour before the test.

    None of our volunteers put much faith in the simulator but can you put faith in the Delta-9 law when two people who admit they’re under the influence would pass with flying colors?

    From a Fox affiliate no less.

  17. Francis says:

    A good question from the previous thread:

    How long will people put up with the notion that smoking cannabis isn’t a big enough deal to send people to prison, but people who grow and / or sell it are a threat to society? How is it that they’re more dangerous than the product they offer?

    My sense is that the discrepancy in attitudes can be explained by cultural bigotry. For many people, the term “drug user” conjures up some pretty nasty (and ridiculous) stereotypes, but that’s nothing compared to the fear and loathing elicited by the term “drug dealer.” Most people recognize that illicit drugs are used across the socio-economic spectrum, but selling drugs is thought of primarily as an activity that’s engaged in by the “lower class,” to borrow kap’s phrase, the “moved and kicked.” People also associate “drug dealers” with violence. It’s sometimes true that sellers of illicit drugs use violence, but the majority don’t. And unfortunately, too few people recognize that the violence that we do see in black markets is simply the inevitable reaction to the violence of prohibition.

    • Peter says:

      exactly. cutural bigotry produced by 100 years of propaganda and lies from mark kleiman and his intellectually dishonest predecessors

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      Cultural bigotry, indeed.

      I like classic drug propaganda films. In them, there is usually a “pusher” who aims to hook kids on his (or her–remember Mae in Reefer Madness?) product.

      Then it’s like that ostensibly Native American saying about alcohol: First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.

      Drugs, in these narratives, are consumables that you choose (or are “pushed” on you), then you have no choice but to continue.

      Now why would the greatest consumerist society the world has ever known tell such morality tales about the perils of consumption?

  18. Jeff Trigg says:

    People are going to jail for getting high in Cook County, IL (Chicago). Mostly black people, according to the Cook County Board President, and you can watch her say it with some of these talking points.

    92% of the people who receive jail time in Chicago/Cook for low-level marijuana possession are black.

    Cook County spends $500 million per year on its jail, $78 million of it for marijuana arrests.

    84,000 police man hours are devoted to marijuana arrests in Chicago/Cook.

    Chicago Reader – The Grass Gap has more info about the drug war capitol of America.

    The ratio of black to white arrests for marijuana possession in Chicago is 15 to 1, according to a Reader analysis of police and court data. And by the time the cases make their way through the court system, the gap widens even further: the ratio among those who plead or are found guilty is 40 to 1.

    Here’s another way to look at it: almost nine of every ten people who end up guilty of possessing marijuana in Chicago—86 percent, to be precise—are black men.

    Chicago police made tens of thousands of arrests in 2009 and 2010 for marijuana possession, including 47,400 in which that misdemeanor was the most serious charge. So how egregious are the racial discrepancies?

    • Of those arrested, 78 percent were black, 17 percent were Hispanic, and 5 percent were white.

    • In those years 4,255 people pleaded or were found guilty of low-level marijuana possession after being arrested in Chicago: 89 percent were black, 9 percent were Hispanic, and 2 percent were white.

    • The street value of the pot found on the convicted offenders, according to our sample of case files, was anywhere from $2 to $170. The average was $55.

    That last stat is beyond sickening for me. Of the CONVICTED offenders, the average was for $55 of cannabis. Yes, we are convicting people and putting them in jail for getting high, as the $55 average more than proves.

    Next thing you know, Kleiman will start denying that black people and hispanics are the main targets of prohibition.

  19. Auggie says:

    Not to mention all the the non violent offenders who fail drug tests while on probation and end up in prison waiting for a bed in rehab. It’s common to wait years.

  20. allan says:

    have been offline for a cuppla weeks so apologies if it’s been covered elsewhere here on the couch but Oregon handed former US Atty and friend of Droop Dogg Dwight Holton his hat in our Dem primary the other day. Ellen Rosenblum, former Oregon judge and 2 time graduate of the Univ of Oregon (and supports a scholarship at the UO) supports the OMMP and won with a great push from the Oregon dpr community. Props to my fellow state activists. It feels good kicking a drug warrior’s ass, everyone deserves a chance at that!

    oh… and thanks for saving my spot on the couch… I could lie and say I missed y’all, but really I got a lot done and none of it dealt with the drug war… halle-f’in-llujah !

  21. CJ says:

    man i have alot of respect for you and think some of your work profound but sometimes you really, i have to be blunt here, you really piss me off pete. “Marijuana prohibition”?? Why did you have to stick marijuana in front of the word prohibition? Why do you ever? Look, I found this website a long time ago after researching the web and searching for information as it pertains to drug prohibition and drug reform. While parts of my search were a generalization of drugs, for the majority of what i was doing i was looking about materials and matters as it pertains to heroin, pain killers for recreation, opiates. I was very very pleased when I saw some of the articles on this site that you wrote, and I thought the community so witty and clever and I was eager to get involved… And please, I apologize if I’m coming across rude, I really am a fan but kind of confused and I would be wrong if I were to suggest this site is the only one that does it as a matter of fact I think for the most part maybe the majority do. There is an apparent marijuana bias. Now that’s ok, of course, but this is the thing, there are marijuana specific web sites out there that i don’t look at. ever. I understand it’s relevance and if at any point my involvement with a marijuana site would ever positively effect prohibition, well, naturally I would go to the site or do whatever I could but the reason it’s not apart of my daily itinerary is because I’m interested in drug reform, the end of drug prohibition and the truth about drugs – indeed my drug of choice is heroin and any opiate and my interests are biased towards them but my point here is that there is a large and strong marijuana reform specific community out there and the sites that have drug war in their title or claim to be about drug reform, they have such a heavy slant towards marijuana, i think it would probably be better for everybody if they were to specify that. Like, instead of Drug War Rant it would be Marijuana Reform Rant. I’m not trying to piss people off, i’m not trying to make enemies, i’m trying to give a suggestion, trust me, i am one of you, in that i want an end to prohibition – however if relating to me – someone who loves all opiates, all day everyday and probably has STD’s etc isn’t okay with you then thats okay with me, then im not one of you as it pertains to you in particular who don’t want to be affiliated with me. I’m saying this because, I think for someone whose true interests lie in marijuana it would be far more fulfilling for them, i would assume, to focus on that. Whereas, someone who is trying to become involved in the broader world of drug prohibition, doesn’t have to feel like… well, for lack of better words the ugly step child if you will. I mean, i’ll put it to you like this, a web site that is no longer around, a few years ago, very much like this one, very popular at the time and claiming to be about the broader drug world and yes, there were occassional mentions of the issues with other drugs against prohibition, but for the most part it was always referencing pot, it was always placing marijuana the word infront of prohibition etc. well NYC members put a get together together and i went. it was a turn out of about 16 folks in central park. after awhile it was like 8, 9 or 10 left. We went someplace and all they talked about the entire time was the history of marijuana, the current (then) landscape of marijuana legalization, and all things marijuana. Over the course of those first like 4 hours in central park they just talked about pot. not once did anybody mention anything until finally id had enough and i brought up heroin. everybody looked at me in silence with blank expressions. i felt dumb for a minute until someone finally spoke up saying they’d tried cocaine, once. i no longer felt like the dumbest person there. however, it gets better. they forgave me, i guess, for daring to utter words about the broader situation, indeed, the drug war, not the war on pot. So i guess between them there were 3 cars, someone organized a… uh, welll someone knew where they could buy some real sweet candy and we all went, after they got i guess enough candy for everybody we returned to someone in the groups massive apartment. for the most part these were young to middle age folks, one of the middle aged folks was like an ex hippy gone into finance or something with a huge apartment to themself. so we all head upstars and well, the kind of candy they got, i dont like. i dont eat it. i hate it, actually. but, im the one person in this group that has truly seen the horrors of the drug war. arrest, prison, disease, homelessness, etc. i am also not dumb enough to be with these folks and not have my own candy and, my special kind of imported candy i guess you can call it, well, it takes different preparation then theirs. so i pulled it out and was met with shrieks of horror and rejection. people freaked out. some couldn’t look. someone cursed at me. i was not about to waste my precious candy and allow someone to ruin my candy after ive eaten it so what i did was i packed up and a major argument ensued about how i wasnt one of them, how they were essentially different then me, better than me, how their purpose wasnt about my purpose (drug prohibition vs marijuana prohibition) and all kinds of madness. to be honest with you, the thing that upset me the most was that timeless catchphrase one of them had the gaul to utter to me during the argument “hey man, why dont you just do some of this???” anyway, i threw myself out before i could get kicked out, but that person from earlier i will let you know, tried to add to the argument when i brought up how pot wasn’t the only drug being prohibited he said to me, “hey man, look, i told you i tried cocaine once!!” like WTF? lol. SO WHAT? OK! and ive smoked it and injected it not once but hundreds of times. SO WHAT man?! lol. I went to the fire escape staircase, ate my candy and had a wonderful night. i never went to that site again and needless to say its not around anymore. i think the webmaster got busted for marijuana, what a shock.

    now my whole thing is, there is marijuana prohibition and there is drug prohibition, thats the way it seems to me. and i wont say that drug prohibition enthusiasts are the majority. I think on the surface without proper inspection that may LOOK the case but i think for the most part, for whatever reason, i dont know what, maybe to ward off judgment from opposition? maybe they think drug prohibition looks more professional or smarter than what they may be afraid would seem immature by labeling themselves as strictly a pot prohibition site? I don’t know. But i dont think its fair to those of us that are truly interested in the full repulsion of drug prohibition, without overwhelmingly emphasizing the pot aspect of it. I do appreciate the web sites that label themselves marijuana specific, it is a truly truly helpful thing for us who don’t want to look at that material due to our broader interests.

    thanks for your time, im really a fan and i really just want to make things better for everybody in this community.

    • Pete says:


      Thanks for your interest. Please note that it’s extremely difficult to read a comment like yours in the midst of a busy schedule. Please break things up in paragraphs of no more than a few sentences.

      I’ll try to read your entire rant later, but a as a quick response, you seem to be upset that I used the words “marijuana prohibition.” The truth of the matter is that I talk about “prohibition” here all the time, and I talk about prohibition of all drugs.

      That doesn’t change the fact that there is a subset of prohibition that is “marijuana prohibition.” And since the vast majority of those who use illicit drugs, and the vast majority of prohibition activities have to do with marijuana, then naturally, I’m going to talk about that portion of prohibition at times.

      This was a post that was responding to a statement that was clearly (in context) from getting high on marijuana. So I responded in that realm. Other times, I talk about prohibition in the larger sense.

      This is definitely not a marijuana-only site. But it is also not a no-marijuana site, and marijuana is still the biggest portion of the prohibition issue, and the most likely wedge for drug policy reform.

      I believe that we need to legalize all drugs, but while the public is about evenly split on the issue of legalizing marijuana, they aren’t even in the ballpark in considering other drugs. Yet.

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