When, not if

A rather curious article by Baker Institute fellow Gary Hale, former chief of intelligence in the Houston Field Division of the DEA: Legalization of marijuana: When, not if

He calls himself a pragmatist who is neither for nor against legalization, but considers it inevitable and argues that we should plan for it, by considering a myriad of legal issues.

It’s interesting speculation, but seems to me, at points, to be a bit of putting the cart before the horse.

Sure, all these things could come up, but not right away, and we don’t even know how legalization is going to occur. There could be (and should be) opportunities for different states to try different regulatory approaches — that’ll cause some chaos, sure, but it’ll help us discover the ones that work the best.

Couple of other points I found telling:

More questions: Will governments be faced with having to pay “reparations” to the families of police officers and federal agents who died while working to destroy marijuana plantations in the United States and abroad? […] What do we say to these men who answered the call of the U.S. government to suppress the supply-side of the marijuana?

Not surprising, but telling, that it didn’t even occur to him to include “reparations” to the civilians who died in the war on marijuana.

I also find it a bit odd that he focuses so much on marijuana as hallucinogen, when in reality its classifcation as such is more a technicality than an actual factor.

Other articles in the series, which continues this week, include:

Marijuana: A case for legalization by William Martin

The greatest harms associated with cannabis are not the effects of the drug but of our drug policies…

In a contest with alcohol and tobacco, marijuana wins by Silvia Longmire

There are too many additional arguments on both sides of the issue to list them all here, and it would behoove the reader to do additional research if intent on forming a solid opinion one way or another. But based on the potential (or lack thereof) of harm to the human body, for people to become dependent, and for people to become violent against each other, marijuana wins in a competition against already-legal alcohol and tobacco.

It’s worth pointing out that, as usual, this series asks the wrong question, as I’ve made clear in the past: Legalization Isn’t the Question

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to When, not if

  1. Peter says:

    yes, as soon as i read the word reparations i thought he was going to make a point about the victims of the dea’s drug war, not fhe perpetrators

    • Peter says:

      not sure why le officers should be paid reparations over and above the package of compensations for injury they are already signed up for as part of their job. unless of course of course its for hurt feelings at having their lifes work declared pointless and in error. it must be tough being on the wrong side of history

      • Francis says:

        Seriously. Suggesting that the families of police officers who died enforcing cannabis prohibition should receive reparations is crazy, for the reasons you mentioned AND because they died while perpetrating a horrible injustice. But to mention the possibility of those reparations without mentioning reparations for the real victims is just surreal! I wonder if this guy supports slavery reparations — for the descendants of former slave owners? (After all, they did lose their “property.”) WTF?

      • claygooding says:

        Not to mention the upcoming default on the federal retiree’s pensions,,but I just giggled when I read about it,,,the feds are fixing to lose a bunch of they’re retirement funds because we,the people cannot pay the amounts contracted by the unions,,,blue ribbon,top of the line retirement plans and all the funds have not been paid,,by the feds,,that is what I got from the article,,now to remember where I read it,,,,I read too much shit.

  2. claygooding says:

    The article by the ex-DEA is just the circling of the wagons and an attempt to try and stop complete legalization with the possible effects of legalization,,they don’t want anyone confirming that marijuana prohibition was and still is a corporate funded policy and they were nothing but puppets in the game.

    • Liam says:

      From Apocalypse Now:

      Willard: I’m a soldier.
      Kurtz: …You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.

  3. kaptinemo says:

    The issue of reparations for those whom the laws – based solely on lies – have harmed is not going to go away. And the Feds know this…and are terrified of it.

    Imagine literally scores of millions of lawsuits, aimed at the Feds. Being called to account for why they pursued such an incredibly destructive social policy well after that policy was proven scientifically (not to mention morally) baseless is on the same level as Nuremberg.

    And I am not engaging in hyperbole, here.

    Crimes against the people have been committed by ‘their’ own (corrupt) government leaders, who cynically knew the truth but continued to lie to justify that policy…and have killed hundreds if not thousands of citizens over the past 40 years in the process of carrying out that policy. (We only know of the ones that have been publicly reported; who knows how many state-sanctioned murders were covered up by the guilty parties?)

    In short, the prohibs engaged in a domestic version of the very same ‘aggressive war’ that led to many Nazi leaders having a date with the hangman’s noose in 1946. It is my fondest wish that some of the worst prohibs, who got fat and happy off of our life’s-blood as taxpayers while oppressing and killing us, someday make the same rendezvous.

    • Peter says:

      the numbers actually killled are reatively low compardd to the victims of the nazis. far greater are the numbers of those whose lives were deliberately destroyed by government as a consequence of a drug bust, those who were forced to go through life as unemplyed disenfranchised felons and second class citizens. these are the ones who deserve reparations

    • Servetus says:

      The U.S. government has received the people’s message and knows it has screwed-up royally.

      Timing is critical to damage control, however. Dragging out the end of the drug war the way Nixon dragged out the Viet Nam War, knowing it was futile and couldn’t be won, will not win points.

      Blanket pardons for drug convictions will be a start. A reversal of a militarized police state, initially created for purposes of merely preventing hippies from getting high, will need to be dismantled at great loss, if not the complete emasculation, of the prison industrial complex. On a larger scale, a Nietzschean re-evaluation of all American values is called for.

      The problem remains of how to estimate the damage of what could have been – absent a drug persecuting society. Opportunities and productivity lost, the Constitution assaulted, the destruction of human potential, some of the most imaginative and productive talent in the country sidelined by public hysteria and scientific illiteracy, the destruction of excellence, sadomoralizing hypocrites in charge, and a barely visible Jim Crow artifact operating since 1914, has crippled the United States like nothing else.

      • darkcycle says:

        Don’t look for them to dismantle the police State, it was hard won and the real reasons we now have it have (and had) nothing to do with drugs. Drugs were just the convenient excuse. That Police State is there for much more ominous reasons.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly about well deserved reparations, but I cannot help but feel that at this point our focus needs to remain not on the “deserves” but on what needs to be done to finish prying those boney fingers from the reigns first. Amnesty might do more to help at this point than bloodlust.

      • Francis says:

        Well, it looks like we’ve got one vote for bloodlust. It wasn’t me. I gave you an up-vote, but I don’t mind the down-vote. I don’t want the prohibitionist parasites feeling too secure about their post-war futures.

  4. Deep Dish says:

    The Seattle Times has it right:

    The question for voters is not whether marijuana is good. It is whether prohibition is good. It is whether the people who use marijuana shall be subject to arrest, and whether the people who supply them shall be sent to prison. The question is whether the war on marijuana is worth what it costs.

    Initiative 502 says no.

    If marijuana killed people, or if smoking it made people commit violence and mayhem, prohibition might be worth all its bad effects. But marijuana does not kill people; there is no lethal dose. Marijuana befuddles the mind and stimulates the appetite, but it does not make people commit arson and brigandage.

    Some people abuse it, just as with alcohol, but cannabis is less of a social problem than liquor, wine and beer. And society manages those as legal, commercial products.


  5. ezrydn says:

    The government taught me how and sent me to a far away place to kill the people. Now, they’re friends with them. Does this clown also have the same problem with that???

    After I did the job I was called on to do, and the change took place, what did the say to ME?

    “”You’re now a terrorist.” That’s what they should say to those officers who responded.

  6. Peter says:

    there’re some good responses to Gary Hale at the linked site. I particularly like this one:

    flypusher says:
    September 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm
    “What do we say to these men who answered the call of the U.S. government to suppress the supply-side of the marijuana ?”

    Sorry that we got you involved in the equivalent of pushing back the ocean with a broom, here’s some more reasonable assignment for you.

  7. stlgonzo says:

    OT: Purely speculative question, but how will the Feds respond when pot IS legalized in WA and CO this November?

    This is something I have been wondering lately, but doing research on the internet does not come up with a whole lot. I know it is speculation. For instance can the Feds still use local law enforcement any the asset forfeiture laws to circumvent state law?

    • darkcycle says:

      Well, I responded to a similar question posed in a Seattle Times editorial with this comment:
      “There is no conceivable way they can enforce the POSSESSION laws, there aren’t enough Federal Agents on the West Coast. And without State resources to back them up, they cannot continue the volume of raids on suppliers that they have sustained so far. What remains to be seen is the effect of the Federal Government preventing the State Sale of cannabis. (They will) We will still have legalization on the books, and so the pot will be supplied, one way or the other.”
      I suppose I might have added, the Federal Government will pay a hefty price if they try to thwart the expressed will of the people of any State. And legalizing the sale and possession of pot under State law is something a State absolutely can do.

      • stlgonzo says:

        My question would be, are local police and sheriffs barred from enforcing federal law on pot?
        We routinely see local muscle used by the feds with the carrot of getting to keep most of the booty from the medical raids (where medicinal is already legal @ the state level.

        • darkcycle says:

          Their sworn duty is to the State. They cannot take it onto themselves to criminalize behavior that the State allows. Furthermore there are a series of Supreme Court rulings that State L.E. is NOT bound in any way to enforce Federal Statutes that are NOT also State statutes. So, the Feds may be able to tempt some departments with forfeiture booty (don’t think that will last, people will go ballistic), but they cannot force State LE to enforce Federal Laws.

        • claygooding says:

          Prohib state/city cops(admins missing the bounty money)will be passing info to the feds on any large scale commercial ops,,you can bet your azz on that.

        • Windy says:

          Your county Sheriff is the most important office for which you vote. Your county Sheriff has the power to tell fed gov (and even State gov) officials and LEOs, to “get the fuck out of my county!”; if they refuse, he has the power to arrest and imprison them. Vet your candidates for Sheriff carefully, since he is your last and best defense against government overreach and interference in your life and your freedom. If the people had been doing this consistently over the past decades we wouldn’t be seeing so many Sheriffs helping the fed gov raid State licensed dispensaries and growers, and we’d be seeing more of them defending our unalienable rights against other unconstitutional statutes whether from the fed gov or the State gov.

    • Francis says:

      I’m cautiously optimistic that the feds won’t be able to do much. Look at the numbers from the last several Gallup polls on whether or not cannabis should be legalized:

      2005 – 36% in favor to 60% opposed

      2009 – 44% in favor to 54% opposed
      2010 – 46% in favor to 50% opposed
      2011 – 50% in favor to 46% opposed
      2012 – ???*
      Last year was a milestone. For the first time in the poll’s history, more people supported legalization than opposed it. And we hit the magic number of 50%. Unfortunately, it’s still easy to characterize the issue as a 50 / 50 split. But we’ll soon see a point where we have an unmistakable (and undeniable) majority in support of reform. If one or two (or preferably all three) of these state initiatives pass, I think the momentum becomes unstoppable and things begin to move very, very quickly.

      *Does anyone know for sure whether Gallup will release a poll this October? I think they probably will in view of the last three years and the issue’s increasing prominence, but it looks like they were somewhat sporadic in the past.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Gambino v United States of America, 275 U.S. 310 (1927) says that State officials can’t use Federal law as probable cause in the absence of State law.

      In Gambino, agents of New York State arrested Mr. Gambino and his co-defendants for possession of bootleg liquor. But since New York State had repealed its laws based on the idiocy of the 18th Amendment previous to that arrest the SCOTUS reversed the convictions obtained by those arrests.

      In California the State Constitution also specifically disallows California authorities from enforcing Federal law over State law. Article 3, Section 3.5, Paragraph C).


      SEC. 3.5. An administrative agency, including an administrative agency created by the Constitution or an initiative statute, has no power:

      a) To declare a statute unenforceable, or refuse to enforce a statute, on the basis of it being unconstitutional unless an appellate court has made a determination that such statute is unconstitutional;

      b) To declare a statute unconstitutional;

      c) To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations.


      But don’t start expecting authorities to operate under the law; “the law is the law (blah, blah, blah)” crowd only apply that rule to laws that they like.

    • Windy says:

      We might find the answer here:
      Cal High Court Tosses Fed Preemption Case

  8. Dante says:

    The whole “reparations” for law enforcement but not for the people they harmed situation is much like the war-crimes situation for those who started the 2nd Iraq War.

    The very people who conceived of and committed the war-crimes are the same people who get to decide who is guilty of war-crimes. So, it won’t be them.

    Same with the cops, our congress, the president, and the entire freakin’ US Government. The people who engage in misconduct are the very people who will be responsible for seeking out and punishing misconduct. As you all may have noticed, there is simply no way to convince a “public servant” to derail his own gravy train even when doing so would serve the public.

  9. Servetus says:

    Candidate Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat running for Senator of Massachusetts, supports legalizing medical marijuana during a radio interview, and expresses dismay that her father died from cancer without the benefits of cannabis treatment:


  10. claygooding says:

    OT,,but it is about ending prohibition so it ain’t really OT,,,does anyone have any information on the judge that will be hearing the ASA rescheduling appeal?

  11. darkcycle says:

    Seattle Times officially endorses I-502. W.R. Hearst is doing a gymnastics routine in his grave:

  12. allan says:

    Can I get an “Amen!“?

    A war that should end
    30-year war on drugs has failed, turned U.S. into ‘incarceration nation’


    First Pat Robertson… now the Mennonites?

    Where’d I put my hard hat?

  13. Servetus says:

    More bad stuff:

    The police state is randomly drug testing 12-year-olds in middle school via the pee in the cup method.

    What’s the old Catholic Church adage…get them before age five and you have them forever…? Pervs.


Comments are closed.