Open Thread

bullet image Decriminalise drug use, say experts after six-year study. Advisors say no serious rise in consumption is likely if possession of small amounts of controlled drugs is allowed.

Front page major article in the Guardian tomorrow. Also front page of the London Times. This is pretty huge.

The panel didn’t go all the way to legalization, but it included decriminalization of all illicit drugs and even “minimal or no sanctions on those growing cannabis for personal use.”

bullet image Brad Pitt blasts U.S. ‘War on Drugs,’ calls for policy rethink in Reuters.

(Reuters) – Brad Pitt has thrown his weight behind a documentary that blasts America’s 40-year war on drugs as a failure, calling policies that imprison huge numbers of drug-users a “charade” in urgent need of a rethink.

The Hollywood actor came aboard recently as an executive producer of filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s “The House I Live In,” which won the Grand Jury Prize in January at the Sundance Film Festival. The film opened in wide release in the United States on Friday.

Ahead of a Los Angeles screening, Pitt and Jarecki spoke passionately about the “War on Drugs” which, according to the documentary, has cost more than $1 trillion and accounted for over 45 million arrests since 1971, and which preys largely on poor and minority communities.

“I know people are suffering because of it. I know I’ve lived a very privileged life in comparison and I can’t stand for it,” Pitt told Reuters on Friday, calling the government’s War on Drugs policy a “charade.”

bullet image Marijuana Legalization’s Tipping Point in The American Conservative.

“More people are recognizing that we cannot afford to continue arresting and prosecuting and locking up people for marijuana,” Angell says. “State legislators and city councilors across the country are now asking themselves, are we going to pay to arrest people for pot or fill some pot holes in the town?”

bullet image Just another isolated incident I can’t even keep track of how many “isolated” incidents Radley’s discussed this week. Go read his site and check them all out.

bullet image Will legal marijuana make police less effective? Check out this quote from where he basically admits that the police are completely incompetent at their job, so they need some fake reason to arrest people in order to accidentally get bad guys off the street. They’ve gotten so used to it, they don’t even realize how pathetic they sound.

As for who is being arrested now, Pat Slack, commander of the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, says it isn’t usually people who are just out to get high.

“Are there people in jail for possession of marijuana? Ya, there are, but most of ’em have violated a parole or probation,” he said.

In other words, he says, their marijuana use led them to do other things.

“So the judge has said you can’t use marijuana, because when you use marijuana you commit other crimes and then they get caught with it and they go to jail,” Slack said.

A handy tool

Slack, who is opposed to legalizing pot, says marijuana busts are an important part of law enforcement’s arsenal when it comes fighting crime.

For example, he says, as an officer, you might get a call to go to the local 7-11 because of a public disturbance. You get there and find the perpetrators have marijuana on them. You can book them and take them to jail.

Or, perhaps, you have a major crime case. The police can hold the suspect on a marijuana charge to buy time while they investigate.

“Whether it’s a robbery or murder or rape or burglary, or whatever. So, yeah, it’s a tool,” he said.

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41 Responses to Open Thread

  1. Peter says:

    pat slack might as well just come right out with it and say that black skin is a handy tool in the le arsenal when “fighting crime”

  2. Cold Blooded says:

    Call me crazy but I don’t think we should make things illegal just so that the police can use it as a pretense to arrest and detain people.

    • Francis says:

      You’re not crazy. The crazy people are the ones who think ennabling pretextual stops and arrests is an argument in favor of cannabis prohibition rather than an indictment of it.

  3. Francis says:

    Or, perhaps, you have a major crime case. The police can hold the suspect on a marijuana charge to buy time while they investigate.

    Using this logic, we should make breathing illegal. That way you could ALWAYS hold your suspect (without having to worry about that pesky evidence requirement). But yes, marijuana busts are a “tool.” They’re a tool of abuse, oppression, and lawlessness.

    • Liam says:

      To me, such tactics are little different from the 16th century witch-hunting practice of ordeal-by-water, wherein those who sank were innocent, while those that floated were killed for being witches.

    • darkcycle says:

      How can they hold you for breathing if you hold your breath?

      • Francis says:

        Oh, I’m sure they’d find a way. “Empty your lungs. We need to search them for weapons.” Then when you complied, they’d bust you for unlawful exhalation. (And if you’re in public, that’s an added count.) Or they could always just point to your nose and hit you with a paraphernalia charge. Hell, if you’ve two nostrils and a mouth, that might even be enough for presumptive intent to distribute. Are you really gonna tell me you need all three of those for your personal breathing?

  4. Duncan20903 says:


    This one made me think of Jonathan Magbie.

    Milk kills Snohomish County man:

    Man busted for pot dies in Snohomish Co. jail

    It appears that this is not your mother’s milk. Hey wait a second, this guy was doing time over a cannabis law violation in the State of Washington? I thought nobody went to jail over cannabis, particularly on the left coast!

  5. Duncan20903 says:

    Cops held at bay by pack of vicious wiener dogs:

    Raids near Orland snag marijuana, guns, more than 30 dachshunds

    Lt. Sean Arlin of the Sheriff’s Office said…”They were in and out of the house. They were everywhere — under beds.”

  6. Duncan20903 says:


    What in the world is so huge about yet another blue ribbon panel studying the criminalization of cannabis and recommending that it be decriminalized? Sheesh, that’s happened so many times over the last 118 years that the real question is “why are the prohibitionists stupid enough to appoint yet another blue ribbon panel to study the subject and to expect any other result?”

  7. Dante says:

    ““Whether it’s a robbery or murder or rape or burglary, or whatever. So, yeah, it’s a tool,” he said.”

    No, Mr. Slack. YOU are a tool, prohibition is a tragedy.

  8. darkcycle says:

    Pat Slack is a major piece of S*it whose entire “Task Force” exists ONLY because he has refined the act of sucking the Federal Teat into a high art. I’d LOVE to see that old bastard put out to pasture. Don’t let his “friendly grampa” demeanor fool you. He loves NOTHING so much as locking people up for weed.

  9. claygooding says:

    Spent the morning chasing Malcolm around the world via comments all over the place.

  10. Servetus says:

    Go to jail (for drugs), catch Valley Fever.

    As if TB and HIV weren’t evil enough souvenirs of the prison industrial complex, Central California prisons are experiencing an epidemic of a fungus related disease that’s costing the state a fortune:

    Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded a settlement of $425,000 to Arjang Panah, who contracted valley fever while serving a drug sentence at Taft Correctional Institute in Kern County. “He will require lifetime treatment,” said attorney Ian Wallach, who represented Panah.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Just FYI Servetus’ post directly above points out perhaps the most significant reason that universal single payer health care will be cheaper than our current hodgepodge system of health care. Under universal care there wouldn’t be any need for a monetary award to assure the lifetime care of a victim of malpractice because it would already be assured. Eliminated would be the attorneys’ 30-40% fees, court costs as well as any punitive damages and no tacked on profit for being a “cash” patient.

  11. claygooding says:

    I can’t load any ASA sites,,hmmm

  12. claygooding says:

    Appeals court to consider DEA classification of marijuana

    “”The first crucial test is whether the medical marijuana advocates have the legal right to file the lawsuit. The Justice Department argues the advocates can’t show they suffered the kind of harm needed to bring a case.

    If the judges agree, they can dismiss the challenge and avoid the trickier question of whether the DEA acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in rejecting the original 2002 petition seeking reclassification of marijuana. It took five years for the Department of Health and Human Services to complete its evaluation and recommendations, and another four years for the DEA to issue its decision. “” Snipped””

    Wouldn’t 800,000+ arrests for marijuana because it is schedule 1 be “harm” enough or should we include Pete’s victim list?

  13. Jillian Galloway says:

    Cannabis is far less harmful and far less addictive than alcohol. We could GREATLY reduce the amount of harm and addiction in society by giving people the right to switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, cannabis.

    It is outrageous that our elected officials actively prevent this reduction of harm in society!! Legalize – Save Lives.

  14. josh dean says:

    And circle jerk eachother. While thinking of a way to ruin americas core penis values. Seriouslly put your penises away.quit sucking each others penises. What’s with you guys sitting on the couch all day playing with your penises while crying afowl that your penises are small. Like tiny asian man penis. So small so small penis. That’s what weed does it turns you into a penis hungry loser pedophile popping penises everywhere you can. Please for the sake of man put your penises away and stop trying to have incourse with the bong. You silly silly penises

    • darkcycle says:

      Gee, Josh…do you think you could find a way to work more SYNONYMS for penis into your next post? Synonyms greatly improve the readability of your post and help to avoid the endless repetition of a single noun. Some synonyms for penis that you might want to try to work into your next effort are: “phallus, member, johnson, cock, dick, man-rod, skin-flute, fleshy appendage, winkie, one-eyed-trouser-snake, schlong,…” among others. You can even be clever and when the implication is obvious, you can substitute OTHER nouns, like “pickle” or “zucchini” or “kielbasa”. Be creative!
      You’ll never be a playwright until you master synonyms.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Hey! It may be small but it sure gets me off.

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