Friday, December 6, 2013

Marijuana as “Medicine” - Just what the M.D. / Ph.D. / J.D. ordered

Marijuana as “Medicine”
Just what the M.D. / Ph.D. / J.D. ordered

I am a Seattle lawyer with chronic back pain and a history of S.A.D.  I suffer from spinal arthritis and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.  I have been prescribed Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Prozac, and Wellbutrin and told not to mix them with booze.  Frustrated by my constantly knotted bowels, nervous terror, and desire to jump off a bridge, I decided to seek an umpteenth opinion.  On the advice of my metaphysician, I recently filled a medical marijuana prescription.  It’s made all the difference in the world.

It has been one year since we Washingtonians passed Initiative 502.  The medical marijuana industry stands to lose big from regulation when it finally kicks in next Spring; indeed, the only people I know who voted no were MMJ distributors.  We patients will be fine; the new scheme only expands our rights.  Vendors, on the other hand, must become state-licensed.  There are currently hundreds of untaxed, unregulated pot shop shops in Seattle.  Only 21 in-city licenses will be issued.  Here’s hoping that such a paucity of legal suppliers will indeed be able to decrease black market demand, and that industry experts (i.e., medical marijuana collectivists) will overcome their paranoia about having cameras recording every inch of their operations 24-7, and file the paperwork to go legitimate.

D.C. told Olympia: “We’ll back off and wait to see what happens if you promise to thwart the black market, and keep it from kids”  goals which the DEA has unequivocally not itself achieved in its protracted war on its own minority citizens.  The cost of zero-tolerance over the years has been incalculable.  But I digress.

The federal government continues to classify THC as a schedule 1 hallucinogenic.  It’s on par with LSD because the other Washington recognizes no benefits.  Anyone who witnessed San Fran in ‘68 can probably imagine a balancing test in which mind-altering (read: subconscious-outing) chemicals are perceived to be threatening to the establishment.  And to be fair, THC is de-square-ifying.  On the other hand it confers certain benefits. 

Because the debate lacks empirical evidence, I, as one of the few people in the world with permission to walk around with a joint in my pocket, feel duty-bound to relate my iota of experience. 

Here’s what my addiction looks like:  I come home from my job stressed.  My back and neck hurt.  I desire to unwind.  Rather than ten fingers of scotch, I pour myself a half-cup of chilled lemon water into a double-percolated glass-blown hookah pipe.  Then I select exactly the right strain of cannabis for my needs, play some evocative music, stretch out on floor pillows like the Cheshire Cat, and light up.  Occasionally (usually on weekends) I take a whole day to check in with myself; I find that self-psychoanalysis facilitates good mental health.

Why doesn’t Obama just order the FDA to conduct a clinical trial?  Because he knows what the results would be.  And then he’d have to comment.  But he doesn’t really give a darn – it’s only pot. 

Leave it to the states, says our judicious leader, re-delegating to we grantors of his power our 10th Amendment rights.

Herb might adversely affect adolescents’ brains say medical professionals.  Okay, restrict it to adults; that (kind of) works with alcohol.  Prosecute street deals.

Black marketers are businessmen; they have bottom-lines, like everyone else.  Cut deeply enough into their profits and they cannot continue to function.  Take away their weed sales, and they will have to shut down their entire operations, including distributing to minors bath salts and meth. 

Now the only guys who will sell weed to kids are SOL.  Shucks, maybe they’ll have to look for a 9-5 gig.

Interestingly, prior criminal convictions for marijuana related offenses will not preclude entrepreneurs from applying for the grower, processor and distributor licenses now available.  Which seems correct – after all, what other job can a convicted brother get?

In my opinion, in this case, federal interests will be excellently served by regulation at the state level.  And the economics of the idea is sound: tax the profits; conserve – indeed, increase – our monetary resources for use on more pressing problems.  Furthermore, society in general will profit from the more equitable treatment of its tan men.  Legislation which produces discriminatory results is per se unconstitutional.[1]

We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.  But I for one vow to continue to use medical marijuana even if the federal government does step in.  Because bud is kind for what ails me, way mellower than anything else.  And as a citizen it is my right to civilly disobey unjust laws and try to catch a court case.

[1]  The appearance of anomalous district boundaries was sufficient to state a claim under the Equal Protection Clause for racial gerrymandering. [DeWitt v. Wilson, 856 F. Supp. 1409, 1412 (D. Cal. 1994)]. (Source:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Seahawk Studs Suspended for Smoking Plant Less Harmful Than Alcohol

The Seahawks will battle the Saints next Monday for first place in the NFC without two of their top defensive backs, Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond.  Second-stringers will have to do their best to slow down Drew Brees because the starters smoked pot and got caught.  To be fair, Browner’s gotten burned a bunch this year; maybe he’s been playing baked.  But Thurmond surely hasn’t, all he’s done is relax with a joint or two rather than pound Vicoden and beer like his peers do.[1]

Yeah, Ricky Williams and Tyrion Mathieu smoked weed and maybe it messed with their heads a bit.  But it’s way better that they puffed herb than abused alcohol, isn’t it? Athletes’ bodies are fine-tuned machines, booze is horrible for them, so what - jocks don’t get to hang?  Marijuana use doesn’t signal “character issues”, it signals interesting characters, like basketball’s Bill Walton and Bison Dele.  But football players are only encouraged / allowed to be macho drunk meatheads.

What’s with all the NFL DUIs anyways?  Can’t y’all afford drivers?

[1] SI’s Michael McKnight reports that many NFL players “see marijuana as a viable option to the pills and injections given to them by their employers to manage the side effects of their violent occupation.” (‘Joint Account, The politics of pot in professional football’, Sports Illustrated, Nov. 25, 2013)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Trajectory of Russell Wilson’s Balls

He flings Tecmo Bowl blimpballs, easy for receivers to adjust to; his range is about 70 yards.  Kid’s got a cannon – everyone remembers his “Simultaneous Possession” hail mary to Tate.  Hawks fans also remember well number 3's heave that beat Brady last year.  His precision touchdown to Baldwin Sunday just before halftime (it must be mentioned: he manages the game well) was beautiful, it plopped down right where only his guy could catch it; above double coverage with pinpoint accuracy.

Also, Russell Wilson has courage.  And ambition and drive.  In a word, balls.  I like that he’s studious (whenever it’s the D’s turn he retires to the bench with his notebook and immerses himself in intellectual analysis of the game) does well in interviews, etcetera.  I like that he's heady: he only runs when he has to, and protects himself.  I like that he played baseball, because he knows how to slide, and can flip backhanded touchdown pitches.  I love that he sacks up in crunchtime, and that he sprints out of the pocket and threatens to run... then throws over the top like Randall Cunningham.

And I love that fact that the young man has proven himself to be a mature and capable leader.  I trust him to use the clock to his advantage, and to make something happen with his huge gun or his lightening quick pistons, and never to bitch when he gets hit.  Never to commit a personal foul (unless someone deserves it).  Never to whine about his coaches or teammates.  Certainly to appreciate Hawk Nation Fans, who have fallen in young with the brainy underdog.  Stud’s got big balls.  His potential is as sky high as his throwing style, because of his physical, emotional and intellectual IQ.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tokers' Right: Peaceful Assembly

The 1st Amendment grants American citizens the right to assemble peacefully – ever been to Hempfest?  Diverse strangers co-mingling under the influence of marijuana is a sight for starry-eyed humanists to behold.  Whereas such a gathering would obviously be dangerous chaos were everyone drunk.  Marijuana is less bad than alcohol.  

One of the deficiencies in Washington State Liquor Control Board’s rules is that marijuana cannot be consumed in public; not even inside a club.  Never out in the open (although this rule is ignored all over Seattle) and explicitly not in a park, which sucks.  Nor at a concert, nor at a ball game...  It’s prohibited like booze and like cigarettes combined.  Unless one owns one’s own home one has no legal place to get high.  

I applaud the Seattle Police's provisional decision not to enforce.  But power should be vested in the people; I suggest explicitly permitting it in spiritual temples, like churches.

According to pertinent jurisprudence, recognized members of recognized indigenous communities get special “spiritual uses” protections.  That is, Native Americans on Native land can do hallucinogens (which pot is).  Fair enough; tribes should be treated as quasi-sovereign, since they are.  But what about we Rastas and Hindus?  Why can’t convert to whichever religion I choose?  Oh I yeah, I can.  

My 1st Amendment right of assembly also confers upon me the right to join any religious or secular association.  A tribe (not the government) gets to decide who is a member of said tribe.  

The counter-argument is I should just get a vaporizer.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Liquor Control Board Announces Pot Rules; MMJ Pissed

By now you’ve seen the headlines; if you’re a medical marijuana distributor you’ve gotta be pissed.  But fair enough; gotta regulate the industry all the way and eliminate the black market, which doesn’t care to whom it sells; keep it from kids – control the supply.

Seed to sale tracking, so you know whose product you find across state lines.  Concessions to the Feds.  Who’ve been cool as shit so far; to be fair, they’ve got bigger concerns.  Here’s an idea to balance the budget: defund the DEA!

Growers and Processors should find plenty of secure warehouse space for their LCB-mandated-high-security operations in the industrial district. Taxable retail sales are expected to begin mid 2014; licenses to operate 334 stores statewide will go on sale mid-November 2013.  61 in King County.  21 in Seattle.  

Medical Marijuana dispensaries must obtain a retailer’s license by 2015.  There are currently 200 MMJ dispensaries in Seattle.  Squeezed out, bitch!

Silver lining:  If you’ve got a medical card you can still own more than an ounce, and grow up to 3 “unlicensed” plants.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

News Flash: Two party political system leads to gridlock

The United States is the only power nation I know of that uses a two party political system.  The Brits have like six major parties which all send representatives to the legislature.  They present to one another varied points of view, which are debated in a collegial atmosphere conducive to the critical analysis of multifaceted issues.  Or something like that.

Whereas House Republicans throw a temper tantrum, and Tea Party radicals arm themselves in preparation for the colored people apocalypse.  Right wingers oppose any idea which might bring Left wingers credit.  And vice versa to a certain extent.  Good ideas get thwarted out of spite.

What’s ironic is that a two party system also creates a coming-to-the-middle effect.  Party lines vie for the middle, to get that swing 10%.  Their rhetoric is barely different.  (Though not having been caught saying nigger in da white house don’t make you not racist.)

Personally I think our system would be better off if it were a little more socialist.  That’s different from democrat (though most all socialists vote democrat so's not to waste it).  Yes there’s a green party and a libertarian party and that, but how many of those guys actually represent constituents?  The Tea Party should be its own radical fundamentalist splinter party.  For example.  And there should be a thoughtful humanist party comprising a shit ton of swing votes.  

What should be done about the NCAA (Fuck the BCS)

The inequitable monopoly that is big time college sports has been exposed for its greed and hypocrisy.  They all (school presidents, millionaire coaches, billionaire boosters etc) claim that they want to preserve the integrity of the game.  But not even in the FCS are most athletes serious students.  An Ivy League game may be played by scholars, to a crowd of 20,000.  Armed services games make money as well, but none of those dudes were offered scholarships to play for a D1 behemoth.  Sports Illustrated’s expose of the Okalhoma State football program sufficiently illuminates the truth, which is no longer even seriously debated:  The NCAA and its member institutions make huge money off of talented young brown men and don’t give them anything viable in return.

Maybe one percent of big time college athletes will strike it rich in the NFL or NBA draft lottery.  Many more baseball players will live comfortably playing farm MLB hoping to get a shot at the bigs.  But then their sport isn't nearly as popular.  A Damoclean sword constantly threatens foot and basket ball jocks' cocks; they only remain on scholarship as long as they continue to perform at a peak level.  On the field that is.  Who has time for class and homework?  Maybe the most dedicated and disciplined.  Realistically most of these coddled superstar athletes aren’t exactly superb scholars because they've never had to be.  Or because they come from neighborhoods with bad schools.  Most of them have no chance of making it to the NFL or to graduation; pay em now.

NCAA and Texas A&M press their rights to make money off Johnny Football while telling him he can’t.  Ed O’Bannion sues because he should have made millions off his video game.  College sports has become an entertainment business.  The NCAA is a monopoly.  And monopolies are illegal.

They’re not gonna budge – and they shouldn’t.  Although I for one would like to think those are actually students in the midst of earning their degrees out there representing my huskies.  I’d root for em harder if they were.  Then again, I’d want them to win. Probably wouldn’t pay fifty bucks to see them get their asses whipped. 

What if NCAA sports went back to being respectable?  Tons of exes would lose their profits, dozens of chick sports would lose their funding, the list of losers goes on…  That situation is not what anyone wants.

What if it wasn’t their decision?

What if there was a semi-pro league?  Where athletes would play for money, and not have to bother about school.  The quality of the game would be high, and the passion for it.  A lot of these guys would go pro.  What if the NFL set up a feeder league similar to MLB's?

Competition is the essence of regulated capitalism.[1] 

Fans are rabid about football; they’d go to semi-pro games, even watch em on T.V.  They could play on Saturdays.  Fuck the BCS.

Recruiters could go around to high schools and just scoop up the talent – where’s a kid gonna wanna go: a place where he’s getting paid and looked at by the bigs, or a place from whence he might graduate one day if he practices his sport and studies and does nothing else including sleep?

Certain power football and basketball conferences like the SEC and the ACC and the BIG 12 and the PAC 12 for that matter, would keep the lights on in their athletic departments.  So could an entity like Boise State, if they (correctly) determined that having a big-time football program brings in donor money and freshmen; if Universities could make the deal sweet enough for a few teenaged stars they’d probably land em.  Gotta treat them like the gold they is though.  Help em by getting em a tutor, not by writing their papers to keep em just barely eligible to play.

Set up some competition for the monopoly that is the NCAA.

[1] Antitrust laws exist because industry barons like Rockefeller made billions and paid tidbits; a just society must be equitable, even if this means being a bit socialist.

New Grand Old Party Platform

I've been working on my speech for the convention.  Republican leaders want me to unveil their new improved updated party platform for some reason.  Now they're just looking for the perfect puppet candidate:  preferably a pregnant paraplegic lesbian.

I went to some meetings and took notes.  Here's what I've come up with so far.

“Might makes right” may seem "wrong" to you pussies in rose-tinted tea-lenses, but to us it’s crystal clear; the USA is top dog for a reason, and we should all get on board with the winning team!  

Now this man Obama...

We like the universal healthcare and respect he espouses; we like some of his other Marxist tendencies too, even if he is from one of those Niger places full of colored people; we think the U.S. is too caught up in consumer greed and screen entertainment to truly think about things, much less research, campaign and vote for them.  Which has worked well for fearmongerers in the past.  But all these young whippersnappers with this newfangled interweb...  The fact is we are too fat.  We have king’s disease (aka gout). 

Every responsible adult with a job eventually comes to realize… even ex-hippies started voting for Reagan... It's good to be red, but maybe we should just incorporate a touch of purple, whatever them donkeys are winnin with; rework social welfare more on a Norwegian model for example - whichever country way better services, somebody should do some research or something.  But let’s also get back to being real: being bullies is what got us where we are atop the food chain.  We should be pro-military, it’s by far our greatest international advantage; it’s what makes us the world’s only superpower, which makes us an economic superpower in turn.  

We have the luxury to piss away cash on our crippled weaklings because we pick on middle eastern dictators before they get too big and band together and defeat us like the Soviets couldn’t either because we outspent them until they busted (truism of war, politics and the Olympics: gold wins).  

The history of east west relations is unequivocally characterized by animosity, and Russia is half chink for that matter.  Fuckin Brown People; bomb em all to Hell.  Oh yeah, some of us are Brown. 

Okay then, treat em like the rest of us and pick on somebody else for some reason other than skin color.  Not Canada though, they’re like our differently mentally abled kid brother with retard chromozone: you kinda want to stick up for em.  How bout fuckin New Zealand?  Smug piece of shit Kiwis.  Ain't doin dick but drinking beer and marrying sheep down there.  What’s waterfront cost in Hawaii and Cali these days? Yeah. 

Let’s go park an Aircraft carrier off Auckland (just one mind you would do it) and appropriate an island or two, why not?  How would that tactic not result in an increase in our gross holdings?  What has every king ever attempted to do (besides feast)?  That's right, conquer. Who says we have to stop at 50 states, why not 60? 

Why shouldn’t Costa Rica follow Puerto Rico into the Union?  Ya mas dos estrellas.  Next El Salvador, Panama, the Phillipines, Israel… Oh yeah... that whole racist dick we’ve been throughout history thing.  

NEZs and SL

As well as delineating DRUG FREE areas (i.e. the 1000 buffer rule), cities should designate NON ENFORCABLE ZONES (NEZs).

Places where it's okay to smoke weed in public.

Private clubs should be permitted to encourage members to relax and enjoy a pipe or two, clearly - employees worried about second-hand smoke don't have to work there (an analogy would be cigar bars or golf clubhouses).  

In addition, certain open air spaces should be designated NEZs.

Quiet corners of parks could be set aside, for example.  Of course, they’d have to be gated to keep minors out, like ashrams.  Or made otherwise inaccessible to minors, like ewok treehouses…  

Furthermore, certain "churches" should be designated SOVEREIGN LAND (SL), where marijuana is used for spiritual purposes, or for recreational purposes, who cares?  Who are we hurting over here?  

At Hempfest, a cross-section of subcultures co-mingles so excellently – can you imagine 50,000 drunk people getting together like that?  They’d murder each other.  Better to lump us together, give us stoners a place, keep us from mixin with the square citizenry is all one can ask.  

As it is now, if one doesn’t own one’s home, one has no legal place to get high.  Even if one does (or rents from a sympathetic landlord), private abodes are no place to meet interesting strangers and socialize.

HOV Lanes

God I fucking hate traffic.

How great would it be if all new cars were electric, with smart cruise control like my Dad’s Durango has?  We’d cut down on fuel consumption; conserve our oil for when that valuable resource becomes scarce (and an even more irreplaceable one: the environment), and, by outfitting the entire car with sensors, we'd be able to plug in to a supercomputer which moved us from point A to point B maximally efficiently.  

Super Smart Cruise Control wouldn’t only wisely slow you down when you came flying up on somebody’s tailgate, it would brake to avoid mistakes you couldn't see coming and we’d travel through cities at exactly the speed limit, all of us together, sitting there drinking our lattes, chatting out our windows (you could :find friends and request to ride next to them in the interest of a pleasanter commute), wearing our Google glasses to direct our vehicle’s focus when necessary, like around turns or in emergencies.  But mostly, the vehicle would help us.  It would see things coming from all sides and keep perfect space and pace even when merging, eliminating bottlenecks and caterpillar humpback flow, possibly even red lights. 

Author demands 10% gross project budget, to which he is entitled, as Author retains All rights to his intellectual property, which he automatically copyrights by writing it down right now.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pride; Mainstream

“Originally this was an alternative parade,” I remarked to my wife as the third group of bank employees shuffled listlessly by, humbled by the lack of applause.
The dykes on bikes led it off excellently, it must be said, with wonder-woman and everywoman revving their phat hogs down 4th street.  But then came commercials for at least 20 corporations who’d “asked” their employees to participate to promote name recognition – a not-bad idea considering that the crowd of spectators must’ve exceeded a hundred thousand.

Some firms at least got into the spirit; like Chipotle, with their cowboy straddling a gyrating burrito “So Big You Can Ride It”.  Starbucks made a commendable showing numbers wise; as did Microsoft, whose employees who got more into the colorful spirit.  Uninterestingly enough, Amazon again didn’t do dick for the city.

Neighbors had a memorable float, so did Wildrose, as is to be expected of the best gay and lesbian clubs in town, respectively.  The firefighters elected not to display their beefcake, a shame, because it was like 90 degrees out and everyone was panting for their hoses.

Kudos to the kamikaze bikini squirt gun crew, who flitted up and down the line, teasing marchers and watchers alike; applause also to pink roller batman, who I swear I saw last week in freemont as black batman – unmistakable physique.  

A heartfelt thumbs-up to the doggie fetishists with butt plug tails.

But all in all, San Fran wouldn’t’ve been real impressed.

The Mormon Church was there pledging their solidarity; interesting.  I suppose they must be angling for that slippery slope towards polygamy.  Washington’s first wives were present as well; kind-eyed smiling octogenarians they looked from afar.

From the boy scouts to the tranny dominatrixes, everyone was totally into it.  Especially, I assume, the absent Dan Savage.

Even the bike cops sported mardi gras necklaces.

Afterwards at the Seattle Center there was a mile long line to pee.  The A/C was sweet, but the real fun was in getting drenched in the joyously ejaculating fountain.  A competent D.J. rocked rave tracks and several freaks flocked towards his beats… but the problem was not enough people were on enough drugs. But that’s okay, there’s a time and a place for that; this was a family affair.

Chock a block with vendors’ stalls; all manner of entrepreneurs selling all kinds of shit: kudos to the guy with the $1 ice cold water cooler on wheels, my wife was just talkin bout how thirsty she is.  Marijuana perfumed the air, as it does at every Seattle public gathering these days.

Shoulder to shoulder “Wieners!  Penis popsicles for sale”!

It was almost weird being a straight couple there.  Don’t get me wrong, we were totally welcomed (if a bit swept to the edges): one very sincere dude even stopped us and thanked us from the bottom of his heart for our support.  To which I of course replied: we just came for the flesh, bro- whatever.

Not much tittilating naughtiness in the end; lots of partners with kids.  That’s what gay has become in Seattle: no big deal.   

Another majority-held value, with which everyone is rushing to associate now that it’s mainstream.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The GOP position on immigration is offensive.

A political party is a reflection of its constituency.

Voters have always fallen for fear tactics, but we have less excuse now than ever to swallow xenophobic rhetoric, what with the unlimited information at our fingertips.

The problem is we've all got attention deficit. We require to be entertained every single second, to get hooked in 140 characters or less.

Who has time for critical analysis of multifaceted issues when there's so much great stuff on Netflix?

The GOP platform on immigration is offensive notwithstanding.

Tyranny of the majority continued to play for a century after the fall of the Confederate South. White Christians haven’t proven themselves a very benevolent most populous demographic since then. (Though which group ever has?)

Group identity is inevitable; it is only natural that Italians hated Irish hated Jews back in the day. Of course, those were the immigrant groups, then.  Similarly, many modern-day Latinos criticize each other far more passionately than they do whites. Or whites vilify them, for that matter.

It’s just that at the current rates of inversion, unless they start mating like CaribeƱos, Caucasians will soon become a minority group, a situation to which no amount of gerrymandering will be able to adjust, unless something bullheaded is done on the front-end.

Why wouldn’t the golden gringos want to retain their power by any means necessary? Trust me, sus vecinos comprenden muy bien la idea. That’s why they’ll never in a million years vote for you even if you raise up Rubio.

You’re treating Latinos like enemies, unlike the natural allies they are; unlike Canadians, for example. They get the hint, hijos de putas.

School’s Out in D.C.; Grades In

The Supreme Court went short of calling marriage a fundamental right; indeed, they straight up punted on prop 8, about which I’d be extremely upset if it didn’t mean the appellate court’s overturning of the gay marriage ban will stand. That is, gay marriage will resume in California, whoo hoo.

But by overturning DOMA the Court directly remedied a glaring inequity: Bi-national homosexual couples’ petitions for change of residency status were formerly thrown out; now they will be evaluated the same as straight couples’, provided that they were married in a marriage equality state.  All U.S. Citizens get to make their spouses citizens now, even mail-order brides; it’s one of the best federal rights we have; one of the greatest gifts we can bestow upon our beloveds on our gayest of wedding days.  The Supreme Court gets an A-.

The United States Senate gets a C-.

Here’s why: First of all, their schizophrenic immigration “reform” bill has no prayer of getting through the House. Secondly, yes, they’re offering a path to citizenship for long-term illegals, who everybody hires under the table with a wink, whose masters pocket the payroll deduction, who don’t pay taxes… The Senate says: sign ee up; I need someone to foot my social security and medicare bills!

But keep em out!

Beef up border security; build the Berlin wall like we’re mortal enemies; the China wall, like they’re some bloodthirsty Mongol horde. Construct the Great Wall of Drones, ‘cause they’re brown.

For those already here, the “path to citizenship” would be a relative win (again, if it somehow survived the House of Representatives’ red pens), though the proscribed road is long, and it requires one to constantly best-behave and obey. To any overseas family members, however, well… we really wish you could join all the fun, it’s just: we’re full: we’ve decided that about 15% ‘ethnic’ is as high as we’re willing to go. We also don’t want any more black people, which a lot of “you people” are, you know.

I’m not that saying that the rich old white boys’ club isn’t slowly adapting, it’s just that these particular rich white men and women want their super-privileged sons and daughters to get easy schmooze jobs too. Thus, they can’t let the voting demographic get too out of whack.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Constitutional arguments for marijuana legalization

1. The 10th Amendment reads:  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Congress had to change the constitution to prohibit alcohol.  The 18th Amendment was subsequently repealed, of course, because of all the violence and widespread civil disobedience.  Everybody knows: prohibition failed.  Nowadays, liquor is regulated by the states again, as it should be.  As is right.  Local governments have highly specific information, and far more resources on the ground.  Indeed, in Washington state, marijuana sales will actually be regulated at the city level (Kent has elected not to license retail stores, for example) – even better.  Small governments function highly efficiently.  The behemoth in the other Washington is blunt, clumsy and burdensome.

2. The 14th Amendment prohibits  any government actor from making or enforcing a law  which deprives any person of her life, liberty property, or "privileges" without due process of law.   Due process of law means that police must follow procedures in making arrests (such as show probable cause and get a warrant, read Miranda rights, etc.).  But it has also means that federal, state and local governments should not make unfair laws.  Everyone knows that young ethnic minority men are incarcerated and rendered unemployable at an alarming rate for getting stoned.  Due process means that the state must prove that it has a strong interest in prohibiting such behavior; that is, laws which jail an adult for possessing a plant less potent than whiskey should be scrutinized strictly.  Citizens’ behavior is not to be restricted without good reason.  States especially cannot punish innocuous behavior in a discriminatory way, like they’ve obviously been doing.

3. Which begs the 1st Amendment question, which runs something like this:  Native Americans are allowed to consume hallucinogens as part of their religious rituals; states have not been able to justify anti- peyote statutes because they have not shown how ingesting that plant ceremonially harms society (the Due Process argument has triumphed in the California and Arizona supreme courts); yet furthermore the free exercise clause of the1st Amendment prohibits governments from dictating how one practices one’s religion (provided that one’s practices are not subversive to social order).  The Supreme Court denies that one man’s interpretation of God’s law trumps the law of the nation every time, it says that the free exercise clause does not allow human sacrifice, for example; a man cannot be a law unto himself; a man cannot use religion as an excuse to commit harmful crimes.  Fair enough.  Got it.  But if a man wants to smoke marijuana as a meditation aid, or to help him hear aum hum while strumming a sitar, whom is he hurting?  Isn’t peaceful 1st Amendment religious practice precisely the type of “privilege” to which the 14th Amendment refers?

Unfortunately, also according to the Supreme Court, laws with a "public purpose" which only "incidentally" (rather than intentionally) infringe upon religious practices are subject to a "rational basis" test.  To clear this very low hurdle, the government need only show that there is some conceivable purpose for the law, which is in theory related to the incident. 

The 1st Amendment also guarantees free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to complain about and to petition one’s government, incidentally, which is why I can publish this essay, and we Washingtonians were able to pass Initiative 502.  The 1st Amendment is perhaps the most important paragraph in the Bill of Rights.  It should be (and usually is) interpreted reverently.  

Except for some reason in Cannabis' case.