After nearly a century of misinformation, people have finally taken a look at the war on drugs and found that it’s got some serious problems. Especially weed, which has long been touted as a “gateway drug” that would surely lead to a life of oral sex in back alleys to pay for it. Which is, of course, absurd to anyone who knows anything about marijuana. As a result of this enlightenment, the move to legalize weed as an alternative to alcohol has gained a lot of momentum, aided by the medicinal properties inherent to the plant. California, my adopted state, passed a proposition last year that made recreational weed completely legal…"kinda".
As a Libertarian, I am used to people thinking that I’m some kind of anarchist. That’s not what a libertarian is at all. Libertarianism is simply the belief that Government should be kept to the minimum level necessary to perform the functions as outlined in the Constitution. So, basically, as a clever meme summarized: Libertarians believe that gay people should be married in their own weed garden and use M4 rifles to keep the Westborough Baptist Church away. If the law doesn’t protect people’s rights, it has no use other than to benefit the government itself. A government that passes laws to protect itself does so at the expense of its people. The legalization of weed is a perfect example of posturing and lip service, while not changing anything until they can figure out what the government should charge people for the right to sell their own goods.
Under the auspices of “quality and health” concerns, the State of California decided to not allow the free sale of marijuana between private citizens. Sure, you can sell your uninspected car, have the brakes fail and kill a family of four. As long as the government gets its sales tax. However, despite never having a fatality in centuries of unregulated use, they deem marijuana too dangerous to be left in the hands of the people. This is how the politicians use political posturing to expand government interference: They tie the issue to safety, money or children and tell people that only the government is capable of protecting them. In that way, you make a population dependent on their ruling class.
Much like the serfs in the Middle Ages, they are trying to limit your information with eight-second news bits worded to give you the opinion that they want you to have. It’s not at all an accident that we have four major news networks, with billions in resources, but still have to rely on independent fact checking. If you think Fox News is the biggest problem with the news, you need to pay closer attention. What they told us is: Weed is now legal for recreational use. The practical issues in the bill are huge, though.
What they told us was that Prop 64 would legalize recreational marijuana. While it did, in fact, make possession legal, purchase is still limited to medicinal card holders at dispensaries. This is to protect people from…what, exactly? Weed has been unregulated forever. The only reason to regulate is to control, and the only reason to control is for wealth (Taxes). So, when my neighbor smelled some excellent weed I was enjoying on the patio, he asked if I would sell him some. There was some back and forth, but I’m not going to jail for someone I don’t know. Not for two days, or two hours. I can give him weed, but weed isn’t cheap and I’m not a charity. This is a completely transparent attempt to create a window for misdemeanor criminal activity that California can make income from, as well.
See, selling weed still carries penalties and they are about equivalent to a DUI. So, they are stiff to almost any middle-class person, but don’t seem so bad to outsiders. These gray areas are where the criminal justice system makes most of its income. We are all told that DUI laws are about public safety, but why are the (highly unconstitutional) roadblocks put on highway entrances? It is because they are natural tactical choke points, where the police can catch the most offenders, right? Well, so is the door to the bar. They surround the bar districts and seal off the highway entrances here in San Diego once or twice a week. Unlucky contestants pay $2500 in fines, $1200 in DUI classes, attorneys (if they can) and court fees. That’s a free $3500-$4000 for every drunk driver they catch. Now if they cared about safety, they would have the police in random bar parking lots, or exits breathalyzing anyone approaching a car to start it. Then, if you pop, they take your keys away and send you home.
Well, why don’t they do that? All those drunk drivers are literally crashing between the bar and the checkpoint. Move the check point to prevent that risk! Except then that $4000 wouldn’t be able to be collected, because the person can’t be arrested for a crime until they have gotten behind the wheel of a running vehicle. Another problem, is that the evidence requirements for misdemeanors are much different.
If you get drunk and beat your wife, the cops cannot question you without mirandizing you (always thought it was funny that every states has a law that says you cannot consent to questioning while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Meanwhile, thousands of DUI convictions every year contain references to un-mirandized questioning…for a crime that has “under the influence” as a title.). Also, the cops must prove their cases with evidence in felony cases, while a misdemeanor can legally be convicted solely on the word of the officer. So, they have given the police more latitude and motivation to make arrests, not less. It’s literally a matter of time before someone is arrested because they possessed a legal amount of weed that they could not possibly have legally obtained. This kind of reasoning is never allowed in felony cases, but it’s par-for-the-course in misdemeanors. If the cops says he saw something, he saw something. End of Story.
So, what kind of a favor is that? When you look at it that way, they didn’t legalize a thing. They put in in this twilight that few people understand so that they could exploit that ignorance to fill the coffers of the government. Let me repeat that: The State of California intentionally created an overly-complex marijuana law that has common-sense loopholes that police can use to create a new revenue stream to add to traffic stops and DUI fines. I’m worried that people don’t understand the implications of involving the government in these things. The government does not operate on the same level that you or I do. They can’t. They enforce their will with Police officers, which means violence is a possibility (Please bear in mind, I do not harbor prejudice for, or against law enforcement, but they are people and all of us are fallible, especially with lives at stake). They don’t think that it’s that big of a deal to be dragged away in handcuffs. At least not until someone gets killed, and then they pretend that it’s the cop alone and they did nothing to create the situation. Let us put this into a hypothetical situation:
Mike is a normal guy, excited about the legalization of weed. He gets some from his roommate and just puts it on the car seat next to him because it’s legal. He gets pulled over for speeding by an ambitious young cop who wants to make a bust. It occurs to the cop that, having the weed is legal, but Mike couldn’t have the weed unless he bought the weed, which is illegal. This is thin, but he goes to put the handcuffs on. Now, Mike is a black college kid, who has never had handcuffs on, and is proud of that. He is positive that he should not be getting handcuffed right now, but the cop won’t listen, and he pulls away. Officer Ambition doesn’t know that, or care. He is worried about his own story and his own life as Mike pulls away out of fear, so the Officer gets aggressive and slams him down, breaking his neck unintentionally. The Officer is cleared because Mike’s actions were defined as “resisting arrest”. That it was an illegal arrest that the cop didn’t have the authority to carry out is now irrelevant, and no civil suit will give Mike’s mom her boy back.
Is the officer at fault? Partly, but ninety-percent of what he is doing is what he is told is his job: Put handcuffs on people breaking the law. The sense, morality or even legality of the law doesn’t matter to the cop any more than the kind of wood matters to a nail. It’s the architect that I blame. The people who willfully create these traps for their fellow citizens in the name of government income. We have been horribly let down and entrapped by a law which had the sole purpose of freeing us to get our buzz on however we choose to. Weed has been in documented use since 2000 B.C. when the Greeks met the Celts and noticed them smoking a plant and acting silly. In all that time, not a single person has died or been hospitalized because of weed. So, I ask over and over, what are we being defended from?