Friday, July 11, 2014

Judge questions pot policy

In my email box this morning was a note from Senior District Judge John Delaney from Bryan, Tx who offered up the following questions and observations, which I submit for Grits readers' consideration:
Here's an article about an estimated 15,000 marijuana plants with a street value of $7,500,000.00 found growing in northeast Washington Co., TX.

Makes one wonder:

1. Since this is a recurring story, just how much more of the stuff is growing in the woods of Texas?
2. Obviously there's a demand for the product or people wouldn't be growing it.
3. Law enforcement appears incapable of preventing this activity.
4. What will it cost in tax dollars to pull up 15,000 plants and destroy them?
5. Who are the  people in charge of this grow (and others), what other criminal activity are they engaged in, and at what cost to us?
6. Is their power growing or remaining relatively constant?
7. What if, instead of destroying this valuable crop, the law allowed it to be grown and sold legally and taxed?
8. Could we reduce the power of the criminals who provide this product by competing with them legally, like we did by ending Alcohol Prohibition?
Certainly Judge Delaney isn't the first to pose such questions, but they're good ones nonetheless. As Grits wrote last month, I can't imagine the Texas Legislature moving to end pot prohibition in their next session or two, though reducing penalties for user-level possession is a strong possibility. However, we're already witnessing a diffluence of opposition to legalization in opinion polls. Once everyone has seen how it has played out in Colorado and Washington state, particularly in terms of increased revenue, the terms of debate surrounding marijuana could change quite quickly.


Anonymous said...

The Colorado "experiment" at best is receiving mixed reviews, and accurate experimental data appears to be rare or nonexistent.

Doing it badly in Colorado will not augur well for decriminalization in Texas.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Mixed reviews"?

Even the CO governor, who opposed the measure, now says it's working well. What are you talking about?

From Forbes,: “It seems like the people that were smoking before are mainly the people that are smoking now,” [Gov. John] Hickenlooper said as Colorado marked six months of legal recreational sales last week. “If that’s the case, what that means is that we’re not going to have more drugged driving, or driving while high. We’re not going to have some of those problems. But we are going to have a system where we’re actually regulating and taxing something, and keeping that money in the state of Colorado…and we’re not supporting a corrupt system of gangsters.”

T J said...

"supporting a corrupt system of gangsters"
There's a point of view that this is what we have with the drug law enforcement industry, and I do mean industry.

Colleen McCool said...

Animal and human mother's milk are packed full of cannabinoids. Breast milk is the largest natural source of cannabinoids in the world except for the cannabis plant. The true facts are cannabis plants and our bodies have inborn occurring endocannabinoids or signaling molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors within our brains. Endocannabinoids are essential to nurturing new life. Some scientists speculate that cannabinoids play a protective role in the brain, slowing the rate of disease.

It is morally bankrupt to punish nonviolent adults for making a safer health choice, cannabis or marijuana, compared to other medicinal/social drugs.

Right now, really violent predators roam free and rape kits go unprocessed while our precious resources are depleted chasing nonviolent drug users. Treatment is seven times cheaper than prison. Get tough on violent crime! Show fiscal responsibility, demand morally correct policy! Restore Justice, the guardian of liberty!

Anonymous said...

I don't even have a dog in this fight as I tried MJ as a teenager and it simply doesn't agree with me. Yet I see all the negative and unintended consequences associated with the whole War on Drugs and wonder why we have this inexplicable stalemate among all the stakeholder's refusal to do anything at all on the issue federally.

I'm not just talking about cops and politicians, I'm talking about those who, like myself, are neutral and open minded to some kind of movement towards reform. Like this East Texas judge, those people need to be bumped off their log and see what the real problem is -- Prohibition.

MJ advocates, nearly to a person, argue that the substance should be legalized because it's less harmful than alcohol which, I believe, is the wrong approach. What they are doing is making the classic mistake of acknowledging their debate opponent's thesis (of widespread societal breakdown) rather than offering something better.

This doesn't convince your detractors, much less the fence sitters like myself who are willing to let the status quo go on in the absence of some negative personal experience. What you need is more evidence that "the cure is worse than the disease" and hit home on that point.

In the case of alcohol prohibition the seminal event was thousands dying in the streets from poisoned "denatured alcohol", and all the other bathtub concoctions invented by home distillers (street level dealers) the government couldn't possibly keep track of. The more authorities tried to stop the public from drinking the worse it got and it became a public health crisis, on the scale of a flu epidemic that resulted in the repeal of the 18th Amendment.

Under Reagan the government did try something similar in spraying the pesticide Paraquat on Mexico's marijuana fields, but that was quickly abandoned as soon as they realized what a colossal mistake it would be to poison America's pot smokers, and connection it would have on their War on Drugs and previous attempt to outlaw booze and beer.

Anonymous said...

My reasoning is different than those expressed. We are spending a fortune fighting pot. It costs us a fortune in tracking, destroying and putting the culprits in prison. This is wasted money...........I have another thought. If pot is legalized I believe the numbers may jump temporarily. After the new wears off I think the numbers will be lower than what we now see. Many young people are draw to anything that is banned. The appeal is lost with legalization.

Anonymous said...

Potheads just don't get it.

When you explain to the American people just how harmful illigalization of Marijuana has been and how precisely parallel to Prohibition it is, then you will get results.

It's like drunks trying to tell Carrie Nation that there were other, worse forms of imbibing. Once it Prohibition is established this argument won't stand. You need to overcome it with some more powerful.

And that argent is that the cure is worse than the disease.

Until that argument is seriously made, and yes, it means legalizing all drugs, there will be no movement towards federal reform of marijuana law.

You can comfort yourself that CO and WA have state laws legalizing MJ, but it won't help much if a Republican is elected in 2016.

Nor will it do much good when the anti-progressives figure out a way to challenge those state laws in the federal courts because, you know they love state's rights.

Anonymous said...

A half hour newsroll on CNN show our government has their nose in everything. At some point the economics will take over, we just can't afford it and f**king with supply and demand never works. Pot is the perfect example.

Anonymous said...

charlie sheen winning - yes. war on drugs winning - not even close. trillions spent - yet anyone who wants drugs right at this moment can get all the drugs they want. the war on drugs has done 100 times more harm than it has done good. stop prohibition then let nature takes its course.