"Our job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds, and to make the agony of decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking."
- Fred W. Friendly (1915-1998)

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you mad."
- Aldous Huxley

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Grass Mess

Our state was one of two that passed a "sort-of" marijuana legalization this past election - Colorado being the other.  I voted against our initiative not because I think the root idea is wrong (in many ways marijuana is a lot less harmful to people and society than either alcohol or tobacco).  I voted against because I think it is getting the cart before the horse -- in fact the cart is so far ahead I don't know if the horse can catch up at all.

My reasons for voting against it:

  1. My default stance on all initiatives is "NO" - I am one of those weird thinking types who ignores all advertising and media hype.  I have been reading and voting on Washington state initiatives all my life - and the number I have actually voted for doesn't even occupy one hand's worth of fingers. Almost all of our initiatives read like they were written by someone in about the 8th grade -- leaving loopholes or legal questions big enough to guarantee they will eventually be overturned or spend so much time in court that they are effectively overturned. I don't know about Colorado, but our marijuana item was a typical Washington state initiative -- very poorly written by extreme partisans with an axe to grind.  Supposedly it had the advice of some ACLU lawyers - but I guess that just means you don't want to let any old lawyer write laws.   
  2. The initiative didn't really 'legalize' marijuana per se...it left all of the current laws in place, and attempted to carve out certain 'exceptions' here and there -- anyone involved with the law in any professional capacity will tell you that is a terrible way to make law...and it guarantees years of confusion among law enforcement, and a long and tortuous road through many courts before the meaning is finally determined.
  3. There is at least a one-year period now where possession of small amounts is legal....but there is currently no way to legally obtain marijuana until the state government "figures it out".
  4. There is no legal standard or test for when someone is impaired enough to be a danger driving, so there in essence will be no enforcement of impaired driving, boating, or anything else. 
  5. Finally, overlay on all that the fact that marijuana possession is still a federal offense.  Law enforcement officers take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the state AND the US Constitution.  Just what are they supposed to do?  Particularly with an unhealthy number of ultraconservative Tea Party types in the House of Representatives, I don't look for any tolerance or relief from the feds anytime soon...in fact there may be a concerted federal effort to make a show out of Colorado and Washington (translation...millions of taxpayer dollars spent defending in courts anything done or not done under the guise of the law - at a time when there are certainly PLENTY of those to go around).
So...in this case the idea was half-baked and not well thought out so I let my default "NO" vote stand. 

BTW, since Colorado passed their "medical" marijuana initiative, there are now more retail "medical" marijuana dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks and McDonalds combined.  They obviously "forgot" something in their "medical" marijuana law....I wonder what this so-called 'legalization' will bring?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment, but keep it on topic, factual, and please show some thought. Anything else will be deleted.

Anonymous comments are also deleted, unread unless you notify me in advance of your pseudonym and give me verifiable contact information.