Now it Can be Told (Busted in Poweshiek County)

so lets get to the point
lets roll another joint
an head on down the road
to somewhere i gotta go
Tom Petty 

So my Summer didn’t go quite as planned…as a sage once quipped, “Life is What Happens While You Are Busy Making Other Plans.”  As they say, excrement happens.  Careful readers will remember my posting my plans for Summer back in April, and any observer knows that is not what happened.  I mostly played my cards close to my vest because I didn’t want pity, I didn’t want to make excuses, and I really felt no shame; after all I am right in this situation.

So back in April I put my belongings in storage, vacated my house, and headed East to my father’s funeral with plans to go in search of destiny after he was firmly planted.  Part of packing up my life was throwing the pot I had laying around into a box and putting it in the van, somewhere between half a kilo and a kilo (I didn’t weigh it…it was just what I had laying around when it was time to go).  Good herb too, Emerald Triangle at its best…

I made it as far as Iowa, Grinnell Iowa.  I was out of the van playing with the dogs when a police rolled up…one thing led to another and he called for help and searched my van…oops.

So there I was…

My van, my two dogs, a rider who didn’t drive that I was taking to Chicago, and the police pull out my two pounds of pot…a day and a half before my father’s funeral and nearly 600 miles away.   Oh yeah!  not a good day.

Could there be a good part to the story?  Well, the police didn’t find my five grand in cash, I’m pretty sure they would have taken that.

Considering that the police were in the process of making havoc out of my life for possession of an innocuous weed, they did treat my pretty good. They left my rider in charge of my van and my dogs and ran me into the county seat where I passed jail and went straight to the magistrate, multiple felonies and multiple other charges, they released me on my own recognizance and dropped me back off at my van.  With barely a two hour delay in my travels, I was back on the road….poorer, but none the wiser…

Those who know me know that I sowed more than oats in my younger days of carousing, a couple of felonious assaults and a bunch of other stuff back in the 80s…that culminated in Jackson State Penitentiary where I rang out the 80s and chimed in the 90s.  My assumption based on what Michigan would have done…multiple pounds of pot, baggies, and a scale…was to assume that I was going to spend some time in the Iowa penal system.  I made that assumption and I acted and prepared accordingly.

Possession with intent to deliver, a 5 year felony; Iowa drug stamp violation, a 5 year felony; using a vehicle to commit a felony, a 4 year aggravated misdemeanor, and possession of paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.  Oh year, they’re going to send me to prison alright.

So with the help of a great friend and with the support of a great brother, I moved my stuff out of California and into Missouri and made plans to place my dogs with relatives…and court dragged on…

…and on…

If you see me tonight with an illegal smile
It don’t cost very much, but it lasts quite a while.
Would you please tell the man I didn’t kill anyone?
I was just trying to have me some fun.
John Prine

Months dragged on, the wheels of (in)justice turn slowly… glacially slow.

Finally in August my attorney stood up on my behalf, and the courts not wanting to research the motions and wanting to avoid the cost of trial came up with a deal that I couldn’t refuse.  They basically dropped everything except the felony possession which I plead guilty to with the understanding that the prosecutor would request probation (along with a few thousand to several thousand in fines and costs).

Since then I’ve gone up to do a pre-sentence investigation with the department of corrections.  I held off going public with this until that was completed, today I received my copy of that report.  The pre-sentence investigator has reiterated the call for a few thousand to several thousand in fines and costs and tied that to a recommendation of unsupervised probation.  So it seems pretty solid that that is what I should get.

My figuring of the costs that I will incur are a bottom limit of $3500 and an upper limit of about $13000…and back to California I will go.  Running back just as quickly and firmly as I can.

My sentencing is next Monday, the 24th…I really don’t expect any surprises.

So that leaves but one question.  Cui bono? To whose benefit?  I’ve thought it through and the only ones who have benefited from this misadventure are the narco-terrorists South of the border.  So to the police, to the magistrate, to the judge, to the entire criminal justice corporate complex, congratulations…the narco-terrorists appreciate you.

Here is the Asylum Street Spankers, Winning the War on Drugs:

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Prop 19, last minute thoughts (free flow of ideas)

In 1913 California was the first state to make marijuana illegal.  In 2 days it may be the first State to make cannabis legal.

In the earlier, prohibitionist, fight; it took 24 years for the nation to follow.  If we tax/regulate/control cannabis this Tuesday, will it take another 24 years for the nation to follow?

Since the initiative has a “severability” clause, if the main gist of the intitiative is found to be illegal by the Federal courts, we will have 2 new cannabis felonies on the books….and still no legal pot.  I bet we would feel foolish then.

1996 is known as the medicalization of marijuana, will 2010 be the industrialization?

I kind of have warm feelings for the small scale family farms that we have today, a classic cottage industry.  Will those warm  fuzzies carry over to the sterile warehouse grows?

What about energy consumption?  We already have rolling blackouts when consumption is high.  What if 5% of Californian households put a 1000 watt bulb in their closets?  Will the cities go dark?

If this industrialization initiative fails to pass, will we have a good decrim initiative in 2012?  Will the world end if we do?  Or don’t?

Tax.  Control.  Regulate.  Did the initiative’s author, Richard Lee, think this would fire up the base?  Did he take the base for granted and play for the middle?  Will he learn a lesson if this initiative fails to pass?

I don’t think I have ever voted to increase taxes that were not earmarked for a particular item (usually schools or drug treatment).

I currently spend 3 to 5000 dollars a year on pot…  And that is with a very generous employee discount from some awesome friends.  Will I spend less after the initiative?  My current tax on (an average) $4000/year is $350 dollars.  That same 4k will cost me an extra $800 in taxes ($50/ounce), that gets added to the $350 I already pay.  Will the overall price come down?  How?

Is Dennis Peron really a bad guy, as Chis Conrad claims?  I always had a personable likeness for Dennis.

If we vote this down, will the forces of prohibition use it as pretext to attempt to roll back our recent gains?

Can we blame Richard Lee if they do?

I can’t wait for Wednesday morning, it is like Christmas…or Pandora’s box.

Edit: Full disclosure, I earn a living in the medicinal cannabis industry.

Dennis Peron, A Personal Hero of Mine

Watch the video, Dennis is an astute observer.

Proposition 19 contains a “severability clause”, this means that if it passes and the main part is found to be unconstitutional, we are left with two new cannabis felonies on the books.  Wouldn’t that make us all look foolish.

Why pot won’t be legalized (California)

This November, Californians have the opportunity to vote on Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.

Full disclosure: I make my living from the medicinal cannabis industry;  if this law passes, I lose my job.

In 1996 Californians passed medical pot by a 58/42 majority.  That initiative was powered by a movement.  The current initiative does not have a movement, it has an industry.  Industry is good for raising money, but not so good at get out the vote activities.  The current initiative is polling at about 44%.

It seems that Prop 19 was written by a small group of people, another thing that sets it apart from 215.  The concerns of the community were never aired, let alone considered.  As a result, there are a lot of people whom one would expect to be for legalizing pot, who have come out against it. [One striking example is Dennis Peron, the mover and shaker who got us medical pot.]

Ok, so that answers the question of the title of this post, because it won’t pass.  But let’s assume it does pass.

If you look at the text of Prop 215 you will note that it is but a single page long.  A straight forward, no frills, easily understood initiative.  Compare that to Prop 19, 6 dense pages that requires a legal degree to understand.  Look at how the courts had to interpret Prop 215 at each step along the way, then imagine the field day the courts will have with 19 [Maybe we should call it the The Attorney Full Employment Act]

Then there is the little problem of the federal government.  Prop 215 used weasel words (recommendation instead of prescription) to avoid direct conflict with the feds.  The current initiative takes no such steps, they seem to invite federal intervention.  The Federal Controlled Substances Act supersedes state law making the cultivation or sales of marijuana a felony.   If this law is passed, numerous injunctions will be filed on the very next day.

The initiatives authors could have avoided this.  A simple decriminalization would have flown under the fed’s radar.  It would have maintained the cottage industry that has sprung up as a result of 215.  It would have been simple and unambiguous.  Further, waiting for the presidential election would have ensured good turnout to aid in getting it passed.

But this initiative’s author(s) were so blinded by profits and consolidation of the industry that they failed to see that they were setting the marijuana movement back 10 years.  By this rash and greedy action, we all suffer.  It does not matter if the law passes or not, the movement is pinched and stunted just the same.

I don’t vote, so that saves the quandary of how I should vote on the initiative.  [Hint: Tax, Control, and Regulate are not my favorite key words] I mostly stay neutral when discussing it.  I figure that to actively oppose it would require that I quit my job if it failed to pass.

All the hand wringing that the clubs, the growers, the blacks, the rural areas, the south, or the whoever is going to spoil the vote turns out to be nonsense.  The culprits are the initiative’s sponsors, this is the wrong law at the wrong time.  Unfortunate but true.

Edit: So I got a call from someone who had read this asking if I was really against the initiative.  I’m not really against it, I am neutral.  I just think its backers fucked the rest of us over.  To be clear, I SUPPORT THE FULL LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA, I like pot.  Unfortunately, this initiative will not give us legal marijuana.  Prop 215 was all about the patients, Prop 19 is ALL about greed and consolidation of the industry.  One was an initiative of the people, the other is an initiative of the corporate marijuana industry (created by prop 215).  As an anarchist, I obviously will not vote for or against it.  It DOES NOT MATTER if this law passes, it will not make marijuana legal.  If I don’t think it matters if it passes, if I think the attempt screwed us–win or lose; that leaves me agnostic on the initiative.  Got it?

Jack Herer, Dead at 70

If anyone can take the credit (or the blame) for the loosening of pot laws it is Jack Herer.  His 1985 publication (and numerous re-publications) of  The Emperor Wears No Clothes is what brought marijuana reform to the public’s consciousness.

In my few interactions with Jack, I found him rather rude; but that in no way diminishes his profound and lasting imprint on society.  The candle he sparked while preparing his book has blossomed into a beacon that will not be extinguished.

Today, do two things in memory of Jack; spark a spliff in his memory and read a book to learn something new.  You never know what impact the insight will have.

Cannabis Truths

This post is a comment of a google knol, found here.  I wrote the following as a comment on that knol, since I doubt the comment will be approved, I re-post the comment here.

Truths, half-truths, and outright lies…

I will not spend my day going through this propaganda piece point by point. Suffice it to say that most of the information has already been disproved. I will only touch on two of the most egregious fabrications.Marijuana as gateway drug: Marijuana leads to hard drug use in the same way that kissing leads to pregnancy. Yes, many people who become addicted to hard drugs had previously smoked marijuana. Simple correlation does not mean cause and effect. The author, a self professed rehab specialist, knows this; it is one of the most basic building blocks of the scientific method. I could state that 95% of heroin addicts ate processed foods before trying heroin, would that mean that processed foods are a gateway drug to heroin? Obviously not, and to state such a thing would be ridiculous, just as ridiculous as the author’s statement. In fact, in our medical clinic we are finding cannabis (the proper term for marijuana) to be quite useful as a harm reduction substitute. Our clinic has used cannabis successfully to detox alcoholics, to taper and discontinue methadone, and to wean patients from poly-pharmacology. In each of these interventions there was significant increase to patient life satisfaction and health. Cannabis, properly utilized, is a potent tool for the treatment of addiction, a gateway drug back to reality. Cannabis dependence is always secondary to another problem, quite often PTSD or ADHD.

Cannabis Potency: Modern horticultural practices has led to some increase in cannabis potency, but how you interpret this change is the key to understanding it. Drug war zealots (and their cohorts in the treatment industry) use increased potency to try to convince people that today’s cannabis is inherently more dangerous than the cannabis they experienced in the past, there is no evidence that this is in fact true. Many parents who used cannabis in college know that it is not the harm that the prohibition industry wants them to believe it is, these parents may even condone cannabis use in their college aged children. The potency issue is trotted out in a tired attempt to have these people believe that somehow today’s cannabis is not the same as the cannabis their own experience has already shown to be safe. It is a scare tactic, nothing more. Increased potency simply means that it takes less to achieve the desired effects. This is a good thing, smoking anything is bad for the health. Higher potency means fewer pyrolitics and other harmful by products of the combustion process. It is far better to achieve the desired effect with a few tokes of high grade cannabis than to smoke multiple cannabis cigarettes of lower grade product.

All consumers of cannabis should consider obtaining a vaporizer device. A vaporizer heats the cannabis to a level that the active ingredients can be inhaled without bringing the material to a combustible level, thus avoiding the by products associated with smoking.

The most worrisome side effects of cannabis consumption are those propagated by the anti drug zealots, including legal prosecution and job loss.

Edit: Knowing that my comment would never be approved, I went ahead and reviewed the knol.  My review follows:

From the title “Marijuana: is Rehab Necessary?”, one would expect a treatment of both sides of the issue.  However, if this were one’s expectation, one would be disappointed.  The article regurgitates the same old tired dogma that the DEA and ONDCP have been reciting for years.  Even though studies have discounted nearly every point made in the article, none of this research is mentioned.  There is no research backing up the claims made by the author, so he/she states it as fact and neglects to include a single reference to back up the claims.

To understand the bias at work here one needs look at a single line:
Smoking marijuana can be habit-forming just like cigarette smoking, even though it lacks addictive nicotine found in cigarettes.One danger of marijuana addiction is…”

The author states that marijuana is habit forming, which is true as any behavior repeated enough can become habit forming.  Then the author compares marijuana to nicotine, but then admits that marijuana has no addictive elements.  Then the author continues as if he/she had not just made the concession.  This type of anti-intellectual argumentation will convince no one.

The rest of the article is equally weak and ineffectual, short on facts but long on unsubstantiated bias.  Had the author not prefaced the article with a question, I would not have bothered with it.  A better title would be “Marijuana: Why I Think It Is Bad.”

There are multiple links to a marijuana treatment facility in the same city as the author resides.  This article was nothing more than a poorly planned propaganda piece.  Pieces of the article were cut and pasted from the linked website…this piece is not true, has no facts to back it up, and is a poor example of an informative article.