Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Look, Folks! Another Federal Abuse of Power

Posted by honestpoet on January 21, 2007

To anyone who’s been checking, hoping for new entries, my apologies for being away so long, unannounced. I’ve been using my neurons doing gardening things, and parenting things, and wifely things, as well as making progress with my flute. But I had to come in here and bitch a little about the feds’ absolutely out-of-hand breach of states’ rights recently in their crackdown on medical marijuana clinics in California, Oregon, and Utah. Here’s what the jackass in charge had to say about it:

“Today’s enforcement operations show that these establishments are nothing more than drug-trafficking organizations bringing criminal activities to our neighborhoods and drugs near our children and schools,” said Ralph W. Partridge, head of the DEA in Los Angeles.

This guy’s obviously able to completely disconnect himself from reality.

Here’s the story.

Outrageous. Yeah, this is what we need to be doing, harassing doctors, nurses, and patients. We’re going bankrupt as a nation, fighting terrorism, which, let’s face it, IS a very bad thing (why we ignored our neighbors’ struggle with it, and even fostered it in some places, is another question I’ll leave for now); we simply can’t afford to keep fighting this ludicrous “war” on drugs. Which is actually a war against drug users. And which is totally outside the scope of government.

Some of the statements in the news story and in the discussions online about this make clear that some citizens feel the government HAS to enforce the drug laws BECAUSE they’re the law (clearly people who got stuck at phase 4 in Nielsen’s theory of moral development…you know, that we-can’t-break-the-law-or-the-universe-will-unravel thing). Well, we can change the law. Duh.

I’m not going to argue here about how harmless marijuana is relative to the two legal intoxicants, tobacco & alcohol. There’ve been plenty of excellent arguments made by folks with better scientific credentials than mine for why marijuana should be relegalized. I want to talk about the historical view, which almost always gives a better picture. It’s like stepping away from a painting, or looking down at a city from a tall building. You’d think the guys in charge might try it sometime. But that would involve reading. Oh, I’d forgotten.

I do not understand the disconnect from reality that our government seems to experience. Like Lewis Black says in a bit, it’s like these guys take a big dump on the floor right in front of us and then turn around and insist it’s fertilizer.

Here’s my analysis, after having read and cogitated on this problem for the past 15 years: it’s time to reverse the mistake made last century, when the intoxicant favored by blacks and Mexicans was made illegal in order to give the officers who’d been fighting (again, mistakenly) to keep Americans from drinking alcohol during Prohibition something to do. All that’s happened is the creation of a monstrous and vicious black market, just like the Prohibition did with the mafia. If it hadn’t been for the leg-up organized crime got with that, our country would be a lot more peaceful and less corrupt than it is now. And now the black market in heroin, which is killing so many of us, is funneling money to the Taliban. And all those potential tax dollars are going down the drain, along with the money spent on enforcing this corrupt and inane law.

And that brings us to one of the issues that needs to be dealt with in any discussion about the relegalization of weed. A very large reason why the law hasn’t been changed is that there are too many people making a living off the status quo. Not only the drug dealers and the DEA agents, and myriad police precincts, and privatized prisons, but there’s even an entire industry surrounding drug testing, both the manufacturers of and the lab techs doing the tests, and the folks who make stuff to help users pass them. And then there are the pharmaceutical companies who make a killing selling us toxic medications that treat poorly what marijuana treats well, and gently. It’s an outrageous amount of money we’re talking about. But that’s too bad. Folks had a lot of money invested in the status quo surrounding slavery, too, but that didn’t make it right, and when it was time to change, change came, no matter how much some didn’t want it. These guys can adapt and do something useful or they can be burned off like the parasites they are.

I just hope that we don’t end up at war with each other, like over another states’-rights issue. I do know that there are plenty who are going to continue to oppose the government over this. I’m one of them. And I also know that the government can ill afford to continue to blow our money on something so stupid when we’re fighting a real enemy, at home and abroad.

The citizens of California, Utah and Oregon had the sense and the compassion to pass laws allowing those in need to use marijuana. The feds have no business going against the people’s will on this.

Another thing: America is supposed to be a beacon of freedom. How can they spout that rhetoric and then jail so many of our citizens for non-violent drug offenses? Hardly the land of the free, as far as I can see. It seems like we ought to be doing our best to distinguish ourselves from tyrannical dictatorships. Instead we seem to be moving further and further in the direction of fascism.


18 Responses to “Look, Folks! Another Federal Abuse of Power”

  1. D.A. said

    You sound more like a Libertarian than a Liberal…Less Government Control, Legalization of Drugs, hell, you’re definitely a Libertarian.

  2. honestpoet said

    LOL. You like labels, eh?

    I see myself as American, pure and simple. I’ve got a little more compassion and a more realistic grasp of human nature than most libertarians: I feel strongly that it IS within the scope of government to protect the weak (like children & the elderly) and the environment from corporate greed.

    If you conservatives (and I call you that because you make clear at your blog that you’re proud of that label) had a better understanding of what being American means, this country would be in much better shape.

  3. D.A. said

    Please enlighten me on what a better understanding of what being American means.

  4. honestpoet said


    Being American means understanding the intent of the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. A lot of so-called patriots seem to have never read them at all. Including the “patriots” in the White House.

    It does NOT mean accepting whatever the government says as truth. It DOES mean speaking out when our leaders seem to have lost touch with the above documents or the will of the people. It does NOT mean tolerating corruption, corporate influence, or self-serving politicians.

    When I hear some jackass say something like “love it or leave it,” it makes my blood boil. It’s an American citizen’s DUTY to keep an eye on government and keep it in line.

  5. D.A. said

    You must have really hated the Clinton years then?

  6. honestpoet said

    I was certainly disillusioned during the Clinton years, both by his behavior and by the Republicans’ obsession with his penis to the neglect of real government business.

    I have hated the Bush years much more.

  7. Stephen said

    Today’s enforcement operations show that these establishments are nothing more than drug-trafficking organizations.

    Gotta admire that logic. We busted them … therefore they are drug traffickers.

  8. honestpoet said

    Exactly. That’s the kind of circular logic they always employ.

    The only real argument against using marijuana is that it can ruin your life if you get caught. Seems like changing THAT is what we need to do.

  9. whig said

    Drugs are bad because they are illegal, and they need to stay illegal because they are bad. Perfect circular logic.

    We shouldn’t let our words think for us, of course, but some people seem unable to break out of language games. So we have to use language better, redefine the terms to better map reality.

    Cannabis is not heroin, of course, but using one word, “drugs,” to describe both as if they were the same thing, while simultaneously disregarding alcohol, tobacco and even coffee as drugs leads us into a maze of confusion.

  10. honestpoet said

    I remember being SO confused as a child, passing a “Drug Store.”

  11. While there are a number of items we do not agree on, this happens to be one we do. Even as a conservative (and I add I am proud of that title), I see the inherent problems with the drug war. So much so, I actually support measures to nearly legalize every major drug.

    Not sure if you will agree, but I recently wrote the following in regards to the same:

  12. Oops, forgot to close out the XHTML…Here is what should have been in the block quote:

    As a conservative, the drug trafficking question is a tough one because my ultimate conclusion goes against the standard conservative position. The reality is that the drug war is a losing battle. That losing effort is only exacerbated by such harsh laws and penalties that ultimately convert addicts into hardened criminals, while also giving power to those who exploit this side of man. In the end, a decision has to be made based on what is best for society and not what should or shouldn’t be illegal – perhaps those two are the same thing.

    Is it best for society to implement laws that turn an issue of addiction into an issue that ultimately costs billions of dollars, while also losing the valued lives of so many? I suppose that question can only be answered in context. For instance, child pornography is an issue of addiction as well. However, in that instance, one cannot overlook the rights of children simply to ignore an addiction. Clearly, what is right for society in the case of child pornography is subservient to the rights of the child to be protected from predators.

    In this light, we cannot haphazardly legalize drugs without observing the possible implications to others in society. The question then is if the legalizing of drugs might have a negative impact on others in society? It would seem that the impact on others is the same as those who abuse other substances, particularly alcohol. The best solution then is one that is consistent with the handling of alcoholism, not criminalizing the act itself, but criminalizing the truly illegal acts that result from it.

  13. honestpoet said

    Exactly. It’s just common sense, really.

    Unfortunately, “common sense” is not all that common, especially around these highly charged issues that folks who label themselves at either end of the spectrum seem to hang their self-identity hats on.

  14. honestpoet said

    (My next post is going to be on abortion…another one of those issues.)

  15. Gordman said

    Well, why am a not surprised? Lately i have come to agree. You are right “common sense is not that common”. I don’t know about this “war” but it’s taking to long and i don’t see the effects. Oh, sorry, there are some effects, more patients in drug treatment centers

  16. Keith said

    America has a problem about being on top! We honestly still feel that we control the world. I understand cracking down on doctor’s mainly because some are way too comfortable with giving prescriptions. This causes an addiction to prescription drugs that is neither funny nor a situation to be taken lightly. On the other hand, I think America, of which I am a proud member, needs to stop acting like they know what’s best for everyone. Geez, I feel torn here with two different ideas, but hopefully you know what I’m talking about.

  17. honestpoet said

    The diversion of prescription drugs to the streets is a real problem. Kids are throwing parties (at least in the south, which we recently left for the far north) with bowls of pills set out. They grab handfuls and wash them down with alcohol. Often they’re taking combinations that are totally contraindicated. I’m surprised there haven’t been more adverse health affects reported.

    Often the doctors are at least partly at fault, especially pain management doctors and family practice docs who will write a script whenever a patient asks for one, without ordering the exams or imaging necessary to determine the necessity, nor testing the patient to guarantee that they’ve got the blood levels they should for what they’re supposed to be taking. In other words, they don’t do anything to make sure that the pills they write scripts for don’t end up on the street or abused by the patient. At the same time, though, every adult needs to be held responsible for his/her own actions. (And people with legitimate pain issues shouldn’t be denied palliative care.) The drug war, which essentially treats American adults like children, has helped create a climate in which many adults DO act/think like children.

    I’m not sure how to fix this. If we decriminalized everything, there certainly would be problems in the beginning. But there are so many problems now, I think it would be worth it. Eventually I believe most people would learn self control. And at least we wouldn’t be spending so much, risking so many lives fighting a black market (armed to the teeth to protect the profits to be had), and jailing so many otherwise law-abiding citizens.

    And I’ll remind everyone that there’s a huge difference between decriminalizing a substance and offering it for sale at the corner store.

  18. Michael said

    I think we’ll make a huge dent in the problem by ending cannabis prohibition, and encouraging people to make safer choices which frankly will be better experiences.

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