Why are some plants illegal?

I don’t necessarily buy the death totals in this image I copied from twitter, but certainly tobacco and alcohol are bad for you.  They are also much more likely to kill you.  So the question is, how long before the legal (in certain states) marijuana industry is centralized enough that they can lobby Congress or the White House to remove the Federal ban?

Unfortunately that is probably what it will take.  The regime can’t enforce their own edicts when it comes to banning what is literally a “weed” so local governments have been ignoring them for years.  However, our overlords have no real incentive to change anything as long as the beer companies and tobacco companies have money while the marijuana trade is still mainly in the hands of local mom and pop outfits.  Once a single player captures over 50% of the legal market in the states like Colorado and Washington that have come to their senses on this issue, then maybe the campaign contributions can start flowing and DC will finally remove this ridiculous prohibition.

Of course then they’ll institute a bunch of onerous regulations and taxes putting the small businesses that deal in cannabis out of business.  It’s kind of a lose-lose situation for all the potheads out there.  But at least with legal, “regulated” marijuana available, they won’t wind up in jail or have their career prospects ruined for possessing a plant that Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan didn’t like. It will still be a step in the right direction.

Another reason to hate the State: mandatory minimum sentencing

Most laws are bad and/or unnecessary.  Mandatory minimum sentencing laws are certainly no exception.

First of all, they have their roots in the anti-freedom, counterproductive drug war.  In fact the first mandatory sentencing law in the United States was intended to force judges to sentence people to jail and bankrupt them for possessing marijuana.  Over 60 years later, some local governments are finally allowing people to buy and sell cannabis without fear of state violence, but we are still stuck with these laws.

The main problem with mandatory minimum sentencing is that it shifts more power in the criminal justice system to the prosecutor.  A prosecutor’s job is to try and convict people of “crimes” and extract money from them or lock them in a cage.  An easy way to do this is just charge them with a crime that automatically carries a lengthy prison sentence, then offer to drop the charges if they plead guilty to a lesser offence that doesn’t.  Even if they didn’t commit the more serious crime or are completely innocent, a defendant is likely to take this bargain out of fear of spending years in prison.  This basically denies people the right to a jury trial in many cases.

That’s far from the only problem however.  Most of these laws are designed to lock up drug dealers, but selling drugs is not a crime because there is no victim.  So any law connected with the drug war is illegitimate from the start.

But even if mandatory minimum sentencing only applied to violent crime, it’s still unjust.  I’m no fan of lawyers in robes (judges) deciding our fate, but surely there should be some discretion in sentencing.  Is every assault really the same?  Even murders can have some nuances that should be factored in when deciding whether someone needs to die in prison.  Is killing an abusive husband the same as killing someone for money?  Do they deserve the same sentence?

If you think politicians need to be tough on crime and force judges to lock people up for decades, just ask yourself if you or someone you care about has done anything that’s considered illegal.  Possessed marijuana or some other contraband?  Shoplifted?  Committed “Fraud”?  Fired a gun where you’re not supposed to?  If you’ve done these things you could end up like these people:

  • Weldon Angelos – 55 years for possessing a handgun while he sold $350 worth of marijuana to a police informant on three separate occasions
  • Leandro Andrade – 50 years without parole for theft of nine video tapes
  • Chantal McCorkle – 24 years for fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud; sentence subsequently reduced to 18 years on appeal
  • Richard Paey – 25 years for 15 counts of drug trafficking and other charges including fraud; granted a pardon in 2007 after serving three and a half years due to the circumstances of his drug use
  • Timothy L. Tyler – Life in prison for possessing 13 sheets of LSD.

Our overlords want to ban e-cigarettes

Steve Forbes makes some valid points if you care to read them here.  Indeed, the FDA is threatening the ban of e-cigs until they’re “proven” safe.  Of course that’s ridiculous.  I’m sure there is some danger from ingesting nicotine so if our rules in Washington, D.C. want to ban them, I’m sure they’ll find an excuse.

As a Libertarian of course I don’t think there should be any government restrictions on smoking of any kind.  You should be allowed to smoke unless you’re on the property of someone who won’t allow it.  That includes cigars, cigarettes, marijuana, crack, or anything else.

But the manufactured controversy over e-cigarettes illustrates two more specific things that are wrong with present day Amerika.

The first issue is this insistence by the State to almost immediately ban any new product that comes out in the market that is in some way associated with a drug that is already illegal or restricted in some way.

Someone decided to mix alcohol and caffeine and sell it?  Ban it.  It could be dangerous. After all people are too stupid to realize you can put vodka in Red Bull.  It’s not like someone saw that people were already doing this and decided to meet the demand the way Reese’s combined chocolate and peanut butter right?

Someone’s selling incense made with legal substances that when smoked gives similar effects to marijuana?  Ban it.  Chuck Schumer will have none of that.  Some people claimed that these synthetic marijuana-like concoctions were potentially more harmful than actual marijuana.  That may well be the case, but if marijuana weren’t illegal, no one would have invented these things in the first place.

Someone’s selling nicotine in a new way? Ban it. The government hasn’t studied it for ten years and forced manufacturers to pay them for the privilege of allowing them to sell it.

I’m sure in all these cases the more established beer and tobacco companies have lobbied hard for the bans.

The second issue is how people have completely lost perspective and common sense.  When governments first began banning smoking in private businesses, we were told it was to protect the health of non-smokers.  Adults were free to smoke they said, but they shouldn’t be able to do it indoors where they could make others sick.  I am quite suspicious that the dangers of second hand smoke have been exaggerated, but it’s not outrageous to believe that it’s unhealthy to spend a lot of time indoors with people smoking.  It doesn’t completely defy common sense.  After all you might cough if someone blows smoke in your face.  Your eyes might water when you’re in a smoky room.  So to save all the strippers and bartenders from lung cancer, our wise overlords had no choice but to ban indoor smoking.

But then they started banning it in parks and sports stadiums.  I’m sorry, but you really have to be an idiot to think you’re going to suffer health effects from being in the same park where people might be smoking.  It’s outdoors for Christ’s sake!  It’s only mildly inconvenient if you’re sitting right next to a smoker and you don’t like the smell.  That’s not even an issue in a public park because you can get up and move!  This was just about inconveniencing and ostracizing smokers and also handing out tickets to generate more revenue for local governments.

But now e-cigarettes?  There is no smoke involved yet “health organizations” want them banned indoors.  This defies common sense in almost every way you can look at it.  These are tobacco control advocates calling for these bans, but there’s no tobacco involved in e-cigarettes.  They cite reports by government agencies to support this ban, but these reports just say they haven’t studied them so they can’t certify them as safe.  They don’t offer any evidence that they’re dangerous. These e-cigs don’t give off smoke so there aren’t any “second hand smoke” health effects.

And now the FDA threatens to ban them outright because they might be dangerous, yet anyone who thought about it for 2 seconds would have to conclude that there is about 0% chance that they’re more dangerous than real cigarettes which would of course remain legal!

This whole “controversy” is about the State controlling you and crazed nanny-state zealots who are convinced that no one should be able to enjoy nicotine in any way, even if it’s enjoyed in a way that literally can’t bother anyone else.


Hey white people, police are not your friends

Two policemen were murdered in Brooklyn over the weekend.  The man who killed them was black, and apparently he was upset by the recent killings of black men by police.  I reject violence in every instance other than self defense.  It is never justified to murder someone.  It is certainly not justifiable to murder cops sitting in their parked patrol car which is what allegedly happened in this case.  The State claims the right to kill people.  I do not.

Now that I’ve made clear my aversion to violence, let’s just stop with the nonsense about there being a “War on Cops” or that we need to feel sorry for police in general.  I’m white, and I’m as tired as anyone of hearing all this crap about “white privilege,” and how I’m somehow responsible for the average black person being poorer than the average non-black person due to my skin tone.  But just because black race hustlers like Al Sharpton and their white liberal ass kissers are all mad at cops lately doesn’t mean cops are good. They’re not.

Police do not exist to protect citizens.  They exist to enforce laws passed by the State.  It is irrelevant to them whether the laws or moral or whether they will actually benefit the community they supposedly serve in any way.  Therefore taking the job of a police officer is in itself immoral.

What does a typical cop spend the majority of his time doing?  Pulling over people for minor traffic infractions (regardless of whether there was actually any safety issue involved) and issuing them fines for this, harassing and arresting people for victimless “crimes” (selling drugs, sex, or untaxed legal items), and filling out reports after an actual crime or accident.  Just ask yourself if a cop has ever protected you from anything.  Has one even helped you in any significant way?  Do you feel safer when a cop pulls up behind you in his car or knocks on your door?  The police are armed revenue collectors and government enforcers.  They are not public servants.

And in case there are any racists reading this who flat out hate black people and think it’s great that cops harass, beat, or kill them, just wait until it’s you or one of your white buddies.  Don’t think it can happen?