Legal Marijuana Poses a Problem for Gun Buyers

Firearm purchases by drug users are prohibited by federal law; Alaska Republican is taken aback

By

Gary Fields and

Kristina Peterson

Updated Nov. 14, 2016 6:04 p.m. ET

37 COMMENTS

Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s husband and sons ordered her a new Benelli 12-gauge shotgun as a gift, but when the Alaska Republican—and enthusiastic duck hunter—went to pick it up, she was puzzled by a question on the federal background form she had to fill out.

The form asked if she used marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, both of which are legal in Alaska. If she answered yes, she would be unable to get the gun, because federal law prohibits anyone who uses illegal drugs from buying a firearm.

The senator doesn’t use pot, but she was taken aback by the notion that an activity that is legal in her state could block gun ownership. “I don’t like marijuana—I voted against legalization—but we passed it,” Ms. Murkowski said in an interview. “Now, you’ve got this conflict.”

The legal, recreational use of marijuana passed in four states on Tuesday with another three states passing it for medicinal use. Lance Rogers, manager of the cannabis law practice for law firm Greenspoon Marder, explains how that could influence efforts to legalize pot in other states.

The scope of that conflict just grew, as voters in eight states last week approved marijuana-related ballot initiatives. Now, 28 states and Washington D.C., allow marijuana use in some form, including eight that allow recreational use. Yet federal law still holds that anyone who uses marijuana, even medicinally, is doing so illegally and can’t buy a gun.

That is upsetting advocates for both gun owners and pot smokers, groups that don’t always find themselves on the same side of the cultural divide.

“This idea that you somehow waive your Second Amendment rights if you smoke marijuana” is wrong, said Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, which advocates marijuana legalization. “In particular, if you are using marijuana as a medicine, the idea that you have to choose between your health and the Second Amendment is offensive.”

“The Gun Control Act prohibitions are governed by the Controlled Substances Act, and marijuana remains an illegal, controlled substance under federal law,” said Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr.

Justice oversees the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which regulates licensed gun dealers; as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which runs background checks; and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which classifies drugs.

The marijuana-gun issue is one of the stranger outcomes of an unusual conflict between state laws, which increasingly allow marijuana use, and federal law, which continues to view pot-smoking as a crime.

At issue are the applications that would-be gun buyers must fill out when they visit licensed firearms dealers. Question 11(e) on ATF Form 4473 asks whether the purchaser is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana.

Under ATF guidance distributed to gun dealers, anyone who answers affirmatively can’t buy a firearm. If a dealer has reason to believe the would-be gun purchaser is a marijuana user, the ATF says it is the dealer’s responsibility to halt the sale of a firearm or ammunition.

“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by State law,” the guidance says.

The issue can be tricky, especially for those who oppose drug use but support gun rights. Perhaps for that reason, gun-rights groups have been relatively quiet on the issue. The National Rifle Association, for example, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Officials at Gun Owners of America highlight the medicinal-marijuana issue. “GOA finds it very troubling that the Obama administration would use medical issues to ban law-abiding Americans from owning firearms,” said the group’s executive director, Erich Pratt.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled recently that banning gun sales to medical marijuana users doesn’t violate their Second Amendment rights. Marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, the court noted, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment.” The DEA reaffirmed that status just last August.

Ms. Murkowski wrote Attorney General Loretta Lynch in March urging her to reconsider the policy. “In my judgment, the disqualification of an entire class of marijuana users acting consistent with state law from possessing any firearm merits a review of federal legal policy,” she wrote.

Mr. Carr said the Justice Department responded to the senator’s letter in October. “It is not the department’s general practice to release publicly private communications with members of Congress.”

Ms. Murkowski said she understands the concerns about gun owners using marijuana, but said similar dangers could arise regarding alcohol. The conflict will likely intensify, she added, as more states approve marijuana use.

Marijuana advocates say legal users of the drug are discriminated against in other ways as well, from child custody and banking to student loans and public housing.

“Even if you’re a progressive who doesn’t like guns or a libertarian who doesn’t like public housing, you should still be outraged by the discrimination that people who use marijuana face,” said Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, which supports legalization.

Write to Gary Fields at [email protected] and Kristina Peterson at [email protected]

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Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use…

Interview: Why the US Should Decriminalize Drug Use

 

Summary

 

Neal Scott may die in prison. A 49-year-old Black man from New Orleans, Neal had cycled in and out of prison for drug possession over a number of years. He said he was never offered treatment for his drug dependence; instead, the criminal justice system gave him time behind bars and felony convictions—most recently, five years for possessing a small amount of cocaine and a crack pipe. When Neal was arrested in May 2015, he was homeless and could not walk without pain, struggling with a rare autoimmune disease that required routine hospitalizations. Because he could not afford his $7,500 bond, Neal remained in jail for months, where he did not receive proper medication and his health declined drastically—one day he even passed out in the courtroom. Neal eventually pled guilty because he would face a minimum of 20 years in prison if he took his drug possession case to trial and lost. He told us that he cried the day he pled, because he knew he might not survive his sentence.[1]

***

Just short of her 30th birthday, Nicole Bishop spent three months in jail in Houston for heroin residue in an empty baggie and cocaine residue inside a plastic straw. Although the prosecutor could have charged misdemeanor paraphernalia, he sought felony drug possession charges instead. They would be her first felonies.

Nicole was separated from her three young children, including her breastfeeding newborn. When the baby visited Nicole in jail, she could not hear her mother’s voice or feel her touch because there was thick glass between them. Nicole finally accepted a deal from the prosecutor: she would do seven months in prison in exchange for a guilty plea for the 0.01 grams of heroin found in the baggie, and he would dismiss the straw charge. She would return to her children later that year, but as a “felon” and “drug offender.” As a result, Nicole said she would lose her student financial aid and have to give up pursuit of a degree in business administration. She would have trouble finding a job and would not be able to have her name on the lease for the home she shared with her husband. She would no longer qualify for the food stamps she had relied on to help feed her children. As she told us, she would end up punished for the rest of her life.

***

Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use, just as Neal and Nicole were. Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime. More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year. And despite officials’ claims that drug laws are meant to curb drug sales, four times as many people are arrested for possessing drugs as are arrested for selling them.

As a result of these arrests, on any given day at least 137,000 men and women are behind bars in the United States for drug possession, some 48,000 of them in state prisons and 89,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention. Each day, tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees. Their criminal records lock them out of jobs, housing, education, welfare assistance, voting, and much more, and subject them to discrimination and stigma. The cost to them and to their families and communities, as well as to the taxpayer, is devastating. Those impacted are disproportionately communities of color and the poor.

This report lays bare the human costs of criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the US, focusing on four states: Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New York. Drawing from over 365 interviews with people arrested and prosecuted for their drug use, attorneys, officials, activists, and family members, and extensive new analysis of national and state data, the report shows how criminalizing drug possession has caused dramatic and unnecessary harms in these states and around the country, both for individuals and for communities that are subject to discriminatory enforcement.

There are injustices and corresponding harms at every stage of the criminal process, harms that are all the more apparent when, as often happens, police, prosecutors, or judges respond to drug use as aggressively as the law allows. This report covers each stage of that process, beginning with searches, seizures, and the ways that drug possession arrests shape interactions with and perceptions of the police—including for the family members and friends of individuals who are arrested. We examine the aggressive tactics of many prosecutors, including charging people with felonies for tiny, sometimes even “trace” amounts of drugs, and detail how pretrial detention and long sentences combine to coerce the overwhelming majority of drug possession defendants to plead guilty, including, in some cases, individuals who later prove to be innocent.

The report also shows how probation and criminal justice debt often hang over people’s heads long after their conviction, sometimes making it impossible for them to move on or make ends meet. Finally, through many stories, we recount how harmful the long-term consequences of incarceration and a criminal record that follow a conviction for drug possession can be—separating parents from young children and excluding individuals and sometimes families from welfare assistance, public housing, voting, employment opportunities, and much more.

Families, friends, and neighbors understandably want government to take actions to prevent the potential harms of drug use and drug dependence. Yet the current model of criminalization does little to help people whose drug use has become problematic. Treatment for those who need and want it is often unavailable, and criminalization tends to drive people who use drugs underground, making it less likely that they will access care and more likely that they will engage in unsafe practices that make them vulnerable to disease and overdose.

While governments have a legitimate interest in preventing problematic drug use, the criminal law is not the solution. Criminalizing drug use simply has not worked as a matter of practice. Rates of drug use fluctuate, but they have not declined significantly since the “war on drugs” was declared more than four decades ago. The criminalization of drug use and possession is also inherently problematic because it represents a restriction on individual rights that is neither necessary nor proportionate to the goals it seeks to accomplish. It punishes an activity that does not directly harm others.

Instead, governments should expand public education programs that accurately describe the risks and potential harms of drug use, including the potential to cause drug dependence, and should increase access to voluntary, affordable, and evidence-based treatment for drug dependence and other medical and social services outside the court and prison system.

After decades of “tough on crime” policies, there is growing recognition in the US that governments need to undertake meaningful criminal justice reform and that the “war on drugs” has failed. This report shows that although taking on parts of the problem—such as police abuse, long sentences, and marijuana reclassification—is critical, it is not enough: Criminalization is simply the wrong response to drug use and needs to be rethought altogether.

Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union call on all states and the federal government to decriminalize the use and possession for personal use of all drugs and to focus instead on prevention and harm reduction. Until decriminalization has been achieved, we urge officials to take strong measures to minimize and mitigate the harmful consequences of existing laws and policies. The costs of the status quo, as this report shows, are too great to bear.

 

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LINK TO PDF VERSION OF REPORT (205 PAGES)

Marijuana Possession Played Key Role in Police Shooting of Keith Scott

By Daniel Politi

610189124-kerr-putney-chief-of-the-charlotte-mecklenburg-police

Possession of marijuana played a significant role in the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerry Putney said during a news conference that officers were trying to serve a warrant for someone else when they spotted Scott rolling “what they believed to be a marijuana ‘blunt’" in his car. At first they allegedly didn’t think much of it, until they saw Scott had a weapon and thought, “uh oh, this is a safety issue for us and the public,” Putney said.

Putney spoke at a news conference in which he announced police would release body cam and dash cam videos of the encounter.

Along with the videos, the police also released a statement on what is known about the case. Although at first “officers did not consider Mr. Scott’s drug activity to be a priority” that changed once they saw him hold up a gun. “Because of that, the officers had probable cause to arrest him for the drug violation and to further investigate Mr. Scott being in possession of the gun.”

The police released photographs of the gun, ankle holster and joint he had on him at the time of the shooting.

“It was not lawful for [Scott] to possess a firearm. There was a crime he committed and the gun exacerbated the situation,” Putney said. The press conference marked the first time law enforcement had mentioned the detail about the marijuana.

“Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,” notes the statement.

Putney continued to insist that Scott “absolutely” had a gun, although he acknowledged that wouldn’t be clear from the released video. He also stood by earlier statements that the shooting was justified and officers acted lawfully. “Officers are absolutely not being charged by me at this point,” he said.

The official police statement says officers “gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun” but Scott “refused to follow the officers repeated verbal commands.” And then Scott “exited the vehicle with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun.” That was seen as “an imminent physical threat” and an officer opened fire. A lab analysis “revealed the presence of Mr. Scott’s DNA and his fingerprints” on the gun that was loaded, notes the police statement.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today’s Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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Ninth Circuit Rules Marijuana Card Holders May Not Own Firearms

Monday, 05 September 2016

Written by  Bob Adelmann

Ninth Circuit Rules Marijuana Card Holders May Not Own Firearms

 

Last Wednesday a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that holding a marijuana card precludes its owner from keeping and bearing arms. In the process, the panel threw out the First, Second, and Fifth Amendment rights.

Rowan Wilson, a Nevada resident who held a state-issued marijuana card but didn’t use the weed, tried to purchase a firearm from Custom Firearms and Gunsmithing in Moundhouse, Nevada. She applied for the card to show her support for the freedom of people to make their own decisions about what they might or might not imbibe or inhale. It was a political statement only. It became personal when she tried in October 2011 to purchase a firearm for personal protection.

She was confronted with Question 11e on the required federal disclosure Form 4473 issued by the ATF, which reads: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Yes or No.” She showed the question to the gun shop owner, who knew that she had a card, and he denied her request to purchase the firearm. It was based not only on federal laws that still make marijuana users criminals, but on an “open letter” the ATF sent to all firearm dealers holding that mere possession of the marijuana registry card was enough to allow them to prevent a potential buyer from completing the sale. That letter stated, in part:

[Anyone] who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes — is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Such persons should answer “yes” to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473 … and you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to them.

Further, if you are aware that the potential transferee is in possession of a card authorizing the possession and use of marijuana under State law, then you have “reasonable cause to believe” that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

As such, you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to the person, even if the person answered “no” to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473.

Wilson sued and her complaint was dismissed. The three-judge panel heard her appeal in July and issued its decision affirming the lower court’s ruling on August 31. The opinion, penned by Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff, included this bit of reasoning:

It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative. But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.

The panel threw out all of Wilson’s complaints that the federal law and “open letter” violated three of the 10 rights contained in the Bill of Rights. First was her right to free expression under the First Amendment:

The panel held that any burden the Government’s anti-marijuana and anti-gun-violence efforts placed on [Wilson’s] expressive conduct was incidental…

Next to go was the Second Amendment:

Applying intermediate scrutiny, the panel … held that the fit between the challenged provisions and the Government’s substantial interest [in] violence prevention was reasonable, and therefore the [lower] court did not err by dismissing [her] Second Amendment claim.

Finally, the Fifth Amendment was overridden:

The panel held that the challenged laws and Open Letter neither violated [Wilson’s] procedural due process rights protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment nor violated the Equal Protection Clause as incorporated into the Fifth Amendment.

[Wilson] did not have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in [both] holding a registry card and purchasing a firearm….

Reactions to the ruling were predictably swift. Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, was outraged:

There’s absolutely no evidence to support the notion that marijuana use leads people to be more violent, as inferred in the Court’s opinion. Regardless of how you feel about guns, no one should be discriminated against … by the government just because they happen to enjoy marijuana. That should be especially true for people who consume cannabis for medical purposes in accordance with state law and their doctors’ recommendations.

Wilson’s attorney, Chaz Rainey, was equally upset with the panel’s ruling, declaring,

We live in a world where having a medical marijuana card is enough to say you don’t get a gun, but if you’re on the no-fly list your constitutional right is still protected.

Then Rainey touched on the core issue: states’ rights, adding:

Responsible adults who use cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their states ought to receive the same legal rights and protections as other citizens.

For the moment at least, the ruling applies to only the nine states covered by the Ninth Circuit: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Rainey has promised to appeal the ruling either to the full circuit court or to the Supreme Court. If the appeal goes that far, Wilson’s lawsuit might give the newest member (replacing deceased Justice Scalia) of the high court a chance to rule on the matter next year. 

A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at [email protected].

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THE PDF DOCUMENT:

FOR PUBLICATION

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THENINTH CIRCUIT

HB161 Florida house of representatives attempt to set the stage for the governance of dui while using marijuana

September 20, 2015

Sheree Krider

On Monday, September 14, FLORIDA State Representative David Kerner, a Democrat, Filed HB161 which attempts to set a standard for measuring (via blood test) Marijuana intoxication. 

It sets the "limit" of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood.

Anyone with a blood test showing THC level that is above 5 nanograms "commits the offense of driving under the influence".

This was done in response to the death of a 16 year old girl,  Naomi Pomerance, who was killed while riding on the back of a scooter and being hit by a car whose driver had been smoking marijuana in March of this year.  According to the reports, Tyler Cohen, was high on marijuana, and ran a red light. 

While that may or may not be true,  it currently remains impossible to determine "intoxication" levels due to consumption of Marijuana.  With the blood tests that are available, it can only be determined that a person may have consumed at any time in the weeks prior to the incident – not that they were incapacitated from Marijuana at the time of  the accident.

In a Todd County Kentucky case this year, a man was charged with Second Degree Manslaughter and 23 counts of First Degree Wanton Endangerment when his truck hit a school bus during a storm and hydroplaned off of the road causing the death of one man and hurting three others seriously, including himself. 

The only drug of abuse which showed up in his blood test was Marijuana at the time of the accident.  Additionally there was no other evidence to confirm his use of Marijuana that day.  After acquiring an "expert witness" to review the blood test being offered as evidence in the case against him, the witness, a Professor of Clinical Pharmacology,  concluded that it did not indicate intoxication at the time of the accident.  Therefore, the Court was not able to use this "blood test"as evidence against him in this case.

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It would seem to me that any Representative or Senator who would file such a "BILL" should be intelligent enough to have the "science" of the issue verified before submitting another piece of legislation to be signed into law In order to allow prosecutions.

It remains to be seen if this Bill will die in the House.  If by some chance it would be signed into law, I believe we will see many Court battles fighting the legality of the law. 

You cannot make something "truthful" just by saying it is or even writing that it is.  The science behind the fact must be proven before it can set a valid and legal precedence.  In this case, I have not seen any "proof" that a blood test can accurately predict intoxication by Marijuana.  Therefore, if they use this law to prosecute people who have more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood for DUI they are effectively prosecuting anyone who has smoked Marijuana at any time in the prior weeks leading up to the incident. 

This could turn out to be the way that they will continue to fill the prison industrial complex, yet again, with people who do not deserve to be there. 

The drug war will never end.  It will just change its’ angles of prosecution.

(If we can’t get to them one way, we will get to them another)

 

Assessing Marijuana Intoxication

by Matthew C. Lee, MD, RPh, MS

Marijuana is composed of a number of different cannabinoids, some are psychoactive, while some are not. When marijuana is absorbed through inhalation of smoke, or ingested when mixed with food, a psychoactive component, Δ-9 THC is taken up by the fat cells and stored. Where over time it is slowly released back into the bloodstream and subsequently excreted in the urine. This is why marijuana can be detected days to weeks after consumption. Additionally this is also the reason withdrawal from marijuana is so rare. The slow release of the Δ-9 THC stored in the fat cells leads to a prolonged taper of excretion from the body.

 

FLORIDA HOUSE BILL 161,

INTRODUCED BY DAVID KERN

…providing that a person with a specified amount of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per 5 milliliter of blood commits the offense of driving under the influence or boating under the influence,

Subsection (1) of section 316.193, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

…The person has a blood level of 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of blood, as shown by analysis of the person’s blood…

…This act may be cited as the "Naomi Pomerance Victim Safety Act."

This act shall take effect October 1, 2016

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/2015/09/20/florida-bill-would-set-marijuana-standard-fatal-crashes/72514946/

http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/toxicology–ui.html

http://archive.wtsp.com/assetpool/documents/150920080505_hb161.pdf

http://expertpages.com/news/Assessing_Marijuana_Intoxication.htm

Lawmakers, sign on now, to repeal the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA).

JackieTreehorn

Joined: Sep 2005

USA TX, USA

Posted: 10/20/2008 3:04:42 PM EDT

Lawmakers, sign on now, to repeal the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA).

Without this authority, the ill-conceived War On Drugs (WOD) stops in its tracks. No one has talked about the War On Drugs for a long time. It has not gone away.

We still squander scarce resources on the fight against ourselves, at a time when foreign enemies are at the gate. Enough is enough, too much is too much, and more of this futile war would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility. Do now, for the War On Drugs, what the 21st Amendment did for the 18th, and with it, alcohol prohibition. Stop throwing good money after bad.
We should have learned a lesson from alcohol prohibition, namely that it doesn’t work.
Isn’t there enough blood in the streets already, without continuing to shoot ourselves in the feet?

Do we really need to ruin the lives of so many of our own children, perhaps on the theory it is for their own good?

The CSA is unconstitutional. The CSA never had a constitutional amendment to enable it, like the 18th amendment enabled alcohol prohibition. The drug warriors have, so far, gotten away with an end run, subverting the lack of constitutional authority.

An authority over Interstate Commerce provides a pretext of constitutionality. Any excuse is better than none. So, how is that interstate commerce going, these days? Why would a bankrupt treasury distain to derive revenue from its number one cash crop? The anti-capitalist policy inhibits small farmers from cultivating for a taxed market, and gifts a tax-free monopoly to outlaws, some of whom may be friends of our enemies. This is not what the founders had in mind when they authorized meddling in interstate commerce. Lets bring the underground economy into the taxed economy.

The Supreme Court got it wrong in Gonzales V Raich. Good on Clarence Thomas for noticing that the so-called constitutionality of the law is a mockery.
www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-1454.ZD1.html

How did we get this CSA? Was there an informed debate on the floor? Did the substances ever get their day in court? What congressman then, or now, would admit to knowing a thing or two about LSD?

The lawmakers have never wanted to know more than it is politically safe to be against it.

Governments around the world ignore fact-checkers and even their own reports.

Forgive them, Lord, they make it their business to know not what they do.

Common sense tells us that personal experience deepens the understanding of issues. Personal experience is a good thing. But we herd the experienced to the hoosegow. We keep them out of jobs. The many who avoid detection must live double lives.
The congressmen who passed the CSA probably don’t even get it that they deny freedom of religion to those who prefer a non-placebo as their sacrament of communion.

Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religious freedom, says the First Amendment. But they did.

Many of the prohibited substances provide access to unique mental states. You can’t say your piece, if you can’t think it up. You can’t think it up, if you are not in a receptive state of mind. Neither the Constitution, nor its amendments, enumerates a power of government to prevent access to specific states of mind. How and when did the government acquire this power, to restrict consciousness and thought?

Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech, says the First Amendment. But they did.

What would happen if the CSA was enforced one hundred percent? What if all the civil disobedient turned in notarized confessions tomorrow? That is a double digit demographic. Even after years of spending more on prisons than on schools, the prisons don’t have that kind of sleeping capacity. Converting taxpayers into wards of the state mathematically increases the tax burden on the remainder. Higher tax burdens are not what the doctor is ordering at this time.

None of these substances are alleged to be as harmful as prison is. Granny’s justice is a saner benchmark. A kid caught with cigarettes must keep on smoking them, right then and there, until he or she has wretched. Drugs are sometimes accused of causing paranoia, but it is prohibition’s threat of loss of liberty, employment, and estate, that introduces paranoia. Apparently it is true that some of these substances do cause insanity, but the insanity is only in the minds of those who have never tried them.

There shall not be cruel and unusual punishment, says the Eighth Amendment. But here it is, in the CSA.

In the 1630’s, the pilgrims wrote home glowingly that the native hemp was superior to European varieties. Now, the government pretends it has a right to prohibit farmers from the husbandry of native hemp, but it so doesn’t. Could an offender get a plea-bargain, by rolling over on someone higher up in the organization? The farmer does nothing to nature’s seed that God Himself does not do when He provides it rain, sunlight, and decomposing earth. How can it be a crime to do as God does? Is the instigator to get off scot-free, while small users are selectively prosecuted?

God confesses, in Genesis 11-12, it was He who created the seed-bearing plants, on the second day. Then, He saw they were good. There you have it, the perpetrator shows no remorse about creating cannabis or mushrooms. Neither has He apologized for endowing humans with sensitive internal receptor sites which activate seductive mental effects in the presence of the scheduled molecules. Book Him, Dano.

Common Law must hold that humans are the legal owners of their own bodies. Men may dispose of their property as they please. It is none of Government’s business which substances its citizens prefer to stimulate themselves with. Men have a right to get drunk in their own homes, be it folly or otherwise. The usual caveats, against injury to others, or their estates, remain in effect.

The Declaration of Independence gets right to the point. The Pursuit Of Happiness is a self-evident, God-given, inalienable, right of man. The War On Drugs is, in reality, a war on the pursuit of happiness. Too bad the Declaration of Independence is not worth much in court.

Notwithstanding the failure of the Supreme Court to overturn the CSA, lawmakers can and should repeal the act. Lawmakers, please get to it now, in each house, without undue delay. Wake up.

Who has the guts to put America first and not prolong the tragedy?
We don’t need the CSA. The citizenry already has legal recourse for various injuries to itself and its estate, without invoking any War On Drugs. We should stop committing resources to ruin the lives of peaceful people who never injured anyone. If someone screws up at work, fire him or her for the screw-up. The Books still have plenty of laws on them, without this one.

Without the CSA, the empty prisons could conceivably be used to house the homeless. Homeland security might be able to use the choppers that won’t be needed for eradication. Maybe the negative numbers that will have to be used to bottom-line our legacy to the next generation can be less ginormous.

Cannabis has a stronger claim to the blessing of the state than do the sanctioned tobacco and alcohol. Cannabis does not have the deadly lung cancer of tobacco, nor the puking, hangover, and liver cirrhosis of alcohol. To the contrary, cannabis shows promise as an anti-tumor agent. Nor is cannabis associated with social problems like fighting and crashing cars. Cannabis-intoxication is usually too mellow for fighting, and impaired drivers typically drive within the limits of their impairment. The roads will be safer, if slower, for every driver that switches from drink to smoke. Coffee drinkers cause more serious accidents by zipping in and out of traffic and tailgating. To assure public safety on the road, cops need a kit to assess driving competence and alertness objectively. Perhaps science can develop a virtual reality simulator. Hopefully it could also detect drowsy, Alzheimer’s, and perhaps road-raging, drivers.

John McCain should recuse himself on the CSA repeal issue, due to the conflict of interest of potential competition for his family beer franchise. Both candidates have promised to end ‘failed programs’, but neither has issued a timetable, or a roadmap, for standing down on the WOD.

The debate how a crippled USA can manage ‘the two wars’ is blind. Hello, there are three, not two, wars. The War On Drugs has not let up, after 38 years of failure. Its costs are in the ballpark of the foreign wars. There is no lower-hanging, riper, or higher yielding budgetary fruit than to stop this third war, cold turkey. We are making new enemies faster than we are killing the old ones. We are losing old friends. In this national crisis of global humiliation, we should cut a little slack to those who still love the United States of America, no matter what they may be smoking.

Stave off national meltdown, by repeal of the CSA, this week, if possible. TIA.

Without the War On Drugs, Americans can come together as a people in ways that are not possible with so many of our best and brightest under threat of disenfranchisement.

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/773950_Call_for_Repeal_of_the_Controlled_Substances_Act_of_1970.html

Kentucky considering roadside driver drug tests

Mike Wynn, @MikeWynn_CJ 11:54 p.m. EDT September 16, 2015

DSC_0161

Above:  Schwendau, assistant director of Highway Safety Programs.

Right now, officials are only testing the kits for accuracy and reliability, administering them to volunteers after an arrest is complete. If they prove reliable, lawmakers say they will consider legislation next year to expand their use as a common part of police work.

Schwendau says police might soon use the swab kits in the same way they rely on roadside breath tests to identify drunken drivers, adding one more step to “remove that question of doubt” during a traffic stop.

Defense attorneys are more skeptical, warning that the tests could lead to invasive searches or give officers false pretense for arrests.

“They are chipping away at our rights — I just don’t know how else to put it,” said Larry “The DUI Guy” Forman, an attorney in Louisville who specializes in impaired driving cases.

Damon Preston, deputy public advocate at the Department of Public Advocacy, cautions that the courts still need to determine the reliability of the kits and what circumstances warrant their use in the field.

“The ease or simplicity of a sobriety test should never infringe upon the rights of persons to be free from unwarranted or invasive searches of their bodies,” he said.

The side of safety

The swabs don’t show a person’s level of impairment — only that drugs are present in their system. Supporters say Kentucky law would not allow them as evidence in court, and to build a case, police would still rely on the same process they currently use in investigations.

That typically involves a field sobriety test followed by an evaluation from a drug recognition expert, who is trained to monitor the suspect’s behavior and physical condition to determine their level of intoxication. Police also collect blood samples, which are much more conclusive.

Schwendau said the roadside tests could help police narrow down which drugs to test for in a blood sample. He said the kits already have proved successful in other states, particularity in California where authorities have upped the ante with digital devices precise enough to provide court evidence. That has saved the state money in the long run because more suspects are pleading out cases, he said.

On his website, Forman advises people to refuse field sobriety tests and breathalyzers to improve their chances of a successful defense in court. If swabs become commonplace in Kentucky, Forman says, drivers should refuse them as well.

One problem, he argues, could occur when people use drugs earlier in the day but are pulled over after the effects have worn off. He cited concerns that the swab could still test positive even though a driver is no longer under the influence.

Forman also questions how variations in temperature or allowing kits to sit in a hot police car for long periods might affect the results.

“It just gets really, really hairy, really fast,” he said.

But Schwendau points out that drivers who are not impaired will be vindicated in later tests. He also worries that while most people know it’s wrong to get behind the wheel drunk, many still think it’s OK to take an extra prescription pill before driving.

“We are doing it to save lives and get risks off the road,” he said. For police, “the best decision I think always is to err on the side of safety.”

Deadly risks

According to Kentucky State Police, authorities suspected that drugs were a factor in nearly 1,600 traffic collisions across the state last year, resulting in 939 injuries and 214 deaths.

In some areas struggling with epidemic drug abuse, high drivers are more common than drunken drivers, according to Van Ingram, head of the Office of Drug Control Policy. A lot of areas are having problems with drivers who are intoxicated on both drugs and alcohol, he said.

House Judiciary Chairman John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, said lawmakers will want to look at the highway safety office’s pilot project before putting forth any legislation. Still, he reasons that the swabs also could help exclude drivers who might otherwise fall suspect because they swerved accidentally.

Officials have distributed 100 kits for the pilot tests, which they hope to wrap up in October.

Schwendau said he will bring the results to a state task force on impaired driving along with the Governor’s Executive Committee on Highway Safety.

Even if the kits are approved and adopted, police face a cost of $7 per unit.

Schwendau said local communities would have to choose whether to use them since the kits are too expensive for the state to provide. But departments could apply for federal grants, he said.

“It’s not our place to force it on them,” Schwendau said. “We just want to offer them a better tool.”

Reporter Mike Wynn can be reached at (502) 875-5136. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeWynn_CJ.

CONTINUE READING…

Regarding kendra sams – "lodged" at laurel county corrections" in kentucky…

 

Ms. Kendra Sams,  29  years old, was being lodged at the Laurel County Corrections.

According to Facebook posts she suffered a seizure on July 12th which caused her to fall from the top bunk in her cell and land on the floor.  She was not given medical attention at that time.

At some point she was transferred to Casey County Corrections where her illness became acute.  Her Mother was apparently contacted and she was then transported to the Hospital.

Facebook Timeline Posts:

Roger Hoskins

August 18 at 12:18pm · Garrard, KY ·

 

I’m waking up to some heart breaking news out of the family and asking for all who can please pray

Roger Hoskins

August 18 at 3:10pm · Edited ·

 

Please be praying for Kendra Sams she’s going into surgery right now … This young lady didn’t deserve any of this and I’m confident that the story will be told soon…. Please now all the family ask is to be praying

Roger Hoskins added 2 new photos.

August 18 at 7:15pm · Garrard, KY ·

 

These picture are of Kendra Sams and this is not even the Justice this young lady has suffered .. She’s has much more going I inside her… And is in critical condition at UK hospital … She’s in bad shape according to family who is with her when I am updated on her condition I will pass it along .. The family ask for prayers and this should have never ever happen to anyone else

Roger Hoskins

August 18 at 7:49pm · Garrard, KY ·

 

Update on Kendra they have 3 drain tubes in her and not sure one will work right but already pulled 2 ounces of infection out of her back but keeping her sedated until tomorrow to do more test … No one is allowed to see her till tomorrow so please keep praying

Roger Hoskins

Yesterday at 3:36am · Garrard, KY ·

 

They have started a feeding tube on Kendra and a temp of 102 … Doctors said that the next 72 hour will be very critical… So keep prayers coming and I have had a lot ask what happened… Right now the families focus is on Kendra … All they need is prayers but I promise this story will be told .. Thank for all the praying that’s going on and as always it’s in Gods hands ..

Roger Hoskins

Yesterday at 1:37pm · Garrard, KY ·

 

The story is coming out …. Please pray for Kendra the doctors are hoping she last throughout the day

Roger Hoskins added 4 new photos.

Yesterday at 3:19pm · Edited ·

 

This all started at Lcdc and she was sent to Casey county jail with the out come being her fighting for her life …. On July 12th she had a seizure a few weeks later she was sent to Casey county detention center will little or no medicinal help … Her mother was called to come get her and this is now her daughter returned home to her …. Don’t know if she will see tomorrow… Please pray….

Roger Hoskins

17 hrs · Edited ·

 

So thankful for Facebook this night as my post for Kendra has brought some light on all this but most of all I wanna thank the people who are brave and step up in behalf of Kendra … That is why Facebook is a valuable tool … As of 2 am there is no changes in her … I wanna thank each person who has shared this and by all means please continue to do so … This family deserves answers ! This could be your family member……………I will not disclose their name but here is a tid bit of information ……………..

My sister was in the cell with this girl in Casey co jail! She needed medical attention from day 1 this could be anyone’s family member please share this lets raise awareness

Michelle Jackson

11 hrs ·

 

Update on Kendra!!!!!!
She is still in critical condition they are having trouble keeping her BP up still and now they’re having to give her blood (1pint) so far… Please keep prayers coming.. TIA

— with Roger Hoskins and 8 others at UK ICU.

Michelle Jackson

3 hrs ·

 

Look what the Lord has done…. GLORY GLORY GLORY I PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME THANK YOU SWEET JESUS!!!! SHE MOVED HER MOUTH AND TOLD HER MOMMY SHE LOVED HER!!!!!!! HALLELUJAH!!!!!!! KING JESUS I KNOW YOU HEAR ME WHEN I PRAY

— with Roger Hoskins and 9 others at UK ICU.

Michelle Jackson's photo.

Roger Hoskins

2 hrs ·

 

Please keep sharing my post maybe someone seen something and will step forward for Kendra Sams … This needs media attention to get to the bottom of this

Roger Hoskins

6 hrs · Edited ·

 

The family knows she is not perfect but to see this after being in 2 jails and her mother was called to come get her only to go into uk hospital is sad this is Kendra Sams if anyone was in her cell with her in laurel or Casey county please get ahold of this family … We are looking for answers to what happened .. This is truly sad … We have tried to contact all media but no help as yet so family has no choice but turn to social media .. Any information is appreciated …please share

***

It is currently 8/20/15 at 10:30pm and I am awaiting a call from Roger Hoskins who is willing to fill in the gaps in this atrocity which has happened under the watch of  “Kentucky Corrections “.

We can only hope and pray that Kendra Sams receives the justice that the State of Kentucky owes her because of this horrific ordeal.  She is not out of ICU yet.   She is currently still fighting for her life.

It never should have happened.

ANYONE who is incarcerated is entitled to receive healthcare under the Justice Department.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=401505606710487&set=pcb.401506100043771&type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/roger.hoskins2

human brain grown in a jar? apparently, yes…

Modern science is the stuff of a Frankenstein nightmare with the promise of growing a brain in a jar

Can you grow a brain in a jar? Scientists claim they’ve done just that. And the implication could not be more chilling

By John Nash For The Daily Mail

Published: 19:09 EST, 20 August 2015 | Updated: 20:04 EST, 20 August 2015

This is the stuff of Frankenstein nightmares. Imagine yourself as a functioning brain kept in a laboratory jar. White-coated scientists are torturing you by feeding an endless stream of terrifying images and sensations into your nervous system.

Even if you could cry out for help — no one could legally come to your rescue.

For years, philosophers have pondered the ethics of conducting such Nazi-style experiments, as a theoretical basis for moral arguments. But this issue is no longer theoretical. The age of a human brain in a jar is fast becoming reality.

This week, American biologists announced that they had crossed a critical threshold in the science of growing a human brain and keeping it alive in a laboratory.

Rene Anand, a professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State University, astonished military experts by announcing that his team has successfully grown a near-exact replica of a five-week-old foetus’s brain.

It is only about the size of a pencil rubber. But it contains 99 pc of the cells that would exist in the brain of a human foetus, making it the most fully formed brain ‘model’ ever engineered.

It even has its own spinal cord and the beginnings of an eye, Professor Anand told the 2015 Military Health System Research Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

He has engineered the brain using stem-cell technology, which involved turning adult skin cells into stem cells which are capable of growing into any type of body tissue. It is a breakthrough that paves the way to cloning human brains.

The work is not finished. Prof Anand now plans to continue growing his lab brain until it resembles that of a 12-week-old fetus.

RELATED

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3205485/Can-grow-brain-jar-Scientists-claim-ve-just-implication-not-chilling.html#ixzz3jRiUwp00
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3205485/Can-grow-brain-jar-Scientists-claim-ve-just-implication-not-chilling.html#ixzz3jRiNhacE
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For some in the South, defying medical marijuana laws is the Lord’s work

By Quint Forgey, News21 August 19 at 6:30 AM

Image result for For some in the South, defying medical marijuana laws is the Lord’s work

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles on the legalization of marijuana, produced in partnership with the 2015 Carnegie-Knight News21 national student reporting project.

CHESTER, S.C. — She lives in the wooden house her grandfather built more than a century ago in Chester, S.C., a rural community about a two-hour drive southeast of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The cluttered home is dimly lit and not air-conditioned, with the low hum of floor fans filling in rare lulls in conversation. Two chihuahuas, Cricket and Joe, scuttle around Ada Jones’s feet as she peers down through her eyeglasses at the iPad in her hands.

The tablet looks conspicuously out of place among the black-and-white photos hanging on the walls and the dangling, beaded divider into the next room. It serves as her connection to the outside world, as well as the outside world’s connection to Jones.

If someone needs medical marijuana, they contact her over the Internet.

Jones encourages those who reach out to her to purchase marijuana illegally and make their own cannabis oil. If they’re unsuccessful, she puts them in contact with a supplier who can sell them a more refined product.

“It’s almost like playing God,” Jones said. “If somebody contacts me, I have to look at them and wonder. I wonder if that’s police first, not if I can help their kid. I try not to do that, but you have to because you’re scared.”

Jones helps everyone she can, whether they be young mothers of epileptic children or older patients suffering from chronic pain. Her specific brand of civil disobedience, like so many other facets of Southern life, is captained by her faith.

“They talk about the South being the Bible belt, and praise the Lord we are,” Jones said. “I cannot not help somebody. I have to. As a Christian, that’s what I’m here for.”

Many Southern states have a long and failed history with medical marijuana, mired deep in forgotten statutes and a lost generation of patients. Only recently, as the marijuana movement sweeps through statehouses, have those laws become political tinder for a new debate in the Old South.

CONTINUE READING….

400-plus People Running for U.S. President

 

usmjpIN

 

 

 

Friday, June 26, 2015 :: Staff infoZine

By Quentin Misiag – Thirteen Republicans. Four Democrats.

Washington, DC – infoZine – Scripps Howard Foundation Wire – A growing list of contenders have tossed their hats in the political ring for the 2016 race to the White House.
But the official tally spans longer than the 17 most talked-about political brands of this cycle.

Like over 400 candidates longer.

As of Thursday, 419 Americans seeking the presidency had filed a Form 2 statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. In the last week alone, 18 new candidates have joined the lineup.

 

Jill Stein, a 2016 Green Party presidential candidate, discusses her “Power to the People Plan” campaign platform during a press conference Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington. SFHWire photo by Quentin Misiag

Thomas Keister, a blogger and author from Clarksville, Ind., is lighting up his long-shot White House bid on two decidedly different levels: promoting marijuana bong rips and trolling New York business magnate Donald Trump on Twitter.

Over 1,000 miles away, Silvia Stagg of Miami is mounting her campaign on the niche topic of life-extension. Stagg favors expanded research and medicinal techniques in hospitals that would slow or reverse the human aging process.

Keister and Stagg represent a narrow sliver of afterthought politicians who are choosing to go head-to-head against the 17 mainstream choices thus far: Democrats Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, as well as Republicans Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump.

Most filed as independents, while many are Republicans or Democrats.

Others are far more tongue in cheek.

William Richardson of Las Vegas registered with the FEC under the Helluva Party.

Under the National Born Citizen Party, there are Christopher Strunk and Harold Van Allen, both of New York State.

There’s no deadline to file as a candidate with the FEC, but states have explicit filing deadlines so they can prepare ballots.

Politicians officially transition from presumptive to declared candidate when they send in FEC forms.

“You can file at any time, but once you raise or spend $5,000, you’re required to file,” Christian Hilland, an FEC spokesman, said.
The Constitution says presidents must be at least 35 years old when they take office and be natural born U.S. citizens.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia allow presidential write-in candidates. Hawaii, Nevada, South Dakota, South Carolina and Oklahoma do not.
By sheer number, these underdog candidates have 2016’s most popular pols surrounded.

On the other hand, most lack the deep-pocket allies who can reel in big dollars, according to a review of FEC records.
Take Keister, 39, the founder of DasUberBlog!
“I have not raised a single dollar since declaring on Jan. 1 that I was getting into this,” said Keister, the lone candidate running in the American Marijuana Party.
Keister is one distant contender with a noticeable social media presence. He has more Twitter followers than Chaffee, the former Rhode Island senator and governor who launched his bid June 3.
Asked about which of the leading pols he and his campaign platform could beat, Keister fired off: “Most of them.”
Several, including Keister, said they plan to skip Iowa and New Hampshire, a pair of the early presidential picking states seen as crucial to locking up early voter momentum.
“I have not raised a single dollar since declaring on Jan. 1 that I was getting into this,” Keister said.
Keister’s launch came largely from what he called a prime example of government gridlock: Construction of the new Ohio River Bridges Project in greater Louisville, Ky., that was the culmination of 50 years of legal wrangling.

 

And if it seems that interest in running for title of America’s leading political leader has surged in recent years, that’s because it has.
The number of candidates has already surpassed the 2012 election list, when 417 people filed during the two-year presidential reporting process.
In 2004, 224 people filed as a presidential candidates. Four years later, that number grew to 367, an increase of more than 60 percent.
Leonard Steinhorn, a professor of public communication and history at American University, attributes the climb over the last four election cycles to the ease of information access spurred largely by the growth in mobile email and the “sharing society.”

“This is the sort of the media age we’re living in where everybody has a chance to tell their story,” said Steinhorn, whose expertise includes the presidency, strategic communication and the media. “Does it mean it they have a prayer to win? No, not at all.”

Although they are dark horse choices, some of these lesser-known candidates have found some success in past political pursuits.
Vermin Supreme of New Hampshire, placed third in the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 2012 with 833 votes. Supreme, who is known for wearing a boot as a hat and carrying a large toothbrush, hinged his campaign on zombie apocalypse awareness and time travel research.

“I’m not holding my breath, but I’m not discounting it either,” Stein said.

Take Jill Stein, a darling of the Green Party. On Tuesday she launched her 2016 bid in an attempt to rekindle the trail she tread four years ago.

“I’m not holding my breath, but I’m not discounting it either,” Stein, a physician, said of her pursuit, dubbed the “Power to the People Plan.” She announced in an address to reporters at the National Press Club.
Stein’s newest platform is based mainly on the Green Party New Deal, an ambitious road map for domestic energy independence. It would provide millions of jobs by transitioning to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030, she said.

And then there’s Stagg, who said political alliances with high-level Republicans are the necessary backbone for gaining real political traction.
Stagg said she has spent years courting Rubio, Paul and Fiorina at conservative meet-ups, including the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
But now, she says she’s ready to take them on in her own attempt to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“I have Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, who will never institute socioeconomic programs,” Stagg, a backer of raising the U.S. minimum wage equal to an annual salary of $100,000, said. “It’s easy to say, ‘Hi how are you, Hillary?’ and before you know it, they’ve got your cash in their hand.”

Should her bid take hold, Stagg said she would make the American dollar the worldwide currency, enact a flat federal income tax of 10 percent and work to eliminate poverty in the U.S.
While many long-shot choices have kept to establishing their brands on social media exclusively, some, including Arthur Herbert Brooks Jr., have created websites to help foster a stronger following.
His site has all the basics of a typical online presidential presence. A tagline, “Everyday People for America,” is clearly defined, and donation tabs and an official campaign announcement video dot the page.
However the website features stock images and incomplete details, including broken links.

In his June 8 filing to the FEC, Paul DeLong of Williamsport, Pa., outlined his former job as a grassroots team leader. He claimed he is a veteran campaign operative for the Bush political family.
In a letter to FEC officials, DeLong said: “I feel that I am more than capable of running my own campaign at this time once I announce myself to some Republican Committees. I am hoping that one of them may pick me up.”

In the face of disappointing support, at least one politician has decided to pull out of the pursuit.

Brian Cole, a Pennsylvania Republican who rolled out his 2016 presidential plan five years ago, recently disbanded the endeavor.
Cole said he will now direct his attention to becoming a U.S. ambassador to Iceland, Chile, Spain, Norway or Madagascar.

But with party names such as American Marijuana Party and Democratic-Farm-Labor, these far less known candidates say they’ve got some political bite to them and aren’t backing down.
At least, not yet.

“The only problem I have is getting myself a vice president,” Stagg said.

CONTINUE READING….

Land of the Unfree – Police and Prosecutors Fight Aggressively to Retain Barbaric Right of “Civil Asset Forfeiture”

Image result for infowars logo

 

Their effort, at least at the state level, appears to be working

 

Efforts to limit seizures of money, homes and other property from people who may never be convicted of a crime are stalling out amid a wave of pressure from prosecutors and police.

Their effort, at least at the state level, appears to be working. At least a dozen states considered bills restricting or even abolishing forfeiture that isn’t accompanied by a conviction or gives law enforcement less control over forfeited proceeds. But most measures failed to pass.

– From the Wall Street Journal article: Efforts to Curb Asset Seizures by Law Enforcement Hit Headwinds

In a nutshell, civil forfeiture is the practice of confiscating items from people, ranging from cash, cars, even homes based on no criminal conviction or charges, merely suspicion. This practice first became widespread for use against pirates, as a way to take possession of contraband goods despite the fact that the ships’ owners in many cases were located thousands of miles away and couldn’t easily be prosecuted. As is often the case, what starts out reasonable becomes a gigantic organized crime ring of criminality, particularly in a society where the rule of law no longer exists for the “elite,” yet anything goes when it comes to pillaging the average citizen.

One of the major reasons these programs have become so abused is that the police departments themselves are able to keep much of the confiscated money. So they actually have a perverse incentive to steal. As might be expected, a program that is often touted as being effective against going after major drug kingpins, actually targets the poor and disenfranchised more than anything else.

Civil asset forfeiture is state-sanctioned theft. There is no other way around it. The entire concept violates the spirit of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments to the Constitution. In case you have any doubt:

The 4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The 5th Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The 6th Amendment: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Civil asset forfeiture is a civil rights issue, and it should be seen as such by everyone. Just because it targets the entire population as opposed to a specific race, gender or sexual orientation doesn’t make it less important.

The problem with opposition in America today is that people aren’t seeing modern battle lines clearly. The greatest friction and abuse occurring in these United States today comes from the corporate-fascist state’s attack against average citizens. It doesn’t matter what color or gender you are. If you are weak, poor and vulnerable you are ripe for the picking. Until people see the battle lines clearly, it will be very difficult to achieve real change. Most people are divided and conquered along their superficial little tribal affiliations, and they completely miss the bigger picture to the peril of society. Which is why women will support Hillary just because she’s a woman, not caring in the least that she is a compromised, corrupt oligarch stooge.

In case you have any doubt about how little your opinion matters when it comes to the rights of police to rob you blind, read the following excerpts from the Wall Street Journal:

Efforts to limit seizures of money, homes and other property from people who may never be convicted of a crime are stalling out amid a wave of pressure from prosecutors and police.

Read that sentence over and over again until you get it. This is a free country?

Critics have taken aim at the confiscatory powers over concerns that authorities have too much latitude and often too strong a financial incentive when deciding whether to seize property suspected of being tied to criminal activity.

But after New Mexico passed a law this spring hailed by civil-liberties groups as a breakthrough in their effort to rein in states’ forfeiture programs, prosecutor and police associations stepped up their own lobbying campaign, warning legislators that passing such laws would deprive them of a potent crime-fighting tool and rip a hole in law-enforcement budgets.

Their effort, at least at the state level, appears to be working. At least a dozen states considered bills restricting or even abolishing forfeiture that isn’t accompanied by a conviction or gives law enforcement less control over forfeited proceeds. But most measures failed to pass.

“What happened in those states is a testament to the power of the law-enforcement lobby,” said Scott Bullock, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leaning advocacy group that has led a push for laws giving property owners more protections.

It seems the only people in America without a powerful lobby group are actual American citizens. See: Charting the American Oligarchy – How 0.01% of the Population Contributes 42% of All Campaign Cash

Prosecutors say forfeiture laws help ensure that drug traffickers, white-collar thieves and other wrongdoers can’t enjoy the fruits of their misdeeds and help curb crime by depriving criminals of the “tools” of their trade. Under federal law and in many states, a conviction isn’t required.

“White-collar thieves,” they say. Yet I haven’t seen a single bank executive’s assets confiscated. Rather, they received taxpayer bailout funds with which to pay themselves record bonuses after wrecking the global economy. Don’t forget:

The U.S. Department of Justice Handles Banker Criminals Like Juvenile Offenders…Literally

In Texas, lawmakers introduced more than a dozen bills addressing forfeiture during this year’s legislative session, which ended Monday. Some would either force the government to meet a higher burden of proof or subject forfeiture programs to more stringent financial disclosure rules and audits.

But only one bill, which law-enforcement officials didn’t object to, ultimately passed. It requires the state attorney general to publish an annual report of forfeited funds based on data submitted by local authorities. That information, at the moment, is only accessible through freedom-of-information requests.

This is what a corporate-statist oligarchy looks like.

Shannon Edmonds, a lobbyist for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, said local enforcement officers and prosecutors “educated their legislators about how asset forfeiture really works in Texas.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan last month vetoed a bill that would, among other things, prohibit the state from turning over seized property to the federal government unless the owner has been charged with a federal crime or gives consent.

Remember, the terrorists hate us for our freedom.

Prosecutors said the Tenaha episode was an isolated breakdown in the system. “Everybody knows there are bad eggs out there,” Karen Morris, who supervises the Harris County district attorney’s forfeiture unit, told Texas lawmakers at a hearing this spring. “But we don’t stop prosecuting people for murder just because some district attorneys have made mistakes.”

When police aren’t out there stealing your hard earned assets without a trial or charges, they can often be found pounding on citizens for kicks. I came across the following three headlines this morning alone as I was the scanning news.

Cop Exonerated After Being Caught on Video Brutally Beating A Tourist Who Asked For A Tampon

Kids in Police-Run Youth Camp Allegedly Beaten, Threatened By Cops

Florida Cop Charged With On-Duty Child Abuse; Suspended With Pay

This is not what freedom looks like.

For related articles, see:

The DEA Strikes Again – Agents Seize Man’s Life Savings Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Charges

Asset Forfeiture – How Cops Continue to Steal Americans’ Hard Earned Cash with Zero Repercussions

Quote of the Day – An Incredible Statement from the City Attorney of Las Cruces, New Mexico

“Common People Do Not Carry This Much U.S. Currency…” – This is How Police Justify Stealing American Citizens’ Money

CONTINUE TO "INFOWARS"….

RFRA and Church of Cannabis: Partake or bust?

-031_levin.JPG_20150520.jpg

 

J&C readers 12:14 p.m. EDT May 22, 2015

Question: Bill Levin, an Indianapolis resident, said he plans to hold the first services of his newly created, marijuana-devoted First Church of Cannabis on July 1, the day Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act goes into effect, to test the new law. How should police and the state handle the situation?

• They should ignore it. The war on (some) drugs has been an unqualified failure, needlessly destroying countless lives and trashing the precepts of our Constitution. Considering that the original federal RFRA was passed to protect the religious use of peyote, I think this is a perfect response.

Rob Keeney

Flora

• Arrest him, and let him try his defense. I assume that’s what he’s expecting. Surely he’s not as stupid as the people who attacked RFRA as if it gave carte blanche.

Roger Bennett

Lafayette

• This is why we have the Establishment Clause: the minute you start getting the government mucking around with religion — as RFRA does — you get into all sorts of nasty corners, like this one. The law is pretty clear the state cannot interfere with their religious behavior, so this this is an example of "hoist on one’s own petard" in action.

Brian Capouch

Monon

• Presumably he will be supported by all Christians who supported the law in the first place. The police should go investigate real crimes. Be careful what you wish for, Christians, you might get it.

Mark D. Rumps

Lafayette

• I don’t think drug use is covered under the law. I say bust him.

Mark Acles

Lafayette

• Well, they wanted to protect "religious freedom" with this law, didn’t they? Since when should the government determine what qualifies as a religion? This is what happens when we try to mix church and state.

Noemi Ybarra

Lafayette

• Abe Lincoln asked, "If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs would it have?" His answer: "Four. Calling the tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg." Calling a criminal enterprise a church does not make it a church and should be punished as a crime.

Tom Haynie

Buffalo

• If you think this case is a problem, be glad they amended this monstrosity, or Indiana would be headed toward daily media humiliation. This case is directly similar to the one that started the federal RFRA.

Randy Studt

Lafayette

• I thought the new law was to protect the religious rights of all people? How about the Flat Earth Society? I have it from good authority that in the Star Trek Universe, there is a Flat Universe Society.

Furman A. Powell

Lafayette

• The media created the controversy by exaggerating RFRA to make Gov. Mike Pence look bad. They got their wish. Liberals tend to be the master of unintended consequences, so most rational Indiana residents already expected this type of action. Expect more legislation, more unintended consequences, more wasted tax dollars.

Dan Sommers

West Lafayette

• Join them. Sarcastically, it’s pretty much like I said when you asked a very similar question last December before the state legislature convened: "You’ll see recreation marijuana legalized long before selling ‘to go’ alcohol on a Sunday."

John Kuntz

Fowler

• Any law enforcement or state officials that show up should "take communion" just like everyone else attending the service.

Bryce Culverhouse

Lafayette

• Close the church down, it is illegal in the state of Indiana.

Carolyn Foust

Lafayette

• Shut him down and treat him to a period of time in jail. He is trying an illegal scam, and it will not work.

Harold Williams

Shadeland

• The exact opposite of how they probably will handle it. Honest to goodness.

Mike Dudgeon

Lafayette

• I think it is obvious — if it fits the law, then leave them alone.

Pat Rund

Romney

• This is what no one needs. This is Indiana, for goodness sake. Obviously, one of the more conservative states and this sort of weirdness only makes the underlying message more difficult to get out and for the public and for businesses to take seriously.

Bill Cochran

Lafayette

• If he is following the RFRA, and if the act is to allow religious freedom, what can they do? There is nothing in the law to prevent this church from practicing the rites of its religion.

Mary Finnegan

Lafayette

• Let Bill worship his idol, pot. But, should Bill or any of his followers hurt someone when "all hopped up on dope," the penalty is clear. Bill claims no faith in religion; me, either. My faith is in Jesus, who said, "No one comes to the father but through me."

Jon Held

Lafayette

• Lock them up and throw away the key.

Jack Lahrman

Sheffield Township

• The police and the state should attend the church of their choice.

David B. Dobbin

West Lafayette

• Why should the police or the state get involved unless their newfound religion is infringing on someone’s rights? The less we have Big Brother controlling our thoughts and actions, the more liberty and freedom citizens can preserve.

Edward Priest

Battle Ground

• Under the law for Indiana and marijuana, this would be a criminal act. Indiana police and the state should treat this fairly, as any one who breaks the law. I would hope the dealer’s arrested and faces Indiana courts, as anyone who commits a criminal act.

Shelby Branstetter

Lafayette

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Pity the poor storm troopers; Baby Bou Bou ambushed them

Posted on May 18, 2015 by William N. Grigg

Bou Bou Phonesavanh

This article was published originally by Pro Libertate

It was the baby’s fault that he was nearly burned to death in his own crib.

Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh was barely a year and a half old, just learning to walk and unable to speak, but those limitations didn’t stop him from engaging in “deliberate, criminal conduct” that justified the 2 a.m. no-knock SWAT raid in which he was nearly killed.

The act of sleeping in a room about to be breached by a SWAT team constituted “criminal” conduct on the part of the infant. At the very least, the infant was fully liable for the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on him when Habersham County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Long blindly heaved a flash-bang grenade — a “destructive device,” as described by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, that when detonated burns at 2,000 to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit — into the crib.

Merely by being in that room, Bou Bou had assumed the risk of coming under attack by a SWAT team. By impeding the trajectory of that grenade, rather than fleeing from his crib, Bou Bou failed to “avoid the consequences” of that attack.

In any case, Bou Bou, along with his parents and his siblings, are fully and exclusively to blame for the injuries that nearly killed the child and left the family with more than $1 million in medical bills. The SWAT team that invaded the home in Cornelia, Georgia, on the basis of a bogus anonymous tip that a $50 drug transaction had occurred there is legally blameless.

This is the defense presented by Haberham County Sheriff Joey Terrell and his comrades in their reply to a federal lawsuit filed last February on behalf of Bou Bou and his family.

The lawsuit demands that the county make good on its initial offer to pay the medical expenses arising from the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on the child — and the significant but non-life-threatening injury suffered by his father — during the 2 a.m. home invasion that took place nearly a year ago. It also seeks suitable compensation to the family for the criminal mistreatment they suffered in the course of a Soviet-grade atrocity.

Nearly every lawsuit begets a “defendant’s reply” disputing all of the factual allegations and legal claims presented by the plaintiffs. Where the defendants are law enforcement officers, the objective is to build a case that the actions of the officers were “reasonable” and in compliance with established “policies and procedures” — and thus protected by “qualified immunity.” From this perspective, the assailants are innocent of all liability even though they did everything wrong — and the victims are fully to blame even though they did nothing wrong.

No evidence of any illegal conduct was found at the home as a result of the raid. The front yard and driveway of the residence abounded in evidence that children lived there — evidence so clear and compelling that even a police officer would have recognized it. The search and arrest warrant was issued at about 2 p.m. in the afternoon on May 27; this offered plenty of time for the vigilant and capable personnel of the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office to conduct surveillance of the targeted residence and even to arrest the suspect in more conventional fashion, assuming that this was necessary and justified.

The subject of the warrant, Wanis Thonetheva, was not at the residence when the storm troopers arrived. He was arrested on narcotics charges several hours later, in broad daylight and in unremarkable fashion, “at his actual place of residence, without any resistance and without the use of a flashbang stun grenade,” the lawsuit recalls.

At the time that arrest was being made, Bou Bou’s parents were just absorbing the horror of what had been done to the toddler by the assailants who had broken into their temporary home without cause and kidnapped the gravely wounded child.

Bou Bou’s father — in agony from a torn rotator cuff that resulted from being assaulted, thrown to the floor and shackled by one of the invaders — noticed some blood in the empty crib. The screaming child had been seized by the berserkers and taken away. The frantic parents were not allowed access to the traumatized and bleeding child — “officer safety” uber alles, you know. To cover the abduction, one of the officers on the scene did what comes naturally to highly trained police officers: He hastily improvised a self-serving lie.

“The parents were told by officers on the search team that their son had a tooth dislodged as a result of the search and that the blood that the parents saw in or about the area of the crib was due to the alleged tooth issue,” recounts the lawsuit. The parents “did not know the extent of their son’s injuries (and were not provided truthful information about them by the Plaintiffs) until they were told at the Hospital where their son was taken that he was in a coma.”

Yes, it is possible that one of the infant’s newly cut teeth had been “dislodged” by the stun grenade. What the people responsible for that act of abhorrent criminal violence did not mention was that the toddler also suffered “severe blast burn injuries to the face and chest; a complex laceration of the nose, upper lip and face, twenty percent of the right upper lip [was] missing; the external nose [was] separated from the underlying bone; and a large avulsion burn into the chest with a resulting left pulmonary contusion and sepsis.”

The sheriff’s underlings told Bou Bou’s parents that they had knocked out one of the baby’s teeth. They actually blew off his face and gouged a hole in his chest. Exhibit B in the lawsuit is an unbearable hospital photograph of the child in a medically induced coma immediately after the attack. The defendant’s reply to that piece of evidence is a denial that the photograph “accurately depicts the injuries allegedly sustained” by the infant.

Even if that photograph is a reliable depiction of those injuries, the baby only had himself to blame, according to Terrell and his band of privileged cretins.

Bou Bou is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, with his parents listed as co-plaintiffs. When the defendants claim that the damages caused to the child, “if any,” were “directly and proximately caused by the contributory and comparative negligence of the plaintiffs and their failure to exercise ordinary care,” they are blaming the baby for not foreseeing the possibility that he would be attacked by a SWAT team at 2 a.m. and burned alive in his crib.

When the defendants seek to deflect blame by claiming that “the deliberate, criminal conduct of [the] plaintiffs … supersedes any and all negligence or liability, if any, on the part of these defendants,” they are pretending to believe that the 19-month-old child was part of a criminal conspiracy.

In its “eleventh defense,” Terrell and his brownshirts let everything fly, invoking the doctrines of “assumption of the risk, failure to avoid consequences, laches, failure to mitigate damages, last clear chance, and sudden emergency.”

Reduced to its putrid essence, this compound defense amounts to a single claim: If you live anywhere within the claimed jurisdiction of a federally subsidized einsatzgruppe like the Mountain Judicial Circuit Narcotics Criminal Investigation and Suppression Team, then you are fair game for an after-midnight military raid, and you have only yourself to blame once it happens.

It doesn’t matter that the raid is the product of a dishonestly obtained search warrant issued on the basis of an anonymous tip from a petty criminal, or that no evidence of illegal activity was ever discovered. If your home is torn apart and your infant is nearly killed, you alone are responsible; and the gallant agents of public order cannot be held liable. This is true even in cases like that of the Phonesavanh family, who sought a temporary home with a relative in Georgia after their house in Wisconsin was claimed by a fire.

This is all covered by the “sucks to be you” provision of the “If you’re not a cop, you’re little people” doctrine.

Bobbing like feculent flotsam in the puddle of sewage that is the defendants’ “eleventh defense” is the term “laches,” which refers to an impermissible delay by a plaintiff in bringing forward a claim for damages.

This obviously doesn’t apply to the conduct of the Phonesavanh family in this case. They filed a timely notice of tort claim, and then proceeded to file the lawsuit after the Habersham County grand jury refused to hold the sheriff and his minions accountable — and after the county government broke its promise to pay for Bou Bou’s medical treatment.

The origins and usage of that obscure and archaic legal term do offer some insight about the way Bou Bou’s would-be murderers see themselves and their victim.

“Laches” is a term embodying the ancient legal maxim that “equity favors the vigilant, and not those who have slumbered on their rights.” Defendants who appeal to this oft-cited and little-applied concept are accusing plaintiffs of subjecting them to a form of “legal ambush.”

What Terrell and his cornpone chekists are claiming, in effect, is that while he was sleeping, Baby Bou Bou ambushed them.

–William N. Grigg

(My sincere thanks to the heroic Rev. John Pittman Hey for PACER research on this case.)

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