Thursday, February 26, 2015

Degrees of legality: managing marijuana

Tuesday recreational marijuana became legal in Alaska. By Tuesday night Anchorage police had arrested three people for smoking it in public.

In more than 40 years of life in Alaska I had only heard of one other arrest for smoking pot in public and that was Irwin Ravin who toked up in the police station wanting to be arrested so he could begin the legal action that led to the first legalization of marijuana in the state. That legalization allowed a personal amount based on protection of the individual's right to privacy derived from an Alaska Supreme Court decision.

According to the new law, officials have nine months to come up with permanent regulations regarding sale and use of weed. In the meantime local officials have been passing a hodgepodge of regulations allowed by the original ballot measure that let municipalities opt out of some provisions of the law, particularly involving growing and sale. Meanwhile no one can sell it and no one is allowed to buy or barter for it.

For instance, in Wasilla, you can't bake pot into brownies. Apparently you can bring in brownies baked somewhere else. Also there is some confusion as to how much a person can transport. According to the law an adult may have one ounce in possession. However in Wasilla if the police pull over a car with four people in it, there can only be two ounces in the car, not four ounces, one for each individual. A fun aspect of the Wasilla rules is you have to cease immediately if your smoke bothers someone else. Mind you probably half the houses in Wasilla have wood stoves and there has never been an uproar over that smoke.

Anchorage also has adopted some regulations one of which doesn't allow the reduction into oils. Another is the restriction against smoking in public along with a long list of what constitutes a public place.

The problem with all this, what is bothersome, is establishing how marijuana will be allowed has been left up to people who have opposed legalization for years, people in city councils, city assemblies and people in the state legislature. Voters passed the referendum by a large margin but it seems now the politicians will whittle it down until there is little freedom left.

A side benefit, and part of the winning argument, has been that legalizing marijuana would eliminate a number of arrests for minor non-violent violations that lead to backlogs in courts and overcrowding in prisons, along with the costs of those results, and also allow police to focus on more serious and violent crimes.

It may have been the letter of the law but certainly not the spirit for police to actually target people smoking in public, which they obviously did the Tuesday marijuana was first legal. What's amazing is given the celebratory nature of the day they couldn't find 100 people to put in jail for OMG toking up in public. And can anybody doubt with the three arrests that day that police weren't looking for smokers to bust? Consuming alcohol in public is also a crime. How many people drinking in public did the police arrest that same day?

It remains to be seen what the legislature and then local government will come up with for regulations, but if they are anything like what has been adopted so far legal marijuana isn't going to be as legal as what people imagined when we voted. Instead the old paranoia will continue as you light up and then wonder if you are on the right side of a city border, or if you have more than an ounce, or if this place is public and any of a dozen, maybe hundreds of nitpicking restrictions apply. And rest assured taxpayers will foot the bill for prosecution and incarceration of the violators.

It's really about time these obstructionist tea bag politicians started paying attention to their constituents and serving the public rather than the vested monied interests. Instead of looking for all the ways they can find to slow progress, these elected officials need to heed the desires of the public and look for ways to make legalization work with the least amount of restriction possible. Taxing legal sellers could go a long way toward bolstering weakened government budgets if they do.

Meanwhile police could stop targeting smokers and look toward serious crimes.

Or maybe we'll just have to go have a drink to celebrate.

Comment from Facebook:
Tim, we're both familiar with the lovely purple haze that hung permanently over Talkeetna and Trapper Creek during the mid 70's and 80's...and thickened to an impenetrable fog over Town Park on warm summer nights...and especially on Blue Grass weekends...good days...and better nights. A time when a major economic engine in this Valley was pot cultivation and sled dogs. I smile to think of do-gooder politicians who have no experience of that once parallel universe trying to organize the new law out of existence. They're doomed to fail. I might just reallocate garden space this summer...cut back on veggies. Got any good seed? Joe May

No comments:

Post a Comment

Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve