Pubdate: Wed, 25 Mar 2015
Source: Seattle Weekly (WA)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2015 Village Voice Media
Author: Michael A. Stusser


Passing the Dutchie to the Right This Time.

The idea of Higher Ground is to "elevate the dialogue," and thus it's 
important to remain open-minded to individuals and organizations on 
all sides of the marijuana-legalization conversation. With that in 
mind, let's light the peace pipe and reach the roach across the aisle.

WHAT WOULD JESUS DOO-BIE? Strongly opposing marijuana legislation are 
activists Alan Gordon and Anne Armstrong, who made headlines by 
bum-rushing a press conference supporting a new state legalization 
bill in Rhode Island. The duo aren't against the notion of legal 
weed, but instead believe that taxing the plant is against the 
teachings of the Bible, and Satanic. They take issue with the 
language of the law, claiming medical use of cannabis (which they 
believe is the Biblical plant called "kaneh-bos") outweighs any laws, 
restrictions, or taxes.

" 'Marihuana' is a slang term popularized by William Randolph Hearst 
in his 'yellow journalism' Reefer Madness-type propaganda," Armstrong 
told "To pass laws about 'cannabis,' the plant 
specified in the Bible as essential to the Holy Anointing Oil, as 
'marijuana' is as offensive to me as would be a law referring to 
'Equal Pay for Bimbos.' "

Gordon and Armstrong will be planting fields of the sacred herb in 
National Parks this summer, and dedicating them to religious freedom.

Praise Sativas!

CHRONIC KILLS New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is claiming 
that ganja is responsible for the murders, mayhem, and overall rise 
in crime in the Big Apple for the first three months of this year.

"In this city, people are killing each other over marijuana more so 
than anything we had to deal with in the '80s and '90s with heroin 
and cocaine," Bratton stated. While murders in NYC have increased 17 
percent from last year, whether pot is to blame is somewhat 
questionable. The overall crime rate in New York City is actually 
down: felony assaults have decreased 18 percent, robberies 22 
percent, and crime on subways more than 25 percent.

Compare that to the largest cities that have legalized weed: In 
Denver, homicides are down 24 percent, but in Seattle they've 
soared-from 23 to 26. And the biggest fact-check of all: In 1990 
there were 2,245 murders in New York. Last year? 383. While I'm 
attempting to be objective, it seems as though the marijuana plant's 
not killing anyone.

SHERIFFS SUE While the Evergreen State skates, for some reason 
Colorado's getting picked on, and has already been sued by 
neighboring states Nebraska and Oklahoma for its dope-smokin' ways. 
Now a group of sheriffs from Kansas and Nebraska, and even inside 
Colorado, are piling on, and also filing suit.

"When these Colorado Sheriffs encounter marijuana while performing 
their duties," the new lawsuit states, "each is placed in the 
position of having to choose between violating his oath to uphold the 
U.S. Constitution and violating his oath to uphold the Colorado Constitution."

The reason sheriffs from Kansas and Nebraska submitted the initial 
lawsuit had to do with the porous borders their states share with 
Colorado. Apparently, it's too damn easy for Okies to mosey over to 
Colorado, pick up that-there marihuana, and cruise back home with the 
wacky weed to share with friends and family at the annual Toothless 
BBQ. (Sorry, I'm really trying here, I swear.) In addition to 
violating federal law, officers state, legalization in Colorado 
jeopardizes the U.S.'s compliance with international anti-drug treaties.

As the sheriffs put it, departments are "suffering a direct and 
significant detrimental impact, namely the diversion of limited 
manpower and resources to arrest and process suspected and convicted 
felons involved in the increased illegal marijuana trafficking or 
transportation in their jurisdictions." Maybe they should consider 
legalizing it.

Funded by the Florida-based Drug Free America Foundation, the suit 
goes on to play the Kid Card! "As a result of Amendment 64-related 
interdiction efforts," it mopes, "departments have been forced to 
scale back on drug education and awareness programs in schools." That 
hurts. (A related aside: Marijuana sales in Colorado since Jan. 1, 
2014 have brought in $15.6 million in excise taxes specifically 
earmarked and voter-approved solely for public schools, according to 
the director of the office of capital construction for the state's 
Education Department . . . just sayin'.)

LEGALIZE LETTUCE Finally, a pro-life, pro-gun, Tea-Partying Texas 
Republican has a unique and simple take on the legalization matter: 
Take every law that prohibits weed off the books. Representative 
David Simpson of Longview said his bill would increase individual 
liberties and decrease government control, bedrock values of the 
conservative movement's libertarian wing.

"I think we're at a tipping point," Simpson said. "I think it's clear 
the war on drugs has failed, that the war mentality has eroded 
individual rights, the sanctity of one's home, the ability to travel 
freely with dignity. And at the root of all this is prohibition."

The bill is as no-nonsense as the man behind it. Rather than add 
flowery language about taxation and registration, House Bill 2165 
simply regulates marijuana . . . as a plant.

"I'm hopeful that if this bill were to pass, we could see hemp 
cultivated and used as ropes," noted Simpson. "We can see the 
marijuana with differing levels of THC used medicinally. I think it's 
the right thing to do. It's the conservative thing to do."

The bill allows folks to farm it and use it, like tomatoes, coffee, 
and corn. Untaxed. Deregulated. Done and get 'er done.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom