Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2015
Source: Trentonian, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2015 The Trentonian
Author: Edward Forchion, For The Trentonian


Important stoner alert: huge marijuana protest at LOVE PARK, 
Philadelphia 7/10,  4 p.m. SMOKE DOWN PROHIBITION https:// events/469747533199955 .

I usually say joint, but lately I haven't been Passing the Joint much 
because I've been taking bong rips - oops, Chalice inspirations. I 
have several Chalices, which are my sacramental bongs. Don't laugh; 
some use cannabis religiously, so if you're using a bong - oops, 
Chalice  for religious purposes, shouldn't it be protected by the 
First Amendment? I think so.

Due to the goofy paraphernalia laws of the 1980s very few people 
possess or carry Chalices around anymore. That's too bad because this 
is the safest way to consume the holy herb  through a water-filtered 
pipe. Because of those paraphernalia laws the Cannabis Consuming 
Community of America has been forced to use harmful methods of 
delivery, always fearful of the police finding our bong or pipe so we 
leave them home. Instead blunts and rolling papers  far more harmful 
delivery methods - are used because we can pretend they are for the 
government sanctioned drug tobacco.

Blunts - nope, it's tobacco, it stinks, and it ruins the taste of 
good weed. Whatever you pass me, just don't pass me a blunt!

BTW: When I walk into a 7-Eleven and ask for papers I always say, 
"Can I have a pack of marijuana papers?" The shocked clerks always 
smiles and comments on how everyone uses the papers and wraps for 
marijuana but few admit it.

The government calls all these products paraphernalia; in New Jersey, 
if the authorities catch you with a Chalice it is a 2C:36-1 
violation. The punishment: up to six months in jail, probation, up to 
2 years of community service, mandatory costs, a fine of up to 
$1,000. This is comparable to the punishment for eating a THC-infused 
brownie in defiance of Governor Christie's ban on edible THC 
products. (My next venture: open a smoke shop and name it The 
Paraphernalia Store.)

I'm tokin' on a Chalice as I write this now - maybe I'll change the 
name of this column to Grasp The Chalice.

How many people have their lives ruined every week in Trenton 
Municipal Court for marijuana possession as millions use cannabis 
legally in other parts of the country? This week I happened to bump 
into a former prosecutor in Trenton and asked her that very question. 
She couldn't provide an exact figure offhand, but she estimated at 
least 10 a week - which equals 520 a year. Doesn't that piss off the 
people of Trenton? Trenton residents have enough issues keeping their 
heads above water and striving for the American dream without being 
victimized by the lies of the racist congresses of yesteryear.

The Cannabis laws were created on a foundation of racism and have 
been enforced racially ever since; they are the longest-lasting Jim 
Crow laws, and anyone who supports them at this point in history has 
to be seriously questioned about the racism aspect of the cannabis 
laws too. ("Dear Candidate Christie: What do you think of the July 
2013 ACLU report that concluded POCs (persons of color) are around 
three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than Caucasians 
in New Jersey? Are the marijuana laws racist?")

At least 520 Trenton citizens are victimized each year by the 
malicious deceptions of our marijuana laws - that's 22,000 victims 
statewide. When you're arrested for weed you lose your license and 
face fines, but worst of all you get a record that's used against you 
when you try to pursue jobs and education, and you totally lose your 
Second Amendment rights. Presidential candidate Chris Christie is 
kool with that. He wants to continue the lies and even promised that 
if he's elected he'd sic the federal government on states that have 
legalized cannabis despite federal law. What a jerk my old pal can be.

The Second Amendment: I wish I could protect myself.

Because of the stupid racist marijuana laws I'm a felon and can't own 
or posses a gun. The Second Amendment doesn't exist for me and the 
millions of people who have been convicted of marijuana offenses. I 
can't protect my home or my new business here in the heart of Trenton 
because I didn't believe the lies of our nation's marijuana laws. "Fk 
the law, smoke it anyway" is my famous saying.

In urban communities that are under siege by the government's war on 
drugs, millions of African-Americans have been rendered defenseless 
via the "pot laws" - Chicago, Detroit, Camden, Trenton.

In Turner v. Safley the U.S. Supreme Court said, "Prison walls do not 
form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the 
Constitution." Hence, for example, prisoners retain the 
constitutional right to petition the government for the redress of 
grievances (Johnson v. Avery); they are protected against invidious 
racial discrimination by the Equal Protection Clause of the 
Fourteenth Amendment (Lee v. Washington), and they enjoy the 
protections of due process (Wolff v. McDonnell).

Why, upon completion of your sentence, aren't you given your Second 
Amendment back? In most states you get your right to vote back as 
well as most every other fundamental right.

I understand why a prisoner in a prison can't posses a gun, but why 
am I stripped of my right to self-protection for life? I've done my 
time, which was a total waste of my life, and I smoked a joint at the 
Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to celebrate my freedom when I was 
released from parole. #420smokerforlife

While I'm not a staunch Second Amendment advocate, I do understand 
the need for it and wish I hadn't been stripped of my Second 
Amendment right. Legally it was done with the Gun Control Act of 1968 
(aka the Certain Persons Act); under the GCA, selling of firearms to 
certain categories of individuals is prohibited.

As quoted from 18 U.S.C. 922 (d) of the Act: "It shall be unlawful 
for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or 
ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to 
believe that such person is under indictment for, or has been 
convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a 
term exceeding one year."

People who have been convicted are commonly called "Certain Persons" 
and are prohibited from possessing any firearm. I am a certain person 
because of weed - more specifically, because of the absurd 
anti-marijuana laws. I know there is a large Second Amendment 
movement, but even they seem to ignore how people are stripped of the 
vital right to self defense for cockamamie reasons like violating the 
racist marijuana laws of this country.
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