Friday, January 17, 2014

Smokin' dope: my take on the pot issue.

I'm very big on populism.

There is no issue in our government that cannot be solved by a vote of the people.

For years now, I've been advocating a vote... a binding vote... of the people of this County who would disproportionally bear the decades-long burden for a project we do not want, do not need, and cannot afford.

The arguments against such a thing are typically by those such as soon-to-be-former Commissioner, Democrat Steve Stuart has he blithely ignores the will of the people of this county he governs:
"And I've said it before: I don't speak for the people... I will NEVER speak for "the people," I speak for Steve and some of you are going to agree with me and some of you aren't."
We aren't.

Government in this country by its very definition is SUPPOSED to be responsive to the population they govern.

That "shining city upon a hill" was not lit up by the kind of arrogance Commissioner Stuart and so many other officials elected to various positions of responsibility exhibit.  Instead, I view it in terms of dust, decline, and darkness for our community and our Nation.

What's all this got to do with pot?

I admit it.  I oppose the legalization of any drug, including alcohol.  I don't drink, not because of any moral ambiguity about alcohol, but because I fear I'd really get far too good at it too fast.

The moral and legal relativism of a position that since alcohol is legal, pot should be as well gets nowhere with me.

But the people have spoken, although the people of THIS county spoke in the negative, the law, as they say, is the law.

So, why my support of the ongoing ban on pot sales in Clark County?  I mean, after all, if I support a vote as the ultimate arbiter as to what the will of the people is and I claim that government should then implement that will... then why do I support the UNANIMOUS decision of the commissioners to, effectively, ignore the will EXPRESSED OUTSIDE OF CLARK COUNTY.

The AGO released yesterday that went to the issue of how poorly drafted I-502 actually was aside:
In his 10-page opinion, Ferguson wrote that while I-502 “establishes a licensing and regulatory system for marijuana producers, processors and retailers in Washington State, it includes no clear indication that it was intended to preempt local authority to regulate such businesses. We therefore conclude that I-502 left in place the normal powers of local governments to regulate within their jurisdictions.”
Ferguson wrote that the argument could be made that a local jurisdiction’s prohibition on marijuana licensees conflicts with the initiative, but “there is no irreconcilable conflict here, because the (Liquor Control Board) is allowed to set only a maximum, and nothing in I-502 mandates a minimum number of licensees in any jurisdiction. The drafters of I-502 certainly could have provided for a minimum number of licensees per jurisdiction, which would have been a stronger indicator of preemptive intent, but they did not,” he wrote.
How much they lied about revenue aside:  (Revenue won't come close to that number... and that number will shrink every year as "home grown" and cheaper pot will continue to be available on the street as it is now.)

582 million in new revenue The People of this state have voted this law into being.

Except, of course, for one tiny issue:

It didn't "legalize" a thing.

Pot is still illegal.  I-502 changed nothing about that.

At this point, some readers are asking how that could possibly be?  The people voted... No court has struck it down... so it's legal, right?

Let me introduce you to this thing called "The Supremacy Clause" of the Constitution of the United States:  (Article Six of the United States Constitution, Clause 2.)
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
So, here's today's quiz question:  Is the recreational use of pot legal at the Federal level?


Then why are we even having this discussion?  Federal law preempts state law, state law preempts local law.  It has since the beginning.

Case law is rather settled.  This can't be the result of an issue, per se': Recently, the Supreme Court has struck down a variety of laws in different states concerning abortion... and, particularly on point was the gutting of Arizona's SB1070, The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, the law that enabled Arizona jurisdictions to, particularly in the face of the Federal government's policy of open borders and abrogating their responsibility to enforce immigration laws, enforce those laws in lieu of Federal law.

Remember: law generally isn't issue-based.

In Washington State, a mayor of Seattle (Greg Nickels - D) attempted to implement an executive order that would have forced lawful gun owners and carriers to keep parks gun-free, not unlike, for example, schools and courthouses.
The case of Chan v. City of Seattle began in 2008, when the city of Seattle and then-Mayor Greg Nickels (D) enacted a rule that banned firearms and "dangerous weapons" from city parks, community centers and other city properties. In 2009, the city added another rule that banned guns from parks where children are "likely to be present."
In October 2009, the NRA and SAF asked the King County Superior Court to strike down the ban as a violation of Washington's preemption statute, which forbids localities from enacting this type of ban. Specifically, the preemption statute says the state preempts the field of firearm regulation, and prohibits cities from regulating firearms—a position supported by an Oct. 2008 legal opinion from state Attorney General Rob McKenna (R).
Preemption isn't a new concept.  The legal philosophy in question applies here to the voice of The People on this subject as much as it does any other: emotional buy-in to the use of pot doesn't change any of this.

I'm well aware of the fact that Obama/Holder have once again chosen to violate their oaths by taking a tact of tacitly ignoring the law when it comes to Washington and Colorado.

First, that doesn't make pot legal.

Secondly, what about the next Attorney General?

The next AG hates pot, and using his authority the way Holder SHOULD have, which removes any ambiguity in enforcing the law; he closes all of these places, takes all of the assets away through drug-related forfeiture, and puts thousands into jeopardy of criminal conviction.

Then what?

Holder's prosecutorial discretion isn't a shield to bad acts: that Holder chooses not to prosecute or enforce isn't binding forever.

Stuart, a law school graduate who never passed the bar, is well aware of that.  He joins with the other commissioners in pre-emptively banning the retail sale of pot as a result of as the state AG put it, "the normal powers of local governments to regulate within their jurisdictions."

Pot heads are, of course, furious.  Dopers, however, are, in their own way, not unlike gang members when it comes to legal gun ownership: neither one gave a damn about the law before any of this was passed, and the only reason dopers are expressing outrage now and ignoring the reality of our Constitution is that they perceive it as being their peculiar ox getting gored.

This has been my assessment of this initiative since it first hit the ground.

The solution, by the way, is simple:

Get pot legalized at the Federal level.

Our State Cow is viewed as particularly powerful in the Senate (As vacuous as she is) so all she has to do is get a law passed...  or have Barack whip out his magic "Screw Congress" pen and sign an executive order so he can kick back and do one of those bomber's he's famous for.

Legalize it at the Fed, and the rest of this falls into place.

Getting angry at the commissioners for both doing their respective jobs AND reflecting the will of the people of this county solves nothing.  It will prove to be a minor impediment to pot heads. 

And, I'm thinking, in time, they'll get over it.

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