Colorado Officials Paint Edible Marijuana as Hazard to Children

edible marijuana productsThe Centennial State of Colorado was the first in the Union to make marijuana legal to all adults and ever since those opposed have been trying to find loopholes in various regulatory laws to peel back the stated will of the people. It’s enough to make this libertarian have a sip of his wine that is sitting in his unlabeled glass looking an awful lot like grape juice.

The latest attempt to override the fair and legal vote of the people comes from the Department of Health and Environment of Colorado. They are of the opinion that marijuana infused chocolate and candy poses a threat to children because they could accidental ingest it. This is true. It’s certainly possible for a child to eat a brownie that has pot in it. It’s also possible for a child to drink any of a number of alcoholic drinks that taste like candy. It’s also possible for a child to eat a slice of rum cake or a bourbon infused chocolate. It’s possible for them to eat a pill that looks like a vitamin. Parents that have such things in the house would be wise to inform the children of their danger and keep them in safe places.

Marijuana chocolate and candy is clearly labeled. It is only when the label is peeled and a person starts to consume the item that it is no longer labeled. A lollipop in its wrapper is marked as having marijuana in it. The forces at work here hope to convince you that they are doing it on behalf of the children just as they were against the legality of marijuana to save the dogs. The reality is they are against the legalization of marijuana for other reasons but they lost fairly in a voter initiative and don’t like it. This is modern government at its worst.

If they really believe that marijuana is such a danger then they need to take their chances with the voters. I’m guessing they know this route is hopeless and therefore have decided on another avenue. I’m certainly not saying they don’t have the right to try and convince legislators to overturn the will of the people. That’s what a Representative Republic is all about. The will of the people is secondary to the legislative power of the people’s representatives. If the representatives pass laws we don’t like then we have the ability to remove them. They have the right to pass any law they want as long as it doesn’t conflict with our rights as laid down in the Constitution.

What I especially despise is the largely Republican led effort that tells us quite clearly the state needs to be in charge of our lives. That we cannot manage to keep our children safe without the government telling us what we can and cannot have in our houses. That because a few people are not careful with their marijuana infused products that the rest of the people of Colorado must give up their freedom so that the government can protect them.

Marijuana products are clearly labeled. That’s enough. The government cannot and should not protect us from every ill that might befall us. I despair for this country.

I always tell my friends that if they truly understood the core philosophy of a Libertarian they would join us. I’ve always believed that most people really want a limited government that helps where required but largely allows people to make their own way in life. I’m beginning to suspect that perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps most people really do want to tell everyone else how to live. That they want to tell me what weapons I can own, what food I can willingly and eagerly put in my body, with whom I can have sex, and what I should believe as far as religion is concerned.

People apparently want a police state that guarantees them safety while looting them of their freedom.

Not me.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Edge
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Dogs, Butter, Marijuana, the DEA, and Stupidity

Michele LeonhartThe people have spoken in Colorado and Washington State in regards to making marijuana legal. Polls indicate that most people accept the idea it will eventually be legal nationally. There are those who disagree.

Michele Leonhart is one of those. She heads up the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and has come up with a … well … novel argument to try to persuade people. More on that in a moment. Why should we care about what she says?

One good reason is that you’ve been paying her salary since 1980 when she joined the DEA. Her current remuneration for coming up with the incredible nonsense I’m going to explain to you is apparently a secret. I can’t find out how much she makes. My Search-Foo is strong and after fifteen minutes I gave up.

This afternoon in a committee meeting in which she is trying to justify the $3 billion annual budget of the DEA she mentioned that edible marijuana products, which will be increasingly available in homes to be snarfed up by hungry dogs, might pose a threat to them. She justified this by mentioning a study done from 2005 to 2010 in which two dogs that ate a large amount of a “baked product” that used medical marijuana laced butter died. Could it have been a “chocolate” baked product? Maybe? The article doesn’t say. The last line of the study, you might ask?

UDST may be unreliable for the detection of marijuana toxicosis in dogs.

UDST being the test they used to figure out that in five years two dogs died, maybe because they ate chocolate or maybe because the chocolate had marijuana in it. The study found a significant correlation between increased numbers of pot brownies in the house and dogs eating pot brownies, therefore, we need to outlaw pot; brownies are apparently still legal but you never know!

According to Leonhart it’s all about her compassion for the terrible fate that awaits our canine friends should they eat marijuana, which, by the way, is completely non-toxic to dogs, unlike, say, chocolate. Yes, your dog can eat a pile of marijuana with no ill effects. It’s not toxic for dogs or people. The convoluted logic Leonhart relies upon is that a dog high on marijuana might not be able to throw-up the toxic chocolate he ate!

It couldn’t possibly be that Leonhart is grasping at straws so she and her friends can keep their lucrative jobs in the War on Drugs. No, of course not, it’s about the dogs! The poor dogs!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Coming very, very soon: The Broken Throne

Thomas M. Harrigan and Marijuana Stupidity

Thomas Harrigan MarijuanaAm I the only one who doesn’t like being stupid?

I’m going to tell you a personal story and in it one of my five sisters is not going to come off looking all that great. I just want to be clear that everything is all patched up now. The events depicted in this story happened many years ago and I have nothing but love and good feelings for said sister. All is forgiven.

When I was a young lad my sister used to have a favorite word. “Tommmmmy” she would say after I did something not so smart. She then used a facial expression that left no doubt to anyone witnessing it that I was possibly the stupidest human being on the face of the planet. That drawn out recitation of my name still sends me weeping to the corner of shame.

The end result of hearing “Tommmmmy” is that I don’t like to be wrong. People often mistake it for always having to be right. It’s not that. It’s being wrong that bothers me. It literally causes me to have an upset stomach. When I’m wrong I get physically sick. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Thanks, sis.

What’s the point of all this personal information? I just don’t understand how people can say incredibly stupid things. Things that have no possible chance of being accurate. And yet it happens.

Thomas M. Harrigan is the Chief of Operations for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and has been a DEA Special Agent for nearly 25 years. He has a Master’s Degree in Education from Seton Hall. This is an intelligent man.

He told a Congressional committee that “Every single parent out there” opposes the legalization of marijuana.

He said: We also know that marijuana destroys lives and families, undermines our economy, and insults our common values. There are no sound scientific, economic or social reasons to change our nation’s marijuana policies.

This is a man whose salary I pay! We pay! He has been a DEA agent for twenty-five years.

There are reasons to oppose the legalization of marijuana just as there are very compelling and good reasons to decriminalize it.

I fully understand why Harrigan wants to keep marijuana illegal. It means he gets to keep his job. If we ever decriminalize drugs then the people enforcing the current laws won’t have a lot to do. This includes Harrigan. Maybe they could spend their time chasing down child molesters, rapists, and murderers.

But, seriously? A Master’s degree from Seton Hall and you say that every single parent is opposed to decriminalization? He later amended his incredibly stupid and false statement by saying “most” parents would oppose decriminalization. That’s reasonable and polls suggest that parents support legalizing marijuana at a lower rate than the general public which favors it at about a 55% rate.

I don’t want to go on yet another rant about how the War on Drugs has fueled violence, crime, and done nothing to limit the supply of illegal drugs. I do want to ask you, my loyal audience, a question.

Do you hate to be wrong? Do you try to think out your statements before you make them so you don’t say something stupid? When you do make a mistake, are you embarrassed? I’ve made a few with this column of mine and I always try to immediately post a retraction and admit my mistake.

I’m always astonished when I see someone make such an incredibly inaccurate statement. I don’t get it and I never will.

If I was Harrigan I’d be hiding in the corner and I know what my sister would be saying … “Tommmmmy!”

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Legalizing Marijuana will increase Crime – According to this article

mexico and marijuanaI didn’t know if I should post this article under stupid and/or misleading headlines or just express my outrage in general. It’s one of the most irrational pieces of nonsense I’ve read in … well … days. (I read a lot of nonsense trying to find something to blog about)

The headline blares: Legalizing Pot Makes Mexican Cartels Even More Dangerous

Oh no! I’m so very, very frightened now. We must not legalize marijuana for it will be very, very dangerous for me!

Here’s the insane rational for this argument. Marijuana, according to the article, generates about $1.425 billion in annual revenue for Mexican drug cartels. Because of this loss of revenue the cartels will have to resort to other criminal activities. Thus there will be an increase in crime!

The article goes on to discuss how the Mexican drug cartels are terrorizing citizens, carrying out large-scale ransom based kidnappings, extorting legitimate businesses, running prostitution rings, smuggling migrants into the United States, exporting harder drugs, smuggling cigarettes, stealing gas, stealing solvents, and not making poopy in the potty! (Okay, I made that last one up).

All this is true. The drug cartels are doing this thanks in part to the $1.425 billion that marijuana smoking Americans send them! The article suggests, in no uncertain terms, that we should continue to send them this bribe so that they don’t increase their criminal activity. Are you kidding me?

I’ve got news for you, they are already engaged in violent crime! Cutting off their funding is a good thing! They aren’t going to stop committing crime because they’ve got too much money. They are constantly looking for new revenue streams. Giving them $1.425 billion less to finance their operations is … wait for it … a good thing!

The article goes on to lament that conservative groups haven’t banded together strongly enough to try to prevent the decriminalization of marijuana. Don’t get me started on the hypocrisy of supposed small government conservatives and the DEA.

This article is fear mongering at a level of ridiculousness that makes me want to laugh and weep at the same moment.

Happily, judging by the outrage in the comments below the article I’m guessing this argument is not swaying many people. So, at least we’ve got that.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

In Prison for Marijuana Possession – What should be done?

Marijuna PrisonersThere’s an interesting situation arising in the United States as of Jan 1, 2014. In Colorado there are people selling and smoking marijuana legally; while figuratively looking out the windows at them are prisoners who were convicted of selling or using marijuana.

Colorado is just the first state to legalize marijuana sales with Washington state to follow later this year. I strongly suspect more states will quickly join and eventually the vast majority of states will allow the legal production, distribution, and use of marijuana. Meanwhile, our prisons will still be filled with people sentenced for doing what is now legal.

The law is clear on this subject. These prisoners committed their crimes while it was still illegal. What they did at the time was illegal, they were sentenced fairly, and imprisoned under the system that existed at that time. There will be no automatic commuting of their sentences.

However, in my mind at least, it is an ethically reprehensible position for states to take. If a person was sentenced to prison for an act that is no longer considered a crime I think that a pardon should be extended.

It’s an interesting question and I’d like to hear what my readers think.

[polldaddy poll=7683821]

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Pot Raids and Death Sentences

Drug ViolenceThere were two stories in the news yesterday that are related in a sad way. A murderous scum was sentenced to death by a federal court and a marijuana dispensary was raided by federal agents.

How are these two things related? It’s a topic I’ve discussed numerous times before; the War on Drugs or as I call it the Drug Cartel. I spoke about how Mexico became a drug nation thanks in no small part to President Reagan and why the failed war on drugs is nothing more than a system designed to promote violence and wealth (for all the wrong people).

Today I feel the need to talk about these points yet again. I hope I’m not boring everyone.

Now, on to the stories. In 2003 a drug and gun dealer named Ronell Wilson was making a deal with two undercover officers. He decided to rob and kill them. After a number of trials he has been sentenced to death for the cold-blooded murders which no one is denying he committed. Meanwhile in present day America the federal government raided a legal dispensary of marijuana in the great state of Washington.

How are these two things related? Drugs. The only reason James V. Nemorin and Rodney Andrews ever came in contact with Ronell was because they were part of the Drug Cartel. We like to think that only Wilson was a member of the drug cartel but the reality is that without Nemorin and Andrews and others like them out there enforcing ridiculous drug laws, Wilson would not be the leader of a violent gang powered by drug money. Wilson would have had no money, no power. Nemorin and Andrews would be police officers out there today protecting and serving.

I’m certainly not blaming the undercover officers. They were doing the job they were sent to do and died because of it. I’m blaming the people who sent them to do that job.

Now, the marijuana dispensary was raided. There was no violence. The DEA arrived with eight vans, guns drawn, and stormed the place. Why? Because their experience with drug houses is that they are filled with guns and dangerous people. The legal marijuana dispensary was filled with clerks. The workers were scared and surrendered peacefully.

Look at these two incidents. Look at them! Voters, legislatures, courts, law enforcement officers. LOOK AT THEM!!!

I’m a little heated on this one I guess. Our laws and our enforcement of them created all this violence, all this death. Good men dead. Bad men created. If we make drugs legal they will be bought and sold in little stores by clerks instead of in back alleys by murderous scum. It’s that simple.

Will some people ruin their lives with drugs? Certainly. Will there be accidents caused by people on drugs? Yes. Those things are already happening and they are choices made by free people. They choose to take drugs with the bad that comes with it.

Our lives are worse because of the Drug Cartel. Drugs are plentiful whether illegal in nature or prescribed by a doctor.

Nemorin and Andrews are dead and aren’t coming back but maybe we can save someone else. End the Drug Cartel. Make drugs, all drugs, legal. Create laws about activities allowed to be done while under the influence of drugs, create laws on the age someone is allowed to purchase drugs, allow industry to supply demand. End the madness.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99, buy it, read it, review it)
Upcoming Release: The Spear of the Hunt

Drug Raid in Kansas City nets Three Tomato Plants

Tomato GardenI’ve posted about the stupidity of the “War on Drugs” several times before so I’m not going to write a lengthy article here on yet another example of that idiocy. I do want to use a recent incident to draw a direct correlation to the argument that our safety is inversely correlated with our freedom.

The basic story is that the states of Missouri and Kansas use a day celebrated by marijuana enthusiasts, April 20, to launch raids against those they think are growing that drug. These raids are highly publicized when marijuana and drug paraphernalia is seized. In this case one of the homes raided belonged to a moderately wealthy family in an upscale Kansas City neighborhood. The police found no evidence of drugs in the house.

Why is this a big deal? Because the family in question seems to have had nothing to do with illegal drugs except the fact that they do some indoor gardening and frequent a store that supplies equipment for that hobby. This sort of equipment can also be used by marijuana growers. There seems to be no other evidence of drug use and the assumption is that the police department used sales records of hydroponic equipment to convince a judge to allow a search warrant.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is clear and it is vitally important to our freedom, to your freedom, and most importantly, to my freedom.

I don’t do any indoor gardening but I stand by Adlynn and Robert Harte. In this case they represent my lost freedom. If you purchase cough medicine, fertilizer, or a myriad of other common items then you have something in common with terrorists and drug lords. Does that give the government the right to search your home? To insult your family?

The reason we must be protected from the government is that it represents a real threat to our freedom. In many ways much more of a threat than foreign enemies. Yes, our laws protect criminals also. Yes, our constitution is used by the guilty to get away with criminal activity. That’s the price of freedom. So called patriots yelp about how “Freedom isn’t free” but the reality is that such phrases are used to frighten people into giving up their freedom. In my opinion the phrase should be, “Freedom isn’t safe”. Freedom isn’t safe. It’s dangerous. It’s also glorious. To be free we must allow people to do as they will and sometimes this means danger. We can’t insulate ourselves from the world. There are people trying to hurt us. We can be hurt.

My argument is that the methods used to give us safety are actually far more dangerous than the threats they claim to thwart. Terrorists killed 3,000 people on September 11th. That’s true. How many men and women have died in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world trying to keep us safe? How many Americans have been wrongly imprisoned? Brutalized? Let’s just play a numbers game and see who loses. How many have died in the “War on Drugs”? How much money pours into the hands of bad people because an adult chooses to smoke a plant?

The War on Drugs is a threat to our freedom and in the end doesn’t make us any safer.

Finally, I strongly support anyone doing indoor gardening to raise healthy fruits and vegetables for their family. The idea that they will be raided for this noble effort infuriates and frightens me.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water (A book about overcoming fear)
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt

States versus Federal Government – Marijuana

Marijuana LegalizedI find one of the most interesting outcomes of the recent election to be the battle between state’s rights and federal authority. Two states brought this issue directly to a head when they voted to make marijuana legal for people over the age of 21. The great states of Colorado and Washington thumbed their nose at the federal government by passing laws making personal use of marijuana legal.

There is a long history of states trying to assert their rights over the federal government and much change, for ill and good, has come from these efforts. The Nullification crisis of 1832 pitted Andrew Jackson against South Carolina. Jackson largely proved victorious although states did gain some compensations. The 17th Amendment to the Constitution largely came about because states were implementing the change individually rather than wait for the federal government. It is not uncommon for states to lead the way by passing laws that eventually the federal government adopts, but it is much rarer for states to make legal that which the federal government has determined to be illegal. That’s what is happening in Colorado, Washington, and almost certainly more states in the coming years.

The question the Obama Justice Department must ask itself is if they want to try to fight by enforcing the law without help from the state. It’s an important constitutional question. Eighteen states now make it legal to smoke marijuana with a prescription from a doctor. Until April of 2012 the federal government prosecuted users who obtained marijuana in that way. In that month the Justice Department said they would no longer attempt to prosecute users but would still go after dispensaries. With two states now making it legal for personal use the administration must consider the resources they will devote to this task.

Polls suggest the majority of Americans, 56%, think that marijuana should be legal and regulated in the manner of tobacco and alcohol. That is somewhat tangential to the real question; what will the federal government do?

I don’t know the answer to that question but I’m fairly certain the ultimate result will be that states force the federal government to capitulate. This demonstrates the importance of state’s rights in our republic. As long as the people in each state have the ability to redress an overstepping federal authority then we have a better chance of basic freedom. Now, sometimes people want to nullify what I would consider legitimate federal jurisdiction but that’s the price we pay for having a free nation.

Where the constitution does not speak the rights revert to the states and to the people. Some states and counties might pass laws I don’t like but the right to do so is imperative. As a Libertarian I’m of the strong opinion that the federal government is involved in many areas it does not have the authority to regulate. I hope the states are on their way to redressing this issue without violent revolution in a manner that sees the republic continue.

We shall see!

What do you think?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Hammer of Fire
Upcoming Release: The Sword of Water