18 August 2008

Seattle Hemp Fest Lights Off

The Seattle Hempfest is currently ongoing, and there are reports that many of the baked revelers are railing against our cougaresque Gov. Gregoire for applying limits to the amount of marijuana medicinal users can possess. Currently, state law vaguely states a "60-day" supply, but new legislation would rule for a more definitive amount of 24 ounces and 6 plants. The Seattle Times reports from Hempfest the opposition to this law:

"Every single patient I know will not be in compliance with the 60-day rule. It's not going to work. It's driven by law enforcement, not science," said Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical-marijuana users.

While 24 ounces (1.5 lbs or ~0.7kg) seems like enough for a Cypress Hill backstage pass, the root of the problem is that law enforcement should have no business fighting victimless crimes such as marijuana usage. For anyone who grew up in a town with a prevalent drug culture, you are well aware that the worst thing a stoned person could ever do is talk philosophically about the infusion of communism inherent with living in Smurf village while eating a bunch of Cheetos. Reason TV has an interview with a 34-year veteran of Seattle's Finest, where he discusses how draconian drug laws can lead to heavy-handed police work that include raiding the wrong house and jailing non-violent offenders. Our police need to devote their resources to prosecuting real crime in the Puget Sound area, and when society clamors for arbitrary laws to criminalize citizens who use a plant that grows naturally, it overburdens law enforcement assets.

This is not to say that being stoned on the job should be condoned, in the same vein that being drunk on the job should not be accepted by society. Recently, I had trouble getting some dinner at KFC because most of the teenaged staff was obviously high as a kite (bloodshot eyes, paranoia setting in that "someone would know", initial fear to help me at the register because I was in uniform, etc.), but that really is just a humorous example of routine life such as this classic article found in The Onion, and I was hardly about to call the cops.