December 6, 2012
The legal marijuana law went into effect in Washington State today. Being in possession of an ounce of marijuana is no longer unlawful. The new law has been crafted rather carefully.
For at least a year, Washingtonians won’t be able to legally grow or sell the pot they can now legally buy.
And, hanging over it all, federal authorities still won’t say whether they’ll play ball as state leaders in Olympia attempt to put in place the truly revolutionary piece of I-502 – a state system which licenses growers and dealers while taxing the heck out of pot.
I hate the stuff and don’t like the smell of someone smoking it. The bill makes it illegal to smoke in public places. Illegal on college campuses. Illegal to drive under the influence and a test for marijuana can now qualify over use. Occupations that involve driving can still screen for marijuana and randomly drug test employees for use just like alcohol. Factories where people use precision equipment can choose not to hire marijuana users and can screen potential employees. It can’t be sold near schools or to teens and the usual education against smoking cigarettes of any kind will apply to marijuana.
While I hate it, I absolutely defend and approve of decriminalizing weed. In my community where medical marijuana is legal and the people dependent on it for pain are legitimate users of a drug that helps people tremendously without having to depend on a constipating and addictive narcotic drug. Ingesting it, instead of smoking it, should also be part of the medical package.
And, while I hate it, I hate even more seeing our prisons fill up with young people who now have a criminal record for carrying a relatively harmless substance. Some of those young men and women, have families and could be supporting their families instead of filling up the jails.
And, I hate the idea that the South American drug cartels smuggle tons of the stuff into the U.S. and have their slimy fingers all over ghetto neighborhoods recruiting young kids to peddle an un-taxable substance that should be grown right here, regulated and taxed.
It will be interesting to watch and see how it works out in Washington State before the legalize marijuana initiative comes up again in California and other places. Obviously, after all this time, pot use isn’t going away on its own, I think it will be a good thing if raw marijuana can be possessed and sold, but not in cigarette form for commercial manufacture. I’d hate to see a whole new population of people stopping into their 7-11 and bringing it home along with their nicotine before more testing of marijuana is done. Kids will steal cigarettes at a young age in a heartbeat.
January 10, 2012
Oh, if we could run the world! Somehow, when we gather, and realize that we are just working cogs in a pyramid scheme that benefits others to live in luxury, we try and solve the problems of the world. My oldest brother is running for congress for that reason.
This is my oldest sister and my homeless brother. Much of our discussion surrounded homelessness. All primitive cultures governed themselves . They chose leadership of some kind meant to benefit the whole tribe, not just a few at the top. A tribe took care of its members including the weak and sick. When they found a food supply, they shared it equally. They meted out suitable punishment to those who offended.
While many groups try to do something about the “homeless problem”, our laws and our police at every level treat the homeless as though it is against the law to be homeless. Norman worked all of his life as a carpenter; he contributed and paid taxes. Somewhat late in life, he began drinking. He is an alcoholic and he smokes marijuana. He has never been arrested for any thing but drunkenness, possession of marijuana, and trespassing. He doesn’t steal. He has never been violent. He carries a bible wherever he goes. He is what some of us like to term a “Jesus Freak”. When Norman first became homeless, seventeen years ago, he protested that a person like him, in our society, cannot legally occupy a place on the planet. He cannot sleep anywhere because he has no home. He cannot use public restrooms, they are for customers only. It is quite draconian that because he is so powerless, the police can treat him any way they choose.
He has two suits against the Sheriffs Office for false arrest. He has been falsely hauled away from two properties where he had had permission to stay. I’ll relate those stories to you another time.
He has (hopefully) a superficial skin cancer. He also had a stroke four years ago, for which he received no treatment. He suffers a lot of pain and cannot walk or stand on his feet for a lengthy period. His latest arrest, was for trespassing on “public” property. He was sleeping in the bushes on property owned by Cal Trans. When you go to jail, they suspend your medical, they take away your social security and when they dump you back out on the street, you have to re-apply for your benefits and wait for them all over again which can take months. You cannot get your social security unless you have a physical address. You cannot pay for a post office box to receive your check. Since he was kicked off the Ca-Trans property, the cancer tripled in size. The nurse in the jail looked at his head and wanted nothing to do with that problem. A homeless advocate got him an appointment to have the cancer removed on the 14th of January. When he tried to get an appointment at Highland Hospital on his own, his wait time to be examined was six months.
I love my brother. I believe he made poor choices about his life to get into such a downward spiral. All of us at one time or another have tried to “help” him. He doesn’t want our handouts. He receives social security of about $800 a month. (I’ll revisit this subject again.)
December 28, 2011
The U.S. Constitution has been a model for other countries since its inception more than two centuries ago. Our Bill of Rights is considered one of humanity’s finest achievements. People from many nations have sought refuge here to enjoy those freedoms. Yet, our current government has suspended important protections in the name of terrorism. A dangerous precedent via the Rave Act, the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act. With those and U.S. drug policies we are the most controlled and monitored society on earth. There are cameras watching our every move on practically every street corner, every store, every mall. From the satellite above, every vehicle can be tracked by GPS devices; there is one in every cell phone. Big Brother Is Definitely Watching. And, we’ve allowed it to happen.
Legislators are toying with interfering with our Judicial branch of government, by making laws against the court’s unpopular decisions. Whether we like them or not we must not give up our checks and balances because they are currently unpopular. Let them stand the test of time.
We must give thought to what is happening in our country and become involved. It has swung out of control, prosperity evades us, and anarchy approaches, carried in a flag with a cross. Thomas Jefferson was famous for the Virginia Statute as much as for writing the Declaration of Independence. He organized a Virginia colony that separated Church and State, the very choking environment the colonists left behind in England, the new colonies wanted to reinstate in “their” particular view of God. Thanks to the Virginia Statute we didn’t have to fight that same nightmare all over again. And now, religionists are pushing strongly for laws that inject their morality into our laws on same-sex marriage, abortion, doctors rights to counsel, planned parenthood, and other bills slipped by us by both Democrats and Republicans.
With idyllic frenzy we’ve made laws that affect our country negatively. Two million Americans are incarcerated in the U.S., most of them for non-violent drug crimes. Billions of dollars have been spent building prisons to house all of the Americans convicted of drug crimes. For carrying a half ounce of marijuana, a man who works and supports his children can go to prison for life in California and Texas. Now Oklahoma is considering a similar law.
We are living in a police state not only from the surveillance, and the drug wars, but an increase in Police over-reaction. Nevada police have skipped free after killing an American Woman who came to the aid of her husband whom they had just killed when they asked him for identification and he reached into his jacket for his wallet. Such things should not happen in America. Protestors tasered, more police attacks on unarmed citizens. America imprisons more citizens than any other nation. The government cannot afford to pay lifetime care for people who could and should be working and paying taxes. It is insanely expensive and yet, they are willing to pay an informant, even a convicted felon, up to $250,000 to testify against someone charged with a drug crime. Of course, what convicted felon would lie to receive that kind of cash?
America’s prohibitionist policies have eliminated freedom all over the globe and the high money paid for drugs crossing our borders has helped fuel the terrorists instead of our tax purse. It is draconian.
Now, I read where the Occupy Wall Street protests are bothering the government enough to instigate a huge anti-public relations move and that the FBI will penetrate large OWS groups to sabotage their effectiveness, make petty arrests and harass them.
Beware! We don’t lose our freedoms, we give them away.
October 25, 2011
My last Blog entry about Palmyra Island also known as Palmyra Atoll was written on September 15th, 2011. In case you missed it, here’s the link…
Arriving at Mary’s home in Murphys, California on October 11th, I found my copy of Palmyra: The True Story of an Island Tragedy written by Wesley Walker…the man convicted of the murder…waiting for me. All 895, 6×9, pages of it. I immediately started reading the book and only yesterday completed it. For the record…I thought I would record my impressions of his book.
My very first impression at the start of reading the book was…unless you had read the book written by Vincent Bugliosi and Bruce Henderson…And The Sea Will Tell…you would be hard-pressed to tell what this book was about.
Facing a life in prison sentence he decided to try his hand at writing. He had already written three fiction novels…when on page 419 in his book Walker writes…
“Then I read the great hoax of a book by two sleaze-artists (meaning Bugliosi and Henderson) of a different order, allowing the full import of the insult to my intelligence to sink in. Overflowing with self-righteous anger, I spent the next three years transferring furious words to some 2500 pages of a reply. My trial alone covered 820 pages.” Then an incident occurred which caused him to think “Let’s settle the hash of those clowns, finish the unfinished business of the past. We’re near our rocking chairs on the front porch and we need tranquil minds to enjoy the view. And so I returned for a last visit, to relive it all, retell it yet again. To remember.” That’s when he sat down to write what became his book…Palmyra: The True Story of an Island Tragedy.
As I started to read….another immediate impression was he was far more literate than I had imagined him to be. All my previous impressions of Wesley Walker came from one source…Vincent Bugliosi and Bruce Henderson’s book…And The Sea Will Tell. They painted him as a low-life con artist.
The book was easy to read and very interesting. I found I enjoyed his writing style and really started to like the guy.
An interesting aside…during a period of time when he was an escaped felon…he was arrested at the Torch Lite Motel on Fourth Avenue in Yuma, Arizona. That motel is about one block from where I park the motorhome while in Yuma…at the American Legion. I have actually walked through the parking lot of that motel.
He spends lots of pages describing his life and lifestyles. For some period of time he was a sophisticated marijuana farmer. He seemed to have a really laid-back attitude and as I read I pictured him with the face of Willie Nelson.
Here’s a 1974 photo of Walker the Honolulu Star-Bulletin…
Here are some other interesting items from his book…
Page 294 and 295…
“Lawyers are the ones who always win, whether or not they win or lose cases. Unfortunately, poor people do not have the luxury of being permitted to make decisions about the quality of counsel, whether to consider fees or reputation. In our system, the judge has the prerogative of choosing you lawyer for you. The best lawyers simply do not appear on judge’s lists of lawyers to be appointed. Only the names of young and desperate lawyers are on the judge’s lists, and if they remain there long, it’s a sure sign they are not in demand. It’s the hack lawyers last refuge before chasing ambulances or going on welfare and drink. And thus, my lawyer Earle Partington was appointed. Partington could have done better by learning a new trade and doing honest work for a living.”
“Although I had long known it on some vague level never quite verbalized, later, when I had all the time in the world to contemplate the basic questions that would torture me, I would come to the firm conclusion that there was a vast difference between justice for the poor and for those who could afford it.”
After he is found guilty, the Federal Marshall who had been his guard all during the trial said to Walker…”If you ask me, your lawyers were the best thing the prosecution had going.”
Walker spent 22 years in prison. He had lots of time to think about everything in his life. He does an excellent job telling us about his life. He does a particularly good job describing what life is like as a fugitive running from the law as well what life is like as a prisoner in a maximum security prison. He also reviews every flaw in his trial and goes on to tell…in his words…what really happened at Palmyra.
What really happened at Palmyra..according to Walker? I’m not telling. I wouldn’t want to spoil your reading of this book!
I really enjoyed his book and it will go into my “books to be re-read” box. It’s a really good book if you enjoy this kind of reading.
I have no affiliation with the publisher. Here’s the link I used to order the book…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
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