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October 17, 2010

Straws in the Prop 19 Wind

Almost a year ago I reported on my attempt to qualify as a (pro-bono) expert on behalf of a former patient, one well known to me and whose history had been among those suggesting that a systematic study of pot applicants might be useful. As noted, the prosecutor had demanded all my raw data from that study less than an hour into my testimony and the trial judge, despite a reputation for being “reasonable,” has been taking the request seriously ever since.

Now, over eight months later, the issue remains unresolved despite several additional court appearances during which not one more word of testimony has been heard. I now have since been fortunate enough to be assisted by my own (pro-bono) attorney; he has introduced a statement on my behalf stating why I believe the prosecution’s request should not be granted. Meanwhile, the patient is still on trial facing a possible prison sentence, albeit free on OR and collecting a pension from a neighboring county. He is also allowed to smoke marijuana medically, thanks to a court order from the same trial judge. I still have no way of knowing whether the judge or prosecutor have even read the peer-reviewed paper reporting the data at issue; nor can I ask because I can't address the Court until recognized as a witness.

Such is the logic of “Justice” in a state unable to pay its rank and file employees.

The most recent notice came from the defendant's lawyer: the trial will resume on November 10th, eight days after Californians will vote on a "legalization" initiative that is both badly crafted and poorly understood; both deficiencies reflecting the damage done to truth by nearly a century of contemptibly stupid drug policy exacerbated by forty years of drug "war."

As important as the vote itself will be how its results are interpreted. If Proposition 19 passes, will that focus California's enforcement bureaucracy on users under 21? Will the state's cases against my patient and other Proposition 215 defendants be dropped? How will the Obama Administration respond to such decisive rejection of a failing policy by the nation's most influential state?

One recent straw in the wind was Friday’s raid by local police on a Santa Clara dispensary. Ironically, it was justified because of (alleged) "profits" in the world's leading champion of capitalism. What I also suspect is that those profits are often simply confiscated by police without any public accounting.

Other straws were warnings from both the Drug Czar and the Attorney General that the feds will not tolerate "recreational" use, a position that implicitly concedes that medical use exists, even though explicitly denied by present law: the key disagreement that led to Proposition 215 in 1996.

Even if "legalization" fails in this election cycle, Baby Boom demographics (apparently still unknown to most federal policy supporters) auger well for an eventual end to the drug war as more pot-smoking Boomers age into Medicare eligibility every year after 2011.

Finally; that all three federal branches will stubbornly defend their failing policy ad absurdum was further emphasized when the "liberal" Ninth Circuit dismissed ASA's 2007 suit as "premature." Go figure.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at October 17, 2010 10:37 PM