The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beauty and the Eye of the Beholder

This is a scan of an actual THC test strip, dipped in my urine. It was a thing of beauty in my house Wednesday night.

Monday, during my sentencing hearing, Judge Delaney asked me three times if I would test clean (of THC, the ingredient of cannabis for which my probation officer tested me Thursday). He said, "There is no penalty for telling me [if you've smoked marijuana lately]. In spite of that, 8 out of 10 people lie to me. I will ask three times. You can choose to tell me the truth anytime. If you lie to me, [my entire sentence for you today will be revised,] and you will not like the result."

Each time I answered, "I haven't smoked in the last 60 days." I could not positively tell the judge that I would test "clean," because the tests themselves are so notoriously unreliable that anyone (literally) anytime could test positive for THC. In addition to that, a cannabis smoker might test positive in a reliable test as far out as 90 days, or even more (many factors come into play).

A friend gave me a few test strips (you can buy them on the web). I have been testing myself for a few weeks, knowing I would be tested officially at some point. The results were positive until just a few days ago. I was not sure whether the tests were accurate, because they are inherently unreliable. Nevertheless, a positive test, reliable or not, would have held serious negative implications for me. The picture here is of one of those strips.

The strip is shown at just under actual size. The red line at the bottom indicates the depth to which one immerses it in the urine. The area in front of the arrows is white on a fresh test strip. This strip is designed to detect only THC. The blue arrow points to a red line that appears after the strip is dipped in urine. That tells one that the liquid is indeed urine. The green arrow points to a line that appears if no THC is detected. A little over a week ago that line was still not appearing. After more than 60 days with no cannabis! Only three days before the sentencing hearing did negative results (a very, very faint red line) start to appear on my home tests.

Thursday my probation officer gave me a urine test. His strip was designed to detect THC and other illicit substances (about which I was not worried). The control line appeared, and so did three other lines. I was a relieved dude. I did not know whether his test might be just enough more sensitive than my strips to sense THC not picked up by my tests.

This might not mean anything at all beyond a clean test. But it does mean that I am home tonight instead of in jail. Incidentally, my 45 days in jail starts in mid-August.

This is posted for no reason other than to inform the uninformed of some of what to expect after being convicted of felony weight cannabis possession.


Bill Fleming said...

Yeah, I was worried about that when I heard the judge say it. Your answer was perhaps the only sensible one to give, Bob.

I'm glad you had the wherewithal to stipulate the way you did. I wonder what would have happened if you had simply took the 5th?

"Your honor, given the way you have phrased the question, I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may tend to further incriminate me."

Or, perhaps better yet (and more to the point), "I don't know."

Les said...

Good job Bob, it'll get easier with time I bet. BTW the Bill, Neal and Carl Lafong post reiterated what my dad taught me, about arguing with fools. I would have thought Newland would have moderated the moderator even though we love Bill. As I read the 80 some posts it seemed obvious to me that only Carl had any peace from a higher power. Did we lose that somewhere along the way boys?

Bob Newland said...

Nice to hear from you, Les. Welcome to our anger management therapy group. :--)) I appreciate your comments.

caheidelberger said...

Careful, Bill: don't give Judge Delaney any more ideas. He's already sentenced Bob to lose some First Amendment rights... could he revise the sentence to take away 5th Amendment rights, too?

Bill Fleming said...

Interesting point, Corey. I wonder if the judge who sentences the Greenpeace/Rushmore mountain men and women presumes that he can instruct them upon sentencing that for the duration of their sentene they will be prohibited from speaking out on their issue.

Should we have a topic along those lines? Or are we playing with fire as it is? I don't want to do anything that would further harm Bob.

Bill Fleming said...

Hey, is that the same "Les" that I see sometimes on SDWC? If so, nice to see you here, Les.

Ummmm. And I guess, even if not, nice to see you here, Les.

Funny that you thought Carl LaFong was being peaceful. It sure didn't seem that way to me.

Les said...

It is me Bill. Always good to see you Bill. Time is very short for me now days, but fall will come and time will return. Carl is an extremely interesting soul. I am not positive his demeanor was peaceful though that word is how I expressed his impact on me. I felt he acted and reacted in a most non confrontational way, which seemed to produce an angst in some of those involved. I think of those reacting as Sadducees in appearance.

Bill Fleming said...

Well, like Bob's headline says, "Beauty [is in] the Eye of the Beholder", I suppose, Les.

Anyway, thanks again for a few minutes out of your busy day. Looking forward to hearing more from you come fall. Best, BF