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

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What good did it do?

When I asked Bob Newland to take part in this blog, it was because I knew him to be a well-read and skillful writer. I asked him at that time to refrain from trying to make the Decorum Forum a mouthpiece for the legalization of medical marijuana. He agreed and has commented on many other topics here, and done so with the skill I anticipated he would.

We on the blog are celebrating a bit this week, the restoration of Bob's First Amendment rights. And so, gentle readers, prepare to see a few more medical marijuana posts on this blog for a while. It is a legitimate topic and will be a newsworthy issue to discuss in an upcoming election. We're going to talk about it here.

From every political point of view, it is impossible – in my opinion – to come to the conclusion that denying suffering people affordable relief of their suffering can ever be a net positive. My favorite conservative of all time, William F. Buckley, Jr., was right back in 1995 or '96. The war on drugs is lost and is a waste of taxpayer money.

That said, repete asked in a post below what good did gagging Bob do. And the answer, to my way of thinking, is that in terms of Bob's "rehabilitation" it did nothing. Bob is as passionate about his cause today as he was the day before he was arrested.

The good it may have done, and that is yet to be seen, is that it may have opened a meaningful dialog here and elsewhere about how much sense our marijuana laws make. And, I'll start the conversation here by telling my gentle readers that they don't make any sense.

27 comments:

Bob Ellis said...

No, they don't make sense. We definitely need more intoxicated people in our community. Our quality of life would improve dramatically if more people were stoned.

larry kurtz said...

Prohibition does NOT work.

Cannabis use in the Netherlands has declined among young Dutch following legalization.

If the tribes would legalize alcohol, build a tax structure that funds treatment and health services, Whiteclay would dry up and blow away.

If coca were legal meth would dry up and blow away.

If Mexico was our 51st State immigration overhaul would be a non-sequitur.

repete said...

When I asked 'what good did it do?' I knew full well a whisper is heard loud and strong while a shout is muffled in the noise. I believe the gag order on Bob Newland only served to further the cause of MJ legalization by showing the frenzy of ignorance mixed with fear laced propaganda.

Hey Ellis, you want less kids smoking pot? Then legalize it and take the distributorships away from the kids. DUH! Its time you were something other than self-induced stupid.
Or do you really want to keep the kids dealing? I would challenge you to do a bit of research on prohibition, it didn't work then, its not working now.
So how many more people will be intoxicated? According to history, less.
Lastly Mr Ellis, YOUR quality of life would improve 100-fold if YOU took a toke and developed 2 cent's worth of compassion for your fellow man.

Ken G said...

Glad to see Bob's freedom of speech has been restored.

Bob not only had to do jail time but lost his freedom of speech and has been branded a felon, over what? Around $300 dollars worth of pot. No wonder our country is broke. How much did it cost us taxpayers to enforce this law in Bob's case?

I had a cousin caught with a larger amount, around $1000 dollars worth. He was a proud father of four children, a successful business owner and all around good guy. In the evenings he enjoyed a little Bud instead of Budweiser. He not only lost his freedom, he lost his business, his children lost their father and the wife her husband and source of income.

After doing his time and now being branded a felon he found it impossible to find decent work which would support the family. One cold winter night he crawled into the cab of his pickup truck, put on his favorite pajamas, ate his final meal a Subway sandwich, put his favorite music on and slowly killed himself via carbon monoxide poisoning.

My grandparents had to bury a second grandchild. My uncle and aunt had to bury their only boy. My cousin buried her only brother. My nieces and nephews buried the only father they'd ever known. I lost a true friend. All over a thousand dollars worth of pot.

You can bet each and everyone of us wants to see an end to the madness. If the baby steps to complete legalization means we go the medicinal route first, so be it, you can count on many generations of my family voting in favor of medical marijuana.

Bill Fleming said...

Bob Ellis, what do you do for fun? And when you do it, why do you do it? And is the quality of your life improved dramatically because of of what you did? If so, how? (I predict Bob E. won't answer a single one of these questions honestly.)

curious said...

Bob Ellis -
What Justification if any can you give for cannabis being illegal, but alcohol and/or tobacco being legal? As far as cost to society and damage to health, alcohol and tobacco seem to be much worse.

Louis Long said...

Ken,

Your cousin knew the illegality of what he was doing and the likely repercussions of getting caught.

It is tragic that with the stakes that high he felt getting stoned was more important that his obligations to his family.

Louis Long

DDC said...

Bob E-

Keep up the fight for the nanny state. They need crusaders like you.

I fully expect you to carry on the fight against fast foo restaurants, trans-fats and salt. After all, how does having fat people in our community improve our quality of life?

Further, I expect for you to continue the fight for a complete government takeover of health care and for the government to mandate people to have annual exams. How does having unhealthy people in our community improve our quality of life?

Keep up the good fight, Mr Ellis. The statists will thank you for it.

repete said...

Lewis Long, a current monumental pussy and a future governmental victim. But hey, if he bends over enough for them he may yet survive.

Might makes right? It really does work on scared little people.

Ken G said...

Louis Long,
Indeed he knew the consequences. Nationally support for legalizing it is around 50%, up from only 35% in 2005. Why is that Louis? When only 10% of the population smokes the stuff, why do 50% of us want it legalized and regulated? Because of families like mine. There are millions of us. We don't want to bury anymore loved ones over a few hundred dollars worth of pot.

We now have a nation of teenage gangbangers killing each other over pots distribution and a bunch of wackos down south beheading cops and their enemies fighting to supply them. Many of us consider the consequences of pots prohibition, like all the deaths it's responsible for, simply aren't worth it. Never was.

Thad Wasson said...

Larry Kurtz has the best idea for ending Whiteclay beer runs and for addressing alcoholism on the rez.

DDC said...

This out to make Mr. Ellis' head explode...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s39VUAJE8-A

larry kurtz said...

Would it be ok if we don't make this thread about Mr. Ellis?

Bob N. is the Patriot in this discussion.

Bob Ellis said...

I'm not of a habit jumping through hoops for small minds that have no interest in learning anything, but I'll indulge you this one time, Bill.

For fun, I do a lot of reading, I watch the History Channel and other shows that stimulate the mind and help me better understand the world around me, I hike and I do things with my children. I do them because, as I stated, they stimulate the mind (rather than deaden it), I learn things, and as for my children, it helps me get to know who they are as people and helps me guide them on their path to adulthood.

You can try to make the argument that if someone wants to get stoned, it's their recreational choice. I could agree with that to a great extent...if this person were not employed (and thus didn't have an employer who was counting on them to be at work on time and in a sober state of mind that didn't hinder their work quality or the safety of their coworkers), and didn't have a wife and children (to endanger with financial instability or abuse), and did not drive (and thus did not endanger other drivers). But we also know that an unemployed person still has to eat (and a drain on charity is not acceptable--and the crime that comes with feeding a habit is also unacceptable), and most people are not going to forego the pleasures of a spouse and children, nor are most people going to give up driving (and we already have enough drunk drivers--we don't need more stoned drivers). So the "victimless crime" bit just doesn't fly...except maybe in a stoner's mind.

Ultimately, I have yet to hear from anyone a cogent (or even flimsy, for that matter) explanation of how having more intoxicated people in our community will produce a better society.

I hope this helps.

larry kurtz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DDC said...

Mr Ellis,

Explain to me how having more fat people in our community makes our society better and I'll concede that you have a point.

I just hope you can see the hypocrisy of railing against big government and using terms like "nanny state" while heartily endorsing that same nanny state for things you don't personally approve of.

Bill Fleming said...

Interesting. Bob E. Thanks.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read your comment as saying that things that: "stimulate the mind and help [you] better understand the world around [you], helps [you] get to know who those [you] love are as people and helps [you] guide them on their path..." are what you do for fun, and by extension, contribute tho the quality of your life and those around you.

Is that correct?

Are you really saying that fun for you is all about the stimulation of your mind, and your gaining a deeper understanding of the world around you?

Finally, are you saying that anything that aids you in this regard is good for you and for society?

larry kurtz said...

It's unfortunate that Mr. Epp has chosen to go underground; his insight into the litigious would be helpful in this thread.

ip is not naive enough to believe that legalized cannabis use will not lead to lawsuits. If the State of South Dakota is the grantor, it goes to liability. Montana is headed down that path.

One of the early proponents in this State's (ip is in Basin today) ballot initiative sees easy fixes for the lack of legal guidance often accompanying voter initiated law.

There is a brief synopsis of that process here: http://interested-party.blogspot.com/2010/05/montana-is-evolving.html

Alaska has been the model for the non-medicinal route. Individuals have been given the non-nanny responsibility to police themselves. Buzzed driving has NOT lead to increases in accidents, car or otherwise.

The downside? No State revenue source from cannabis in a State where nearly universal health care is financed by mineral severance.

Recall the tobacco settlement and ongoing alcohol litigation. The Federal Government will be on the hook the instant President Obama fires one up from the Oval Office on national tv.

taco said...

I don't see how anyone can support the legalization of alcohol, but not the legalization of marijuana.

Alcohol does far more harm than marijuana.

At any rate, telling doctors that they can't prescribe marijuana to cancer patients is nothing short of sick.

larry kurtz said...

Agreed, taco.

One legal argument is that cannabis under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 that classifies it as a Schedule I drug, implying that it has a high potential for abuse, has a "chilling effect on freedom of expression."

Bill Fleming said...

Note: I was really hoping Bob E. might say he listens to music, or looks at art, or watches a movie, or has an ice cream cone, or goes to a sports event, or whittles a stick, or does a crossword puzzle, or plays cards or checkers, or sits in a hot tub, or a steam bath or whatever.

Something just for fun, with no real purpose whatsoever other than to relax and let his mind go blank for a while. It's hard for me believe that he doesn't.

But if he's telling us the truth here, that pretty much explains everything. He never gets a break from himself. A guy can go nuts doing that.

Bill Dithmer said...

Bill Fleming I think maybe it isn't Bob Es fault. Maybe he just never had anyone tell him how to have fun. Some people have to be shown.

Bob here is my suggestion. Get yourself a good single malt scotch whiskey, crushed ice in a heavy tumbler, an oversized Lazy boy, and a vaporizer with something preferably that has some THC in it.

Next, and this is very important, you need music. You do know how to download music don’t you? I will give you the first song but after that your on your own. My pick for relaxing would be Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, "The Bluest Blues".

I know, I know, its hard when you see that much music in front of you. Just stay away from the hard rock at first, "you have to crawl before you can walk". Not everyone was meant to be a born again rocker but we can all do the blues or good jazz. Im sure there are even some in your own church that can help you.

One last thing, stay out of the bars and don’t drive. The life you save might be someone else's.

I am the Blindman and advice is free

Bill Dithmer said...

Bob Ellis I resent your implication that those that use marijuana either medically or recreationally don’t watch The History Channel or other shows that stimulate the mind. It might surprise you to know that people hike and do all kinds of other things with their kids because their use of cannabis gives them a certain amount of freedom from the pain that they would otherwise have. Your implication that people that use medical cannabis are less involved in their kids lives is both sad and laughable.

Then you say " I could agree with that to a great extent...if this person were not employed (and thus didn't have an employer who was counting on them to be at work on time and in a sober state of mind that didn't hinder their work quality or the safety of their coworkers), and didn't have a wife and children (to endanger with financial instability or abuse), and did not drive (and thus did not endanger other drivers). But we also know that an unemployed person still has to eat (and a drain on charity is not acceptable--and the crime that comes with feeding a habit is also unacceptable), and most people are not going to forego the pleasures of a spouse and children, nor are most people going to give up driving (and we already have enough drunk drivers--we don't need more stoned drivers). So the "victimless crime" bit just doesn't fly...except maybe in a stoner's mind. ".

Why do I get the impression that you think that anyone that smokes is incapable of holding a job, taking care of financial responsibility, or their families. Do you even read what you have written?

According to statistics the use of marijuana goes across the spectrum of humanity. That means the doctor you see, the lawyer you use, the policeman that is out on the street, and yes even the preacher that tells you how to act every Sunday are at the exact same risk of breaking the law as everyone else. That’s right the percentage of these people that smoke cannabis is the same as the rest of the people.

Bob a societies success is measured by how its people treat each other. What would you rather have, people that are in pain and suffering, or those same people as productive members of that society? Let me put that into words that you can understand "What would Jesus do"? Also this thought, " Judge not" well you know the rest don’t ya?

The truth will set you free unless you are blinded by a self righteous attitude.

Bill Fleming said...

Bob E. Your studies in history (even if you're just watching the History Channel) should be enough to show you that societies are held together by the things their people do together for the pure enjoyment of it.

The art, the music, the dances, the fashions, the pottery styles, the jewelry, the food they eat and yes their drugs of choice... mead, beer...wines... whiskey... stimulants... hallucinogens... opiates... you name it. Half of the old testament is about what to eat and what not to. And how about Jesus turning water into wine?

You can write a whole book on how Western society became so addicted to sugar, they created a whole slave trade in the West Indies.

In short, these things ARE what society IS. It's not a question of what's better or worse, it's more fundamental than that. No culture, no accepted communal form of enjoyment, no social unit. Period.

Michael Sanborn said...

Bill,
As the creator of the wing-nut brochure, I'm not sure anyone could take what you say about Sam's choice to run this ad terribly seriously.

Which is worse? Implying that someone is something that they are not, or outright stating the truth, that you have been censored?

I don't like the ad. But, I doubt I'll allow for very long a hatchet job by you, when it is clear that you have in the past worked taken a check or two from his opponent.

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