Showing posts with label cannabis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cannabis. Show all posts

Thursday, April 12, 2018

State Imposed Smoking Bans Don't Protect Workers

This is a follow up response to a post made by @eric-the-red Free Market Solutions.

A common argument for forcing restaurants, bars, and casinos to kick smokers out of their establishment is that it protects the workers from secondhand smoke. This might be a valid contention if it weren’t for the inconvenient fact that restaurant, bar, and casino workers are significantly more inclined to smoke than the general population. In fact, according to the CDC they are about 1.5x more likely to smoke than workers in other industries.

CDC analyzed National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data for 2011–2013 to estimate current cigarette smoking prevalence among adults working in the accommodation and food services sector, and found that these workers had higher cigarette smoking prevalence (25.9%) than all other workers (17.3%).

Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant would intuitively know this. This is what the waitstaff do on their breaks. Saying your intention is to protect them from secondhand smoke is kind of worthless if they’re already inhaling first hand smoke at a significantly higher rate than the customers they serve.

Of course this isn’t an endorsement of cigarette smoking or any other kind of smoking for that matter. I am personally against smoking; putting tar in your lungs is never a good idea. Smoking is bad M'kay, but you are the only one with a moral claim to your own body; only you have the prerogative to decide what you put in it. In a state of affairs where unhealthy behavior wasn’t subsidized at the taxpayers expense, the grim consequences would deter such behavior. Despite its posturing and moral grandstanding on the issue of smoking, the government, through its department of agriculture still subsidizes crop insurance premiums for tobacco farms, and until 2004 the government fixed tobacco leaf prices to guarantee high profits to farms.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Michigan Man Finally Gets His Life Back After Civil Forfeiture Case is Dropped

Source: Traverse City Record Eagle

For those unfamiliar with the subject of civil asset forfeiture, I would suggest you read my previous posts on the subject including Police Use Civil Forfeiture To Rob Small Businesses, Civil Asset Forfeiture Is Theft Most of The Time, and my earliest post on the subject from January of last year Civil Asset Forfeiture, Anti-Structuring Laws, and Other Spawns of The War on Drugs. I’ve written at least a dozen articles on the subject, which you can find scattered on my blog page. If you look into the subject long enough you won’t be surprised when you come across cases where people have been found not guilty of the crimes they were charged with, but still lost their property. You see civil forfeiture takes the presumption of innocence and flips it on its head, when it comes to the deprivation of property (see 5th amendment to the Constitution). Unlike convicting someone of a crime, ‘seizing’ their property for suspected involvement in a crime requires a much lower standard of evidence. For a criminal conviction, the defendant's guilt must be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, and he/she is assumed innocent until this is done; the burden of proof squarely falls on the prosecutor. Police use of civil forfeiture only requires the preponderance of evidence, which is primarily used in civil cases (hence the name). Furthermore, the burden of proof is reversed in civil forfeiture cases; the person who is deprived of their property becomes the plaintiff and the state becomes the defendant. It was originally created during the peak of the war on drugs to make it harder for gangs and cartels to operate, but like most ‘well intentioned’ government programs it grew into a multi-billion dollar monstrosity that mostly deprives innocent people of their cash, cars, and homes.

In this case, the victim was an elderly man that operated a few medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Grand Traverse County Michigan. A couple of years ago, his home was raided by the local drug task force and he was charged with multiple felonies and a couple of misdemeanors. All of the felony charges were eventually dropped and the man only ended up spending a day in jail. However, despite lacking the evidence necessary to prosecute him on the trumped up felony charges, they still accused him of purchasing his home with the proceeds of criminal activity and subsequently filed a civil suit too take his home and two bank accounts. Luckily, they didn’t even have enough evidence to say that his home and bank accounts likely resulted from the proceeds of criminal activity. It was mostly guesswork and fabrication, but that didn’t stop the Traverse Narcotics Team from tormenting him for years. They conducted multiple raids on his home, supposedly searching for illicit drugs, but they were really there for the money.

Court records detailed numerous raids from TNT, a multi-jurisdictional task force aimed at curbing drug trafficking in northwest Michigan. Murray contended several encounters were more focused on cashing in on his assets than enforcing the laws against drugs.

When they raided this house at 2 a.m. I must’ve heard it ten times: Where’s all the money? … That’s all they were here for,” Murray said. “That’s all their motivation: Money. It’s always money.

Civil forfeiture itself creates an incentive for this behavior. Why spend the time and money trying to prosecute people when it’s more expedient to just take their property and directly use it to fund your own agency. The purpose of civil forfeiture isn’t really to ‘curb’ drug trafficking so much as it is to generate revenue for police departments. In fact, this is the most common argument for civil forfeiture nowadays. But the root of the problem isn’t the underfunding of police departments or other state agencies. This policing practice is a result of the war on drugs and will continue expand until the federal government ceases its hostilities against our constitutional and natural rights under the pretense of keeping people safe from their own bad choices.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Conservation Is A Pretext For Genocide (part 8)

Conservation and Pygmy Slavery

Read: Pygmies in the Congo treated like pets, Slaves of the Congo, The Pygmies Plight

The last article was written by a foreign correspondent for the Smithsonian about a decade ago, but the information he provides in his first hand account is still relevant today. Since the French colonial era, pygmy clans in the Congo basin have been gradually forced out of their ancestral forests, which they are adapted to living in, and into villages inhabited mostly by Bantu tribes. As a result of being dispossessed of their land and forbidden to hunt or forge in the newly designated ‘protected areas’, pygmies live in extreme poverty. Their only option to survive is to perform hard labor for Bantu landlords for next to nothing in compensation, although a few enterprising clans have made a meager living growing cannabis, which is illegal in countries like the Central African Republic, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Even though slavery is illegal in all African countries (on paper), the Bantu landlords treat the pygmies like property and give them only enough subsistence to keep them alive. Instead of eating bushmeat and wild herbs as they had done when they occupied the forest , the main staple of their diet now consists of a starchy plant called cassava root. This diet provides very little protein and has resulted in increased malnutrition and the outbreak of disease among pygmy clans, which has taken a toll on their numbers. European ‘human rights’ observers have acknowledged all of these problems to some extent, but they have failed to acknowledge the role their own civil societies and governments have played in creating them. Illegal logging and civil war have certainly played a role in forcing pygmies out of the forest, but so has the creation of so called ‘protected areas’ and national parks, which has been done, in no small part, with enticement and financing from USAID, the EU, the World Bank, as well as multi-billion dollar conservation groups like WWF and WCS.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

People Are Arrested For Pot Even When It's Legal

Source: Fox News of all places

Even if you sell or consume cannabis in a state where it’s legal, and even if you jump the myriad of permit and licensing hurdles required to do so, you can still be arrested. Case in point, California Highway Patrol arrested two employees of Old Kai Distribution, a pot delivery company in Mendocino County. Now recreational pot has been legal in California since 2016 and the company in question has a license to legally transport cannabis within the county, but that didn’t prevent the state police thugs from kidnapping them, taking their van, and taking someone else’s pot. What’s their justification? The company didn’t follow a law that hasn’t taken effect yet. According to CHP commissioner Warren Stanley, the company didn’t also have a state license to legally transport cannabis, but the licenses won’t be issued and take effect until the first of next year. We live in a country where the government can not only apply laws selectively and retroactively, but they can also enforce laws that don’t exist yet. That is why I’m skeptical of the whole marijuana legalization movement; it will only work in countries with rule of law: countries that don’t enforce laws selectively and don’t enforce the capricious will of officials. The saddest part is that people’s businesses are ruined because of this. The family farm that grew this cannabis lost their entire harvest for the year, and the retail businesses that sell it lost the money they put towards purchasing it.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Full Decriminalization Is The Only Way To End The War On Drugs

Last Thursday, Fox5 reported that twelve people were arrested for growing and selling cannabis in San Deigo. In most parts of the country this doesn't seem like anything extraordinary. Of course they got arrested for selling cannabis, it's a schedule 1 substance. However, recreational cannabis is legal in California. They weren't arrested for the cannabis, but for growing and selling it without a government permit. As long as the state remains the gate keeper of who can enter the cannabis market people will still be incarcerated for growing, selling, distributing, and ingesting the plant even if it isn't the electorate's intention. Only full deregulation of the growing, selling, distributing, and ingesting of cannabis will keep non-violent and otherwise benign offenders out of the crimminal training grounds known as the US prison system, which is also filled with illicit drugs despite the totalitarian control governments wield in them. Allowing people to enter the cannabis business without the government's permission would turn it into a true buyers market driving down prices and profit margins, which would make it less lucrative for organized crime who can undercut permited businesses and more transparent to consumers for whom there is already a wealth of information available on cannabis. It was government prohibition that created the black market and made it a windfall for organized crime in the first place by causing artifical scarcity. Erecting a new barrier in its place will keep the black market in existence. Full decriminalization would not exclude an age restriction; selling to persons under 21 could still be punished as contributing to the delinquency of a minor as it is with alcohol and tobacco. It would also not exclude legal sanctions against people who drive while high or while hot boxing. This could be considered reckless driving or a DUI under certain circumstances.