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Archive for Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Marijuana changes take step forward

October 26, 2005

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A proposal that would allow marijuana smokers to be prosecuted in Municipal Court could end up costing violators a stiffer fine, which is opposite of what supporters of the ordinance had hoped.

City commissioners Tuesday informally agreed to move ahead on an ordinance that would allow first-time marijuana offenders to be tried in Municipal Court instead of Douglas County District Court.

But commissioners disagreed on whether the city should impose a minimum fine on people found guilty of first-time marijuana possession. State law, which is used in District Court, does not mandate judges to impose a minimum fine. City Commissioner Mike Amyx said he didn't think that was a wise policy, in part because the city needs to be assured that it will take in enough money to cover the costs of prosecuting the cases.

"I would strongly recommend that we have at least a $300 minimum fine," Amyx said.

City Commissioner David Schauner agreed that a minimum fine might be warranted, but said it should be closer to $50.

"I don't want to make it so high that it becomes a real financial burden," Schauner said.

Whether a third city commissioner will support the idea of a minimum fine was unclear though. Commissioner Sue Hack said she wasn't sure how she felt about a minimum fine. Commissioners agreed to bring the ordinance back - without a minimum fine - but agreed to discuss the issue further before giving it formal approval at their Nov. 8 meeting.

Mayor Boog Highberger and Commissioner Mike Rundle both said they did not support adding a minimum fine to the ordinance.

"I think we ought to leave the discretion with the judge as we do with almost all of our other municipal offenses," Highberger said.

Not original intent

Laura Green, executive director of the Lawrence-based Kansas Drug Policy Forum, proposed the ordinance, in part, because her group believed forcing offenders to go through the more complicated District Court process was an inefficient use of law enforcement resources and was unduly burdensome to offenders.

"I would be disappointed if they did add a minimum fine," Green said.

The ordinance also does not include a provision that would direct police officers to make enforcement of marijuana possession a lesser priority. Such policies have been adopted in some communities - such as Columbia, Mo. - and was requested by Green.

Green said she may ask commissioners to reconsider the enforcement issue if she sees evidence that the number of marijuana cases being prosecuted by the city is rising significantly.

Green also said she hoped commissioners would rethink a proposed provision that would require all first-time offenders to go to an eight-hour drug and alcohol class. She said the classes many times didn't include lessons specifically about marijuana usage.

City staff members, though, said there was a good reason to require some sort of treatment program.

"If you don't offer some sort of help, you hear that the system failed them," said Scott Miller, a staff attorney for the city.

Miller said the city could choose to require each offender to go through an individual drug and alcohol evaluation, which might be more effective in identifying substance abuse problems. But Miller said the evaluation would cost each offender around $150, compared to $60 for the eight-hour class.

Green said she believed that marijuana offenders shouldn't be required to go through the treatment program after their first offense.

Other provisions

Other provisions of the proposed ordinance include:

¢ Only first-time offenders could be prosecuted in Municipal Court. Repeat violators would be charged in District Court.

¢ The maximum fine under the proposed ordinance is $2,500 and/or one year in jail. Those are the maximum fines currently used in District Court. Under state law, the city can't lower the maximum fines.

¢ Offenders would not automatically be required to pay a $400 state fee to have seized marijuana tested in the Kansas Bureau of Investigation laboratory. People who do not contest that seized material is marijuana would not have to pay the fee.

¢ Lawrence police officers would have the discretion to either arrest and book offenders in the Douglas County Jail or provide them with a notice to appear in Municipal Court. Police officers currently aren't required to arrest offenders in order to charge them in District Court.

Comments

Kaw Pickinton 9 years, 1 month ago

Okay... $50 bucks, but do we get to keep it? If not I say make it the same as a parking ticket.

knowuh 9 years, 1 month ago

good sir. of 'bendaddy'.. gears are turning, there is no need to be in such haste and spoil such democratic processes as this commenting board of trruth.. marijuana's prevalence in cultures outside our borders (i use that term loosely) cannot be denied, and if i do say so myself, this is a pretty awkward soapbox of a place... dreadful really. refer to such responses shown above ^^

Pattymaker 9 years, 1 month ago

So what we are really trying to say is, it is ok to smoke dope. If we make it easy and cheap we sure won't be helping anyone who may be in the early stages of a potential problem.. It is an illegal drug no matter how "minor" it's affects are viewed. illegal is the key word here.

craigers 9 years, 1 month ago

Let's not overburden the poor dope smokers. Let's only charge them $50 instead. They probably spend closer to $50 every other week on pot, why not make it a financial burden and then maybe they will have to go longer without it. I guess if they are addicted then other things would be done without in order to provide for their habit. The whole judge discretion thing could get out of hand too, because they might put the fine over $300. We are in Lawrence though, so the judge would probably make him pay $35 and then tell him to only use the other $15 for the next to weeks and cut back on his usuage.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

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jlm 9 years, 1 month ago

I think $300 is an appropriate fine - a $50 fine is a joke.

mlemiller 9 years, 1 month ago

"City Commissioner David Schauner agreed that a minimum fine might be warranted, but said it should be closer to $50. 'I don't want to make it so high that it becomes a real financial burden,' Schauner said."

Um.... Isn't that the point of a fine? Aren't fines imposed so people will avoid the illegal activity the fines are attached to? I say the fine should be a burden or there should be no fine at all. I don't think $50 in the city's pocket is going to do much for the city, and the threat of having to pay only $50 is not likely to discourage very many from smoking pot. So if there is going to be a minimum fine, by all means make it a burden.

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

"so, do all the commssioners smoke dope, or just thier kids?"-Macon

Actually 70% of the population in the US has either tried, done, or does smoke it. The general consensus among the Country is to decriminalize it.

You want to outlaw Marijuana...fine go home burn all your beatles cd's, Chuck Berry, Etta James, Jackson Browne, The Rolling stones, Lynnard Skynnard, James Taylor, the list goes on and it dosn't include writers or filmakers. Without the influence of marijuana or other drugs YOUR life would be very diffrent. People like you enjoy the way Marijuana has enhanced your life yet continuously support punnisnhing people that smoke a relatively harmless drug. Cigaretts KILL more people annualy than ALL illegal drugs COMBINED. Same goes for alcohol. Yet they are legal. Legal drugs are deadly. Should we expect to see you support the prohabition of alcohol and cigaretts in the future?

pt 9 years, 1 month ago

$50 is a joke...$300 is a little more serious, but why not fine $1000? Most people could find some way or another to come up with $1000, and that would be enough to deter the casual pot smoker from risking much. $50 is ridiculus.

The whole point of increasing the fine is so that 70% of the population won't have smoked it. Argue all you want to legalize marijuana, but at the moment it is an illegal drug, and if you buy it illegal you might as well be buying acid, cocaine or heroine.

jayhawk13 9 years, 1 month ago

How many people have actually died from smoking Marijuana? Yea you may get addicted, but you can't die from smoking too much. They use this drug to treat many illnesses. If you haven't ever smoked it than you don't really know how it affects you, and if you have then you know that it is a harmless drug.

monkeywrench1969 9 years, 1 month ago

HEre we go...weed is good for your speech. Schauner's comment is consistent with everything else he does. Don't charge enough in fines to cover the cost of doing business. These people want it easy to smoke weed with little trouble.

Reach Around

OUI's are a misdemeanor and they always go to jail...poll the KU students you see getting handcuffed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night during peak bar hours.

What everyone is glossing over here is this is for the first time offender. If you already have a possession conviction you go straight to district court. And the 1st conviction is still a misdemeanor conviction. Either way in 2004 the state instituted a requirement to offer drug offenders counseling before prison so what is everyone complaining about the the man is keeping us down and the simple possession guys are packing our prisons. Only those who fail to finish the programs go to prison.

This will end up costing more because the increased number of cases being tried in municipal court.

cowboy 9 years, 1 month ago

get rid of the treatment programs , they are a waste of time andcost up to 1500 for lousy and inneffective treatment. The "treatment industry " here in Lawrence , DCCCA , HEartland , et al make a fortune off court ordered treatment, most of which is worthless.

donsalsbury 9 years, 1 month ago

Commissioner Schauner is breaking my heart!

"I don't want to make it so high that it becomes a real financial burden," Schauner said.

Poor, poor criminals. Poor, pot-smoking dope fiends. Poor burdens on society....Let's not make it hurt too bad for them to break the law....

Poor college students and friends and neighbors of Mr. Schauner is more like it. There are enough pot smokers in town that, if the law were merely enforced as often as in parking violations, we could probably charge as much as a parking ticket and break even on the manpower and administration costs.

This article goes to show who in our city commission either smokes pot or knows someone who smokes pot.

Manson said: "Cigaretts KILL more people annualy than ALL illegal drugs COMBINED. Same goes for alcohol." (sic)

Um, I believe that's because they ARE legal. Doesn't mean they should be. (Be careful what you suggest banning in this town!)

pt--well said.

I have to wonder what kind of music all the people Manson mentioned would have made if they hadn't been compromised of their full creative faculties. That's up for debate. As it is, we know a lot of artists would still be around if they hadn't done drugs of any sort....and the awful song "Rock n Roll Heaven" wouldn't have been written :-p

Tobacco killed Yul Brynner (among others), alcohol killed Janis and Jimi...perhaps it should all be banned. Great argument, though...makes a lot of sense that more things should be legalized because legal substances are worse for you...

Anyway, to the topic at hand, I agree that some treatment program should be required, yes, on the first offense. Or, let the offender pay a reduced fine if they choose the more expensive personalized treatment.

bangaranggerg 9 years, 1 month ago

it's not a 50 dollar fine- that's the minimum fine one man suggested. if they only find like a roach of a joint that is the basis of where judgement starts. A low minimum fine and individual case judgements makes more sense. Marijuana causes cronic bronchitis as would any kind of smoke in that quanity, but that's an effect that shows that pot can, in fact, cause harm to the individual and society.

Jamesaust 9 years, 1 month ago

"City Com. missioner David Schauner agreed that a minimum fine might be warranted, but said it should be closer to $50. 'I don't want to make it so high that it becomes a real financial burden,' Schauner said."

Ridiculous. I would suggest a minimum fine of $200, or 2% of the offender's last reported income from their income tax statement, whichever is greater.

The little-or-no-penalty proposals here belie the stated "official" purpose for such a procedurial change. What impudence from those who are gaining already a significant 'break' to turn around and ask for even more!

knowuh 9 years, 1 month ago

and michael moore comes in on a graphic and saves the day.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

OTTR, Are you saying that Erv Hodges,Doug Compton, Marty Kennedy and others in that group of people were stoned while making decisions? While I've had problems with some of their decisions too as city commissioners I'll never believe they were pot smokers...no way jose. Perhaps you can provide a link?

Kaw Pickinton 9 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

HUB 9 years, 1 month ago

It makes absolutely no sence to legalize drugs we know are bad for us. People get in accidetns because of marijuana use, they get shot over marijuana, and steal to get marijuana. Have you ever spoken to an old hippy who has smoked weed all of his/her life. They sound stupid. Marijuana like most drugs kills brain cells. If anything the arguement that alcohol and tobacco kill more people than marijuana tells me we need more legalized drugs in our society. Apparnetly we have to many legalized drugs as it is

On a side note...Off to the right I see you are worried about our commisioners supporting this STUPID idea. What about then wanting to create a review board that is supported by an anarchists. Of course, anarchists don't want the police to have any power over them. That is the nature of being an anarchist. Boog is an anarchist and he is a commisioner. That seems a little odd, an anarchist wanting to be involved in city government. I thought anarchists were anti government. Might explain the legalize marijauana thing.

uthinkuknow 9 years, 1 month ago

I think that it is ridiculous that the city is more concerned with marijuana smokers than with all the other crimes going on right now. What about all the criminals out there murdering children and setting apartments on fire. If anything they should be more concerned about the more important issues going on right now. I believe a minimum fine of $50 could get the message through enough. Why would you fine your own people for $300 for something like this. I think that if $300 should be the fine for being convicted of possession of marijuana then alcohol should be the same way. Come on people. Do something about all of the more important crimes going on. Get your heads on straight.

uthinkuknow 9 years, 1 month ago

quit wasting your time on things like this

bugmenot 9 years, 1 month ago

uthinkuknow: I didn't know about all the people out there murdering children and people setting apartments on fire. Should the police department set and wait around because those crimes happen about once a month or less. Maybe we could rid the police force of everybody but a couple of people and really focus on those crimes, all day everyday. Also did you ever think that decriminilizing it may free up there time to do other stuff???

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

The origonal Bob.

I could never do Hicks justice. I do my best to paraphrase that line and yet to this day NO ONE that is for the criminalization of marijuana can respond. If you think Marijuana is bad and it's influences are bad you must by logic of your argument refuse everything that has been spawned by the influence of marijuana. Fact is marijuana does influence our culture and has produced life enchancing products.

"The whole point of increasing the fine is so that 70% of the population won't have smoked it. "-pt

You sound like you work for the ONDCP. Tell me how has fineing and inprisonment worked out for disgouragement of durgs? People that believe in that are fools. The ONDCP constantly gets an increase of funds from the Gov. yet yields fewer and fewer results every year.

My point about Alcohol vs pot isn't about banning either one. If you are the type of person that follows the law wether its right or wrong you are a tool. All laws are not right and in the case of marijuana it is a glaring hypocrasy. Allowing one and not the other is like do as I say and not as I do.

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

"Um, I believe that's because they ARE legal. Doesn't mean they should be. (Be careful what you suggest banning in this town!)"-pt

Prohabition accelerates usage fool.

monkeywrench1969 9 years, 1 month ago

The cops at the gym have discussed this at length and think it is great. Most the weed possessions are caught while they are patting the bad guys after an arrest for something else or in the console during a car stop for OUI. It is a gravy infraction they get after the arrest two guys for fighting, OUI, they go to a house for a noise complaint and the people have their plate out in little piles and an array of commercial and homemade bongs for their smoking pleasure.

The funniest one I heard about was a group of college guys who made a bong out of a traffic barrel and had multiple positions.

THe problem is the weed smokers think this will reduce their problems. It will only increase it.

By the way smoking weed is worst than smoking ten cigs.

field_ump 9 years, 1 month ago

$50 fine?!?! I speed around town and get speeding tickets that are $65 for going 5 over the speed limit. I don't think speeding is as dangerous as messing with gateway drugs. But maybe I should start dancing around city hall and the court house to get my kicks instead of speeding all over the place.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

"These pot heads are making decisions about the city, while stoned!"

I don't see how this is qualitatively different from the post of Macon's that was removed, (along with my parody of it.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

FWIW, I've known both Rundle and Highberger for many years, and despite some people's certainty that they are potheads, I couldn't tell you if they ever partook, or not.

What I can say is both take their positions very seriously-- seriously enough to believe that they wouldn't risk even considering this matter if they currently had anything to do with illegal drugs.

OK, resume your baseless conjecture, accusations and name-calling.

carlwhoishot 9 years, 1 month ago

Who openly opposing making marijuana a lesser offense can truthfully say they have never smoked weed, not even once. (it counts even if you did not inhale) Odds are you did not get caught or punished. If you are willing to go through the district court process now and take punishment for your past decisions, then I will listen to your opinion.

Tasslehoff 9 years, 1 month ago

Agreed that Marijuana is the least dangerous of the 3 major players here, being pot, alcohol and tobacco. The argument that smoking pot = 10 cigs, doesn't mention HOW much pot. Which would be 1/2 pack...most cigarette users smoke much more. I believe it should be legal and taxed. Use that money to help rebuild our economy. Using hemp oil instead of conventional oil would be a help, but of course the whole reason hemp was outlawed was because of the petroleum companies. We can also save our trees with paper made from hemp, as is our Constitution. Recent studies have shown that the marijuana smoker isn't as prone to move up the drug chain as previously thought. Heck, a lot of kids these days just skip the stuff and go straight to crack or meth, these are the real killers...heroin, can't forget that...or the poor man's heroin, oxycontin. (would use the trailer term, but don't want to start a whole different argument) It helps many ill people around the country, the terminally ill, cancer patients trying to hold food down from chemo. As states have legalized marijuana for medical use, this does show that Americans do realize the benefits of it. However the Federal Government is the final say, and they say no. Would rather be trying to take some terminally ill person's weed from them, then closing down all the meth labs sprouting like weeds in Kansas and Missouri. Most police would rather be out working on these cases...but the DEA says, you don't crack down on these potheads, we will take your funding. And more meth labs appear. I have never seen two stoners fighting...drunks yeah...stoners no....maybe others have. The thefts and gun fights mentioned above apply more to crack houses and meth junkies than stoners, that argument doesn't fly for me. I do believe if legalized however, that the same dui laws apply. And like I say, tax the stuff...put the dealer of weed out of business....that will cut the weed related crime...then let's see how many gunfights and drug related thefts go down. It will some of course...but not the major downtrend people would expect. Because the crack houses and meth labs will still be out there. I mean let's get real and concentrate on the real drugs....meth, crack, heroin...let the police work on these more...not argue on the fine for the drug, yes marijuana is a drug as is nicotine and alcohol, and not the most dangerous of the lot. Regulate it like alcohol, tax it, use the by-products for good things, clothes, paper, fuel and many other things. It's not like we can do as someone said, if you let one be legal, legalize all of them, that's ridiculous. My god, it's Reefer Madness all over again. I've said my piece...not going to argue with anyone, not going to follow up this post...it's my opinion, and we know what those are like....

Tasslehoff 9 years, 1 month ago

one last comment, re: the city coucil business, there are many successful people out there, lawyers, professors, politicians (yes there are some who have admitted to using) who while have to put on an act outside their homes, still conduct a normal life while partaking of marijuana now and then, they are your neighbors, friends (maybe not close) or close but just keep it close to the chest, because of the pariah of being a smoker, have to hide and live in fear of being caught of doing something in their home that may what....act like a 1/2 pack of cigarettes? Reefer Madness

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

Who believes that Marijuana possession warrents a fine?

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

Who believes Marijuana can produce nothing of merit ?

Who believes that anything produced by Marijuana or influenced by marijuana should be destroyed?

craigers 9 years, 1 month ago

probably the same people that want a fine for it are the ones who don't smoke it and think it is bad for people. I for one support a fine for marijuana.

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

Craigers,

So idealy marijuana should not exist under a recreational use?

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

tell me Craigers, Who are some of your favorite musicaians, bands, radio stations. I think you know where I'm going with this but enduldge me please.

Ragingbear 9 years, 1 month ago

Marijuana is something highly controversial and .... Hey! Fritos!

imagold 9 years, 1 month ago

Cry me a river with a roundabout in it...If they can spend the money on the marijuana, they can find $300.00. However, I agree, $300.00 isn't enough. $1000.00 and 365 days of community service in a community food garden or soup kitchen ought to do it.

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

For what ? Don't you think that is a bit excessive for smoking a little pot ? It's not like I robbed anyone or carjacked anyone or murdered anyone.

LesterBurnham 9 years, 1 month ago

There is no reason to make marijuana or any other drug illegal. However, toxic chemicals and drugs that impare and cause harm should be restricted, just as many are already.

Drugs like acid? Label them with their known toxicity, and sell them where other chemicals are sold.

Drugs like cocaine, marijuana? Label them and sell them with similliar restrictions like cigarets.

Although I would advocate a more detailed labeling standard by the FDA for those products and all other products than we currently have. It is not the government's business to tell you what you can introduce into your body. It is also not the government's business to treat you for harm caused by what goes into your body willingly. This gets me to hospitals, which should only treat those who are children or are insured, insurance rates adjust per individual for how risky people want to be with their drug use.

If we just rescrict rather than deem illegal these drugs, our economy will greatly benefit from stopping the flow of money to Columbia, etc.

And of course we should encourage locally less fines and a quicker less costly legal process drug prosecuting, as the article pertains too.

LocalYocal 9 years, 1 month ago

$50 is a ridiculous fine. I was fined $102 for going through a 50 ft. stretch of closed road in west lawrence. The road was even finished, just supposedly hadn't been inspected by the city yet. And the road closed sign was practically parrallel to the street, not blocking it at all. So, what the city is saying is that doing what I did is twice as bad as smoking a joint. Whatever.

HUB 9 years, 1 month ago

Hey uthinkuknow.........If you don't think drugs, including marijuana, play a large part in other crimes, then u need to get your head on straight. Burglaries, forgeries, shopliftings, assaults, robberies, rapes etc usually involve illegal narcotics, alcohol or both. U must be getting your information from fortune cookies......

P.S.>>>>>>If you would read the paper instead you would see the police have made arrests on both the fire case and the child homicide.

kansasboy 9 years, 1 month ago

So I can smoke pot w/ a minor fine but can't smoke ciggarettes in a bar. So can I smoke dope in a bar?

Manson 9 years, 1 month ago

"Cry me a river with a roundabout in it...If they can spend the money on the marijuana, they can find $300.00. However, I agree, $300.00 isn't enough. $1000.00 and 365 days of community service in a community food garden or soup kitchen ought to do it." -imagold

Maybe they grow their own. Again fines and prison time don't deter users from useing. You can fine users all you want fact is......Prohabition only fuels the fire. We learned our leson with alcohol and the time for marijuana is soon to come.

The billions and billions our country wastes each and every year have yielded no reduction in marijuana use. Want to know why? Because EVERYONE with a relevent knowledge of Marijuana knows that the Government feeds lies about the drug and knows the truth. People say that decriminalizing it will only increase its availability. Not true. There is no shortage of marijuana in the US and there will never be. Too many people want it and too many know that it is no more harmful than caffene. The government and the public bolstering its illegal status can spew the ignorant rhetoric all they want it won't change the facts.

bangaranggerg 9 years, 1 month ago

this discussion is out of hand, let's save some of our misplaced aggression for the KU- MU football game, huh?

lonesome_breeze 9 years, 1 month ago

" Dude...All I need is some tasty waves, a cool buzz and I'm fine" Jeff Spicolli - 1982

Harry_Manback 9 years, 1 month ago

I am curious what the minimum fine for a DUI or MIP is. I doubt it's that much. Drinking is a much worse problem then marijuana. Even if the fine is expensive it will not really deter a lot of pot smokers from resuming use after they're done with drugs tests and diversion. There are a lot worse problems than pot smoking. I think DUI penalties should be stiffer than pot possession ones.

bugmenot 9 years, 1 month ago

LesterBurnham is definitely on the right track about this issue.

I will never understand how people can get so upset about what other people do to themselves.

And lastly, here is a lovely quote from some famous smart person: "When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken."

Charles L Bloss Jr 9 years, 1 month ago

Ahhhhhhhh idiocy reigns once again in river city. Schauner doesn't want the fine to be high enough as to cause the offender a financial burden. That's why we have fines, to cause a financial burden so the offender doesn't re-offend, duh. What is even more amazing to me is that you people elect people that think like this. Of course maybe he, the mayor, and others down there smoke pot and they don't want their friends and fellow pot smokers to have to pay a high fine if they get caught. I think Mike Amyx is right, and he seems to be the only one that thinks straight. I think the fine should be around $500 to $1,000, in order to accomplish it's purpose. Also, how can city commissioners tell a law enforcement officer what priority to give to enforcing laws? A police officer uses their training and judgement about which laws they should give priority to, not micro-managing city commissioners who are afraid too many of their pot smoking friends will get arrested. We hire good people to enforce the law, trusting their judgement and training to do a difficult thankless job that must be done. Politicians have no business telling them what priority to give to enforcing any law. Although I enjoy shopping and dining in Lawrence, this just makes me glad, once again, that I do not live within the city limits. It appears that a large majority of your city commissioners have nothing to do but come up with such idiotic statements, policies, and city ordinances. They can't even keep the sewers working. Stop trying to tell trained police officers how to do their job. That's why they go to the academy and ride with a training officer, ya know. Thank you, Lynn

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

Hard narcotics are very addicitive and a person should be independently wealthy if they choose to indulge. Only then is it possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle. By that I mean eating a healthy diet daily in addition to sleeping as needed. Independently wealthy like Keith Richards, who has given up heroin but is a perfect example of how much money it requires on the long term. G.W. Bush is another example of how much money is required to do alcohol, cocaine and pot for an extended period. Coffee and tobacco are addictive substances. Coca Cola might well be also.

Making marijuana legal or decriminalizing the substance takes the big bucks out of the equation thus less criminal activity. Not only that it opens the doors once again for an agricultural cash crop of industrial hemp which is then converted to paper or fabric. Certainly pot is no more evil than alcohol. Moderation is the key.

Does smoking pot make everyone lazy...not by a long shot. I knew two people who would take college exams stoned and tripping and finished every semester with a 4.0 GPA. Could everyone do that? I don't know but speculation tells me that is not very likely.

bendaddy 9 years, 1 month ago

I can't help but think that the 70% statistic is pretty far off. Perhaps I'm among only 30% of people who has never tried marijuana. Interestingly, I would be very willing to put this issue to a vote. If 70% of the population wanted to legalize, I'd have to go along. I venture to guess however, that marijuana wouldn't be legalized if put to a vote.

It is an issue because a minority of people feel their "rights" are being infringed upon. If 70% tried it AND wanted it to be legalized, it would already be legal. Maybe most of the "70%" have tried it and understand that it isn't something that is beneficial to our society as a whole.

knowuh 9 years, 1 month ago

Combustion Kills

After reading all of the comments on this subject I'm a bit surprised that no one has mentioned alternatives to smoking pot....

BUTTER. nothin's better than having two batches of brownies to choose from. No need to limit use to sweets, experiment at will.. a little magic butter on some popcorn would be great at the movie theater... I'm kicking myself for not claiming the rights to that one

VAPORIZERS. there's no reason to complain about the damage caused by smoke inhalation if all that is being inhaled is warm vapor. A few places around town used to carry them, but they're a lot easier to track down on the internet. A surprising variety are already on the market, ranging from enclosed bowls volatized by the common lighter, to units that plug into the wall and can be set to a desired temperature. for the non-pot-heads, it works with tobacco too... and for the non-tobacco..-heads... vaporizers are commonly sold as incense units.

MARINOL. sooner or later Americans will be having dinner Wonka-style, but until fiction becomes a reality there's a gelatin pill called marinol. While Marinol may not make you feel full, it does conjure an appetite. The medical marijuana researchers have come up with what is essentially a THC pill, but seems that this .um..invention... has not exactly exploded into public jibber jabber. I've only personally used this pill once, but I'm sure that if it was a little more available, I'd put down my st. john's wort bottle pretty quick. Wouldn't it be great to see a commercial with some scronny lady in it (scantily clad of course) just begging for a way to gain weight, and then a marinol flies in on some crazy graphic and saves the day... i mean.. makes her hungry. . . after all, America loves pills!

Suggestion: Don't get caught, pretend that you did, pay yourself 300 dollars and go vaporizer fishing. . . or just eat the other brownies and get a sugar high.

P.S. I've been pulled over with a stopwatch and was given a ticket for $90. . .it's up for comparison

bendaddy 9 years, 1 month ago

Marinol! That is great!

You know, I'm known to have a pretty heavy appetite, but maybe it's not as strong as it could be. . .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps the real solution is to fine everyone $1000 every year, just on the assumption that each of us must be doing something wrong at least part of the time, all of the time, in someone's opinion. Better safe, and well-funded, than sorry.

lunacydetector 9 years, 1 month ago

since financial aid gets cut off for a conviction in state or federal court, congress needs to step in and declare it also applies to municipal courts as well. people who smoke dope know it is illegal. if they are getting financial aid, they are being a burden on the taxpayers.

a minimum fine of $1,000 should apply to first time offenders. then everyone who smokes dope and receives financial aid will think twice before they make that buy and toke that hit.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

Why stop there? Let's make any infraction of any sort trigger ineligibility for everything. Life imprisonment for all offenses of all kinds. Why discriminate? A law is a law, and there should be no favoritism whatsoever. And let's make that retroactive, while we're at it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

OK, I realize in retrospect that that would be impractical. The universal penalty should be the death penalty, by summary execution on the spot. We can make this an educational opportunity by having squads of school kids haul off the dead bodies so they can be composted into biodiesel fuel.

linux_chick 9 years, 1 month ago

No fine. Legalize marijuana or make outlaw cigarettes.

It's stupid to follow an archaic policy from the 1830s intended to filter Mexican immigrants from mainstream society by putting them behind bars. But we can't get this off the books while the war of drug is stigmatized as some kind of moral battle.

If we're enforcing a standard of health on the populace, then cigarettes have got to go as well. If we're not, then for goodness sakes, let's not waste any more money or man hours on a dated and originally racist law we should be ashamed was ever adopted in the first place.

linux_chick 9 years, 1 month ago

sorry for the typo: *or outlaw cigarettes...

And for the record, in case it would come up: I don't smoke at all: marijuana or cigarettes.

linux_chick 9 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if none thinks it should be illegal a person to be allowed to make a choice to be unhealthy or healthy.

kansasboy 9 years, 1 month ago

This is what happens when the liberal left wing nuts get power. Its a sad day for the conservatives. We need to take back the micophone.

Jamesaust 9 years, 1 month ago

"I paid for this microphone, Mr. Green," as Ronald Reagan quipped against George Bush (Sr.) at a January 1980 GOP Presidential candidate debate, perhaps unconciously quoting Spencer Tracy from "State of the Union."

bendaddy 9 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if a society should be able to come to some majority decision about what is socially acceptable. I wish everyone to be free about their own choices, but I balk at having to foot the bill for their mistakes.

Should I feel the need to provide any sort of "help" to someone who lives on a couch with a roach clip? The vision I have of a pot smoker is a 20 something male in a hazy living room in front of an x-box, unemployed and umemployable (in any meaningful endeavor). Do we believe that the "average" pot smoker is a pillar of the community with a well paying job, family and meaningful community involvement? Come on! There may be a few, but the majority of people that are doing it are mooching off their parents! Why would we legalize pot for the exceptional examples?

I pose the question again - if 70% of people really believe pot smoking is ok, why hasn't it been legalized already? Conspiracy? Vote fraud? I'd put it to a vote right now in Lawrence (the most liberal community in Kansas, probably) and it would crash and burn.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

The measure under consideration would do nothing but streamline the legal process for FIRST-TIME OFFENDERS. This is nothing even close to a sweeping change in marijuana laws or enforcement. People who get caught more than once will see absolutely no change in how they are treated.

But the whole point of legalization or decriminalization would be that the social consequences would be less than the current illegal status-- and make no mistake that the war on drugs and the resulting prison-industrial complex has a huge social cost.

Clinging to the ignorant stereotype that anyone who occasionally uses pot is a shiftless bum isn't the least bit useful in this decision, and I'm glad that we have commissioners who are more rational than the petty, vindictive control freaks on this board. If you want to torture something, go to the animal shelter and get a cat you can lock up in your basement.

linux_chick 9 years, 1 month ago

Are you actually advocating supporting a law because the only people you can imagine breaking it are losers in your opinion? wow.

Who cares if only 10 homeless people in the entire nation smoke it? (I'm assuming example that this adequately falls into your definition of a worthless human being) We should probably be thinking about why it's illegal... and if that reasoning is valid.

Maybe that's just me...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

Trying to treat everyone fairly and creating a level-playing field is not being a "control freak." But I'm sure all the old-guard control freaks who are aghast that they can't use the city government for their own narrow purposes feel that's what it is.

Tasslehoff 9 years, 1 month ago

4) Sure it may sound unfair that booze and tobacco are legal, but lets get real. THOSE drugs are so intertwined in OUR culture that taking them away would be like banning apple pie or motherhood. Why do you think prohibition failed so misserably(sic). That doesn't mean we need to open the flood gates to more drugs. Perhaps you also think pharmacies aren't necessary. Just let us take what we want?

Marijuana isn't enmeshed into our society? You have a lot to learn. It has been around as long as alcohol if not longer in society in general. When it was found that MANY things that could hurt the petroleum business, remember, nylon, rayon...all these fabrics come from petroleum products...as well as hemp oil, which they were afraid would cut into their business, marijuana was added to a law that made cocaine and opium type drugs were banned to the public. It had nothing to do with the hispanic or Mexican immigration that caused the ban of marijuana. Hemp was grown in the United States long before that was a problem. It was a cash crop, like I said, our constitution is written on hemp paper. The petroleum businesses were afraid that new uses for hemp were going to hurt their business, we know how strong their lobby is. Reefer Madness was made...

"The marihuana user, freed from the restraint of gravitation, bumps his head against the sky. Street lights become orangoutangs [sic] with eyes of fire. Huge slimy snakes crawl through small cracks in the sidewalk, and prehistoric monsters, intent on his destruction, emerge from keyholes, and pursue him down the street. He feels squirrels walking over his back, while he is being pelted by some unseen enemy with lightning bolts. He will thrill you with the most plausible accounts of desperadoes who lurk in the doorway ahead, waiting with long, sharp knives to pounce on him and carve him to pieces."

Source: On the Trail of Marihuana the Weed of Madness by Earle Albert Rowell & Robert Rowell, Pacific Press Publishing, 1939, pp.66-7

Now if you read that in 1939, wouldn't you want to pass laws to ban it? Your government wouldn't lie to you would it? Doesn't sound like weed to me.. read that in 2005, we laugh.

But as previously mentioned, marijuana is engrained in our society as Rock and Roll.

andyk 9 years, 1 month ago

READ THIS BECAUSE IT COVERS WHAT NOBODY HAS SAID YET!!! First of all, I wish people would stop saying marijuana would be "legalized" because that's not what it is. It will never be "legalized" in America, only decriminalized. I've also heard people talk about how stupid smoking pot is because it's expensive. Okay. Well when I'm high I'm probably not going to go to the movies ($7, which is greater than the couple bucks of weed I would smoke to get high.) It's a hobby. Hobbyist spend money on their hobbies. Stupid hobby or not, it's still a hobby. There have been studies on what decriminalization and even legalization would do to the usage. It's very small. Before I smoked pot, I didn't refrain from using it because it's illegal. My friends that don't do it, don't do it not because it's illegal. (By the way, it's not technically illegal to smoke it.) If it became even legal, those friends would likely still not do it. And stop talking about how bad it is. Yes the tar content is far than that of a tobacco. But what most people don't know is that tobacco crops are treated with radium and radon, which are both radioactive elements (RADIOACTIVE=CANCER.) Most pot is not rich (even any at all) in these obviosly deadly elements because it is not treated with phosphate rich furtilizers.
Pot use is about the same as it was 30 or 40 years ago, and the U.S. seems to be becoming a little more problamatic in everything government, than it was back then. While countries that don't seems to be spending billions on pot yearly, seem to have no real issues with pot.
And what is wrong with having more powerfull weed? That means less actuall smoking of it. What is the problem there? I don't care what people say, it is possible to get just about as high with just regular stuff as it is with the general "dank". You just have to smoke for hours straight, which I'll admit is probably not healthy. Smoking "dank" does not really put more THC in your body over long term. THC exits the body exponentially, the more there is the faster it is going to be trying to clear out. There have also been studies on pot and driving. In autopsies of people killed in car wrecks, finding drugs in the body such as cocaine were far more frequent than THC (which was in very few cases). That doesn't say anything but that most fatal car crashes didn't involve pot. I'm not going to say that driving while high is ok. But what I have noticed in how it effects people is in city driving. Those not use to city driving become very nervous and sketchy drivers while driving U.I. in the city. I'll admit that I've logged many miles while a high, and not once have I ran a stop light/sign, came close to hitting someone, or sped to the point where I endanger others. I'm going to post a second post so I can finish my "essay."

andyk 9 years, 1 month ago

CONTINUED. You could say my time is coming, but with the amount of miles I drive, that is stastically bound to happen. Then there are just the crappy drivers who cause accidents naturally. Should we punish them any more, just for being crappy drivers?
And last, if it wasn't obvious, THIS IS A COLLEGE TOWN. KIDS IN COLLEGE SMOKE POT. Go to nearly any university across America, and you will find pot. One big reason for this whole diversion of the possesion cases is to keep kids from losing financial aide, the way many kids even get into college. Smoking some pot is not going to cause them to really change and become a bad student, if they know what is good for them and still apply themselves. Why do I know this? The last semester of high school, I began to smoke pot chronically. That semester I got the first 4.0 I've ever received, (I like to brag about that to all the anti-pot people.) I noticed that whenever I went to educational awards banquets and things at my school, a large percentage of them were potheads. Explain that to me.
Issues about stupid thing like this are a product of a super conservative state, like Kansas. It's the same reason we don't have casino's (except Indian casinos) and Sunday liquor sails. I don't care if people don't agree with having these two things, I don't necesarily agree with having them in Kansas, but they would be a good source of income. Look at the other states that do. Much of the money from riverboat casinos in Missouri goes to schools, which Kansas has a problem funding.

andyk 9 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, I just read another comment from a person talking about legalizing. I just want to make it clear. LEGALIZATION WILL NOT HAPPEN IN LAWRENCE OR EVEN AMERICA. LEGALIZATION IS NOT = DECRIMINALIZATION. And Lawrence isn't even talking about decriminalization. Thanks, and make sure to read what I wrote above, even though it is some 4000 characters. (And they all said potheads were lazy, hah) One thing I didn't mention is that I know pot isn't good. I don't pressure people into doing it, and don't typically recommend to people I meet to try it. I don't mind that it may be causing me some problems. I smoke it, I get by with my regular life of going to KU to be an engineer, which I plan to fulfill while still smoking pot. I don't plan to do it my whole life, and I don't consider myself a druggy. Thanks for hearing all this.

andyk 9 years, 1 month ago

linux_chick: Pretty sure it's computer eng. though I've thought about computer sci.

kansasboy 9 years, 1 month ago

Wow an engineer student that smokes pot. I thought you guys didn't have a life. (jk) Remind me not to be in any of your buildings later in life.

andyk 9 years, 1 month ago

You mean remind you to not buy any of my computers/periphreals later on in life. Engineers make everything.

linux_chick 9 years, 1 month ago

None:

I don't personally feel that calling discriminating against Mexican immigrants a racist policy is off topic or unduely emotionally loaded. What exactly should I call it: ethnic discrimination?

Anyway, I believe that the democratic process only works as long as the public is willing to question policies handed down to us through tradition or our politicians and not just blindly follow them because it's the "moral thing to do." When we stop this questioning, we live in a dictatorship.

I don't see anything wrong with pharmacies, quite the contrary, I put forward that it is inconsistent at best to legalize drugs that are far more damaging to the body prescription-only... and that the banning of marijuana was never enacted to protect the American public in the first place.

No. I have no problem with legalizing marijuana and if it is deemed exceptionally harmful, regulate it under prescriptions like other powerful drugs (morphine etc.), especially since it has been recently shown to have medicinal value.

Good for you, for self-electing a healthy lifestyle. You're one up on me: I consume my fair share of coffee.

Andyk: From a fellow engineer, I wish you didn't smoke pot. At the same time, I think it's ridiculous to prosecute/fine you for making that decision when we allow anyone over 18 to smoke themselves into lung cancer and 21+ to drink themselves into a coma.

What are you studying? I'm compie sci.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

By that logic, anyone whoever has a drink is a wino living under the bridge.

andyk 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm not going to go on arguing on this anymore. None2 you made a perfect generalization and I can only argue for myself, which doesn't do much good here. I would agree that workers in any industry with any amount of technical skills required, probably shouldn't be smoking pot. I hope I don't do it when I do have to go out and start real life. Some people won't stop and that's just life. You can't go and blame that on something they did back when they where young. I have friends that are older and still live at home and smoke pot. They are lazy and have no ambition to move out. Probably in-part because of pot. But they have no problems in life besides that they are potheads. Who cares that they still live at home; smoke pot for as long as you want for all I care, if they have some sort of functioning life someday. They're not going to be engineers or anything big. They're living close to the same life now they would without pot. And even if the government could do something effective to fight pot on a large scale, it's unlikely that anything will happen while I use it. Years from now, kids like me are going to use it, quit sometime later on, and go on through life that closely resembles their life without pot. The proposal for Lawrence, if passed, will not make pot cheaper, and will have minimal effect, if any, on usage. All it will do is keep the smokers without a serious problem, out of debt and major legal problems.

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