UPDATE: Definitely check out Norm Stamper’s post about the South Carolina sheriff who wants to charge Michael Phelps with a crime.
A few more updates on what’s been going on this week:
- The Obama Administration reiterated its promise that the raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California will stop as soon as they finish appointing new people to run the DEA. Four dispensaries in Los Angeles were raided this week. The change.org site has a petition you can sign to encourage the Obama Administration to end the raids here.
- After a dozen State House members co-sponsored a bill to decriminalize marijuana, State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36) and three others introduced a similar bill, SB 5615. Unlike the House Bill, though, this one will be getting a hearing – scheduled for this Tuesday, February 10 along with several other criminal justice and drug policy bills.
- The latest pre-trial hearing in the Bruce Olson case was scheduled for yesterday. I haven’t been able to get any news updates yet so if you were there and have an update, please leave a comment.
- Ryan Frederick was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter this week. Frederick was the man who killed a raiding police officer whom he mistakenly believed was a home invader. Frederick was also acquitted of the charge of manufacturing marijuana, the initial justification for the raid in the first place. He faces up to ten years in jail.
- Pete Guither has another infuriating drug war story.
- I have some mixed feelings about the Stimulus Plan making its way through Congress. I’m thoroughly annoyed by the simple-minded arguments coming from Republicans on why to oppose this bill. I think it’s clear that some form of government stimulus is necessary right now. The idea that we’re going to fix this mess simply by cutting taxes or scaling back government is foolish.
That said, there are some things in the bill that absolutely should not be there. For one, the bill contains $3 billion dollars for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program. This money would fund drug task forces, like the one in Kitsap County (WestNET) that busted medical marijuana patient Bruce Olson.
In order for government spending to really be a “stimulus”, it can’t just create jobs for the sake of creating jobs. It needs to create jobs that, in turn, create more private sector jobs in the future. Building roads and infrastructure can do that by making it easier for businesses to operate and expand. Funding research can do that by improving technology and furthering scientific discovery. But funding more prisons and the programs that continue to fill our bloated prisons doesn’t do that. It actually puts the burden on government to fund even more public sector jobs, like additional prison workers and public defenders.
- And finally, how stupid is Kellogg’s? The company that makes Cheez-It’s, Pop Tarts, and dozens of other snack products drops Michael Phelps as its spokesman because he took a bong hit? What? Does Kellogg’s have any idea how much of their revenue comes from pot smokers?