Monday, August 22, 2011

Pot bust insanity goes on and on

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM

The sheer folly, not to mention the destructive impact, of the war on drugs continues unabated. You see news stories nearly every day about law enforcement’s time and efforts being wasted on marijuana arrests, while other, serious crimes like burglaries, car thefts and domestic violence cases go begging for attention. And don’t get me started on how we wouldn’t have to release prisoners early if the jails weren't crowded with drug offenders.

A story today is instructive: A Rock Hill father and son, ages 45 and 20, were arrested over the weekend for marijuana possession and sales out of their mobile home. Both men were out of work and making a little, er, undocumented money on the side; drug agents set up the son for a small purchase, after which they found a whopping four whole, evil ounces of pot stashed under the mobile home. Now, both son and dad are still in jail, under a $10,000 bond each.

Also in the news, a 17-year-old from Lincoln County was arrested yesterday in Mount Holly. Officers say they smelled the odor of marijuana in the teen's car, so they checked, found a bag of pot, and handcuffed the kid, at which point he started spitting, saying he had tried to eat the pot when he saw the police (Weedies, the breakfast of champions?). Now get this: The kid is being held on a $25,000 bond — well over the amount of bail usually demanded of local pot sellers whose supply is under a pound.

The war on drugs is generally recognized as an abysmal, wasteful and destructive failure by anyone who’s even remotely been paying attention the past few decades. That would include the Global Commission on Drug Policy, containing former heads of state and a former UN Secretary General, which recently released its report calling the war on drugs an utter failure that should be abandoned. And yet the busts continue that, at this point in our cultural history, are moronic at best and brownshirt-ish at worst.

Here’s one more example of how insane the whole thing has become. In a case that has received much notice lately, Penelope Harris’s apartment in the Bronx was searched last year. Police found a third of an ounce of pot. In New York, that’s too little pot to even be charged with a misdemeanor; plus, the pot was Harris’ boyfriend’s, and she tested negative for drugs. So everything was dropped and everyone went about their own business, right? Not exactly. Ms. Harris’ son, 10, was taken from her and kept in foster care more than a week. Her 8-year-old niece, who was living with her as a foster child, was placed in another home and was kept by a foster care agency for more than a year, while Ms. Harris went through a long child-neglect investigation, even though she had no criminal record. What’s even more unbelievable is that this is apparently standard practice, according to The New York Times, which reports that “Hundreds of New Yorkers who have been caught with small amounts of marijuana, or who have simply admitted to using it, have become ensnared in civil child neglect cases in recent years, though they did not face even the least of criminal charges ... a small number of parents in these cases have even lost custody of their children.”

All because of marijuana. People, this is completely nuts.

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