Saturday, January 26, 2008
I Want A Pot AVM Of My Own
From Sign On San Diego:
In Japan, vending machines distribute beer. In the future, public booths will aid in the act of suicide. And now, in Los Angeles, marijuana comes from an ATM.
The proper acronym is AVM, Anytime Vending Machine. L.A. is now home to two 24-hour pot AVMs, one on Melrose and another on La Cienega. But don't head for the 5 just yet. You're still required to jump through all the regulatory hoops -- the doc's OK, namely.
Starting on Monday, people who have medical conditions such as glaucoma, cancer, and the deadly not-stoned-enough virus can start getting their fat buds from special "AVMs."
These electronic drug dealers won't be out on the street next to a Pepsi machine, of course. No, they'll be "housed in standalone rooms, abutting two dispensaries and protected by round-the-clock security guards." To use them, you'll need to go with a prescription in hand, get fingerprinted and get a prepaid credit card that's loaded up with your dosage and what strain of weed you want. Yeah, no joke, the pharmacists in LA give you a choice between OG Kush and Granddaddy Purple.
I cannot believe that marijuana is still regarded as such a hideous and harmful drug when the most harmful and destructive drug - booze - is, and has been, legal for decades. I am not suggesting a return to prohibition - far from it. But liquor has destroyed more people, more families, more careers and more lives than pot ever has and ever will. Okay, that's a subjective statement because I haven't crunched the numbers, but let me say this: when was the last time two or more people got into a fight because they were smoking weed? When was the last time two or more people got into a fight because they were drunk? When was the last time someone caused a injurious car accident because they were high? When was the last time a drunk driver injured or killed someone?
And all the millions and millions of dollars spent by the federal and state government combating what is nothing more than a weed. This is absurd, it is not economical, it is a farce on the grandest of scales. Further, if any state decided to do what California is doing regarding marijuana for medicinal purposes, the Federal Government has no business attempting to ride roughshod over the state. This is supposed to be the whole intent behind The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Wiki:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
According to the Tenth Amendment, the federal government of the United States has the power to regulate only matters specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. Other powers are reserved to the States, or to the people. The Commerce Clause is one of those few powers specifically delegated to the federal government and thus its interpretation is very important in determining the scope of federal legislative power.
Most recently, the Commerce Clause was cited in the 2005 decision Gonzales v. Raich. In this case, a California woman sued the Drug Enforcement Administration after her medical marijuana crop was seized and destroyed by Federal agents. Medical marijuana was explicitly made legal under California state law by Proposition 215; however, marijuana is prohibited at the federal level by the Controlled Substances Act. Even though the woman grew the marijuana strictly for her own consumption and never sold any, the Supreme Court stated that growing one's own marijuana affects the interstate market of marijuana, citing the Wickard v. Filburn decision. It therefore ruled that this practice may be regulated by the federal government under the penumbra of the Commerce Clause.
The constitutionality of the Commerce Clause needs to be challenged, as is evidenced (at least in my opinion) with regard to its implementation and interpretation. Wiki:
In 1995, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court in United States v. Lopez (later clarified by United States v. Morrison). There, the Court ruled that Congress had the power to regulate only
* the channels of commerce,
* the instrumentalities of commerce, and
* action that substantially affects interstate commerce
Thus the federal government did not have the power to regulate relatively unrelated things such as the possession of firearms near schools, as in the Lopez case. This was the first time in 60 years, since the conflict with President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936-37, that the Court had overturned a putative regulation on interstate commerce because it exceeded Congress's commerce power. Justice Clarence Thomas, in a separate concurring opinion, argued that allowing Congress to regulate intrastate, noncommercial activity under the Commerce Clause would confer on Congress a general “police power” over the Nation.
The Court found in Seminole Tribe v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996) that, unlike the Fourteenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause does not give the federal government the power to abrogate the sovereign immunity of the states.
Many described the Rehnquist Court's commerce clause cases as a doctrine of "new federalism". The outer limits of that doctrine were delineated by Gonzales v. Raich (2005), in which Justices Scalia and Kennedy departed from their previous positions as parts of the Lopez and Morrison majorities to uphold a federal law regarding marijuana. The court found the federal law valid, although the marijuana in question had been grown and consumed within a single state, and had never entered interstate commerce.
Yes, I advocate the legalization of marijuana as well as other drugs. Regulate and tax them just as is done with liquor. Further, and this is a thought for a separate post - non-violent drug users or providers (aka "dealers") have no business being locked up in prison. Who do you want living next to you or down your block; a pot smoker, someone who snorts a few lines of coke or a released sex offender or violent criminal?
If we drug tested all of our elected officials - local, county, state and federal - I wonder how many would have cannabis, coke or other outlawed substances in their system?
(All images via Google image search or from linked story.)
Far as I know it is very dry here. It's been a long, long time since I puffed - many, many months. Used to like it at night instead of a cocktail cuz it helped me sleep. Far less harmful than booze, which I have nothing against. I like a drink every now and then too.
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