Thursday January 29, 2015
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In the Sheelah Golliglee case the current question is whether not she broke the law by accepting money for pot.
The law is, "36-2811 Presumption of medical use of marijuana; protections; civil penalty."
First, let's look at the basic thrust of the law. Just read this:
"A. There is a presumption that a qualifying patient or designated caregiver is engaged in the medical use of marijuana pursuant to this chapter.
(a) Is in possession of a registry identification card.
(b) Is in possession of an amount of marijuana that does not exceed the allowable amount of marijuana."
It is very plain that the law is trying to stop anyone from hassling someone who is legally using pot. Right?
There's much more, but here's the portion of the law in question, a part intended to protect both caregiver and patient:
"B. A registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver is not subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denial of any right or privilege, including any civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau:
Here's how I read it: "A... registered designated caregiver is not subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner...For offering or providing marijuana to a registered qualifying patient...if nothing of value is transferred in return..."
In other words, the caregiver cannot sell pot.
The lawyers claim that, “The restriction of the receipt of anything of value applies only to the transfer of medical marijuana from a registered patient to a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary..."
In other words, it only covers a case when a patient transfers pot to the caregiver.
Does anyone agree with that interpretation of the law?
And now for the magical commas.
Please read this again:
"3. For offering or providing marijuana to a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver for the registered qualifying patient's medical use or to a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary if nothing of value is transferred in return and the person giving the marijuana does not knowingly cause the recipient to possess more than the allowable amount of marijuana."
The lawyers claim the statute is poorly written because it includes a run-on sentence with no punctuation. They say:
“Because of this, it is, perhaps, subject to more than one interpretation,” they write. “The interpretation that most favors the defendant, however, must be the one applied,” they concluded, citing an established legal principle.
What they are saying essentially is that if TWO commas were inserted into that paragraph its meaning would change. And they are right! Read it with the magical commas inserted.
"3. For offering or providing marijuana to a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver for the registered qualifying patient's medical use, or to a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary if nothing of value is transferred in return, and the person giving the marijuana does not knowingly cause the recipient to possess more than the allowable amount of marijuana."
If the phrase "or to a registered nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary if nothing of value is transferred in return" is separated by commas from the rest it changes the whole meaning of the paragraph. It changes a paragraph which is meant to be a general restriction on the sale of pot, and changes it to mean only one case: where pot is being sold to a caregiver. How could the law possibly mean that?
My opinion? That original sentence, folks, is not a run-on sentence; it is a well written sentence that says exactly what it means. No one except a licensed dispensary can sell pot.
A sentence is only a "run-on sentence" if it was SUPPOSED to have a comma or commas in it. Example:
Suppose I say, "Shoot, Charlie; the cat is dead." No doubt about what I mean, right?
But what if I say, "Shoot Charlie; the cat is dead." I mean a little something else, no? :-)
True story: One day someone asked Oscar Wilde what he had accomplished that morning with the manuscript he was writing.
"I put in a comma," he said.
Later that day, the same friend asked what he had accomplished that afternoon.
"I took out the comma."
The lady was not licensed and she took money. Guilty.
That's the way, Pat. She was not a licensed dispenser. Anything else is smoke and mirrors.
As far as the claim that that clause in the law is ambiguous is concerned — baloney! Sounds like someone trying to set things up so that people reading that she got off will be looking the other way instead of screaming their heads off.
I like that law. It goes far out its way to make sure that anyone who is legitimately using pot for medical purposes, and who hasn't gotten it illegally, is clear of the law.
Think how great our world would be without attorneys, lawyers or whatever they are called.
I have a word for them but can't put it on here. Then they go on to be judges.
The trouble with defense attorneys is a kind of Catch-22 they find themselves in. They are pledged to make sure that their client gets the best defense he can get. That is, of course, something that nobody would argue with.
But that is NOT the same thing as pledging yourself to get the defendant off. That's a whole different matter. If an attorney knows that his client is guilty his goal should be ensure that he gets a fair trial and is not punished beyond what he deserves.
But you know what happens. What makes an attorney more attractive to a client? Winning cases! And how does an attorney make more money? By winning cases. The result is what we have.
The trouble is, we have prosecution attorneys thinking the same way. Winning means moving up, making more money. My Uncle, Farrell Kane, was a New York DA. He used to let out such a string of curses at times that my mother would cover my ears. He hated two kinds of people: DA's whose only goal in life was to put as many people in prison as they could, and the politicians who pushed them to do it. Uncle Farrell used to say that they were all supposed to be there to see justice done. "Hah!" he would say. "Justice!"
Want an eyeful. Check out this site.
Ron, have you ever considered this?
To whom does the Constitution grant the authority to make laws? Congress, right?
And where in the Constitution does it give Congress the power to pass on that precious authority to someone else? Nowhere!
Now, explain to be how all these bureaus and whatnot have the authority to write laws? And don't tell me they aren't laws when you can be tossed in prison for violating one of them.
That's a large part of what is wrong with this country; bureaus have been illegally and improperly granted the authority to rule over us. We are in a position very similar to what we once had in some colonies, such as Pennsylvania, where there were actually people who OWNED the colony. They were called Proprietors and they were outside the law. The colonies had legislatures, but quite often the laws would read "but the Proprietors shall not be exempted from..."
What do bureaucrats do? They often write laws that benefit THEM, not us. Laws that make it easy to do what they want, instead of doing their jobs. In essence, since we have no say in what bureaucrats do we are right back where we were when we were yelling NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION! You see? Unless every single regulation passed by a bureau has to be approved by Congress, we have NO say in what laws are written. That's why outfits like the EPA and BATF go nuts, making laws we all have to live with even if they are contrary to the Bill of Rights.
This is one place where we can make a stand. Tired of the IRS making self-serving rules? Tired of having the Forest Service tell you when and how you can use the forest you own?
You and I pay for the National Park Service. No one except our elected representatives should be able to tell us what happens with the land we own. Administrators should be able to suggest changes, but it should be Congress, and only Congress, which approves them.
(now for the important part)
Ron, I know it wasn't on this string, but you asked how, from a practical viewpoint, we can do something about what ails the country. I'll put the answer here:
It only takes one case, one that is on target and which goes to the Supreme Court. Suppose, for example, you are arrested for doing something such as shooting some animal which has been declared endangered but is on your property and endangering your stock. But instead of taking the case to court on the usual grounds (bureaucratic regulations), suppose you take it to court based on the argument that the Constitution grants the power to make laws ONLY to Congress, not to some bureaucrat, and that Congress lacks the authority to give away the most precious of all powers, the power to make laws which govern the people, and that any regulation not approved in detail by Congress, being a law, is unconstitutional.
The trick is to pick the right case, one where there is an obvious constitutional tension. We need to pick a flagrant abuse of power and argue the case on the correct grounds because when we win the case, sweeping changes will occur. Once the ruling is made, the whole house of cards created over the years comes tumbling down, and we get back to ruling ourselves.
What do we need? A national group which has grassroots support and is able to spread the costs of the case. If anyone were to ask me who it might be, I would say the Tea Party. Right now the Tea Party is a solution looking for a problem. You want to see an election in 2016 that has some meaning. File that one key case and win!
If the proper people that have the authority would go back thru all the laws that don't pertain to anything now and take them out it wouldn't take so many books for attorneys to go thru.
There are probably thousands that have nothing to do with the world today. Not only federal, but states, counties and towns..
Payson could go thru their ordinances and resolutions they don't enforce and get rid of them.
Most of the ordinances are enforced only if someone files a complaint and not always then.
Personal experience. Instead of making people remove cargo bins from their home and business they have opened it up for most people to have them. Easier than enforcing the first ordinance.
"The trick is to pick the right case, one where there is an obvious constitutional tension."
You'll pardon me if I have a little different take on that. First and foremost Tom, you would have to find a "judge" that would even give you "standing" on such a challenge. And in light of the caliber and quality of judges in America today, most of whom are political appointees, it isn't very realistic that you would get past square one. Unless you haven't been paying attention, even the US Supreme Court has an approval rating somewhere south of the South Pole. And for good reason. They fit into the "political appointees" category as well. No Tom, as much as I enjoy all your "fixes", I will be the first one to say "it ain't going to happen". Not because there are not enough folks who would support just such an approach, but because the "system" has been so bastardized, convoluted, and prostituted in favor of those in power and against those of us "We The People", we simply would be spitting into the wind.
On that note, be sure you are paying attention to what is going on in Egypt. Even though the Morsi government was democratically (yeah, right) elected, most Egyptians could see the harm to the country and it's people being ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, and were not having any of it. Think perhaps there are enough Americans who likewise can see the harm to the country and people being ruled by crooked politicians manipulated by "K" Street and large corporate interests that they could find it in their hearts to over throw a "democratically (yeah! Right!) elected government in a similar fashion? Just a thought, since we are discussing the ills of this nation. As I've said before, once people have tasted and experience true freedom, they are lo to accept rule by despotism. They will risk/give their lives for freedom.
"it ain't going to happen"
In that case, explain how the requirement that states pre-approve their districting got thrown out?
I see that Morsi has been charged with murder. Interesting.
Once again I am going to sound almost un-American, but do you really think the SCOTUS will willingly insert themselves into the mix necessary to fix all the problems you have well described? The vote that partially changed the Voting Rights Act was 5-4. When and if it came down to actually pitting the SCOTUS against the other two branches of government in a major move to change the dynamic in Washington, do you believe that body will be on "our" side or the side of those that put them where they are? I think history is not on our side.
"...but do you really think the SCOTUS will willingly insert themselves into the mix necessary to fix all the problems you have well described?"
In a word, yes!
The Voting Rights act is an iffy law, not one that touches on any fundamental right except that of being allowed to vote without interference. It is a poorly thought out law, one that attempts to prevent a wrong by skirting too close to doing another wrong. In the matters we are speaking of — the misuse of money entrusted to you, fraud, breaking of laws that have stood without question for centuries without any penalty, and so on we are not talking about iffy laws where the effect has to be weighed against the possible infringement of rights.
Look. Take just one example of the kind of things I ma talking about. Let's see....
Okay, the hospitals over in California that went out, dragged homeless in off the streets, treated them for sicknesses they did not have, and charged it to Medicare and Medicaid. Now, nobody could have any doubt that is fraud. It is blatantly fraudulent.
But what will happen? Will the people who participated in that fraud, and who profited by it, be punished? No. Instead a non-person, a "corporation" will be fined. Furthermore, the amount of the fine will not equal the profits made. In essence, totally innocent people who have IRA's or other retirements accounts, along with other investors, will be made to may for the crimes committed by corporate executives.
Another example: The Brooke Utilities well fraud. Who will be punished for that?
Do you really believe that the Supreme Court justices, given the opportunity to step in in such matters, would not do it?
If you believe that I invite you to read the actual cases and the reasoning behind them. It will quickly change your mind. Our problem is filing the right cases. For example,if someone with stocks in a corporation files suit against it being fined while those who committed a crime go free, and the law which allows that is struck down, consider the election issue that will provide, the resulting law, and the effect on such fraud.
The courts are there. We have only to use them.
You and I have obviously been on different planets over the last 40 years. "The courts are there. We have only to use them." It is my opinion that those very courts are in large part responsible for the very problems now facing this nation. As you've said we have corporate big wigs committing crimes and go scott free yet some poor slug gets caught with some dope, he gets incarcerated for decades. Yes, I realize prosecutors and defense lawyers were involved, but ultimately, justice is the realm of judges. They are not only NOT dispensing justice, they are literally legislating from the bench. Once again, it is not one single part of out system of government that is broken, it is the entire system.
"As you've said we have corporate big wigs committing crimes and go scott free yet ...."
You left out four words: "Because of the law."
A court, not even the Supreme Court, can prosecute someone for something which is not in written law. Rewrite the laws and watch what happens.
"Yes, I realize prosecutors and defense lawyers were involved...."
Again, although I agree they are a part of the problem, but if there is no law broken because the law is written to protect the guilty, then THAT is the central problem.
By the way, I do not agree with every decision ever made by the Supreme Court, but I do agree with such a vast majority of them, especially with ones that went directly against the current feeling in the country, which took honestly and courage, that I believe it is easily possible to make a case that given the chance they would do their part of cleaning up this mess.
Here's an example of what I mean: Before WWI a case came before the court in which Jehovah Witnesses had been expelled from school because they refused to pledge allegiance to the flag. The Court found against them
Right in the middle of WWI, when patriotism was at fever pitch — and rightly so — a similar case came before them. They actually reversed themselves, and said so, saying that since Jehovah Witnesses viewed a flag (and many other things) as a "graven image" they were within their rights not to pledge allegiance to it.
I am very proud of a nation which can set aside the emotion of the moment during a time of great crisis and look at the religious rights of a small group.
If it were possible for the Court to search out laws which are contrary to our principles that would be one thing. But they can't do that; they have to wait for the cases to come before them. Instead of complaining about our problems, we ought to use our heads, searching out cases which could be made.
I'll say it again. If someone owns stock in a company which is fined because of acts taken by executives, then that person could file a class action suit, saying that he or she and all the other owners of the company were punished for the act of another person. It would be as plain as the nose on your face that it is true, and that being the case the law that allowed it to happen would be struck down. That would make the issue one of prime important across the entire nation.
Get people angry about something that is really wrong, drag all the dirty little secrets out into the light, and things happen.
But sit and do nothing? How does that help?
The SCOTUS is supposed to examine how issues that arise in a legal context stack up against the literal interpretation of the Constitution of the US. Lower courts and Federal courts can pretty much handle other legal conflicts. Unless everyone reads/interprets the Constitution in a completely different context, and even examines the debates that took place around what it says, and why it says it the way it does (context), and comes to a different conclusion (like the SCOTUS overturning their own rulings/interpretations) then what we have is simply subjective application/interpretation of the law.
Not unlike the SCOTUS ruling that Corporations have "equal place in the political arena as do unions and other groups of people, as "corporations" are constituted of " people". I suggest it is those "people" that are responsible for pursuing actions against some unscrupulous CEO that has cost them all, just like you said. However, like those we elect as our "representatives" , heads of corporations are supposed to represent and act on behalf of the corporation's shareholders best interests. Those shareholders chose/elected that CEO, and quite often head hunted that person from some other corporation. How are we, as separate citizens supposed to force shareholders to take action against some crooked CEO? We can't even get our "elected" representatives to "represent and act on our behalf". I see absolutely NO distinction between the mindset of CEO's who rake in lavish perks and those equally self-serving dolts that occupy Congress, the SCOTUS, and the White House. And I don't think they even see themselves any differently, therefore they serve the interests of one another over the interests of those that they are supposed to be serving. Goes right to the point I've been belaboring so much, the "system" is corrupt to the core and needs to be taken down in it's entirety and we need to start over.
"Goes right to the point I've been belaboring so much, the "system" is corrupt to the core and needs to be taken down in it's entirety and we need to start over."
That's exactly where we differ. I believe that we have the means available to solve our problems, and that if we would quit pointing the finger at each other — something the extremists on either side just delight in — we could do it.
But what do I see?
The minute I say something about how improper business practices someone starts talking about welfare and socialism. The minute I say something about welfare and socialism someone starts talking about improper business practices.
What people need to learn is something that Schopenhauer pointed out a long, long time ago: People in arguments more often than not use faulty logic, and that one bit of faulty logic, the one I just described, is the BIGGEST one of all!
It is called, if you want a name, a False Dilemma. It claims — falsely, of course — that there are only two solutions to a problem being discussed.
In a discussion of what is wrong with our system at the moment, the choice is not between socialism and capitalism; it is between crooked practices and honest ones. The fact that some people may cheat on SSI has nothing whatever to do with the fact that other people cheat the actual owners of corporations, nor does it an any way prove that it is impossible to fix that problem.
My opinion of what will eventually happen? What I see today is an extension of what has been happening now for roughly 50 to 60 years: people have becoming disgusted with both political parties, and so their membership has plummeted. At the current moment there are more disenchanted people (Independents) than there are either DEMS or GOPS. Sometime down the road, as the numbers continue that trend and it becomes more and more obvious that neither of the two parties actually represent the people, someone with some brains will say to himself, "Hey! I've got a built in third party. I'll just call it the American Independent Party." He'll stand on his two hinds legs, tell the truth (for a change), be swept into office along with Representatives and Senators who will clean house.
Goodbye DEMS, goodbye GOPS, hello democracy.
When will this happen?
The first year of the second Great Depression. People are people. They will react as selfishly as our forefathers did in 1776. No one will ever admit that it is money we are fighting over for the third time in our history, but that's what it will be all about.
I'm one of those registered "Unaffiliated" voters. Have been for years. I would have to see the "platform" of any American Independent Party and examine it's leadership's ability/willingness to implement that platform before I would affiliate with such. I don't get any sense of accomplishment from being in a "majority" when compared to the GOP or Democrat Party. I don't see the solutions to our current problems as "either/ or". I don't believe we as a nation of "people" can backward engineer/fix the current system which lies at the core of those problems. That's why I keep referring to "starting from scratch" with the formula our founders provided for us. Things are significantly different today than in 1776 and we should not have to go the 'hot revolution" approach. Having said that, sending a few newly elected critters to Congress to "fix that mess" one election at a time is not and has not worked. I simply don't have all the "solutions" you submit according to your views. I'm much to simplistic for that. I tend to cut through all the formalities and go for the throat of the problem. That's what I was paid to do for 29 years in the fire service. It's now part of my nature. Don't ask me or call me to fix something that is not within my capability to fix. It's that simple.
The way I envision it is that if you weren't a GOP or a Dem you would be an IND. No choice, you gotta be something. And what you get to vote for or against is the man or woman nominated.
Because it creates a third party, and I happen to believe that most of thinking public is already in that third party (the Constitution aka Independent Party), but just do not know it. Look around. Who is it that seems to be echoing what people who really care about this place? Answer: Those who are not in either party.
Look, Ron, what's the problem? We have two parties, each run by extremists. The GOP is firmly in control of the segment of the business community which is amoral. The DEM is firmly in the hands of the "get the give-away vote" group.
If we put three people in Congress, one of which (the DEM) has a vote 31% valued vote, one of which (the GOP) has a 30% valued vote, and one which (the IND) has a 39% valued vote, and it only takes a simple 50% majority to get things done, how long do yu think it will take honest people to drop the GOPS and DEMS who are creating our problems? One or two good bills and the flood of people abandoning two sinking ships will be a sight to see.
BUT! There is something to be said for business concerns, isn't there? And something to be said for people programs too, right? neither of them is ALL wrong; they're only wrong when that's all there is. So their voices will still be heard.
Perfect? No. Better than what we have? Of course.
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