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Baby Steps are better than no steps at all.

One thing you can say about America - it fully commits itself to doing every last conceivable wrong thing before arriving at the common-sense, was-in-front-of-our-faces-all-the-time, who-could-have-known solutions.

Case in point, America's continued love affair with the ridiculousness of marijuana prohibition. America is going to pursue every last stupid approach before getting down to the reality: legalization.

Until then we get incrementalism, largely now because the tide has turned and the toothpaste won't be going back into the tube.

Billionaire New York mayor Michael Bloomberg promised eye-catching changes Thursday for his last days in office, including reduced penalties for marijuana possession and a ban on Styrofoam cups.

***

Among many much larger scale initiatives, Bloomberg’s strong support for reducing marijuana possession from a criminal misdemeanor to a less serious violation category stood out.

“Right now, those arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana are often held in custody overnight. We’re changing that,” he said.

“Effective next month, anyone presenting an ID and clearing a warrant check will be released directly.

OK, so this is, on one hand, a baby step. A little tiny thing. People, mainly young males who don't look white enough are going to continue to bear the brunt of NYPD's infamous reefer mad terrorism but there is now a message that these people actually have to be let go and that officers can't use overnight stays as part of their ongoing war against minorities.

The need to be able to 'present sufficient documentation' may  nullify this otherwise desirable maneuver, as a lot of people may not be carrying their full ID with them while they are walking around in the city where they live. NYPD will still harass the Not-White-Enough for not being white enough (you know that is  HUGE part of their motivation) and a number of their victims won't be able to produce the desirable ID immediately.

So it is way far from perfect, but, on the other hand it does represent SOME hope for more positive changes. America appears set to incrementalize its way to the common sense approach, but not before it exhausts every last stupid option, scam, or presevation of the drug war's racist status quo. But we have to look at each increment as desirable.

Wachington and Colorado are better than increments and they herald the future.

As I said, the toothpaste isn't going back into the tube. MOST Americans are for marijuana law reform, even if they don't know a pot plant from shrubbery. But LOTS of American now know the truth about marijuana and the propaganda has long been considered ridiculous. Only morons believe it it anymore. So this decision fits in with the march towards sanity and common sense.

People should not be arrested for marijuana. They should not have to be harassed or terrorized by the police, the police should not be able to harass large swaths of innocent people for 'reasons' based on utter, incontrovertible bullshit. Every effort should be taken to ensure innocent Americans are not being gunned down by reefer mad cops, high on reefer madness and drug war cowboy bullshit.

This has to end.

This decision is a step in that direction

God forbid we step too fast in that direction.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Something else that's gotta change... (7+ / 0-)

      Over and over gain on cable news yesterday all I heard concerning what Bloomberg was going to do was about him banning styrofoam cups.

      Billionaire New York mayor Michael Bloomberg promised eye-catching changes Thursday for his last days in office, including reduced penalties for marijuana possession and a ban on Styrofoam cups.
      ... not a freakin' peep about him [essentially] decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, which is HUGE news.

      Thanks for informing us. It's hard telling when cable news outlets would have got around to reporting it.

      (especially when a stinking cruise ship being towed into port demanded wall-to-wall cable news coverage)

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:01:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 'Liberal Media' always toes the GOP line (7+ / 0-)

        on the Weed.

        Unsure why the Liberal Media would be so conservative on this most Liberal of Values.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:10:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe it's the "Nixon could go to China", (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, jabney, isabelle hayes

          but "Oh noes, people would call us Communists!" thing.

          GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

          by gzodik on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:29:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have to ask would you rathar (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jabney, isabelle hayes, markthshark

          have the tradmed hem and haw over if Bloomberg is "endangering the children" and all that non-sense, or have this baby step pass under the radar?  Anything that keeps this ball rolling is good for me.

          Honestly if the tradmed keeps their mouth shut till it is decriminilized I think that would be helpful, we really do not need George or Gregory with their sourpuff sad face saying "is our kids safe from reefer madness?".  They can keep thier mouth's shut for all I care and if it becomes legal without fanfare so be it.  I just do not want to go to jail, fuck those talking heads and you know they are the reason it is still illegal.  Less media play on this the better in my book.

          "To the corruptions of Christianity, I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself." Thomas Jefferson

          by meatwad420 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:10:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You have a point... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            meatwad420, isabelle hayes

            Of course, since I do like to keep up on developments like this, I would have appreciated at least a passing mention from progressive media outlets.

            But you're right, that last thing this movement needs right now is for the corporate media to start slobberin' all over it. After we have statistics indicating its success -- that's a different story.

            For once, the media might actually be doing the right thing.

            (and they wouldn't even know they're doing it)

            LOL

            "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

            by markthshark on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:59:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  We know the 'Liberal Media' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          isabelle hayes

          is owned and operated by the 'Conservative Bosses' who you would THINK would support legalization and the end to all the money, prisons and all that goes with keeping marijuana illegal.

          I know way too many 'white folks' who use and they are not the ones being taken to jail.

          Here in the South, the prisons are full of non-violent drug offenders - just another way to lock up the 'darks' where nobody will miss them, except their children, mothers, fathers, friends, etc.

          Last night, ABC News never mentioned the Filibuster of the Defense Secretary directly - used all kinds of words to go around that dirty word.

          -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

          by MarciaJ720 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:18:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  After all, that crise ship is CORPORATE news... (3+ / 0-)

        Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND MARCH 1, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

        by Floyd Blue on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:11:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is a surprisingly smart move, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jabney, isabelle hayes
        [essentially] decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana,

        ...umm... I don't see that. If folks are still being summoned to face charges after their release, or if there's any entry on their record, then it's still illegal. It sounds like you're still getting arrested, you're just not getting held until your arraignment.

        Being in jail overnight is a nasty experience, but it's not life-changing for most folks. Having a record for possession probably is- A lot of opportunities just vanish.

    •  herbal remedies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes

      I'm worried that the focus is JUST on recreational marijuana, or medical marijuana.  

      I'm interested in herbal medicine.  I believe that people should have right to seek out herbal tinctures without a prescription, and without having to risk federal felony conviction.

      CBD, an extract of marijuana, has wonderful health properties, such as stopping cancer from metastasizing, managing pain, improving mental clarity.    I don't want to just legalize the herb, and make it difficult for people to purchase the herb with minimal THC and high CBD, so we need access to different strains and information about those strains, and we need access to the extracts, not just to the herb.   We could extract it ourselves, but why?   I can get other herbal extracts.  Why not this one?  

      •  When we get legalization (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DFWmom

        you can do whatever you want wit marijuana.

        Stuff a pillow with it.

        Make tinctures.

        make cookies.

        I'm going to go for a privacy hedge......

        And cops have no business interfering with this.

        There is still real crime out there.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:58:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  New Yorkers' peace of mind now like Oregon's (3+ / 0-)

    You never go to jail in Oregon for pot posession and its been that way for years and years. Its a $267 fine and you may be released even if you don't pass a warrants check .
    tell me whats so great about New York again.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:24:05 AM PST

    •  I have never had 2 minute's desire to go to NYC (10+ / 0-)

      But for a city with as many pot smokers, this easing of the law is 50 years overdue.

      I can't wait until weed is totally legal and Americans atart to ask "Why was this so illegal? Why did we blow a trillion dollars suppressing it and arresting people?

      And then they will fully realize what a full-blown mega-scam it had been.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:33:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I liked it when I was there (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gzodik, UncleCharlie

        but I didn't want to live there

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:52:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wasn't there something about hemp threatening (14+ / 0-)

        the profits of some earlier robber baron types?  Either the cotton/flax folks or the paper products ones?  That the illegalization was to prevent hemp farmers from horning in on the action?  I'd swear I'd read that somewhere as one of the reasons for the original prohibition being pushed.

      •  Lovely (0+ / 0-)

        Now my idiot neighbor can blow all the pot smoke he wants into my apartment without any consequences at all.

        •  You could fart more. (8+ / 0-)

          I do sorta doubt he is trying to share with you; probably a physics issue.

          And you'd be happier with tobacco smoke?

          How about booze and a handgun?

          The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

          by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:12:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's going to be a big factor. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Subterranean

          MJ is "in your face". If the wind is just "right" you know it when someone lights up fifty yards away. Or more.

          GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

          by gzodik on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:34:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  idiot? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xxdr zombiexx

          Because he smokes pot? Good thing he isn't black or jewish or your prejudices would seem ,you know, wrong. My people demand full rights not the kind of look down at us over the rim of your reading glasses that the church lady here expresses.

          •  Oh, c'mon... (0+ / 0-)

            Nobody has the "right" to blow smoke into anybody else's space. If this is in fact happening, and I see no reason to assume that it's not, then it's not unreasonable to be upset.

            An expectation of courtesy is not oppression.

            I say that as a thirty year smoker.

            •  That's one of the consequences of living (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jabney

              in close proximity to other people, like in an apartment building. Things they do in the privacy of THEIR space, can intrude into YOUR space. Noise, smells... something that you have to deal with if you're living on top of people. If a person really can't tolerate certain things from their neighbors, they can decide to move, they can try to come to an arrangement with a problem neighbor,  they can try to change the rules in their building and get the offending person kicked out, or they can go really activist and try to get the offending behavior made a criminal offense.

          •  Yes. Idiot. (0+ / 0-)

            My original comment was meant as wry humor.  I have no desire to see people who smoke the occasional joint (or more than slightly occasional) treated like murderers.

            My neighbor smoke huge amounts of weed.  He opens his window to air out his place and it gets sucked back into mine via the HVAC system.  God forbid, if i want to leave my window open.  Sometimes it's so thick, it comes through the electrical outlets in the wall we share.  If it were just small recreational amounts, I would probably never know or care.

            Angry?  Have you ever walked into your one year old daughter's room at 1 AM and noticed the air is thick with pot smoke?

            Okay.  I maybe I should just break my lease and move.  How do I know my next apartment won't be next to a stoner?  They don't tell you about possible stoners next door when you view an apartment.

            Moving is expensive and complex.  More so in NYC.

            Forgive me if I am not wild about legalization.  

            •  Sounds like more of building problem (0+ / 0-)

              I've had apartment neighbors who were hard-core potheads and once I installed a rubber strip at the bottom of my door, I never smelled a thing.

              If it's coming through the electrical outlets, you can buy insulator pads that go under the outer plate to seal them up.  Not much you can do about the HVAC though.  

              "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

              by Subterranean on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:24:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Already done (0+ / 0-)

                ...did the outlet pads and weatherstripped the door.  It helps.   Can't do anything about the window or HVAC.

                Building manager is reluctant to do anything other than talk to them, which he has done.  

                Unfortunately many smokers...whether its pot, tobacco, or both, just don't care about anyone else.

            •  Forgive me if I am not losing sleep (0+ / 0-)

              over your concern that 'a stoner' might live next to you.

              Im a stoner, and If I lived next to you, pot smoke isn't what would be bothering you.

              the loud music, the guitar playing, the foot stomping (I do a couple willie nelson tunes about smoking weed)

              Then, my wife is Asian and celebrate Chinese NEw Year....LOUDLY. For days.

              Anti-weed people always seem.......petty and uninformed.

              And whiny.

              The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

              by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:02:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  are people in nyc that inept (0+ / 0-)

              at communicating and compromising with their neighbors that they need the criminal courts (paid for by tax payers) to solve this sort of thing? c'mon.

              it's a serious waste of money for the rest of us to pay to arrest your neighbor, bring them to court, put them in jail, etc. just because you two can't figure out how to prevent smoke from going in and out of airducts.

    •  Oh, I dunno (3+ / 0-)

      Public transportation, fantastic culture (museums of all stripes, zoos, aquarium), concerts in the park, CUNY, no walmarts, restaurants offering foods from any country you could want... I'm sure there's more but I've only lived here my whole life, which isn't long enough to find everything :)

  •  But you will spend the night in the slammer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp, DebtorsPrison

    if they catch you with a joint AND a Big Gulp.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:47:52 AM PST

  •  Jann Wenner's Rolling Stone editorial... (12+ / 0-)
    Editorial: Mr. President, End This War
    The war on pot is a colossal waste of money and human potential
    By Jann S. Wenner
    Rolling Stone
    December 10, 2012 8:00 AM ET

    As a teenager, Barack Obama liked to get high in the back of a friend's VW bus. His hallmark: a smoking technique he called Total Absorption. He knows, as did George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him, what we all know: that pot is essentially harmless. Yet the government continues to wage a senseless and costly war on marijuana, treating pot as if it were more dangerous than crack cocaine.

    More than 750,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges last year – 87 percent for simple possession. The costs of prohibition are staggering – nearly $8 billion a year wasted on police and prisons alone, with billions more squandered by not taxing pot like tobacco or alcohol. In Mexico – where nearly two-thirds of the pot smoked in this country originates – drug violence has claimed nearly 50,000 lives since 2006. Yet all the while, demand for pot has increased like wildfire: Nearly 30 million Americans enjoyed pot at least once last year.

    Mr. President, this war is a sham, a folly, a colossal waste of money and human potential…

    Read the rest via the link at the top of the blockquote.

    (For those that don’t know Wenner, he’s the co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone.)

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:07:50 AM PST

  •  Kudos to Bloomberg for this. (7+ / 0-)

    You know who is happiest about this? Cops. Seriously.

    •  I wonder though, (0+ / 0-)

      "sniff sniff"
      "hey you, I smell weed (not).  Let's see some ID."

      Trust NYPD to figure out a way to use this for more shakedowns.  Not so much the cop on the beat, but command will see this as a low hanging fruit that needs plucking to boost their COMPSTATs.

      We'll see.

      I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

      by wretchedhive on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:49:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on who is Mayor. If Quinn gets in, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wretchedhive

        then I'm absolutely certain that is what's going to happen. And probably worse.

        If we get Bill de Blasio, I'm pretty sure it will get more rational pretty quickly.

        •  Haven't lived in the City since '98 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brooklynbadboy

          but sure seems that the days where you can buy a scarf in Lord & Taylor, walk out the door and buy weed in 30 seconds on 39th, then stroll over to the NYPL to smoke while cops pointedly ignore you (as long as you weren't acting out) are looooong over.

          At least that's what some other people have told me.

          I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

          by wretchedhive on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:25:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Is it even possible to have more shakedowns (0+ / 0-)

        in NYC? This is at least a small step forward. It is up to the citizens there to overturn the aggressive marijuana laws, but obviously a pretty large amount of the populace must support it at least tacitly (e.g. lots of Asian immigrants who are less familiar with the weed).  That's why I live on Colorado.

        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

        by shmuelman on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:31:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Some cops. (0+ / 0-)

      Not all of them by any means.

      PLENTY of cops still think they are saving lives by shooting people with weed.

      Anti-marijuana propaganda was very successful.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:04:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anything helps. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, jabney, isabelle hayes

    They're going to fight the inevitable until the bitter end but they're going to lose. A majority of people are ready for this war on marijuana to end—and they're running out of patience.

    I read yesterday that R.I. is considering legalizing, or as you like to say re-legalizing.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:32:15 AM PST

  •  A politician that makes sense? Holy Moly! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson
  •  They want to keep marijuana illegal because it (5+ / 0-)

    is a moneymaker.
    Putting someone in jail costs money. Giving them a ticket brings in revenue.
    This keeps in place the organized crime industry that is destroying urban youth.

    It needs to be legalized for adults, with licenses for growing small amounts for personal youth, and penalties (as with alcohol or tobacco) for allowing youth access.

    This may be a baby step in the right direction but it could be a major step in the wrong direction if it blunts the efforts of activists to attain legalization.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:40:44 AM PST

    •  Say there's a 15 yr old kid who's on the street (0+ / 0-)

      selling dime bags, etc. and he get's popped with a ticket every month or so.
      The cops are effectively collecting a sales tax on his enterprise.
      They can cruise around the neighborhood and pop the seller and his customers occasionally and "sustainably harvest" revenue for the city.

      Now you have another reason to oppose legalization.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:00:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well (3+ / 0-)

    Sitting here on "Meteor Day" ...in our West Denver home..

    A legal home grown joint.. cup of French press Kona..Reading Kos..listening to Miles '81 live..

    for the rest of ya? Keep goin..tap yer toes...

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    ashes..ashes..we all fall down

  •  This is HUGE (3+ / 0-)

    Forcing people to stay in a NYC jail over the weekend just to pay a marijuana ticket in the morning was a horrible abuse of power.

    Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

    by Subversive on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:43:29 AM PST

  •  My question: (0+ / 0-)

    How many cops are saying "aww, but I WANNA bust those damn potheads"? And how many are saying "it's about fucking time"?

    "My God, it's full of stars"

    by Hammerhand on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 08:39:09 AM PST

    •  MORE cops lamenting the change, I think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hammerhand

      than support it.

      I live in Georgia, which is stupid and backwards, but I am told even here we will get a ticket for possession.

      Am not about to test it. I still live in fear of the fucking cops and their reefer mad hard-ons.

      That will take a long time to fade away.

      Cops have been absolute terrorists to the Weed Community.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:08:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's true. Idiotic. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xxdr zombiexx

        Meth-lab dens-of-hell popping up everywhere, but let's be willfully ignorant and lazy and go after the harmless potsmokers.

        No sense.

        "My God, it's full of stars"

        by Hammerhand on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:00:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's entirely a question of what happens to... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xxdr zombiexx, isabelle hayes

        the quotas. If the Department feels it's politically safe to lower or deemphasize those quotas, I'd assume most Officers would forget about the whole thing in a few months.

        But if maintaining their job and advancing still requires cuffing a certain number for possession, officers will continue to convince themselves it's the right thing to do. We're only talking about eliminating overnight incarceration, not arrests.

        "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

        by 2020adam on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:45:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  his stop and frisk policy is why most get arrested (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    In the first place.

  •  A real move forward in helping make day-to-day... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes

    life better for young black men. Unfortunately does nothing to the long-term impact on their lives, since an arrest for greenery still imperils job prospects and destroys one's ability to get student loans or any kind of government assistance.

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:47:58 AM PST

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