Sam Fields: Pot Coming Out Of The Closet Starting With Me

BY SAM FIELDS

 

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Sam Fields: Toking up again

 

About three years ago I once again took up occasionally smoking pot.

[I’ll pause for a moment while everyone makes some clever remark beginning with: “I knew it” and ending with reporting me to the Florida Bar.]

But if the governor signs HB 49, the bill outlawing bongs, I guess I will be forced to give it up.  After all, I just can’t imagine how I, or anyone else, could smoke it any other way.

The vote was 112-3, with four not voting. All Broward House members voted for it, proving idiocy has no party label.

While the rest of the country is going in the direction of legalization–for both medical and personal use–the Florida legislature has decided that the future lies in increasing police powers to interfere in personal choices.  Apparently billions already spent on hundreds of thousands of pot arrests are not enough

The morons in Tally are not only out of step with Floridians with 70% favoring medical marijuana.   The Legislature can’t even stay in line with rank and file Republicans (56% support).

That same 2013 poll showed that opposition to complete legalization is now below 50%.  More on the poll here. 

Like the surge in support for gay marriage, it’s only a matter of time before a Florida majority approves recreational marijuana like they did in Washington State and Colorado last November.

The recent surge in support for gay rights offers a poignant lesson.

One of the most important things in moving the gay issue was famous people coming out of the closet. Today it seems amazing that Ellen DeGeneres coming out of the closet in 1997 was viewed as a career killer.  She was quickly followed by politicians, business leaders, soldiers, etc.

This week, N.B.A. basketball star Jason Collins came out as gay.  There were no protests and a lot of applause.

Last week the number one woman’s basketball player, Brittney Griner, announced she was gay. It was a complete yawner.

These days Neil Patrick Harris, an openly gay actor, has no problem being accepted by viewers as a straight “babe hound” on “How I Met Your Mother.”

For a majority of Americans gay or straight no longer matters.

The same needs to happen with pot.  And it begins with all kinds of community leaders coming out of the “smoked-filled closet”.

You can be damn sure that the Broward judge who was arrested in 2007 for smoking pot was not the only one in the criminal justice system who tokes up.  There are cops and prosecutors who fire up the ganja.

In fact, you can bet your bottom dollar that at least some in the Legislature that voted for HB 49 still get high.

You folks–and you know who you are–need to step up to the plate so that we can get the government out of the business of regulating personal choice, wasting money and destroying lives.

 



28 Responses to “Sam Fields: Pot Coming Out Of The Closet Starting With Me”

  1. Mr. Courthouse says:

    For the love of God, now we have an attorney bragging he breaks the law.

  2. Sam The Sham says:

    Hahaha! Fields smoking dope. That explains a lot.

    Actually I think it should be legalized, it would save society untold millions of dollars in wasted law enforcement efforts. That is not to say I think it is a good idea to partake, though.

  3. Garl says:

    Is there nothing Sam won’t say or do to garner a bit of publicity? His continuing attempts to draw attention to himself…aided and abetted by Buddy…know no bounds. Sam, did Mommy ignore you?

  4. The Long Black Robe (ret.) says:

    If one reads beyond the personal comments about smoking marijuana, Fields makes a good point. Hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted in Florida annually to arrest, prosecute and jail non-violent drug abusers. I have seen hundreds of needless cases of marijuana possession tie up the courts and ruin young lives. Didn’t Prohibition teach that we can’t stop people intent on imbibing in mood altering substances?

  5. wow wow w says:

    I laughed when Obama called the pro Basetball player to congratulate him on coming out as gay. I have no problem with gays but Obama should now admit he is gay
    http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/claim-obama-hid-gay-life-to-become-president/. What is scary is the report that all 3 of his lovers were murdered just prior to him announcing his run for president

  6. Freedom says:

    Sam is absolutely right. How much of our tax dollars have been wasted on enforcing this nonsense? How many decent kids have lost scholarships because they were caught smoking a joint, a real threat to our society. What is the difference between having a drink or having a joint? For the conservatives in the audience, does the phrase smaller government and personnal choice mean something. For the fiscal conservatives I believe the revenue to the state would be well over 45 million dollars per year. That figure is a conservative figure and does not include the savings in law enforcement costs. Decriminalization, if you are a conservative or a liberal makes sense.

  7. Courthouse Observer says:

    Fields is looking for doper clients.

  8. Christine says:

    Poor attempt to emulate the Malcontent Media Whore.

  9. Christine says:

    Make that Malcontent Attention Whore.

  10. Trolololol says:

    Hey “courthouse observer”

    “Doper” clients? The 80s called, they want their judgemental condescending term back. Wow. For you to even use that term shows how out of touch you are. Fields is right.

  11. Patti Lynn says:

    Perhaps the State of Florida is trying to populate its “for profit” prisons. If they don’t produce prisoners, the state has to pay more money. That seems to be the only rational reason for this ridiculous law.

  12. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    OK, I begin by saying I’ve never smoked pot and don’t intend to. 100 years ago when I was a teen, only musicians did that. And having given up cigarettes long ago, I don’t intend to insult my lungs any further.

    I don’t think that being caught with a small amount of pot for personal use would put someone in prison. I do however cringe at the thought of a stoner driving or doing anything that might affect someone else.

    Just as I cringe at the thought of someone driving drunk and the carnage that can cause.

    I can just imagine the medical exemptions that will flow if they allow it. This is, after all, S. FL.

    Why not develop, if it already doesn’t exist, a test for the degree of stoned, for want of a better term? Just as they do with alcohol. For me, the degree of impairment is crucial.

    If someone is caught driving impaired from either alcohol or pot, then we get serious.

    But considering the lax enforcement and penalities for those charged with DUI, I for one would have to see a lot more from the courts on the existing lawbreakers that repeatedly get caught and only get slapped on their wrists. Then they drive drunk again and kill someone.

  13. truth says:

    The state really has very little incentive to change the marijuana laws because unless you have a LOT, or other crimes where mj was incidental, people are rarely sentenced to prison for possession. Maybe in some more rural places, or if you’re a total screw up, you will get thrown in the county jail for a bit to teach you a lesson.
    so it really saves the state no money and at this point is seen as a fairly high risk/low reward proposition. They actually have more incentive to decriminalize 1 gram of cocaine or less to a misdemeanor to take pressure off the rotating door of homeless in prison for a tiny crack rock. Plus it could be spun as compassion for the homeless and poor.

  14. Kevin says:

    #5, you forgot the part about Obama’s Orbital Mind Control Lasers…..

  15. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Ms. Greenbarg,
    The DUI law in Florida does not distinguish between impairment from alcohol, illegal substances or legal substances be they over-the- counter or prescription medications.

    A breath or chemical test is not required for conviction. A jury may convict based on the testimony of witnesses and/or a video. A jury will be told that you refused a breath test and draw a conclusion of “consciousness of guilt” from the refusal.

    The consequences are hardly minor. Between fines, attorney’s fees, probation costs and new car insurance rates it will be a $15-$20,000 event. That may be chump change for the Greenbargs but not for most folks.

    Even if you do not get jail time on the first offense your driving privileges will be limited if not eliminated for as much as a year.

    The consequences for subsequent DUI’s are exponential!

  16. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Washington state recently passed a marijuana DUI law specifying 5 nanograms of THC in the blood as the limit, though that number is highly questionable because “Studies suggest that individuals can pass physical and cognitive tests at a much higher THC level than the current legal standard. Additionally, people would likely register the 5 nanograms level or higher even several hours after marijuana consumption. So whereas the laws as they relate to alcohol DUI at least attempt to criminalize driving after consuming an amount that would affect one’s ability to drive, the recently passed THC levels appear to more arbitrary.”

    http://www.washingtondui.com/blog/I502-washington-marijuana-dui-law-changes

    Colorado considered the same 5 nanogram limit, but rejected it because it was scientifically questionable:

    http://thecoloradoobserver.com/2013/04/marijuana-dui-bill-goes-up-in-smoke/

    [...] Though the bill had sailed through the House with bipartisan support, the Senate committee members weren’t convinced that the bill’s DUI blood test standards were scientifically sound.

    They also expressed concerns that medical marijuana patients, who have higher drug tolerance, could test over the limit and be falsely accused of driving while impaired.

    “It’s not a specific science, unlike alcohol that can be measured,” said Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) who voted against the bill.

    He said the test’s 5-nanogram limit could be a valid measurement for an occasional cannabis consumer, but unlikely for a chronic user. The latter could result in false positives, Lundberg said, and prosecuting people who aren’t impaired. [...]

  17. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @13 – when you say a LOT, do you agree with the State of Florida that a mere three-quarters of an ounce is a LOT? One ounce is the standard amount that a marijuana consumer will purchase for personal use. Let’s see how the State of Florida views it:
    ~~~~~
    http://www.examiner.com/article/florida-s-imbalanced-marijuana-laws

    Florida’s imbalanced marijuana laws

    The State of Florida, which imposes some of the harshest marijuana laws in the nation, earlier this year passed HB173/SB390 which Governor Charlie Crist signed into law. It is described by the Marijuana Policy Project as a bill which “carelessly lumps real drug dealers and small time offenders into the same category by creating the ridiculous judicial presumption that as few as 25 marijuana plants – one-fourth the amount the federal government considers a trafficking threshold – makes one a “drug trafficker….. This new law puts Florida even further ahead of the draconian pack as the Sunshine State can now claim a trafficking standard four times as tough as the federal government’s!” [...]

    Florida’s laws for simple possession of marijuana are just as imbalanced. In the State of Florida, if you are in possession of 20 grams or less of the evil substance, or even paraphernalia, you are guilty of a first degree misdemeanor (a misdemeanor of the highest level), and face up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Caught with less than three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and you’re lumped together with people charged with battery, cyberstalking, assault on a law enforcement officer or public servant, improper exhibition of a weapon or firearm, discharging a firearm in public, exposure of sexual organs, some forms of arson, some forms of criminal mischief, voyeurism, cruelty to animals, and perjury, just to name a few.

    If you are in possession of one ounce of marijuana, you face third degree felony charges which could land you in jail for up to five years, and cost you a $5,000 fine. For the simple possession of 21 grams of cannabis, three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana, you are considered as dangerous as someone who commits aggravated assault, felony battery, a stalker, battery of a law enforcement officer or public servant, armed trespassing, child abuse or child neglect, cruel death to animals, resisting an officer, aggravated assault of a public servant, battery on a person 65 or older, false imprisonment of another person, and carrying a concealed weapon. [...]

  18. s only says:

    We need to get medical MJ on the ballot for 2014. Florida is ridiculously backward in this arena.

  19. Duke says:

    No medical marijuana. No bullet trains. Florida continues to live in the dark ages.

  20. FlaCracker says:

    No one smokes anymore, Sam. Invest in a good vaporizer.

  21. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23198163/colorado-senate-gives-final-approval-historic-marijuana-bills

    Colorado legislature gives final approval to historic marijuana bills – The Denver Post

    • Marijuana will be sold in specially licensed stores that can also sell pot-related items like pipes. Only Colorado residents can own or invest in the stores, and only current medical-marijuana dispensary owners can apply to open recreational pot shops for the first nine months. The first stores will open around Jan. 1, 2014.

    • Colorado residents will be able to buy up to an ounce of marijuana — the maximum it is legal for non-medical-marijuana patients to possess — at the stores. Out-of-staters can buy only a quarter-ounce at a time. Pot must be sold in child-resistant packages with labels that specify potency. Edible marijuana products will have serving-size limits.

    • Voters will have the option of imposing heavy taxes on pot sales. A ballot measure set for November will ask voters to approve a 15 percent excise tax and an initial 10 percent sales tax on marijuana. The excise tax will fund school construction. The sales tax will pay for regulation of marijuana stores.

  22. @hahaha says:

    Maybe Sam or another attorney can chime in, but wouldn’t the difference in limits between in state and out of state buyers be an equal protection clause violation?

  23. Ha Ha Ha says:

    This topic involves the Commerce Clause.  Discrimination is easily established.  The question then becomes whether the state can show important local benefits that outweigh the discrimination and cannot be achieved in a nondiscriminatory manner.  If not, the state law will be declared unconstitutional.

    However, other federal laws would also come into play, namely the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 which prohibits marijuana sale and consumption, bans marijuana prescriptions, and generally treats marijuana (laughably) as the most dangerous type of drug imaginable.

    The Obama administration is now either meditating or evolving or hibernating or something, where marijuana’s status under federal law is concerned. But if anyone were to file suit challenging the state law’s discriminatory treatment in federal court, the federal court would surely take notice of the Controlled Substances Act and toss the challenge out of court. State court would likely do the same thing.

    Now if the state law is challenged after the feds legalize marijuana, then we’re back to the question of weighing the discrimination against whatever the state argues is the local benefit that can’t be obtained in a nondiscriminatory way, and it’s then likely that the state would lose that argument and so the court would then overturn the discrimination against out-of-state customers as being unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.

    —–
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dormant_Commerce_Clause

    [...] If the state activity constitutes “regulation” of interstate commerce, then the court must proceed to a second inquiry: whether the activity regulates evenhandedly with only “incidental” effects on interstate commerce, or discriminates against interstate commerce. As we use the term here, “discrimination” simply means differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests that benefits the former and burdens the latter. The party challenging the validity of a state statute or municipal ordinance bears the burden of showing that it discriminates against, or places some burden on, interstate commerce. Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322, 336, 99 S.Ct. 1727, 1736, 60 L.Ed.2d 250 (1979). If discrimination is established, the burden shifts to the state or local government to show that the local benefits of the statute outweigh its discriminatory effects, and that the state or municipality lacked a nondiscriminatory alternative that could have adequately protected the relevant local interests. If the challenging party cannot show that the statute is discriminatory, then it must demonstrate that the statute places a burden on interstate commerce that “is clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits.” Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery Co., 449 U.S. 456, 471(1981) (quoting Pike, 397 U.S. at 142, 90 S.Ct. at 847).  [...]
    ——–
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_Substances_Act

    Schedule I controlled substances

    Marijuana including the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids. Pure (–)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol is also listed in Schedule III for limited uses, under the trademark Marinol.

  24. SAM FIELDS says:

    hahaha
    florida charges $17 for a saltwater fishing licence for residents and $47 for non-residents.

    I think they can do it.

  25. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Sam, you can’t buy or sell a license. It isn’t a commercial product. Therefore it doesn’t affect interstate commerce, and it doesn’t fall within the scope of the Commerce Clause.

    Marijuana clearly is a commercial product, and the Colorado purchasing restrictions clearly constitute differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests which disadvantages the latter. So if the feds legalize, then the Colorado purchasing restrictions are clearly unconstitutional as a blatant violation of the Commerce Clause.

  26. Ha Ha Ha says:

    A similar regulation in The Netherlands prohibiting marijuana sales to foreign visitors has just been struck down by the courts, and the logic of the ruling follows exactly in the footsteps of the Commerce Clause analysis…

    http://norml-uk.org/2013/05/final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-the-weedpass/

    Is this the final nail in the coffin of Weedpass?
    By Chris Bovey.

    A Court in the Dutch city of Maastricht has ruled that the city’s Mayor, Onno Hoes, should not have closed coffeeshop Easy Going, on May 1st, 2012. Easy Going had refused to implement the Weedpass, which limits the access to coffeeshops to Dutch residents.

    The Weedpass scheme was due to be implemented throughout the whole of The Netherlands on January 1st 2013, however, the Dutch Government backtracked and said it would be down to individual local authorities to decide whether to implement the ban on foreigners from buying cannabis from the coffeeshops, where the legal sale of cannabis has been tolerated since the 1970s

    The hated scheme had much opposition in The Netherlands, with critics saying it would increase street dealing and hand the cannabis trade away from legitimate legal businesses to organised crime. They also feared it would be extremely damaging to the Dutch tourist industry, especially in places like Amsterdam where over a million tourists flock every year to enjoy the nation’s famous coffeeshops. The Mayor and Council of Amsterdam were radically opposed to the scheme.

    In fact, much of The Netherlands did not implement the ban on foreigners from the coffeeshops, only parts of Southern Netherlands, near the borders of Germany and other European countries, placed a ban on non-Dutch nationals from purchasing cannabis.

    Maastricht was one municipal area which did have such a ban on foreigners from buying cannabis and last year the coffeeshop, Easy Going, was closed down for refusing to implement the policy.

    However, on Thursday April 24, 2013, a Court in Maastricht considered that the motivation used by Mayor Hoes was not sufficient. The Weedpass introduced an indirect distinction on the basis of nationality, yet international conventions have established that everyone, regardless of nationality, should be treated equally. The Court ruled that the Mayor should have made clear why it could not be possible to achieve the same results (reduction of public nuisance) with less extreme measures. The court referred to a plan to spread coffeeshops to the edge of town. In another procedure this plan had been presented by the City of Maastricht itself and should have been tested before starting to discriminate on the basis of nationality. In short, the Court said an extreme tool had been employed far too soon. [...]

  27. @hahaha says:

    Whoever you are you smoke a lot of weed

  28. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-legalizing-marijuana/2013/06/07/9727eac4-c871-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_print.html

    Five myths about legalizing marijuana [...]

    1. If pot is legal, more people will use it.

    As drug policy undergoes big changes, I’ve been watching rates of youth cannabis use with interest. As it is for most fathers, the well-being of my family is the most important thing in my life. Whether you like the plant or not, as with alcohol, only adults should be allowed to partake of intoxicating substances. But youth cannabis use is near its highest level ever in the United States. When I spoke at a California high school recently and asked, “Who thinks cannabis is easier to obtain than alcohol?,” nearly every hand shot up.

    In Portugal, by contrast, youth rates fell from 2002 to 2006, after all drugs were legalized there in 2001. Similarly, a 2011 Brown University-led study of middle and high school students in Rhode Island found no increases in adolescent use after the state legalized medical marijuana in 2006.

    As for adult use, the numbers are mixed. A 2011 University of California at Berkeley study, for example, showed a slight increase in adult use with de facto legalization in the Netherlands (though the rate was still lower than in the United States). Yet that study and one in 2009 found Dutch rates to be slightly lower than the European average. When the United States’ 40-year-long war on marijuana ends, the country is not going to turn into a Cheech and Chong movie. It is, however, going to see the transfer of as much as 50 percent of cartel profits to the taxable economy. [...]