Last week the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report (” The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests ” http://www.aclu.org/marijuana) confirming what everyone suspected: marijuana possession arrests are wasteful, destructive and marred by racial bias. The report, the first ever examining state and county marijuana arrest rates nationally by race, documents that while there were pronounced racial disparities in marijuana arrests 10 years ago – the problem has become significantly worse.”
“Howard Simon has been a state affiliate Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for almost four decades. He is the ACLU’s most senior Affiliate Director. Howard has served as Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida since October 1997, and prior to his appointment as Florida ACLU Director he served as Executive Director of ACLU’s Michigan affiliate for 23 years. Howard was raised in New York, and graduated from the City College of New York. He received a Ph.D.”
Always plan 6-7 steps ahead.
( Courtesy, Howard Simon / June 7, 2013 )Howard Simon has been a state affiliate Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for almost four decades. He is the ACLU’s most senior Affiliate Director. Howard has served as Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida since October 1997, and prior to his appointment as Florida ACLU Director he served as Executive Director of ACLU’s Michigan affiliate for 23 years. Howard was raised in New York, and graduated from the City College of New York. He received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota in legal and political philosophy and social ethics. Prior to his work with the ACLU, he taught philosophy at the University of Minnesota and was a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at DePauw University in Indiana.
As Executive Director of the Florida affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, Howard has overall responsibility for ACLU’s legal, public education, legislative lobbying, and membership and fund-raising programs. Howard has been a frequent guest editorial writer in many Florida newspapers, and regularly appears in the media challenging politicians and government policies that assault constitutional freedoms. The ACLU of Florida has approximately 15,000 members, a staff of 30 and maintains staffed offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Tampa in addition to its headquarters in Miami. The ACLU has been extensively involved in addressing the need for electoral reforms in Florida. Following the voting problems that occurred in the 2006 Congressional District 13 Election in Sarasota, the ACLU played a key role in securing the end of the use of paperless electronic voting systems in Florida, leading to the 2008 election in which every county used the same voting technology (the optical scan voting system) for the first time. The organization has also led efforts to end Florida’s Civil War constitutional provision requiring a lifetime voting ban of former felons.
The ACLU of Florida is in the forefront of efforts to resist many of the anti-civil liberties initiatives originating from the Legislature and the Scott Administration. The ACLU filed numerous cases challenging efforts to make it more difficult to register new voters, reduce the number of early voting days, specifically banning voting on the Sunday prior to the Tuesday November Election, and more difficult to have your voted counted by requiring more people to vote by provisional, rather than regular ballot. The ACLU has challenged the Governor’s Executive Order mandating drug/urine screen tests for state employees in the absence of suspicion of illicit drugs. Another ACLU lawsuit resulted in a federal order blocking the law requiring all applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy families (TANF) to submit to a suspicionless drug/urine test.
Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil liberties Union of Florida says “States should… remove criminal and civil penalties.” I want to know why the ACLU has not ask a federal court to declare the enforcement of the marijuana laws is unreasonable deprivation of fundamental rights to liberty and property and contravenes Amendment IV and V?
Racial basis, selected enforcement of the marijuana laws is arbitrary enforcement which violates due process of law. Law enforcement calls it discretion that the marijuana laws are not uniformly applied. Such discretion demonstrates criminalizing marijuana is unreasonable and unnecessary because the possessor is no threat to the rights of others.
The ACLU has never claimed in a court of law that the marijuana laws are unreasonable regulation of fundamental rights to liberty and property protected by Amendments IV, V and XIV. Has never claimed the federal classification of marijuana as a controlled substance is arbitrary, violating due process of law
Why not because the judges will not hear a fundamental rights case because of public opinion is opposed to marijuana?
Cognitive Dissonance is a defense mechanism that most people have when core beliefs are challenged. People automatically close themselves down to ideas that can revolutionize their perception of life. For instance if you speak to someone who firmly believes that the world is flat and try to convince him or her that the opposite is true…you would encounter Cognitive Dissonance.
Who is the “Moral Minority”?
Before we used to call them the “Moral Majority” and they were the decision makers of old. To be quite frank, the “moral majority” were people who initially voted for slavery and the “moral majority” can also be thanked for the prolonging of the drug war.
But as time continues we are noticing a trend occur. The moral majority is quickly fading into the moral minority as logic and reason start becoming the deciding factor in public policy. Before, and still largely today, morality has become the tools of manipulation by political heads. They use core beliefs and religious association to influence this demographic of “moralists” to use their voting power to promote political agenda.
As the world embraced technology and information became more available “morality” started being questioned. Morality in essence is merely a personal perspective on an external situation. Some people think it immoral for women to wear skirts while others find it immoral for use strong language. Some people even believe that watching certain types of movies or listening to certain type of music is immoral. If they would have their way book burnings, lynching and the works would be back for business.
Why should Morality govern law?
What is moral for you might not be moral for me. How can morality then even be considered an element within the law making process? Morality is subjective and changes with time meaning that what was immoral today can be moral tomorrow.
Something so unstable, so malleable should never be a reason to make a law. Morality in terms of gay marriage, marijuana consumption and drug consumption for that matter, birth control, abortion and so forth should not be a reason to criminalize people.
The change in paradigm
Luckily people are waking up to the fact that morals should have nothing to do with law and more and more people are starting to vote with logic and reason. When we void ourselves of moral decisions and allow for clear cut unhindered scientific approaches we begin to realize that morality expresses itself in the respect of the freedom of others.
If you find marijuana consumption immoral…then don’t do it. It is immoral to dictate morals to other people. Just think about that for a bit.
That’s right, starting July 1st smoking devices are now illegal in Florida. Anyone found in possession of a pipe two times (even if it has never been used) becomes a third degree felon. In Florida, this means you are permanently banned from voting. For a fucking pipe.
With one swoop of the pen Rick Scott may have put thousands of companies out of business, and their employees looking for jobs. They also need to offload their entire inventory before July 1st when the bill goes into effect (yea, only a couple weeks from now).
The bill I’m talking about is FL HB49 / SB1140
Specifically the bill bans:
(a) Metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes, with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls
(b) Water pipes.
(c) Carburetion tubes and devices.
(d) Chamber pipes.
(e) Carburetor pipes.
(f) Electric pipes.
(g) Air-driven pipes.
(j) Ice pipes or chillers.
From the final report:
Establishes the following five drug paraphernalia crimes:
1. use or possession of drug paraphernalia
2. manufacture or delivery of drug paraphernalia
3. delivery of drug paraphernalia to a minor
4. transportation of drug paraphernalia
5. advertisement of drug paraphernalia
Another disturbing revelation in the final analysis of the bill:
“…the Criminal Justice Impact Conference determined that SB 1140, which is similar to
CS/CS/HB 49, will increase the state prison bed population….”
The criminal justice committee met about the bill and noted in their summary:
“The bill may have a negative fiscal impact on state and local governments.”
have a negative prison bed impact on the Department of Corrections.”
“The bill does not appear to have any impact on state revenues.”