Coastal Post Online


August, 2003

The Last Minority To Stand Up

By Stephen Simac

When the Supreme Court struck down the Texas law against gay sex, the last minority in America who can be legally prosecuted for private, consensual behavior by adults are cannabis users. That doesn't include users of other illegal drugs, incest, prostitution or even "man on dog" as Senator Santorum of PA predicted the decision would lead to legalizing. (Pat Robertson is praying for some judges to retire or die off to prevent that.)

But for rhetorical purposes, marijuana consumers are now the last minority, certainly the largest minority, without the constitutional right to pursue their happiness.

This is the same supreme court that appointed Bush president while declaring that their unprecedented decision would not set precedent for other elections. They didn't invoke this unprecedented non-precedental clause when they came up with another unprecedented decision.

They ruled that the ancient common law defense of medical necessity was no longer our right. If you are a ganja grower you have no right of medical necessity, which requires you to break the law to prevent greater harm to yourself or others. The supreme court justices ruled that sick medical marijuana users or their caregivers can be arrested, tried and jailed for growing their own prescription.

It's basically a death sentence for some sick people to serve prison time without their medicine. This is not cruel and unusual punishment according to the Supremes.

A federal district judge, Stephen (lil' bro') Myers, whose big brother is on the supreme court, wouldn't allow Ed Rosenthal, the "guru of growers" tell a jury that he was appointed by the Oakland city government to legally grow marijuana for sick people under California state law and local ordinances. He cited their precedent setting ruling against medical necessity.

Rosenthal was busted by the Feds however. He faced up to ten years in prison on their charges. Absent this vital information from their deliberation the jurors convicted him as a gangland ganja dealer. They found out shortly afterwards from a news reporter that Rosenthal was a legal officer of Oakland city. He was deputized specifically to grow pot for registered sick people using marijuana to alleviate their pain and suffering. The jurors believed they were doing their jobs by following federal law, which makes no exception for medical marijuana.

The jurors are actually citizens of the state of California where medical marijuana has been legal since prop 215 won in 1996. The jurors had been fooled by the "justice" system and Judge Myers who prevented them from hearing the entire facts of the case.

Incredibly Myers wrote in his ruling that he did not prevent jury nullification, the constitutional right of the jury to rule on the justice of the law in each case not merely the facts of the law. What they didn't know didn't hurt them or blind justice.

The jurors were so humiliated by their judicial hoodwinking that they went on talk shows and were quoted in the news for weeks about the case. When sentencing Rosenthal, Myers gave him only probation, hoping he wouldn't appeal and the whole thing would just go away.

A Short History Of Human Rights

Law and Justice are not synonyms. There is an essential imbalance between the power of government's legal weight and the backs of the people governed. Over centuries English people stood up from their knees to throw off some of the weight of government tyranny.

Their common law rights were gained over centuries by pitchforks and whatnot. These were commonly known, not written down until much later by a lawyer. The Magna Carta is a written document of rights for feudal nobles who were fed up with the centralized power of King John. It was drawn up by their lawyers.

They marched on London with their troops of knights and forced him to sign it. The nobles did not extend their newly signed rights to their own serfs, peasants or tradesmen. These groups had to negotiate or fight for their own rights or they would be squeezed by coils of laws.

The American revolution was founded on English common law rights with an added twist. The trailblazing Declaration of Independence said life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness were inalienable rights. Our Constitution, amended with the Bill of Rights, gave white, male citizens of the united states more freedom, justice and liberty than a wealthy lord in England, theoretically.

Europeans came up with life, liberty and fraternity in the French Revolution which collapsed into chaos, rose into an empire then collapsed again. Most of Europe was freed from feudalism by Napoleon, but got stuck with the limited rights of the Napoleonic code. These give government a firm leash on liberty, which quickly gets out of hand.

An Hour Early, A Day Late

Americans are in love with liberty and individualism, yet various minorities in America have come together. They've struggled and succeeded in gaining the same rights as a rich, white man of old England, theoretically.

Only pot heads and other reviled, unorganized minorities are left for the government to persecute now that sodomy is legal. Let's hope that marijuana smokers get it together before Lassie lovers, at least.

There is a loophole in the illogic of these supreme court rulings making gay sex legal because it is private and consensual while cannabis consumers can constitutionally be crushed by the system. Arrested, property seized, kids taken, forced into rehab, fined or put in jail.

The obvious legal defense is that these Joints are not for getting high, they are sex objects, a la Bill Clinton's cigar or for autoerotic asphyxiation through spliff smoking. If you're are using marijuana as medicine though, you have no federal right to justify your breaking of federal statute.

This statute was drawn up by the DEA and passed by a 70's show of hands Congress with no evidence to support making marijuana schedule 1, more restrictive than hard drugs.

The DEA's own administrative judge in 1987 ruled the legal status of cannabis must be changed to allow it to be prescribed as medication.

The medical necessity defense is basic to English common law. This code is the foundation of our American republic's legal system as declared in numerous supreme court rulings. It includes habeus corpus (bringing the person charged to a public hearing), their right to face their accuser, public testimony during a trial and jury nullification (the right of the jurors to strike down a law as unjust in their particular case). Call me sentimental, but I miss our constitutional and common law rights.

According to the Supreme Court siren song for medical necessity rights, deathly ill people who use marijuana to relieve their symptoms or improve their conditions have no more rights than recreational users who do bong hits before breakfast or wind down with a joint at sunset. These recreational users, including presidents and basketball stars, have fewer rights than endangered pond scum species.

Nanuk Of The North

We're all in the same boat, sick or healthy, contagious or in wheelchairs, naked before the law with no rights to our particular pursuit of happiness or relief of pain.

Not that long ago, cops could whack all the "pot smoking, hippie faggots" they wanted. They didn't need any excuses to beat dark skinned and/or poor people if they felt like it. Now they can only pound on potheads as other groups of minorities got together and forced change on the judicial and political establishment.

Stoners have been hiding in their closets puffing away, too apathetic to get involved. Medical marijuana rights in California were fought for by AIDS activists, mostly. Gays succeeded in gaining their constitutional right to have sex in privacy but tokers are still in the closet.

Canada, Home of the Brave and Land of the Free, had several federal judicial decisions strike down cannabis possession laws and homosexual marriage bans. The Bush team has been talking about closing the border with Canada, while dreaming of regime change or preemptive bombing.

Thousands of Americans have been flocking north to gain some relief from their own government's denial of their basic rights to privacy and pursuit of happiness. The Rolling Stones even played a cheap ticket concert in Toronto to make up for the SARS scare.

American medical marijuana patients have sought refugee status in Canada to escape US persecution. Gays are going up to get married. Smokers are going up to sit in cafes and get high. This could trigger off the greatest wave of United States political refugees fleeing to Canada since the Vietnam War. That was the largest number since Tories fled there from Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness during the American Revolutionary War.


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