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Chronicle AM: Fed Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Filed, MT Legal Pot Bill Killed, More... (3/29/19)

A Michigan commission wisely recommends no de jure limit on THC in driver's blood, a Montana marijuana legalization bill gets killed in committee, a federal bill to end civil asset forfeiture is filed, and more.

Various states and the Congress are taking up asset forfeiture reform. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Michigan Regulators Recommend No Legal Limit on THC in Drivers. The state's Impaired Driving Safety Commission has recommended that the state set no limit for the amount of THC in a driver's blood. Instead of setting a limit similar to that for blood alcohol, the commission recommending using roadside sobriety tests to measure impaired driving. "The only reasonable way to do this right now is to demonstrate that people are impaired," Norbert Kaminski, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University and commission member, said. 

Montana Legalization Bill Killed. A bill to legalize marijuana died in committee on Thursday. HB 770 was killed in the House Taxation Committee after law enforcement representatives called legalization "a nightmare" for state citizens.

Asset Forfeiture

Federal Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Filed. Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) filed the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act on Wednesday. The bill, HR 1895, would bring sweeping reforms to the federal use of civil asset forfeiture, most critically, it would end the equitable sharing program, which local and state law enforcement uses to evade restrictions on seizures under state laws.

Minnesota Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Advances. The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee voted Tuesday to advance Senate File 2155, which would replace a number of state asset forfeiture laws with a single statewide law and repeal administrative forfeiture, an archaic process that allows assets to be seized without a court order.

South Carolina Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Passes House. The House on Wednesday approved a bill that would require the State Law Enforcement Division to keep a database of seizures and disbursements. HB 590 faces one more routine vote before it is sent to the Senate.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Demagogic law enforcement is our biggest enemy, not big pharma

I haven't forgotten the way the head of the Arizona State Police outright LIED about who was using medical marijuana in Arizona. Why do the cops wonder why so many people HATE them? What do they expect, when they are leading the charge to treat cannabis users like dirt? The cops are VERY aware that alcohol is far more dangerous than weed, but they just don't care, they would rather wallow in hypocrisy, and whine that the public doesn't respect them enough, as if it never occurred to them that respect is a two way street..

police chiefs + police unions are being spacey on weed vs booze

You CAN'T have sound policy towards cannabis without making a thorough comparison of weed with alcohol, its main competition as a recreational drug. Reformers have been saying for generations, as loudly as they can, that alcohol is clearly more dangerous than weed. As far as I can tell, it's FAR more dangerous than weed when it comes to causing catastrophes, including catastrophic brain damage to fetuses. And prohib police are just not taking reformers seriously, they've been stonewalling us for generations without blinking an eye, like we're dirt, not citizens. And then they wonder why respect for them isn't as high as they think it should be. 

Forcing people to use alcohol to get a buzz is a really, really dumb idea, and if the graveyards could speak, these death dealing alcohol supremacist POG laws would never for one second have invaded and defiled America.

Dain Bramage's picture

The Drivers and The Dead: Michigan cars

There is a product, manufactured and sold nationwide, that is extremely dangerous, even under highly controlled conditions, and that product is the automobile.

Cars kill.

Whether or not the driver in an accident was impaired, and regardless of why the driver might have been impaired, it is the vehicle itself that is directly responsible for any resulting injuries. It is the vehicle itself that causes the crushed skulls, the internal bleeding, the severed limbs, the burned and mangled corpses.  It's a question of physics.

It might not be a popular thing to say, but cars are a really dumb idea, given the unalterable realities of physics and biology.  Sorry, but facts are facts.

The human body was not evolved to survive impacts much greater than a person can produce under their own propulsion -- say, a top running speed of 10 - 15 MPH.  An impact of 15 MPH is gonna hurt bad, and even that could be fatal, without good luck.  Do car speedometers even register 15 MPH?  From a driver's perspective, 15 MPH is a crawl!   Except it isn't a crawl; 15 MPH is quite fast, for a human.

Here's the thing: if people drive, people will wreck.  It's a given.  How many drivers have never had an accident?  Very few, I will bet.  If people drive, people will run over things and into things, including other people.  It's just a bad idea; there are smarter ways to get the things we need.

Don't drink and drive.  Better yet, don't drive!

Just take the high-speed rail.  If we must go fast, then can we at least be a tad smarter about it?

What high speed rail, you ask?  Thanks for asking.  It comes with the GREEN NEW DEAL.


Dain Bramage's picture

Asset forfeiture reform? Baby steps?!?

Reform means... South Carolina cops have to keep a data-base of all the loot they steal?  That's it?

Sounds more like advice from an accountant than a challenge to the status quo, but hey, you have to start somewhere, I guess!  I believe in the principle of Harm Reduction, so... Let's see if even this baby step can be taken.

Dain Bramage's picture

The difference between shit and shoepolish

You see, shit and shoe polish may look similar at a superficial level, but in FACT, they are two very different things... If you accidentally mistook shit for shoe polish, GET RID OF IT RIGHT NOW.

Similarly, let's take a closer look at Trump.

On your right, you see Trump, Sessions, and the Republican party et al., kidnapping brown children and holding them in cages.  Full stop.

On your left, you see me (and many others) protesting this Charles Manson-like death cult called "The Republican Party", some using profanity, like me, but not violence.

Yes, I am being rude.  I am being as rude as I fucking know how to be!

Don't you get it?  If The Resistance fails, then, in our bleak dystopian future, we will chat by tapping Morse code through the concrete separating our prison cells; we will ask each other: what did you do to try to stop this?

Did you vote?  Did you organize for change?  Did you fight back, at all, ever?  Did you speak out, at all, anywhere?

Did you ever tell off your congressional representative?  Did you ever write a letter to the editor of a newspaper?  Did you ever once speak up at work?  At the office?  Did you even work up the tiniest bit of give-a-shit?

Or were you so passive, cowed, and complicit that you balked, even at garden-variety rudeness?!?  George Carlin's seven words were too much for you to handle in the face of fascism?   Jesus fucking christ, whose side are you on, anyway?!?

Babies in cages.

Fuck Trump!  Say it!  Try it!  It's a start, goddamn it!

Dain Bramage's picture

Child Separation Policy

The Child Separation policy was designed to deter; the plan was that the sheer, explicit inhumanity of the policy itself, once publicized, would deter asylum seekers (as if that goal was somehow a good thing in the first place.)

The Child Separation Policy was the work of Jefferson "Peckerwood" Sessions, Trump's FIRST choice for Attorney General.  (Sessions was fired for not being treasonous enough to suit the fake president, Trump.)

The Child Separation Policy will be the legacy of Jeff Sessions, and of Trump.

For Jeff Sessions, it is his crowning achievement.  I would not have thought it possible for Jeff Sessions, the man who said he thought the KKK were okay "until I found out they smoked pot", to have outdone himself on racism and cruelty and hate, but it appears he has!

Now we have a situation wherein the Republican party -- the so-called "right to life" party, which is packing the courts with patriarchal, anti-choice judges even as I write -- has put its phony principles in conflict with one another, to wit: First Principle, babies must be born. Second Principle: brown babies crossing borders must be kidnapped from their parents and put in cages.  Because they are brown.  Brown teenagers crossing borders, not being adults, must also be put in cages.  Oh fuck it -- if you're brown, in you go!

But, if any of those teenagers are pregnant, or become pregnant while in custody, those babies must also be born (born in the USA, I should note) according to mandatory policy (because, you got it, "right to life"); but they MUST ALSO be held in cages -- because, of course, they are still fucking brown!

So, I guess in order to avoid a logical inconsistency, those brown babies born in custody, according to mandatory policy, MUST NEVER GET OUT!!

Oh... right... Since when do Republicans care about integrity?   Silly me.

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