Government Logic (an oxymoron)

Outsider Club – by Nick Hodge

A few words on government logic…

Today in Outsider Club’s home state of Maryland, the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana becomes decriminalized.

The intention, most likely, is to reduce arrests, jail time, and the resultant costs and destroyed lives that arise from possessing or smoking a plant.  


Paraphernalia is still criminal (read: arrestable).

So you can possess 10 grams of marijuana (though, if caught with it, the police will still seize it) without risking arrest, but don’t you dare try to smoke it.

One scratches the head.

If you possess marijuana, don’t you almost in every instance also possess paraphernalia? Or has pot become an ornamental?

Further, instead of going full Colorado, where pot is fully legal and taxable (millions of dollars have gone to education already) and businesses have sprung up that add to local economies… Maryland has chosen to extort its revenue from de-criminals who still possess the quasi-illegal flora:

  • $100 the first time;
  • $250 the second time;
  • $500, a court appearance, and a drug assessment for the third time.

Local news and police agencies made sure to let their smoking subjects know they’re still breaking the law. From the local NBC affiliate:

On Wednesday, possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana will send many people to the bank rather than jail. However, officials are reminding people that it’s still illegal.

“First and second offenses are fines, while the third and beyond are must-appear violations in court,” said Anne Arundel County police Lt. T.J. Smith.

Police aren’t going to be carrying scales with them to weigh the drug, so in essence, they need to eyeball it.

“While it’s a civil offense to have marijuana, it’s a criminal offense to put it in a pipe. We need to make a move afoot to make these laws more sensible,” Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said.

The bottom line the police want people to know is that marijuana is still illegal, but the punishment is about to change.

“This has been rather confusing. People think it has been decriminalized and you can’t get in trouble for it. Theoretically, you can still get in trouble,” Smith said.

There you have a local police lieutenant and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney saying the law is “rather confusing” and that it needs to be “more sensible,” while dropping flimsy phrases like “theoretically” and “in essence.”

Yet the bottom line is they still want you to know you’re breaking their law.

And let’s not forget you’ll still be at the mercy of a police officer’s judgment.

Which, theoretically, should be sound, but in essence has proven anything but of late…

Whether it’s the recent holding-down and throat slitting of an already subdued dog by two of Baltimore’s finest…

Or the leaking of a tape this month showing a Baltimore officer beating a man unprovoked to bloody pulp and then charging the man with assaulting an officer — while other cops watched and said nothing, and the officer remained on his beat until the tape was made public…

Or the surfacing of a tape just this week showing five Baltimore officers beating a single man with batons — after they tased him.

Surely they’ll err on the side of fairness when judging your pot stash.

And perhaps the best part of all this is that, among all these horrendous acts conducted at the hands of our should-be protectors and servers, there’s been a call for them all to wear cameras as part of their uniforms. That way, there would be video evidence of all their taxpayer-funded actions.

But lo, despite paying a consultant $285,000 to investigate the issue, which concluded with the recommendation that Baltimore Police should indeed wear body cameras… and the subsequent introduction of a bill by City Council to make it happen…

The mayor and, of course, the police are opposed — with the police union having the audacity to claim such cameras could complicate things in court.

So, by government logic: If you possess marijuana, it’s not a criminal act, as long as it’s arbitrarily identified as less than 10 grams by a cop, but it is illegal — and they’ll still seize it. But if you try to smoke said marijuana or are thought to possess more than 10 grams by a cop with clearly sound judgment, it is a criminal act and you could theoretically still get arrested because that’s criminal.

And, according to the police, having every instance of cops enforcing this new law on camera to see the precise details of how each unique case unfolds would complicate things.

That’s government logic, which is nearly always theoretically an oxymoron, in essence.

Call it like you see it,

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Nick Hodge

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