Recon

Monday, April 25, 2011

SB192 & You: What It Is, and Why It Barely Matters

Hoosier stoners universally applauded the passing of SB 192 in the state legislature, at least judging by the response on the various facebook groups. But there seem to be some misconceptions about what the bill actually is, which is damn near nothing. Let's check out the actual text of the bill.

ECTION 1. [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011] (a) In the 2011 legislative interim, the criminal law and sentencing policy study committee established by IC 2-5.5-5-1 shall study and make recommendations regarding the following issues:
(1) Marijuana and its effect on the Indiana criminal justice system.
(2) Whether the possession and use of marijuana should continue to be illegal in Indiana and, if so, which penalties and amounts pertaining to marijuana possession and use are appropriate.
(3) Whether a program for medical marijuana should be implemented in Indiana and, if so, under what parameters.
(4) Whether marijuana should be treated and controlled like alcohol, with controlled and regulated sales, and special taxation.
(5) Any other issue related to marijuana.
(b) This SECTION expires January 1, 2012.
All of these things sound good, but the fundamental thrust is an academic one-this is a study, not a binding legal agreement. All this bill really contains is a promise that they will finally talk about the issue-eventually.

That's fucking peanuts, people, and probably a delaying tactic as well. I want you to notice two things about this bill, one obvious, one less so.

The first, obvious problem is that this is not an actual promise to enact legislation based on anything the study discovers. Even if an airtight, peer reviewed study proves that legalizing dope will clear up the deficit, bring half a million jobs to the state, send everyone's kids to college, and cause the skies to open up and rain down gold ingots and blowjobs, they have no obligation to enact anything and the idea will die in the gutter with no fanfare. This is not a victory; our enemy has barely blinked, and hopefully we can exploit it, but to trumpet this as a victory is pure masturbation.

The less obvious problem is the study itself. We have no guiding parameters to show how it will be conducted, under what conditions, and perhaps most importantly what the criteria for recommending public policy will be. I notice that there is no money being allotted for the research, though I'm sure the Senate Corrections & Criminal Subcommittee has an operating budget. One bored intern xeroxing academic journals and highlighting the relevant parts for legislators that will never read it may satisfy the requirements of this bill.

What does that mean to us, the Hoosier smokers, who want to see real policy change on this issue? It means the fucking legwork falls to us, and lets face it, we are notoriously bad at it. We aren't too bad at singing kumbaya in the park, and we can click "like" on a facebook page with the best of 'em, but this is going to require real work and some of you goddamn poseurs are not going to do it. That's fine, I can't make you work-but fuck you.

Enough ranting. Let's get to work. What do we need to do?

SEXY MAGIC SCUMFUCK ACTION ITEMS (Mk 1)

1. Forward relevant studies (peer reviewed please, not the latest issue of High Times) to all of the senators on the committee. You will find a list on the link above.
2. Keep this study in the public mind as much as you can. Write letters to the editor, hold rallies, wave signs, do all that typical grassroots shit. Get some press. Modern America is often defined by those who shout the loudest, and we need to keep this in the papers if we want any chance of actual policy changes. They gave us this crumb and they expect us to shut up now, like we always have before-but they need to be wrong, and if they aren't, we're fucked.
3. Keep on top of your local pro pot organizations. They have access to resources that you don't and rarely get killed in no knock police raids, so they are a good, reliable bet to keep the fire burning. Remember, though, that these are the same people who have been singing kumbaya for years with only crumbs to show for it. You need to be in active correspondence with them and help where you can, with your money or your time.
4. Organize on your own, at the local level. All those people you smoke weed with that aren't doing anything but applauding like retard monkeys? Yeah, those people are part of the problem. Get 'em off the couch and moving.
5. Follow this blog for updates and more sexy action plans. (What? You didn't think this was all altruism did you?) In the coming weeks I will have a few suggestions for the studies we can forward to committee members.

6 comments:

  1. SB192...now SR70...gives us a chance to make our case, gives us a seat at the table. On its own, it gives us nothing more. But in a state like Indiana getting to the table is the first step of many we'll have to take. It opens a dialogue, and without that dialogue, we'll go nowhere.

    Assuming we get there, we will present the best and brightest the Marijuana Movement has; people like Paul Armantano, Ethan Nadelman, Lester Grinspoon and others. We have the studies that back our position. There's not a point they can make we can't argue down.

    Politics being what it is, it's going to take all of us to marshal the process. If we convince the committee, and I think we can, we'll see bills in the next session, January, 2012.

    Neal Smith
    Indiana NORML.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love your posts Other Christopher. Let's stay positive though. I promise that while the enemy is blinking, I'm busy stabbing them in the eye. I've been trying to spread educational info to the conservative ( and heavily lied to, naive, propaganda filled ) community. One thing I have found is that you can go to www.saferchoice.org ,(these are the guys that made Colorado's marijuana reform happen), where they have printable pdf's of posters, flyers, pamphlets and tons of info to print up and hand out. Everyone that comes in the store interested in making a change, I direct them to safer choice. My idea is that if we can actually educate the enemy to the BS they've been fed, not only will they know the truth, but they might be pissed at the real enemy for lying to them in the first place. Keep spreading the word brother! Oh and let's go shooting sometime. I've got 700 rounds of non-corrosive rounds that I'm counting as plinkers! I'm keeping the good stuff for when I see Zombie Jesus out strutting his stuff.
    Jeah

    The Couch Man

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  3. Granted, what SR70 accomplishes in the macro view is as you put it, peanuts. It doesn't do anything more than put a discussion about marijuana under a printed cover with the state seal of Indiana on top of it. However, think about the significance of that.

    Having an official state document with our facts and figures gathered from all over and assembled for the study committee and paid for with taxpayer dollars to arm us with OFFICIAL facts for the debate next year is a huge step towards our goals.

    A) We could never get enough stoners to put the joint down and donate the money we need to do this study ourselves and B) it would never have the imprimatur of legitimacy that a study done by the state would have.

    Great post, nice blog you got here. I just added it to my Google Reader feeds.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You have to understand that the fight in Indiana isn't the same as the fight in Cali. We can't just throw legislation on the books, that's not the way this system works. First you incite public opinion to change on a scale to where the politicians have to address the issue. If the majority isn't speaking out, neither will the lawmakers. What this study is going to do, if enough people become aware of it, is to show hoosiers that we are a completely "Backward" state as many people think. It will get people to realize that change actually CAN happen here and that there may be a huge change on the horizon. This study is very beneficial for many ancillary reasons that aren't stated in the wording of the document. You have to start somewhere, and this is our start. As someone else said, this gets us to the table, which is farther than weve gotten....ever. So is this a decrim bill? no, its an obscure study that is going to be performed by bias government bureaucrats. Is this the beginning of a movement in Indiana like we have seen in the other decrim/medi states? We will have to see, but my opinion is yes. This is the first of many, and this study is going to open up a can of worms.

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  5. Sorry i meant "aren't" a completely backwards....not are

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