[Happy Presidents Day. Presidents now think they are kings, so I am taking the holiday off. Enjoy this post from last Sept. 1]
Since Hitler was defeated by the Allies and retired to TV screens (dozens of CableACE awards), America has a lousy record in wars, real and figurative.
One of them is the “war on drugs,” launched by Nixon in 1971. The results are clear.
You lost, Dick. (R.I.P. Even aging hippies don’t kick him around anymore.)
A rising tide of states are legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. Tides can rise faster than imagined (see marriage, same-sex and Trump, Donald).
Luckily, catnip is both heavenly and legal everywhere. The issue to humans is prisons stuffed with non-violent drug offenders. There is statistical evidence that minorities are singled out for harsher treatment.
Then there are the junk fees legislatures and courts sprinkle into the system. They are especially onerous to those on probation, often imposed for years too long.
It smacks of a system too eager to raise funds to finance salaries.
Miss a payment, you might go to jail. If you’re poor, things could turn hopeless fast.
At some point, good people will rebel against this modern incarnation of debtors’ prisons, expressly forbidden in the largely shredded Constitution.
They will rebel first at the ballot box, and the uprising will spread to jury deliberation rooms as the doctrine of “jury nullification” is applied in drug possession cases, especially those involving marijuana, where polls show a majority of Americans, especially younger ones, favor legalization.
Judges will hate this uprising and threaten to hold jurors in contempt, and some will go through with it. Ambitious prosecutors interested more in securing scalps than producing justice will go nuts and double down. That will cycle back to the ballot box, where in some jurisdictions they will become ex-prosecutors.
Fighting a rising tide has consequences.