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And Now For Something Completely Different on Red Eye – Wanna Get Stoned?

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Posted on August 14 2010 2:00 pm
I'm a newly born Conservative, recovering from a life of misguided liberalism. 40-something, born in Seattle and raised in Washington State.
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Does everyone need weed, now? Where will it end?

For the final “Red Eye” of the week, the guests were Remi Spencer, Joe Derosa and Chris Cotter.

The subjects included PETA’s protest of a Dodge commercial featuring a chimpanzee, the reprehensible death wishes against Sarah Palin by New Hampshire Democrats, and Sheryl Crow’s insane “green” demands when on tour.

While it was interesting to write about the highly publicized “Gutfeld Gay Bar” idea all week, the focus of the show finally shifted to something else.

The most interesting segment of the night was the case of Chris Diaz, a Texas man sentenced to a possibility of life in prison for possession of a half-ounce of “medical” marijuana.

Diaz was en route from California back to his Amarillo, Texas home on June 27th, when he was pulled over for expired tabs. When he couldn’t produce identification or proof of insurance, he was arrested. According to an article on the website StopTheDrugWar.org

[Diaz] was then arrested for failure to identify, and during a subsequent search, police found a small amount of hashish on his person. A search of the vehicle then turned up more hash and marijuana in pill bottle from a California medical marijuana provider.

The DPS report said the search also turned up a cell phone “containing text messages referring to drug sales” and a notebook with “drug and law writings.” Those are apparently the basis, legitimate or otherwise, for the drug distribution charge.

Remi Spencer, a criminal defense lawyer at her own firm, pondered the legality of Diaz’s vehicle being searched, thinking it might be a violation of the 4th amendment. She also pointed out how some states have minimum sentencing rules, which are often enhanced when drugs are involved.

Apparently, no one on “Red Eye” was made aware of the hashish found on Diaz, which probably gave the police the right to search his vehicle.

StopTheDrugWar.org is very concerned Diaz sits in jail without his medicine, by which they mean his weed. Medicine for what? Asthma. Does it make sense to prescribe something one smokes as a treatment for a lung condition? What happened to the tried and true inhaler?

I think Spencer has a point about minimum sentencing. On the other hand, the charge isn’t merely possession. It’s possession with intent to distribute. In other words, dealing.

Maybe Texas law should be altered, as Spencer suggests, giving judges some leeway. Certainly, someone who traveled all the way to California for a half ounce of weed wasn’t intending to distribute much, if any of it. An entire life behind bars seems a disproportionate punishment, and a court should have the ability to look into individual circumstances.

All that aside, I have my own questions. How can a Texas resident, with no identification, walk into a California medical marijuana distributor and get a narcotic that is illegal on a national level? Why isn’t the DEA screaming about federal jurisdiction? Where’s an outraged Eric Holder?

Oh, that’s right. It’s drugs, so who cares? It’s not like narcotics abuse is a systemic societal problem. We wouldn’t want to piss off our voting base, would we?

Chris Barnhart is a conservative social and political blogger. He can also be found frequently haunting Twitter.

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