Monday mish-mash: Legal pot, broken votes

A couple of oddities:

The S-E’s editorial Sunday called for those doing the redistricting of Utah into 4 congressional district to be sure and keep Weber and Davis together as a block. The idea is that since people in those two counties are all one giant community, they should all have the same representative.

Interestingly, a story in one of those other papers shows that residents of the more rural Utah are feeling the same way. The rural portions of the state feel that their vote is diluted because of the last redistricting that cut up Salt Lake County into three parts and gave each legislative district a slice, making all three a rural-urban combo.

Lawmakers then said they just wanted each district to represent all of Utah’s many diverse parts, which was so laughably false that even the arch-conservative Wall Street Journal said Utah deserved some sort of award for the most blatant gerrymandering ever seen.

The sole goal of Utah’s last redistricting effort was to make sure no Democrat ever got elected to Congress from Utah again, pure and simple. All it accomplished was to make sure that a blue-dog Matheson stayed in office, a result that has increasingly frustrated everybody.

Now the rural residents want their autonomy back, and I’m not sure I blame them. Sadly, redistricting is all about politics, not fairness or representation or anything else.

So my bet: When the redistricting is done Utah will look like a four-slice pizza, or maybe four servings of spaghetti.

And if Weber and Davis end up slivered, part of three different districts or even all four, I will be amused, but not surprised.

Legal Pot? Utah AG Mark Shurtliff is making noses about legalizing medical marijuana. Probably this is becasue of his recent bout with cancer, and he saw it used by others, and so has learned that sometimes medical marijuana really is the best answer for people with the nausea and other problems associated with cancer treatment.

Needless to say, members of the legislature are approaching his idea with their usual open minds: Sen. Allen Christensen is particularly cute, saying he’s always happy to talk “but I’ve already made up my mind.”

In other words, don’t bother me with facts. 

I’d rather see Shurtluff move to legalize pot entirely. We’ve spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on the war on drugs, and 4th graders can still buy the stuff any time they want. Medical marijuana would be a start.

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26 Responses to Monday mish-mash: Legal pot, broken votes

  1. hawg says:

    “and 4th graders can still buy the stuff any time they want”

    let me guess, you probably think ANYONE can walk into the Cross of the West gun show and buy a machine gun.

    journalists. have pen, will lie.

    • ctrentelman says:

      Lemme see if I got this right, hawg — You can’t disagree with me that 4th graders can buy drugs after 40 years of the failed war on drugs because it is a demonstrable fact that they can, so you try to change the subject to something (a) I didn’t discuss with (b) an accusation of something that I didn’t say so you can (c) accuse me of being a filthy liberal for saying it?

      Better quit buying stuff from your 4th grader. It’s obviously affecting your thinking.

      • Owain says:

        Got a link documenting a recent big 4th grader drug bust on the Wasatch Front, Charles? My Google-fu is pretty good, but I drew a blank. I think I would have remembered that story. I DID find a link to a story about a 4th grader busted for cocaine, but that was in DC, so I almost expected that.

        I don’t doubt it’s possible. But I do doubt that it’s as casually universal as you suggest.

        I’m with Hawg. File this post under “Charles is making shit up”.


      • hawg says:

        I said “probably think”, so if that offended you it is again “probably” accurate.

        it is not a demonstrable fact that a 4th grader can by dope at any time. YOU cannot show it. but I would be more than happy to follow you around to every elementary school in this county, randomly pick some 4th grader, give him/her/it a hundred bucks and send him out the door. in fact let’s bring a film crew, should be lot’s of fun.
        and for gawds sake quit calling drug enforcement a “war”. how about let’s fight it like a real war for a couple of years and come back and discuss it.
        and YOU said liberals are filthy, not me.
        guess you know them better than I do:)

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    a link to the arrest? No, that’s the point: They haven’t arrested anyone. Drug sales among kids in elementary school is pretty easy and not hindered. There is no way the cops can hinder them. Stopping kids from dealing drugs behind the bleachers or over in the wash room is not something you accomplish with a SWAT team.

    However, my discussions with several people who work with kids in schools along the Wasatch Front, as well as talking with kids in schools along the Wasatch Front, as well as my life with a woman who worked 18 years as a substance abuse counselor, half of that with adolescents, make it very clear that drugs are easily available.

    If you doubt me, get off your computer and go hang around a school playground for a while. Feel free to call my son who runs a Boys and Girls club in SLC (Midvale, ask for Ben), or Robb Hall at Youth Impact in Ogden, or the counselor of any elementary or middle school anywhere. Or the cop who works in any of those schools.

    So, no, not making this up, sadly.

    • hawg says:

      “drugs are easily available”

      of course drugs are easily available. so is prostitution and gambling and child pornography.
      the “war” on burglaries, thefts, and murders hasn’t exactly eradicated those little hobbies either.
      legalize them too?

      think of the savings to taxpayers to not have to have police riding around 24/7.

    • hawg says:

      “as well as my life with a woman who worked 18 years as a substance abuse counselor, half of that with adolescents,”

      not to start another fight but purely out of curiosity, how many of those adolescents “substance abuse” of choice was alcohol?

      you know, that war weary, wildly successful, victimless, legal substance?

      • Charles Trentelman says:

        some, but there was a lot of harder drugs — parents tend to deal with alcohol on their own and only put the kid in treatment when it goes beyond.

        Interestingly, parents who move their kids to “the country” to get away from the drug scene in the cities soon found out that the drug scene is everywhere. Sad, really.

        Not sure what your last paragraph means, hawg. “war weary, wildly successful victimless legal substance?”


        • hawg says:

          it means that “legal” alcohol has proven to be far from successful or victimless. why do you think “legal” marijuana use will be any better?

          • ctrentelman says:

            yes, legal alcohol is hardly harmless, and has many costs, but as we discovered with prohibition, trying to outlaw it was far more harmful and expensive, just as the current drug war has been.

            Prohibition didn’t stop one person from drinking who wanted to. The 40-years of war on drugs has accomplished the same rate of failure — 100 percent, and filled the prisons in the bargain.

            No, legal marijuana will not be any better or worse, it will just cost the rest of us less.

  3. Owain says:

    Who said a swat team was required? The police could just sent a few officers in undercover to hang around school playgrounds a while, if it’s that obvious, and that prevalent.

    If it were that obvious and that prevalent, that’s exactly what the police would be doing. Why wouldn’t they do something so simple and so easy?

    It’s a connundrum, for sure.

  4. Charles Trentelman says:

    ur kidding right?

    cops in mufti hanging around a grade school playground? Just hanging out, nobody notices them and of course all the drug dealing stops because no kid could ever spot a strange adult and never, ever think of any way to hide things from adults.

    no, seriously, you have GOT to be kidding.

    either that or you were never a child, a possibility I am happy to entertain.

    seriously good joke. I like a little humor in these things.

    • Owain says:

      Hey Charles, instead of pulling stuff out of whatever orifice you find handy at the moment, why don’t you drag your butt out of it’s usual position of polishing your chair seat, do your freakin’ job, and interview a few cops on the Ogden City Police Force who actually handle this stuff on a day to day basis? That way you don’t have to rely on the expert authorities you cited on the subject who have nothing to do with law enforcement .

      I hate to have to be the one to tell you how to do your damn job, but it seems that someone needs to. After all, you ARE the journalist around here.

      • Charles Trentelman says:

        not clear on why you think law enforcement is the source of expertise here, but i find it interesting that, when all else fails, you choose to attack me.


        • hawg says:

          (out of turn, i know, but the reply button was absent)

          “Prohibition didn’t stop one person from drinking who wanted to”

          nor does any law about any crime, behaviour, or action.
          what else should we just legalize to save a buck?

  5. Stephen M. Cook says:

    Note: i hate pot heads. They get on my nerves.
    But that is beside the point.

    The only people who think marijuana should be illegal for adults are Authoritarian Conservatives.
    They are a misguided lot, by and large, and include amongst their ranks some of the worst humans in history.
    Any conservative worth thier salt is a libertarian conservative; they are good citizens, by and large, and keep their nose off the top of their neighbors fences.
    The gun, porn, and other control-freak/weak analogies leaves the rest of the debate without merit.

  6. Stephen M. Cook says:

    I thought I would weigh in also and mention that 4th grade students that smoke weed, perhaps only 1 in 50, overwhelmingly get their marijuana from older siblings. After that, uncles, aunts, and parents
    If you read about Tom Sawyer smoking with Huck Finn, marijuana is basically like that for most grade-schoolers.
    Corn cob pipe, coughing, laughing.

    1/3 of adults in america have tried the plant; I think it should be required if you are going to attempt jazz anything.

    Now, some, like myself, might have taken weed to school in 6th grade, just to show off to the other leather-jacket wearing tough 11 year olds. It was like taking your surf board to class.
    But sell it?
    One would not do that until 14 of 15.

  7. On_The_Bench says:

    Marijuana use is far more prevalent than you and most of Utah would like to believe, Owain. The reason you don’t see it is because they aren’t flaunting it, obviously. These people have made their choice and they live with it daily, regardless of laws, police or repercussions. The kids are often the ones ‘busted’ because they are also the ones solely using it to get high, and in awkward places, not in the safety of their own home. They abuse the substance instead of using it for remedy. There are plenty of taxpaying, home owning, adult Utah citizens partaking in the act for medical relief and still, carrying on with their life in a balanced and responsible manner. These people are from all walks of life and they’re not the dingy ‘stoner’ that you would like them to be, they’re the people you would least suspect to be using it. Some people DO live this way and successfully so, without anyone knowing. Just as some people get up in the morning and take a handful of medication to start their day for “whatever ails them”. I have serious doubts about 4th graders using pot, though many things have changed since I attended elementary school…I have no facts but that seems far-fetched in my mind…
    No, these people are using it for medical relief instead of pumping themselves full of narcotics/pills that come with side effects (some of which are more damaging than a case of ‘the munchies’ in my opinion? Some of these people desire a case of the munchies because their cancer medication leaves them with no appetite?).
    These people have made their choice, they accept it and they’re not going to stop; because it works for them. The difference between responsibly using it and being a cult-classic stoner is: they’re providing themselves with a remedy/relief for their own situation, all while living a productive life…Far from the scenario of Bad Johnny dealing it out of bleachers at school. I’m not saying that scenario isn’t happening either..However, I don’t see these people (with a medical need) out on the streets handing out samples and flaunting it as ‘Cool’…..No way!!! They want this legalized so they don’t have to deal with being portrayed in that light!? Most people smoking pot these days are not dealers of the substance. They are just dealing with their own personal issues in the privacy of their own homes. Too often though, people refuse to believe or even recognize that, thank you Allen Christensen. I totally agree that legalizing pot leaves loopholes galore, that SOME people will take full advantage of…I’m not disputing that fact and I won’t. I know select states run rampant with abusers of the subject. What I am saying though, is to please remember there are those in this state with legitimate reason to be using marijuana….and they aren’t pushing it on you or your kids? Had anyone actually HEARD what Mark Shurtleff had to say on this subject, you would know that it was discussed in a rather informal, but interviewed situation? He was asked about the subject and said he had no idea if Utah legislatures had any desire for this in the state of Utah…Rather that he could now understand WHY people would use it instead of taking harmful drugs with plenty of side-effects. He’s not throwing the idea on the table and saying “This should be legal”…No, he said he’s “now gained an understanding as to why people would use it”. Sometimes, it takes going thru an illness (or cancer, as it were) to gain a true understanding of one person’s ways in dealing with it. He’s now open to the idea, but nothing more.

    I realize my statements will only bring on criticism and I expect that, to each their own. These are my own opinions and I thank God I can speak them, for we live in the land of the free. :) Have a nice day Charlie.

  8. BlueSmoke says:

    Hawg, Owain, go put your heads back in the sand. Pot was always easier to get than alcohol way back when, and it still is. You guys are obviously old and lame!!!

    • hawg says:

      well, tell you what. next year when you get to the 5th grade, if you can still buy dope anywhere at anytime, I’ll apologize.

  9. Pshaw says:

    I don’t know about 4th grade, but when I was in 6th grade an adult offered it to me and some friends. One of them accepted it, the rest of us said, “no thanks” and the adults continued to pass it back and forth right in front of us.
    A few months ago the paper had some articles about an adult who was busted with a very large amount of marijuana stored in a drawer next to bags of candy, and he had small children living in the same house. How hard would it be for their friends to buy some from them? Just because you don’t hear about 4th graders getting busted doesn’t mean 4th graders can’t get marijuana if they want it.

  10. Alan Meyer says:

    A well written and thoughtful response. Thanks for adding some rationality to all the snarky remarks.

    • On_The_Bench says:

      Thank You Alan. I felt it was brought up in a misguided way, so figured I’d give the comment board a try. It’s a HUGE subject with plenty to discuss, unfortunately nobody wants to hear both sides….as Rep. Christensen demonstrated, they’ve already made up their minds before they even hear the words. I definitely think there is a time and a place for it; It takes education and true self-awareness to use it in a responsible manner.
      Pot-heads have always been around, but there are also plenty of people who use cannibas (in this state) to which the label just doesn’t fit? It’s a far broader group than most people will imagine, but, they’re content staying quiet until the rest of America comes to terms with it. All I’m saying is, they’re not pushing it on 4th graders or any one else….so let them choose for themselves what works and what doesn’t. We’re all different? (Thank God!!!)

      • hawg says:

        you seem to be talking “medical” marijuana. the “snarky remarks” are not about medical marijuana. I don’t have a problem with it any more than any other prescribed medicine. until abused or illegaly sold.

        the “snarky remarks” are in response to the stupid, lieing remarks about a “war” that’s not really a “war” and fourth grade cartels.

        while I don’t consider medical marijuana users to be dopers, I still have never met a “productive” doper.

  11. hawg says:

    hey, how about those fun loving, lovable dopers in Roy that let toddlers run in the street?

    I can’t believe they going to charge them. I mean we got plenty of toddlers and we can always make more.

  12. rick stewart says:

    … too bad people don’t get as upset about partisan redistricting as they do about legalizing marijuana …

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