Sunday, April 30, 2006

Wondering about Betty Sutton and Marijuana?

I've noticed lots of people finding the blog by Googling candidates. Over the next couple days I'll do what I can with whatever crap is flying around.

Tonight's topic is Capri Cafaro's allegation that Betty Sutton favors legalizing marijuana. ( H/t Ohio 13 Votes) The truth is that Sutton once proposed a medical marijuana legalization bill. Whatever one might think about medical marijuana -- I haven't seen the science to support it yet -- support for medical marijuana is not the same as a support for wholesale legalization.

A Cafaro flak says that because Sutton proposed legalizing up to a half pound, the effect would be the same as legalization. Two things. First, there is a difference between intent and effect. The ad says that Sutton favors legalizing marijuana. That is plainly untrue -- her intent was only to legalize medical use. I believe that Cafaro's SAW plan would engorge the deficit and crash the economy, but I wouldn't proclaim that "Capri Cafaro wants to engorge the deficit and crash the economy." To equate a possible outcome with intent to cause that outcome is fundamentally dishonest.

Second, the half-pound thing must be understood in context. I haven't seen the bill or been in contact with Camp Cafaro about this, but I can fill in the blanks. I assume that Sutton's bill would have legalized possession of misdemeanor quantity -- 200 grams or .44 pounds. (R.C. 2925.11(C)(3)(a-b) for those of you keeping score at home.)

If it's news to you that possession of that much bud was that low level, welcome to the wacky world of Ohio's marijuana laws. Up to 100 grams is a minor misdemeanor. If you smoke more than 100 grams of pot in a year, that's pretty impressive. Depending on quality, you are getting righteously baked 2-4 times a week. That's a Live-in-Mom's-Basement level of usage. But if you are carrying that much marijuana at one time, your offense is literally no more serious than a speeding ticket.

From 100-200 grams, possession is a 4th degree misdemeanor. If you have 199 grams of weed and get caught shoplifting a lighter to fire up a blunt, you are in bigger trouble for the lighter (M1) than the dope (M4). The real question for Betty is why bother to legalize medical marijuana when partytime marijuana is for all intents decriminalized.

But of course, all this is too complicated for any discussion outside BlogWorld. Not only is this a sleazy distortion, it's an eleventh hour sleazy distortion, giving Sutton little time to set the record straight. And since it appears in a commercial that has to have been in production for longer than the EM-List mailers have been going out. And whatever distortions lie in the EM-List mailers, they do not out and out lie like the Cafaro ad.

Those looking to Cafaro as the "positive" candidate may want to reevaluate.


Lisa Renee said...

I haven't posted about this race because I can't vote in it, I have however been following the various twists, turns and accusations.

I know how I've felt about some of the last minute claims done here in Lucas County to attempt to damage a candidate, so I can imagine how frustrating it is for you too.

The good thing is people are googling, even better is when they can find information like you are posting to discover the truth.


Anonymous said...

Nice try Pho. As an attorney, I am sure you would have been able to try to pick the stronger argument. I believe you mentioned some babble about a courtroom, weak argument, bad result type of deal in a courtroom in a prior post.

The truth is the truth. Not some or a little. It is the truth. Whether it is a pound or a marijuana seed, whether for medical or whatever purpose, there was a bill sponsored that would legalize marijuana. That sponsor was Betty Sutton.

FamineHorse said...

I am so tired of the anonymous SMH trolls. Hopefully we'll be done hearing from them on 5/3.

Well if Sutton can be labeled as being for legalizing, I guess we can label SMH as not caring a lick about the well-being of cancer and glaucoma patients.

See how that game works?

scott bakalar said...

To me this is such a non-issue a bad choice of topic for Cafaro to pick on. It's unimportant and nobody cares. Not when there is so much else so much more important, meaningful and relevent to concentrate on.

I support medical use, I ain't running for congress, but if I ever do - someone can use that statement against me at the last minute too.

Pathetic, despirate move SMH.

What am I doing up this late?

redhorse said...

scott: same for me, I was up that late, and I don't have any issue with medical use.

flailing about like this, at this point in the campaign, is trying to hit a homer blindfolded.

yet, it will turn off some voters. very few, but some.

Pho said...

Anon, if Cafaro had thought that legalizing medical use would be a salient election issue, the ad would have said Sutton wants to legalize medical use. She didn't because she knows that "Betty wants to legalize pot" is a hot button in a way medical marijuana is not. That makes her a sleaze.

Put another way, all the Schedule 2 and below drugs are legal for properly described medical use and illegal for recreational use. Legalizing for medical use is not the same as legalizing. If you can't wrap your mind around that distinction, find another website to pester -- like maybe

Bard_of_Avon said...

Why is it, given the demographics of those who have used marijuana either recreationally or medically, no Democrat (or Republican, for that matter) has the courage/moxie to come out for flat-out legalization? I think it could be a winner, if someone were smart enough to present its positive aspects. Or does no one seeking office care about making criminals out of so much of the population? Think on't.

Anonymous said...

I went to Pho, that's how I found your site. You were listed under Goofy.

Gibberish said...

Bard -

It's 'cause we have a "WAR ON DRUGS"......see your friendly libertarian candidate. America's 3rd party is all for legalizing pot

Anonymous said...

Pho is on drugs.