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Tue Jan 12, 2016, 07:55 AM

 

Bernie Sanders' Plan to Fight Mass Incarceration Doesn't Add Up

But, as racial justice activist Deray McKesson pointed out in response, Sanders' promise raises a serious question: Is that even possible, considering that the vast majority of the nation's inmates are held in state not federal prisons?

The Sanders campaign did not respond to multiple requests for an explanation, but the short answer is that the Democratic candidate couldn't realistically fulfill his promise. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 2.2 million Americans were locked up as of the end of 2013. Of those, only 215,000 inmates (9.6 percent) were in federal prisons. The rest were in state and local facilities. So even if President Sanders abolished federal prisons altogether, the United States would still have more prisoners than any other country by a pretty large margin. China, which is number two in the world, has 1.7 million prisoners. To edge below China, Sanders would need to cut the national prison population by about 25 percent, with most of that coming from places that are outside federal jurisdiction.


http://m.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/01/bernie-sanders-plan-fight-mass-incarceration-doesnt-add-up



54 replies, 2318 views

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Arrow 54 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bernie Sanders' Plan to Fight Mass Incarceration Doesn't Add Up (Original post)
NCTraveler Jan 2016 OP
Warren Stupidity Jan 2016 #1
Freddie Stubbs Jan 2016 #2
Deny and Shred Jan 2016 #3
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #5
NCTraveler Jan 2016 #7
RobertEarl Jan 2016 #39
NCTraveler Jan 2016 #40
RobertEarl Jan 2016 #41
NCTraveler Jan 2016 #42
RobertEarl Jan 2016 #43
NCTraveler Jan 2016 #44
RobertEarl Jan 2016 #45
NCTraveler Jan 2016 #46
Blue_Adept Jan 2016 #8
notadmblnd Jan 2016 #11
Blue_Adept Jan 2016 #12
notadmblnd Jan 2016 #13
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #33
notadmblnd Jan 2016 #9
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #17
notadmblnd Jan 2016 #22
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #23
notadmblnd Jan 2016 #25
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #27
notadmblnd Jan 2016 #30
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #37
notadmblnd Jan 2016 #38
Deny and Shred Jan 2016 #16
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #18
Armstead Jan 2016 #32
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #34
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #4
Skwmom Jan 2016 #6
Blue_Adept Jan 2016 #10
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #19
Sunlei Jan 2016 #14
Ed Suspicious Jan 2016 #15
Eric J in MN Jan 2016 #31
libdem4life Jan 2016 #20
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #26
libdem4life Jan 2016 #28
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #29
libdem4life Jan 2016 #35
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #36
Warren DeMontague Jan 2016 #21
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #24
Warren DeMontague Jan 2016 #47
firebrand80 Jan 2016 #48
Warren DeMontague Jan 2016 #50
pugetres Jan 2016 #51
zappaman Jan 2016 #49
Warren DeMontague Jan 2016 #52
zappaman Jan 2016 #53
Warren DeMontague Jan 2016 #54

Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:02 AM

1. Well duh. Given our system the federal government

 

cannot dictate criminal justice policy to the states. It can reccomend, it can use financial incentives, but generally it is limited to leading by example. One obvious way would be federal drug policy.

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Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:02 AM

2. Mother Jones? Why should we believe anything from that corporatist centrist rag?

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Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:07 AM

3. Can't immediately overhaul state prisons - then what's the point of trying?

Better to swim downstream and take campaign donations from the for-profit-prison industry. THAT will fix everything.

Which of these is a bad idea?
From the article:

"We need to ban prisons for profit, which result in an over-incentive to arrest, jail and detain in order to keep prison beds full.

We need to turn back from the failed "War on Drugs" and eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between black and white people.

We need to take marijuana off the federal government's list of outlawed drugs.

We need to allow people in states which legalize marijuana to be able to fully participate in the banking system and not be subject to federal prosecution for using pot.

We need to invest in drug courts and medical and mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that they do not end up in prison, they end up in treatment.

We need to boost investments for programs that help people who have gone to jail rebuild their lives with education and job training.
We must investigate local governments that are using implicit or explicit quotas for arrests or stops.

We must stop local governments that are relying on fines, fees or asset forfeitures as a steady source of revenue.

Police departments must investigate all allegations of wrongdoing, especially those involving the use of force, and prosecute aggressively, if necessary. If departments are unwilling or unable to conduct such investigations, the Department of Justice must step in and handle it for them."

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Response to Deny and Shred (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:10 AM

5. No one is arguing that those are bad ideas

The argument is that Bernie is over-promising what can reasonably be accomplished

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:15 AM

7. You are spot on and I found the distinction to be obvious when reading.

 

Though I would say it's more the deception of Sanders plan being highlighted than over-promising.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 01:55 PM

39. People are complaining about less prison time?

 

What kind of person would complain about Bernie wanting fewer people put in prison? Good for Bernie. Damn good.

That's the kind of leadership our country has been lacking.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #39)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 02:05 PM

40. No clue what you are talking about. Have a nice day. nt.

 

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #40)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 02:15 PM

41. Sounds like you are complaining

 

Bernie wants less people put in prison. That seems like a worthy goal which no good people would ever complain about.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #41)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 02:17 PM

42. Whatever. Wow. nt.

 

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #42)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 02:24 PM

43. Wow is right

 

What kind of thinking is it that would lead one to post such complaints? A proper title for such a thread here on DU would be something like:

Bernie is fighting to stop the US from leading the world in mass incarcerations. Go Bernie!

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 02:29 PM

44. Might want to go lecture someone else with respect to posting on this board.

 

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #44)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 02:32 PM

45. Bill Clinton's Sexual Past is 'Totally Disgraceful'

 

Are you now saying you are proud of Bill and his sexual escapades in office? Meanwhile complaining the Bernie wants less people in prison?

WOW!!

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #45)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 02:34 PM

46. You are an amazingly special person.

 

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:16 AM

8. That makes him sound suspiciously like a politician

All I see around here is that he's going to fix every wrong in a flash. I don't know which to believe anymore.

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Response to Blue_Adept (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:20 AM

11. Then you're only seeing what you want to see.

Because no one has claimed he is the know all cure all. You need to listen to what Senator Sanders says. Because HRC supporters here are making crap up.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:23 AM

12. I should probably stop listening to Sanders supporters

Because they really do say what I said above while at the same time playing Hillary as the root of all evil.

But hey, I've been told I'm not a real liberal by those same supporters, so I don't really know anything anymore.

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Response to Blue_Adept (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:26 AM

13. As I said, you need to listen to what Sanders says

because he is not making the promises people are saying that he is making. Oh and I would include what HRC supporters are saying Sanders is saying too. It wasn't a Sander's supporter that started this thread, now was it?

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:17 PM

33. Bernie's words:


"I promise at the end of my first term we won't have more people in jail than in any other country."

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:18 AM

9. What he says is that he will work and fight towards resolving the issue.

He doesn't promise that it will be fixed overnight or even soon. So why you folks say he is making promises he can't keep stymies me. Do you really think HRC is gonna be able to keep her promises? I don't think she'll even try because what she is doing now is nothing more than paying lip service and telling you all what she thinks you want to hear.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 09:05 AM

17. The article links to a Sanders tweet which promises

That by the end of the first term, the US will no longer have the highest incarceration rate.

The article goes on to explain how that's damn near impossible and how Bernie's proposals won't even come close to accomplishing that.

As to whether Hillary is going to keep her promises, I don't think any politician in the History of our country has kept all of their campaign promises, but Hillary isn't the issue here.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 11:48 AM

22. But you have a different set of standards for Senator Sanders?

It's not important if HRC keeps her promises but it's a big deal if Sanders is unable to?

The article asks the question and I suspect the author is just as you and I, not an expert and does not in fact know whether any promises made- can be kept or not. IOWs, it's opinion, not fact.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #22)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 11:56 AM

23. I didn't say it was a "big deal"

Politicians do it all the time. I do think that folks that believe that Bernie walks on water should acknowledge that this particular campaign promise is nonsense.

I think the issue as to whether this particular promise can be kept is a matter of common sense. It's clear that it cannot, I don't even see anyone in this thread arguing hat point.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 11:59 AM

25. No, I don't think it is nonsense, nor do I think Senator Sanders walks on water as you suggested

Everyone is entitled to their opinion which is what the article the OP posted is.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:03 PM

27. If you don't think it's nonsense, then

explain to me how making the United States no longer number one in incaceration is something the President can accomplish in 4 years.

Or, just admit he exaggerated and move on.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #27)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:15 PM

30. As I said in a previous post, I am not an expert.

Withholding federal funds from the states who refuse to get with the program is one huge way to accomplish lowering incarceration rates.

For example, currently if states want federal money for roads the government requires them to have strict drunk driving laws. How many states are you aware of that have lax drunk driving laws?


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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #30)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:53 PM

37. It doesn't take an expert

to figure out why Bernie's promise is nonsense. Read the article.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #37)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 01:44 PM

38. now you just want to be rude and nasty

see ya.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:43 AM

16. "We need to" isn't promising anything

It's defining what he will works towards as President.

"Over-promising what can reasonably be accomplished."

The cynic in me thinks that could have been Obama's campaign slogan. His time in office shows how a Republican controlled Congress prevents anything from reasonably being accomplished - whether your name is Obama, Sanders on Clinton.

The argument is what will you fight for - what does accomplishment look like for each candidate ?

You're right, those aren't bad ideas. Striving for less, i.e., expanding for-profit prisons, IS a bad idea.

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Response to Deny and Shred (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 09:14 AM

18. Quoting Bernie:

"I promise at the end of my first term we won't have more people in jail than in any other country."

He's saying, quite unequivocally, that he can do this in 4 years. This is damn near impossible, even if you filled Congress with DUers.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:16 PM

32. I'm shocked, shocked that a candidate would overrpromiose in a campaign.

 

"Here's your winnings sir, a 4 percent wealth surcharge tax on the extremely rich."

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Response to Armstead (Reply #32)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:17 PM

34. All politicians do it

Bernie included

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Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:09 AM

4. I swear I remember

making almost those exact same arguments on DU.

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Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:12 AM

6. An initial plan is not set in stone. Bernie will work hard to fight mass incarceration.


He won't support the corporate prisons or the incarceration of individuals for slave labor.

Unlike Clinton, he doesn't have tons of corporate hacks writing plans.

Most Americans are unaware of the prison industrial complex. Once they become aware of it there will be changes. Bernie will expose the truth unlike the Corporate Owned Politicians.



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Response to Skwmom (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:19 AM

10. So you're saying his plan might evolve?

The end product won't be what he's currently selling?

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Response to Skwmom (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 09:16 AM

19. Read the article, he promised specifics

Which are impossible by any reasonable measure

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Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:31 AM

14. at the federal level, remove MJ from the drug list & thousands would be free. also At the federal le

at the Federal level abolish the 13th that allows prison slavery. Corps love those 20 cents an hour workers.

Make Corps pay prison workers the federal minimum and there will be less incentive for some states to jail people for decades. Plus prison workers will be able to send money to their families and help support them, support helps 'raise-up' local communities.

I believe all our candidates and President Obama try to do this type of 'prison reform', the chains are thick and have so many 'legal' roots.

America is in a quagmire caused by the 'for profit' Prison Industry, this has gone on for 100 years, we never freed all the slaves.

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Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:32 AM

15. These ideas reach beyond the Federal Prison System. They address overall incarceration rates as

well as recidivism. Does it add up? I don't know. Based on my quick search for simple numbers, it looks tough to get a handle on what effects these ideas might have precisely, but I don't really care. I just want us making a drastic shift toward a more free, less punitive society. Bernie gets us there. Nobody else is going to do better. Period.

We need to ban prisons for profit, which result in an over-incentive to arrest, jail and detain in order to keep prison beds full.
We need to turn back from the failed "War on Drugs" and eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between black and white people.
We need to take marijuana off the federal government's list of outlawed drugs.
We need to allow people in states which legalize marijuana to be able to fully participate in the banking system and not be subject to federal prosecution for using pot.
We need to invest in drug courts and medical and mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that they do not end up in prison, they end up in treatment.
We need to boost investments for programs that help people who have gone to jail rebuild their lives with education and job training.
We must investigate local governments that are using implicit or explicit quotas for arrests or stops.
We must stop local governments that are relying on fines, fees or asset forfeitures as a steady source of revenue.
Police departments must investigate all allegations of wrongdoing, especially those involving the use of force, and prosecute aggressively, if necessary. If departments are unwilling or unable to conduct such investigations, the Department of Justice must step in and handle it for them.

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:16 PM

31. +1 (NT)

NT

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Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 10:48 AM

20. Perhaps the candidate for the Prison Guard Union could shed some light on this.

 

Seems they don't care to reduce their population...it's job security.

That being said, Obama didn't end LGBT discrimination either. But he used the Bully Pulpit in doing what he can. Like saying he could erase racism being a Black President, but he was and is an effective message.

This all or nothing dyad is tiresome. Kind of like riding a bicycle...it takes a few tries plus the COMMITMENT to keep working on it.

And yes, kids in the ghetto are getting busted, ostensibly, for drugs. But it's also well known, that if a cop needs a collar...well, the closest black kid comes in handy.

So, we continue to pretend like its not happening and just go our merry way...those of us not in prison, that is.

Just another anti-Bernie meme, now that he really is electable. Better jump on something...that being racial parity in the court system...State or Federal. Silly guy...thinks he can do something once he's President.

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:00 PM

26. Again, making some progress toward the goal

of reducing the prison population is not what Bernie said he would do, he set a very specific goal. The goal he set is not attainable by any reasonable measure.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:11 PM

28. AKA, sucks to be a poor person. Your experience in this would be exactly what?

 

And have you ever heard anyone else address the issue lately? And take all the pot users out of prison, lay off some guards and police, arrest real criminals and there is plenty of room, the country is safer and more mellos...and it's easy and politically proper.

Goals. No one seems to know what those are. Intent. Commitment. A bit higher than possible, but not so low as to curl up in a ball...which seems to be the default.

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:15 PM

29. You're still missing the point

Creative ways of making progress toward the goal of reducing the prison population of course is a good thing, and an area for healthy debate. No one here is arguing about whether we should be doing that.

The point here is that Bernie stated that a very specific goal is possible. A cursory glance at the facts reveals that his stated goal is not possible.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #29)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:21 PM

35. No, unfortunately I'm not. A cursory glance does not qualify. I'm talking about...

 

read it again.

I say I want to buy a house. I don't have a lot of money. The bank tells me, with a cursory glance, that I can't. So do I live in my tent, or begin to set goals. Goals. That's not soccer...it Life. No one ever achieved ANYTHNG without first seeing it in the mind's eye...which is before it is in concrete form. It's a law of the Universe...argue with him/her.

I don't know which statement you are talking about, but yes, we can easily reduce the prison population with two words...legalize pot and shop arresting users, especially in the ghetto. What problem, other than perhaps some semantical disagreement, do you have about that.

Or is it just...since he is now electable...that he is incapable.

Naysayers and critics are a dime a thousand...we learn that in motivational seminars. Visionaries make the world go round.

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 12:52 PM

36. Here's what Bernie said:

"I promise at the end of my first term we won't have more people in jail than in any other country."

It's from a tweet that linked in the article. The article goes on the describe why it would be impossible to accomplish that.

Again this is not about taking steps toward reducing the prison population. This is about a specific goal that Bernie said he would accomplish in 4 years. His stated goal is not possible, it's a clear exaggeration.

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Response to NCTraveler (Original post)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 11:36 AM

21. How many Federal Prisoners are in there for, say, growing medical marijuana?

Seems to me if we listened to Bernie Sanders- instead of people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz who have no problem sticking cancer patients in prison cells for marijuana use- we would at least reduce those numbers a bit.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 11:58 AM

24. "Reducing those numbers a bit" is not

what Bernie said he would do.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #24)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 04:36 PM

47. Yeah, well, better to do nothing then, huh?

This is a pretty silly line of argument you guys are trying to follow, here.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #47)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 04:44 PM

48. No, it's not better to do nothing

My argument is that what Bernie has explicitly promised is impossible. I have yet to see anyone in this thread argue that it is, in fact, possible.

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #48)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 05:16 PM

50. How possible is Hillary Clinton's magical encryption backdoor that only "good guys" can open?

Not very, say pretty much everyone who actually understands math.

Doesn't stop her from demanding a "Manhattan Project" to make sure no one can encrypt their snapchats.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20151220/08101633141/hillary-clinton-wants-manhattan-project-encryption-not-back-door-that-makes-no-sense.shtml

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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #48)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 05:54 PM

51. It is possible.

 

But, it would take the assistance of Congress.

The federal govt can levy taxes against/withhold funds to states who do not meet certain criteria.

There is No federal law that mandates a minimum drinking age of 21. That is left to each State. But, the States were incentivized to raise their minimum drinking ages to 21 when the feds withheld portions of federal highway funds from states that didn't raise their drinking ages to 21.

Most states pay for all their corrections costs out of their general funds but there is some federal funding in play. Not sure what other tack the federal govt could use beyond Corrections funding but I'm sure there are other ways to create an incentive.



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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 04:44 PM

49. And not just "medical marijuana" either

Also "let's just smoke, listen to music and laugh a lot" marijuana!

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Response to zappaman (Reply #49)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 06:29 PM

52. It's ridiculous.

Hopefully no matter who we send up as the nominee, we'll have saner heads prevail on mj policy, and not recalcitrant drug war apologists like DWS.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #52)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 08:01 PM

53. Well, legalization will finally be on the ballot in CA

Hard to believe we weren't the first state...

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Response to zappaman (Reply #53)

Tue Jan 12, 2016, 09:18 PM

54. Knowing how CA hates not being first, I agree.

Still, I remember prop 215 (and Dan Lundgren, that crusty uptight turd) and was living down there at the time.

It's arguable that that was the first real crack in the prohibtion dam.

oregon, of course, was the first state to deciminalize, back in 1973.

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