satterberg marijuana victimless prison

From the Pages of the Business Press ... of all places
banks white collar elite

Why are No Wall St Elites In Jail?

After real social progress regarding "pot", now let society turn to economic injustice. We trim, blend, and append three 2012 articles from: (1) the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov 9, on marijuana by L. Pulkkinen; (2) Libertarian News, May 18, on victimlessness by M. Suede; and (3) Wall St Jrnl, Nov 11, on white-collar crime by R. Sidel.

by Levi Pulkkinen, by Michael Suede, and by Robin Sidel

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg has dismissed all misdemeanor marijuana possession cases currently pending in the state of Washington’s largest county.

Taking action following Tuesday’s landmark vote on marijuana legalization, Satterberg said there would be “no point” in continuing to prosecute the 175 people currently facing misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession.

Friday’s announcement followed the passage of Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana possession of one ounce or less in Washington State. The law also called for a legal framework under which marijuana could be grown and sold; both those activities remain illegal outside the medical marijuana industry.

The initiative goes into effect Dec. 6, but Satterberg said he saw no reason to wait to drop the charges.

Following the prosecutor's decision, King County Sheriff Steve Strachan directed deputies not to arrest or request charges against individuals caught with one ounce or less of marijuana.

Officials in the 12 municipalities that contract with the Sheriff’s Office for police services will have to decide whether to continue enforcing the doomed marijuana law. Friday's decision only affects the deputies working in unincorporated King County.

The US Department of Justice has yet to weigh in on the initiative. Some are concerned the federal government may sue the state over legalization, though most agree the Department of Justice won’t be able to force the state to criminalize marijuana possession.

To read more

JJS: The Feds dedicate themselves to criminalizing people who don’t hurt others.

When we talk about the war on drugs, which is increasingly turning into a real war, we often overlook the fact that everyone participating in the drug trade does so voluntarily. However, there are a lot more crimes for which this is also true.

The 2009 federal prison population consisted of:
Drugs 50.7%
Public-order 35.0%,
Violent 7.9%
Property 5.8%
Other .7%

Drug offenses are self-explanatory as being victimless, but often public-order offenses are, too. Public order offenses include such things as immigration, weapons charges, public drunkenness, selling lemonade without a license, dancing in public, feeding the homeless without a permit etc..

The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world. Presently 756 per 100,000 of the national population is behind bars. This is in contrast to an average world per-capita prison population rate of 145 per 100,000 (158 per 100,000 if set against a world prison population of 10.65 million), based on 2008 U.N. population data. In other words, the U.S. incarcerates its citizens at a rate that is 5 times the world average.

In 2008, according to the Department of Justice, there were 7,308,200 persons in the US corrections system, of whom 4,270,917 were on probation, 828,169 were on parole, 785,556 were in jails, and 1,518,559 were in state and federal prisons. This means that the U.S. alone is responsible for holding roughly 15% of all the prisoners in the world.

In other words, 1 in 42 Americans is under correctional supervision. This constitutes over 2% of the entire U.S. population. That percentage jumps up drastically if we limit the comparison to working aged adult males, of which there are around 100 million. Over 5% of the adult male population is under some form of correctional supervision, alternatively stated, 1 in 20 adult males are under correctional supervision in the U.S.

According to 2006 statistics, 1 in 36 adult Hispanic men are behind bars, as are 1 in 15 adult black men. Roughly 34% of all prisoners in the U.S. are incarcerated for victimless crimes.

If you live in the US, you are paying for all those people to subsist on a daily basis. In 2005 it cost an average of $23,876 per state prisoner nationally. In 2007, $228 billion was spent on police, corrections and the judiciary. That constitutes around 1.6% of total U.S. GDP.

To read more

JJS: The Feds criminalize people who don’t hurt others and look the other way when the rich rob the public.

The banks run by executives now in prison for crimes related to the financial crisis had a combined $30 billion in assets. That is one-tenth the size of the largest bank failure in U.S. history, the 2008 seizure of Washington Mutual.

The gap is a sign of prosecutorial ineffectiveness to critics such as William Black, a regulator during the savings-and-loan crisis who now teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

"We have now the greatest epidemic of elite white-collar crime in the history of the world, and we have absolutely not a single individual who was actually elite and large in causing this crisis in prison or even credibly threatened with imprisonment," said Mr. Black.

To read more

JJS: While the Feds and Wall Street commit crimes, guilt can be applied to almost everyone, since most people scramble to corral some of the publicly generated value of land for themselves. The best way to fix that is to have society’s agent -- government -- recover the worth of Earth and then share it among everyone. Any place that has tried it has benefited.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

Is it inevitable?

Why do we lock up so many people?

Big Bankers, Mighty Tricksters

Email this articleSign up for free Progress Report updates via email

What are your views? Share your opinions with The Progress Report:

Your name

Your email address

Your nation (or your state, if you're in the USA)

Check this box if you'd like to receive occasional Economic Justice announcements via email. No more than one every three weeks on average.

Page One Page Two Archive
Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?

Henry Search Engine