Andy Staples on Georgia’s drug policy

If you haven’t taken the time to read Andy Staples’ sympathetic take on how Georgia’s athletics department copes with the school’s current drug policy, by all means do so.  The article’s strong suits are two-fold.  First, Staples aptly summarizes how the policy adversely affects the athletics department:

By dinging players for one game on the first positive and four on the second, Georgia’s substance-abuse policy hurts the program in two ways:

1. It puts the program at a competitive disadvantage by forcing suspensions when rival programs offer mulligans.

2. It harms the reputation of the program by allowing media and fans to easily identify first-time offenders who would have remained anonymous at most schools.

Second, Staples does a very good job illustrating the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” box McGarity and Richt find themselves in.

McGarity’s is a noble stance, but it’s also a stance that seems at odds with the current culture in college sports. Coaches who don’t win get fired. Athletic directors whose football and men’s basketball coaches don’t win get fired. At some point, this policy could cost Richt and/or McGarity their jobs. Of course, if McGarity softened the policy, he would get ripped for compromising Georgia’s morals for victories. He truly cannot win in this case. Also, it’s highly unlikely the NCAA or any conference would issue a uniform drug policy because testing laws vary from state to state.

There are a few points I’d like to elaborate on in response.

  • If that last sentence in the above quote doesn’t disabuse you from the hope that the SEC will come to Butts-Mehre’s aid by adopting a uniform conference drug policy less rigid than Georgia’s, going back to read Groo’s post on the subject should.  Georgia’s current substance-abuse policy isn’t something the athletic department came up with; it’s the child of Michael Adams.  If there ever were a serious conference debate on the subject, I have no doubt that Adams would be in there lobbying his fellow presidents to follow Georgia’s lead.  I have equally no doubt that his sales pitch would be disregarded by his peers.  And in the end, if the SEC did in fact adopt a standard weaker than Georgia’s, I also have no doubt that Adams would see fit to maintain the standards he put in place at his school, because that’s how Michael Adams rolls.  In other words, if you’re McGarity and Richt, you might as well put on a brave face about your school’s policy, because you’re going to have to live with it for a long time.
  • Andy understandably has to pull his punches on one thing – “I realize there are quite a few of you reading this who feel recreational marijuana use should not be lumped in with the use of more hardcore drugs. That is a worthy debate for another day. At the moment, pot remains illegal, and almost every athletic department in the nation tests for it.” – but I don’t.  Even if you don’t share my attitude about how pointless and wasteful this country’s four decades long War on Drugs has been, you can’t help but note how much public opinion has shifted on marijuana usage in the last five to ten years.  The kids Georgia recruits certainly don’t share Michael Adams’ conviction about weed – and let’s face it, the majority of violations of Georgia’s drug policy involve marijuana – but it’s also likely that recruits’ parents don’t share his fervor either, at least to the extent that it results in more negative publicity and more down time than at other schools.  And if that’s not affecting Mark Richt on the recruiting trail, I’d be surprised.
  • If I can get on my soapbox for a second, this whole thing reminds me of what’s so stupid about “three strikes and you’re out” laws and mandatory sentencing laws:  the false wisdom of people further removed from the situation who decide that what’s best is to limit the discretion of those who are in direct contact with those who are affected.  There’s a big difference between what we learned happened at TCU and at Oregon this offseason.  I’d like a substance abuse policy that’s designed to prevent the former from happening while giving the coach and athletic director enough flexibility to handle situations like the latter humanely and intelligently.  Alas, nuance is something I’ll never associate with Georgia’s president.
  • That all being said, it wasn’t Michael Adams who decided it was a good idea to drug test football players coming back from spring break.  So my sympathy for McGarity’s and Richt’s dilemma only goes so far.


Filed under Georgia Football

169 responses to “Andy Staples on Georgia’s drug policy

  1. Bubs

    I just can’t get behind you on that third bullet point. If you’re stupid enough to do something you know is illegal, you should be punished regardless of whether or not you believe it should be legal or what mom/dad say. And if you do it multiple times, you should be “out”. It is that simple.

    By the time these guys get to college, they are pretty set in their ways. College is not where they’ve heard for the first time the “drugs are bad” speeches nor is it where they are going to have a high success rate changing their habits, especially if treated like rock stars in Athens, Austin, Gainesville, etc. They’ve heard all of their lives through DARE and other such programs what to avoid and how to avoid it, it’s up to them and their own character to resist or give in.

    • Boz

      Good thing no one ever speeds, and I’m positive that everyone would love to sit in an IRS court room following a thorough 5 year audit on income and expenses.

      • Joe Shmoe

        By citing DARE, you completely lose all credibility. Studies have shown that DARE has had ZERO affect on drug usage despite costing millions of dollars.

        I think the point is not really about whether these guys should be disciplined for failing a drug test, but about whether suspensions should be mandatory. All offenses are not equal, and therefore the punishments should not be the same. Your point basically means that speeding should be treated the same as murder.

    • Raleigh St. Clair

      It’s only “that simple” for simple-minded people.

  2. Boz

    Staples is spot on about the catch 22 McGarity finds himself in when deciding whether or not to change the policy. However, the Athletic Dept. controls the ferver at which testing is administered. Is there a rule stating the frequency at which the tests are applied or is it for probable cause only?

  3. Spike

    I’m with Bubs. Plus, the mandatory minimum, three strikes your out laws, at least on the state level, were reactions by the people of the various states through their legislatures to weak and ineffective sentencings on both habitual felony offenders, drug trafficking, and certain firearms related offenses. Nothing wrong with that where I sit.

    • Bullshit. They were the result of legislative posturing to show who could be the toughest on crime. And we’re paying a helluva price for that now.

      • adam

        American drug laws would look very different if they disproportionately affected the wealthiest people. Or if marijuana had corporate backing.

        Instead people thing that marijuana is something that only “stupid” people use and that it’s a horrible, evil thing. The people who hold that opinion would likely be surprised if they knew how many of their friends/acquaintances smoke it. Musicians, teachers, doctors, lawyers, really just about anyone. It’s reallllllly common. In fact, more than 40% of the country has at some point in their life. Among developed nations that’s in 2nd place (and literally only a couple percentage points behind #1 Canada).

        • The Lone Stranger

          Well, absinthe eventually realized its long-awaited rebirth, and I surmise the Schwagg won’t be far behind — give this staggering economy a decade to percolate and states will be falling over themselves to rake in anything that can be additionally taxed.

      • hikerdawg

        From someone who’s never used drugs, I have no problem with legalizing marijuana……..however, until it’s legal, you should get punished for it. I speed or probably drive when I’ve had too many drinks but I also accept the punishment behind that. Why are we trying to push the blame somewhere else, let’s take a little personal responsibility. It’s amazing me and most of the people I know have been able to live well over 20 adult years without getting into serious trouble, it’s really not that hard.

        • Z-Dawg

          Ever tried staying out of trouble growing up as an impoverished minority without a positive parental influence? I haven’t but it seems like a steep mountain to climb in the deep south.

        • Hackerdog

          You are correct. It’s not that hard to keep out of serious trouble. But I am troubled by the suggestion that we should agree to have our morality dictated to us by our overlords.

          And it’s also not that hard to get into serious trouble. There are hundreds of thousands of pages of local, state, and federal laws. I will bet you $100 that you’ve broken at least a few of them this week. You may not even be aware of it.

  4. RandallPinkFloyd

    I agree with your points, but I’ve heard quite the contrary about who ‘ordered’ the drug tests after spring break. I’ve heard McGarity practically told the players that something was waiting on them when they got back from spring break because he knew Adams was ordering drug tests. If that’s true, then the players are at fault for not taking the hint.

    • Adams has publicly denied any involvement in ordering the testing. And FWIW, I’ve heard the tests were ordered after Smith’s arrest, so who knows what the real story is?

  5. Spike

    What is the “helluva price” we are paying? And does it occur to you that the people in these states wanted tougher penalties from their legislature, otherwise how would these people keep getting elected if this is not what the people wanted? Why is being tough on crime such a sin?

    • Jrod1229

      War on drugs costs the gov’t roughly $500/second.. thats money well spent my ass.

    • Because justice isn’t a one size fits all concept. Because as a result we have an outsized prison population that exacts terrible economic and social costs on us.

      As for voters, just like yourself, who’s against being tough on crime as an abstract notion? It’s the details that nobody wants to pay attention to.

    • adam

      “Being tough on crime” is a talking point and little more. Drug laws turn drug users into hardened criminals (17 year old pot smokers with long jail terms are much more dangerous people after they’ve served that time). Incarcerating people is also pretty damn expensive. That’s not the biggest problem that marijuana prohibition creates, though. Ever read about alcohol prohibition? Al Capone and his colleagues became incredibly wealthy because of a stupid, ineffective, unenforcable law. People were killed and criminals became millionaires.

      So here’s what we get out of marijuana prohibition:
      1) Making billionaires out of drug lords and empowering them in the US and Mexico.
      2) More drug-related violence.
      3) Wasting money on drug raids and seizures that literally have no impact on the % of people using in the US. None.
      4) Turning recreational pot smokers into hardened criminals.
      5) Wasting money on incarcerating these “criminals” in the process of making them real criminals.
      6) Wasting money on large anti-marijuana campaigns that don’t work at all.

      There’s literally no logical support for the law beyond a desire to impose someone’s version of morality on someone else.

      And why do we have to drug test college athletes when we don’t drug test congress? Why are football players held to a higher standard?

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        We don’t drug test Congress because we already know they’re a bunch of addled idiots. Oh, and they exempt themselves from the rules we live by. Rules are for the little people, dontcha know.

        • adam

          Valid point. This is a group where insider trading was permitted (and likely common) for decades upon decades. In fact, it was just recently banned (how enforceable that is is an entirely different argument for a different day).

      • Minnesota Dawg

        Nice comment, adam.

    • JudgeDawg

      I am sure you wrote Gov. Deal and your legislative delegation letting them know you are fine raising your taxes to fund the prisons necessary toaccomdate the War On Drugs.

  6. Jrod1229

    Not gonna weigh in on the apparently touchy subject of whether weed should be legal or not (it shouldn’t, I lied).. but I don’t see how this particular thing can be used against us on the recruiting trail..

    It’d be a damn slippery slope to walk into any parents living room and say “if you slipped up, at least you wouldn’t miss a game”. Maybe I’m looking at it wrong?

    • You underestimate the impact of a sincere-looking Nick Saban telling parents something along the lines of “if one of our players slips once, he’ll be disciplined, but without resorting to public embarrassment. We feel that’s the best way to help our young men grow up by learning from the experience.”

      Youth is about screwing up and learning from the consequences, but there’s a big difference between what happens the first time and what happens on a repeated basis. As a parent, I’d appreciate some discretion in the case of the former.

      • TomReagan

        I came on here to make just this point, Senator. These incidents make it onto the bottom ticker on ESPN for goodness sake. Who wants to have their son’s, and their family’s, name dragged through the mud like that?

        And keep in mind that the arrest is what will make the news. Where I’m from, folks are routinely charged with possession even if they are just in a car with someone who stuck some weed between the carseat when the cops pulled them over. That may not get a conviction in court, but it’s enough for many judges to sign an arrest warrant. Would you want your kid in that situation to be called out as a ‘thug’, and much worse, all over the comment sections of sites like this?

  7. TennesseeDawg

    Banning vice has never worked at any time in history. Alcohol consumption is far more dangerous than weed ever was. There is not one place in America that you can’t find and buy weed anytime you want. It is a failed effort that should have never been undertaken in the beginning.

  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    The pot thing has me totally befuddled. I know a huge portion of kids have tried it and recreationally use it by high school graduation. I don’t know the truth about long term effects because nobody will publish objective data; they’re always advocating one side or the other. The Mrs. cannot abide it. Period.

    I have to think that the first offense mulligans and concealment given at our competitors might be a better choice. One free bite is a well honored legal maxim. Naturally I suspect that some competitors give more than one mulligan depending on a player’s value, but in the abstract I think these teenagers deserve one second chance.

  9. Dog in Fla

    “If I can get on my soapbox for a second, this whole thing reminds me of what’s so stupid about “three strikes and you’re out” laws and mandatory sentencing laws”

    Amen. Preach it, brother!

    On the other hand, somebody’s got to be the inventory for the prison-industrial complex and that inventory is not going to be

    • Cojones

      Hasn’t your Gov. been responsible (along with his predecessor, Jeb) for purging voter lists in your state using the arrests and sometimes convictions of people to disenfranchise black voters? This is no different than segregation laws were in my younger days. It was done extensively in 2008 with people in FL going to the poles and finding they were no longer registered thru a “mistake” made by these purgers who weren’t satisfied with just passing a biased law that flies into the face of returning people to society as good citizens, but included innocents as well. Too late to correct the mistake? Didn’t your Gov recently get called on that in public before he stopped? And weren’t State Troopers posted in front of the homes of people who were registering voters?

      Such incidences as above have been used in concert with marijuana laws to rig elections and it continues to now. That’s why I have volunteered to help put these aholes in their place by going to Fl and manning phones for the coming election.

      Some people here would probably think that blacks were wrong for defying segregation disenfranchisement laws simply because Ga and other states made them law to our everlasting shame.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Goodness. Pot/Kettle?

      • Slaw Dawg

        Manning the phones in FL is a damn good idea, Cojones. Do you actually have to be there to do it or can one do so from his/her own phone out of state?

        • Cojones

          Manning the phones is done using a list of voters who voted in the last Presidential election. You clarify that people have moved or changed phone numbers and verify that contacts are like-minded about the upcoming election. Rarely, when a young voter(20-23) is called, an older person may pick up the phone and say they no longer live at home or slam the phone down. Much to my delight, many of the voters are/were Medicare aged or older, including a91 yr old who replied, “Hell Yes!” to the question of whether they are voting for Obama.

          It fuels your system when several oldsters are white and have lived locally among conservatives for their entire lives. They go on sometimes to tell you that they are trying to help garner votes as individuals. One lady was a volunteer at the local library and said they discussed the election summarily at Bridge Club. She noted that the silent players’s husbands were part of the local conservative govt, but that some were elected as Dems.. This is the same area of Fl that voted their 20 yr veteran in Congress out of office because he changed his mind and supported the Obama Healthcare Bill on the last vote.

          All in all, it’s a hoot. We have people from Ark, Ca and Tallahassee who keep it organised where I work. Just call the Dem Party Hq in Tallahassee and they can give you the info you need. Get down there and get to work.

          My son, grandchildren and future Daughter in Law (she deserves the caps) just left after visiting and attending Disney World. They drove up and stayed several day before heading back to Texas, but her comments of political billboards she read on the way down were unbelievable. She said that Gov Scott’s name was on most and were religious in nature or of subjects that are volatile with religious followers (i.e., abortion, “freedom losses”, other Tea Party slogans). Now, they just came from Texas and those billboards not masking state sponsorship were offensive to her. DIF would probably be able to give better info, but if any one state can do that with a Gov who barely has over a 20% pos rating, we have gotten to the bottom of the barrel.

          Wear your Dawg stuff. Dems love us.

  10. Irishdawg

    “Drug laws turn drug users into hardened criminals (17 year old pot smokers with long jail terms are much more dangerous people after they’ve served that time). ”

    This is an argument I continually hear for legalizing drugs and it won’t wash. In all but the sleepiest towns, people arrested for possession of personal use marijuana rarely go to county jail, and almost never go to prison. Most are given probation. There are no pot smokers in federal prison, only pot dealers. Prisons are overcrowded, yes, but that’s because we have more than enough shitheads to fill them; they’re not teeming with nonviolent drug users.

    • adam

      Lucky for me, it wasn’t my only argument.

      In some states, felony possession can land you a 10 year sentence. And it doesn’t take *that* much to jump from misdemeanor possession to felony possession. It may uncommon, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that people who are arrested for recreational use often face a rocky road afterwards. That can mean no college, no job, etc. depending on the person and situation. It just seems like a bit much, in my opinion. Your mileage may vary, of course.

      Of course… Pot dealers exist because of the law as well. They’d be put out of business if people could purchase marijuana as easily as they can purchase alcohol (and even quicker if people were allowed to grow their own as well).

      • hodgie

        Here’s a novel concept. Obey the law.

        • adam

          I personally would have no problem passing a drug test. Doesn’t change my perspective.

          I think marijuana should be legalized. The main reasons are: to cripple drug cartels and sharply decrease the amount of drug-related violence in the US and in Central and South America, to save the country money, to bring in billions in tax revenue, and to respect the rights of individuals and stop trying to legislate morality on the masses.

          • Junkyard Dawg '00

            +1 adam
            Ever wonder why the poppy fields haven’t been destroyed in Afghanistan? There are some good theories- none of them are for the good of the people.

            • Dog in Fla

              I could be wrong but I think the flowing poppy fields provide protective-coloration cover for covert mining ops. The poppy keeps the lithium mines from being picked up by al-Queda #2 satellite recon. The last thing our freedom needs now is to have an i-Phone 4 price increase.

        • Cojones

          You weren’t around during segregation laws, were you, hodgie? If so, you obviously were the color that the law didn’t touch.

        • Raleigh St. Clair

          Here’s an even more novel idea: don’t pass stupid, ineffectual laws that cost more money than they’re worth.

        • Z-Dawg

          Here’s a novel concept. Radical Muslims are obeying their laws.

        • No Government Too Big

          Our great and wise masters only have our best interests at heart.

  11. Hogbody Spradlin

    Hey Blutarsky: It’s apparent you support some sort of legalization. And I imagine pure Libertarian theory opposes regulation. Let’s just take marijuana. If legalized, should it be taxed and controlled like booze or pharmaceuticals? Or What?

  12. Uglydawg

    As much as I believe that the world would be better off if weed…..and alcohol and tobbacco…dissappeared, I know it’s never going to happen. The war on drugs has cost more than the prohibition of alcohol ever did…in lives and treasure. Prohibiting something that is in demand will only drive a black market. Drugs are is death and destruction. I would like to see mj leagalized and controlled in the fashion that cigarettes have been. Education and social pressure are making a huge dent in the population of smokers…This “war” is really lost.
    Staples nailed the situation that UGA finds itself in.

  13. Spike

    Oh, I certainly pay attention to the details. I, for one, am willing to bear the “terrible economic and social costs” on us if it keeps me and my family safe from those who would prey on me. I suspect the direct costs on me, both phsyical and financial, from a habitual felon, drug trafficker or armed criminal are a lot more than the “social costs”, whatever that abstraction means. I am willing to venture that we have an outsized prisom population because we have an outsized number of criminals commiting an outsized number of crimes over and over and over. I have been paying attention to the details for the almost the last thirty years in my profession. To me, this no abstraction.

    • Well then I expect that you’re feverishly writing the governor and your state legislators about their plans to reform the criminal justice system, because a lot of the people incarcerated as a result of “tough on crime” are about to be returned to the general population.

      • hodgie

        So, who’s side are you on? What the well? Just looking at your comments makes it seem like you don’t want ANY laws or consequences for criminals because of crowded jails. If anything, we need a tougher stance on crime and prison life needs to be tougher too.

        • hodgie

          And yes I will pay for it! I will even write all of my reps!

        • Just looking at your comments makes it seem like you don’t want ANY laws or consequences for criminals because of crowded jails.

          Hardly. I think we’ve gone overboard with regard to victimless crime and I think judges should have more discretion depending upon the particular facts of the case in front of them to determine sentencing.

          And it scares the hell out of me what the courts and politicians have done to our constitutional rights in the name of the War on Drugs. (And the War on Terror, too, for that matter.)

        • By the way, read this eloquent rebuttal to the idea that our politicians are our best and brightest.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          “…….and prison life needs to be tougher too.” Don’t you think that prisons are adequately cruel and inhumane?

        • Cojones

          If you have been keeping up through the years, you will find that many judges (on their own ) have softened the application of such inane laws and some have publically stated that they would treat pot smoking as a misdemeanor from that point onward.

          If you have fear of pot-crazed individuals storming your abode then I would guess that you also spend some time in the woods with a few paramilitary groups (some of who use pot with live ammo) who use that outlandish boogerbear stance to get their recruits and to take up arms against their government. So which laws have they finally decided to resist? All the laws of the U.S.. The logic of imbeciles. Throw in a black skinned President as another fear factor and you get the rise of The Party Stupid.

    • Raleigh St. Clair

      To that end, I assume you’re ardently working towards the re-prohibition of alcohol and the repeal of the 2nd Amendment, right?

  14. Irishdawg

    OK Adam, what percentage of those found guilty of felony possession of marijuana are doing 10 years? And by “possession”, I assume you don’t mean “possession with intent to distribute”, which is a felony everywhere. Just because a state has a statute, it doesn’t mean it’s strictly enforced all the time.

    Personally, I don’t give a shit if weed is decriminalized are not. I have a low opinion of pot heads, but that’s because they’re generally annoying and lazy, not because they’re violent. But let’s have an honest assessment of the facts, and the facts are that recreational smokers are not herded into Pelican Bay to be targets for the Aryan Brotherhood, and breathless hyperbole about the tolls of the Drug War isn’t going to sway anyone’s opinion.

    • adam

      I would gladly provide that stat if I could find it. I looked. I don’t care if that’s the weakest point I presented. It’s not the only one. Dismiss it completely – I don’t care. I was specifically talking about felony possession (whatever that is depending on the state), and I appreciate that “can carry a sentence of” and “often carries a sentence of” are different. I’m not arguing that. It doesn’t have to be common (people becoming more serious criminals after an arrest for recreational marijuana use, that is) for it to be a negative side effect of prohibition.

      I’m probably coming off as more aggressive in this than I’m intending to. My apologies if so. Though, I think that generalizing marijuana users as “annoying and lazy” says a lot about your perspective on the subject.

      What would say to someone who wanted beer to be illegal because they think the people who drink beer are stupid and/or “annoying and lazy”?

      Do you just find that particular point annoying/offensive or what? I’ll gladly concede that one if you feel so strongly about it. There are plenty of others.

      • 1honose

        Hey, I think people who drink beer are stupid, lazy, and most certainly annoying but I don’t want it made illegal because of the huge social cost that would result. We already saw that movie and we know how it ends…not well, remember. Why we continue to watch the same movie play out in regards to MJ is beyond me.

        Had MJ been used by a greater percentage of the population prior to it’s prohibition, it would have been overturned by now as well.

        For the record – I think pot smokers are just stupid and lazy…not generally annoying.

    • Uglydawg

      There is a point being missed or ignored here.
      The “war on drugs” is a failure. We have whole nations whose economies and governments have been hijacked by the “war”. It’s only made things worse. An overused but true witticism says the definition of “stupid” is “doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result”. Drug use is horrible. But the truth is, and I don’t think it’s debatable, that the war is a failure. You can buy drugs in any town in America. The more we prosecute this war, the more expensive the drugs become and that costs will lead to an increase in crimes.
      Take away the lucrative black market and you will take away the criminal element. We will need less law enforcement, insurance rates will decrease, drug abuse will decrease, lives will be saved, the drug cartels in Central America and South America will fall apart.
      Ask yourself this question…If you ran a drug cartel, would you be in favor of ending the “war” on drugs? Hell no! Because the day we end that “war” the drug cartels lose and America wins. What a thing to comprehend…that we must end this to win it.
      Now ask yourself this….can you get drugs if you want them?
      If you buy them, who benefits? What is the “pushers” motive?
      If they were regulated, they could still be availble, but under such different circumstances. Who benefits? What would be the motive of the source?
      Who stands to lose if we end this war?
      What has this war accomplished? Judge it by it’s “fruits”.Death and destruction, ruined lives, etc.etc.

      • Cojones

        Please reference your use of “black market ” here because some people have an instant vision of black-skinned people. Thank you.

        • Junkyard Dawg '00

          A type of economic activity that takes place outside of government-sanctioned channels. Black-market transactions typically occur as a way for participants to avoid government price controls, taxes, or incarceration. – conducting transactions ‘under the table’. The black market is also the means by which illegal substances or products – such as illicit drugs, firearms or stolen goods – are bought and sold.

          Common Effects: higher prices for goods, lower quality standards due to less oversite, and violence due to protecting their criminal activity.

          • Cojones

            We African-Americans thank you.

            • Junkyard Dawg '00

              U A-A? Sorry, I guess I’m slow on the uptake. No difference to me by the way. You’re one of my favorite posters and besides we are all part of the Dawg nation, right?

              • Cojones

                We all are if you realize that the human race started in Africa and some of us have become white variants that happen to live in America. It was supposed to be a humorous reply to your wonderful definitions. Sorry. Didn’t intend to fool with an artificial mantle. You are correct on the Dawg Nation as one.

                • AthensHomerDawg

                  Goodness. So what if the human race did? I’ve lived and worked in Africa. They haven’t done much with the huge jump they had on the rest of the “variants”. Did you just post that? Besides, Mary Lefkowitz ain’t buying it. Are either one of you right? Who knows? At the end of the day … who cares where it all began? No one is special because of their ancestors. You’re special cause of what you do and how you do it. Thaz all. No offense. Please.

              • Dog in Fla

                They made a movie about Cojones when he was African-American. Here he is as the black guy in one of his favorite posters

        • Joy Behar

          Good point. We should stop using “Black Friday” too. It’s raaaacist.

          • Commissioner John Wiley Price

            Don’t forget black hole.

            • Dog in Fla

              Ordinarily, usage of scientific terminology by a Republican is expressly prohibited and may result in a purge from the RPOA except when it can be shown that usage of the scientific words and phrases irritated the shit out of at least one black guy.

            • Cojones

              Yeah. I was p.o.’d to find out it was science fiction. I thought it was a porno flick.

  15. Uglydawg

    A solution to McGarity”s dilemna.

  16. Spike

    Perhaps I will. It is called democracy. At least while they have been incarcerated they have not been able to victimize law abiding people. And who, exactly, are these people that are about to be released? And is better in the long run to have never incarcerate them at all, or to keep them off the street for at least some finite time? What do you think they would learn from that? And what about those costs to society?

  17. Irishdawg

    Read my post. I said “pot heads”, not “marijuana users”. If someone tokes up to relax on the weekend, that doesn’t bother me in the least. When someone is a complete mouth breathing wastoid because he’s high all the time, that bothers me in the most.

    Your tone is fine, I just find the topic of drug legalization to be a particularly thorny one, needing sober arguments coming from each side. And the talking point that prisons are filled with guys like “The Dude” housed next to violent gang members isn’t accurate.

    • adam

      The more casual recreational users far outnumber the people you’re complaining about. It’s like comparing drinkers to alcoholics. Most people do a pretty good job moderating themselves. Sorry for assuming that when you said “potheads” that you meant “marijuana users in general”. That’s not an uncommon position, but I shouldn’t have assumed that it was yours. My mistake.

      As far as the crime/jail/arrest issue goes, it just seems to me like a waste of money (and time) for our judicial system to deal with people using recreationally. I’ve laid out most of my problems with that and there are ways to create criminals that goes beyond putting The Dude in jail with violent criminals. A marijuana arrest can negatively (and permanently) affect someone’s access to both work and education. How does that benefit society as a whole? Especially when these laws have proven repeatedly to not deter people from using. The last thing we should want is to deny a qualified individual a shot at an education (talking about post-high school here).

    • David

      I don’t like drunks but I don’t want alcohol prohibited.

  18. Ron

    Please turn on Spike & watch a “Cops” episode. Then tell me that our war on drugs is working. Virtually every violent crime is the direct result of our drug prohibition. I think it’s silly that our government (and many of its people) think that they have the right to tell me what to put into my body – good or bad. I’m sure that most white men would abhor the government if it were illegal to drink beer while watching college football. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, just as ridiculous as telling a black kid that it’s illegal to smoke weed inside his own home.

    Please leave your own moral high ground at your front door because morals are very subjective tools.

    • adam

      The vast majority of marijuana users are white, FYI.

      I think the point is more that it’s absurd to tell *anyone* that they couldn’t smoke weed in the comfort of their own home if they felt so inclined.

      • Gravidy

        I’m not hostile to your overall point, but I do want to add some needed context to your assertion about the vast majority of MJ users being white. According to the link you posted, usages among races are as follows: white 68%, hispanic 14%, and black 12%. If my memory is correct, those numbers pretty accurately represent the US population as a whole. So, if those stats are correct, MJ use seems to be pretty evenly distrubted among those races in the US.

  19. Spike

    I read the article. It doesn’t say a lot of criminals are being released to the general population. Although I do not live in Georgia, unfortunately, I am familiar with these types of court programs. In my experience, their succes rate is limited. These types of cases do not end up in prison sentences no matter how many violations of the rules or conditions of the program are committed. So these are not part of the one size fits all, overburdening cost, one helluva price we are paying type of criminal you make reference to. And you now rely on the AJC as authority?

  20. Spike

    Ron, if we legalize drugs, first which ones do favor, and second do you think that would increase or decrease drug use?

  21. Irishdawg

    “Take away the lucrative black market and you will take away the criminal element. We will need less law enforcement, insurance rates will decrease, drug abuse will decrease, lives will be saved, the drug cartels in Central America and South America will fall apart.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Legalization does not make addiction disappear. Addicts will still steal and kill to satisfy their habit, regardless if they get it legally or not (see the Oxycontin trade). Drug Cartels will simply get into the legal drug business, which they already dabble in, and will still cut people’s heads off over turf wars. Plus, the cartels make money through extortion, kidnapping, sex trafficking, gunrunning, and money laundering in addition to drugs. The cartels aren’t going to fall apart unless the US applies the same tactics in Mexico that it did in Colombia, which is impossible with the level of rottenness in the Mexican government.

    • adam

      It sure would be nice to take the billions the drug cartels make from marijuana and put it into the American economy instead, though.

      And they’d miss the money a little bit, too.

    • 1honose

      Utter BS. As I’ve said before…we’ve already seen this movie and we know how it plays out. Elements of Law enforcement and the arms industry lobby hard to keep the “war” ongoing. They’ll milk this revenue stream as long as possible. MJ will fall in line with other soft drugs like alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Oxycontin is a narcotic. Somebody craving Oxycontin and somebody craving MJ are two different things. Are you insinuating that most of our Alcohol distributors were once part of the Alcohol cartels (of their era)? Lot’s of ex-UGA football players from the 50’s and 60’s in that business in Georgia. Hate that you might think that of them. I’ll assume you don’t.

      More big government wasting money. More big government dictating. More big government eroding our constitutional rights.

      Who ever got robbed by a pothead?? They’re too “Stupid and Lazy” remember.

  22. Spike

    And don’t be so naive. The government tells us everyday what we can and cannot put in our body, in what amounts and under what conditions.

  23. Irishdawg

    Adam, the US government seizes millions of dollars from the cartels every year; to them it’s the cost of doing business. They miss the money, but they ease their distress by slaughtering people. It would be much nicer to kill every last one of these savages, but we don’t have the will for that.

    • adam

      Subtract from that the money we spend investigating them, chasing them, and fighting them. Then compare that number to the amount of money we’d make from legalizing and taxing it. We’d save a lot of money by not chasing after people growing, trafficking, and selling marijuana and they’d lose a hell of a lot. It’s a huge cash crop (#1 in the US!

      • AthensHomerDawg

        They would just switch merchandise….. they already have. As far as marijuana is concerned cartels are faced with competition from small volume indoor domestic producers. Producers with the ability to grow hybrid crops with very high and different THC levels. They have created a sophisticated market with very unique and unusual distribution methods.

        • Cojones

          And that’s why I try to buy American pot. Honest. I tell my source that I don’t want it if it is compressed into bricks (you can readyly id) and I would prefer individual buds. It doesn’t guarantee that Americans grew it, but it means that it was grown locally. It is compressed for shipment and the only area in the US that ships buds regularly is Humbolt Co.(med mj). And it isn’t baled.

          In case some of you have missed it, you should read what Colorado is doing. They are keeping a regulating and taxing thumb on the pot industry and it is win-win. Their state economic picture is brighter than most because of trade in regulated pot. Law enforcement also says there is a downturn in hard crime generally under this form of legalization.

          • Cojones

            By the way, there has been no significant increase in drug or pot use found. Legalization in no way turns people onto pot. It just keeps needed tax money and income in the US. People who want to smoke do so whether it is legal or illegal.

            Smoke’em if you got’em.

  24. Irishdawg

    Maybe, but you don’t honestly think legalizing weed is going to break the backs of the cartels, do you?

  25. Spike

    Because enough people wrote their legislature and congressman, and governors seeking repeal? My point is would we be better off with drug legalization and consequently more drug use and addiction or worse off? And which drugs? Do you think legalization would result in more drug use and the misery that results, or would drug use decrease?

    • I didn’t ask you why alcohol consumption is legal. I asked you whether it should be. All the questions you ask about marijuana apply equally to booze.

    • Raleigh St. Clair

      Actually the reason was that the secondary effects of repeal far outweighed the benefits.

      • Joe Shmoe

        What data do you have to support that? Studies have shown that in countries where pot has been at least decriminalized, there is a brief uptick in usage as a few additional people explore the now legal drug, and then usage returns to basically pre-legalization levels.

  26. Mg4life0331

    Just a quick note for all the naysayers. Im an Iraqi and Afghanistan war vet. I was pretty bad off when I came back home in 2005 with PSTD. I may have gotten about 10-15 hours of sleep a week. Eventually I succumbed to evil weed. After a year or so of smoking I got over my problems and understood what I did needed to be done. Now I rarely smoke, maybe once or twice a year.

    I did it in the comfort of my own home, never went out and partied, or consumed alcohol with it. I knew what alcohol did, I was a jarhead for gods sake. So take it for what it worth people. If you choose to despise me so be it. But know that it helped me.

    • Dog in Fla

      Bravo Zulu

    • Junkyard Dawg '00

      That’s another point that needs to be considered… the medical aspect to marijuana can be very beneficial, even miraculous- Ask many long-term cancer survivors. The pharmaceutical nausea pills either didn’t work on the nausea or if it did they had a very hard time eating anything at all. They stayed very weak and it led to a sense of wanting to lose the fight to live. MJ had the opposite effects- stopping the nausea and making them hungry and they had a more positive outlook on life. … and probably enjoyed the movie Friday and too many sweets!

      Very glad to hear you’re doing better. Thanks for your service and God Bless.

    • Cojones

      Your fellow vet has found that, while causing an increased sensitivity to pain, the sleep affects are worth it. My arthritis had kept me sleepless with pain for over 8 weeks before I began using again. Getting the rest was exactly what was needed to get on the mend. While the pain has been constant for nearly 4 years, not getting sleep (an average of 2 hours sleep every 3 days) was exascerbating the conditions and leading to other problems.

      Thank goodness you are recovering from PTSD, the leading mental wound of these wars. Hope you always will keep up the fight against PTSD. It is debilitating and thankfully the VA is on top of it so far. The VA projects that 60% of vet treatments and monies for war wounds will encompass PTSD treatment.

      Your courage is appreciated for what you have done and what you continue to go through.

      • Mg4life0331

        Its late night and Im just getting off of work, but were you saying that the pain increased but you were able to sleep better?

        I dont suppose I ever had it for pain, I know sometimes I would have a headache, and coughing from smoking would make it worse, but I have no idea what kinda pain you are going through. Hope you get better.

  27. Spike

    In a perfect, logical world where people used it safely and resposibly, sure. I enjoy the heck out of a cold beer(s) and always have. If people who choose to use pot do the same , sure, it is okay with me. Sadly, we don’t live in such a world. Rather look at the misery misuse of alcohol has caused by people who do not know “when to say when.” Lost families, income, homes, and worst of all lost lives. Has the benefit of it being legal outweighed the cost? You tell me. And if it is legal, why then is the consumption of it restricted to ceratin ages and the selling of it restricted to certain times? The same with pot. If people want to legalize and use it then by all means go thru the legislative process and get it done. I suspect one would encounter significant difficulty in succeeding. But if you use it and lose your job, your income and means to support yourself and family, then don’t look to me to sudsidize your destructive behavior. Now, I ask you which drugs do you favor legalizing? Just pot? Cocaine? Oxycodone? Herion? Xanax? And do you restrict their use in any way? How? Why? And, would their be more users or less users of these drugs if they are legalized? And if their are more users, which I believe is self evident, are more drug users and addicts good for society or bad?

    • I see a big difference between punishing for usage and punishing for the consequences of misusage. Drinking at home is one thing; overdoing it and then getting in a car is entirely another. The way I see it, your right to use things in your body ends as soon as you put others in jeopardy as a result. And that’s how our criminal laws should be structured.

      Generally, I believe that penalizing victimless crime does more harm than good. But then again, I actually believe the Fourth Amendment is supposed to mean something. I guess that makes me a hopeless romantic these days.

      As for what to legalize, the ideological libertarian in me says one thing, the practical part says start with marijuana and see how society handles it.

      • Cojones

        I’ll go further. Pot has not been shown to be as addictive to the brain as the other drugs mentioned and what we refer to as “hard” drugs. Not by a long shot. That’s why many people can keep it quiet when they take it for recreational use since they can put it down and not use it on a regular basis. The brain doesn’t crave it like it does hard drugs and pain killers. People addicted to pot also show a propensity to be addicted to soft drinks and/or other substances. Regular and prolonged use of any substance will addict you.

        My brother, a veteran of 2 tours in ‘Nam, conflict in the Dom. Repub and Korea during live fire across the DMZ, has always abhored drug usage in any way. Recently, he has had painful surgery for pain. When he was on oxycontin,oxycodone and a few other pain killers, I told him that , flat out, he would get addicted. He took me seriously even though he has had the will power to stop drinking hard booze several years ago (he reasoned that, as much as he drank, it couldn’t be good for his liver) cold turkey. He quit cigarettes after usage for over 50 yrs.He was never known or seen to be drunk and I have watched him put away a great deal of Makers Mark and other finer bourbons. He is now undergoing methodone treatment for the pain killers. He told me that at one point he attempted to go cold turkey, but he found he was on the floor shaking as if he was on heroin like the movie “Man With a Golden Arm” portrays. He was not shamed by the experience since he took me seriously and realized early that the brain will always try to get what it wants. He has not nor will he ever smoke mj, the same as many of you will not, but he understands more about addiction now than he ever wanted to know.

        As one who has smoked for years and omitted it for years or whenever I wanted to, I personally don’t feel that mj is addictive. I run around with a bunch (group get-to-gethers vary from 15-60 ) of professionals who reenforce that with me since they smoke recreationally on a regular basis. Generally our ages are 50-high 70s (couldn’t resist).

  28. 1honose

    Yes – sadly our wars on terrorism and drugs have just about given that one away. And without 2/3rds majority or state ratification. Oh snap…does that mean we’ve given up Article V as well?

  29. Spike

    I hear ya. But you can’t have it both ways. Usage will almost always lead to misuse. Count on it. By putting these things in your body,yes, you may only harm yourself, and if that is where it ends great. But, it almost always, directly sometimes and indirectly harms ones family and others, e.g. lost jobs, physical abuse, brain damage, and on and on. So i guess we see it through a different prism. There are very few, if any,victimless crimes when it comes to the [mis]use of drugs. To think otherwise is pure nonsense. And what do you say to the person after pot is legallized, why not cocaine, heroin, or oxycodone? Are there no limits? As far as the Fourth Amendment, I agree with you, but that has nothing to do with the question of whether or not it is a wise thing to legalize something to begin with. If a substance is declared to be contraband per se, then siezed unlawfully, then the Fourth Amendment is applicable. One is not just going to use drugs or alcohol only in their home, and because of that not have any effect on any one else. If you believe that, then you are a hopless romantic. But, I tell you what, let’s have a beer summit at your convience, and cuss and discuss it. I’ll buy! I sure wish Papa Joes was still open.

    • There are very few, if any,victimless crimes when it comes to the [mis]use of drugs. To think otherwise is pure nonsense.

      Again, I respect your position, but I don’t see how you can argue there’s any difference between drugs and alcohol.

    • Joe Shmoe

      Also, making it illegal to use has very little impact on the amount of use. Not to mention the philosophical question about whether the gov’t should be trying to predict when a crime will happen and attempt to stop it from happening or only act when an actual crime has been committed (I personally don’t trust the gov’t with the authority to do the former).

  30. Heathbar09

    As much as I want to win a MNC this year, that will only prove that we can win while doing it the “right way.” These bullshit policies that put us at a disadvantage will only continue and will make Adams feel all giddy inside.

  31. Spike

    Senator, perhaps I am not making myself clear. There is no difference. They are both “drugs.” But if I acknowledge that, then why the reluctance to argue for legalization of cocaine, heroin et. al.? Why just pot only?

    • Heathbar09

      Lumping pot in with cocaine, herion, meth, etc. is just insane. I am not a user (although I have tried), but I believe most people are educated enough to realize how much more harmful those drugs are for you than pot.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        “but I believe most people are educated enough to realize how much more harmful those drugs are for you than pot.”
        Not hardly sir.

    • The libertarian in me says you’re right about that. But I don’t think society is ready for that radical a step.

    • Ron

      I say legalize everything – even heroine! Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t offer assistance or rehabilitation to addicts or even casual users.

      Most states don’t criminalize a freaking suicide attempt. But yet, every state think its has a right to criminalize a personal choice of consumption or inhalation. That makes no sense to me.

      When you allow government to strip away your personal freedoms… careful……because it may one day strip away one of those freedoms you enjoy too. Freedom must mean you can do whatever you want as long as the state thinks it’s ok…is that right?

  32. Spike

    Heath, I do not dispute some drugs are inherently more dangerous than others. This discussion is about legalization of drugs, not which is less harmful to others. Some people may indeed be educated about the dangers as you claim. Unfortunately, there are an equal or greater number that are not. Don’t believe me? Just go down to your local courthouse and sit in a criminal court or visit your local rehab facility, or even better, go visit a neo natal unit at your local hospital to see the babies of mothers who used drugs, including alcohol, during their pregnancy. And if that doesn’t do it for you, nothing will. You may also wish to visit the spouse and kids of these uneducated ones to get their opinion. They will illustrate insanity for you.

    • Heathbar09

      Spike, I am not trying to debate the negative effects drugs have one people. That is obvious. I am referring to the statement you made about the slippery slope. I realize you didn’t actually say that, but the post above gave me the impression that you felt the legalization of pot would allow cause people to question legalizing the other more harmful drugs. I might be mistaken, but please correct me if I read that wrong.

      I was only trying to make the point that people who make decisions would be smart enough to not let majiuana legalization turn into a slippery slope. Of course, I might also be giving the lawmakers too much credit…..

      • Gravidy

        You are trusting politicians to see (and, furthermore, AVOID) a slippery slope?!?! Holy cow, man. You are either one of the biggest idealists in the history of the human race, or you are a lot younger than I am. I’m betting on the latter. 🙂

        • Heathbar09

          You are correct with the young part (I was finishing up middle school when Richt started his tenure). But am I crazy to believe that even the average person can see the difference in a plant and the other drugs that can kill you? (Technically prescription drugs can kill you as well, but those are supposed to have a medical purpose). And the dope user on the curb down the street doesn’t count as the average person.

          • Gravidy

            I hear what you are saying, and I appreciate the point you are making. My comment was meant to be a gratuitous stab at politicians rather than you. But since you asked whether your assumptions about the average person’s intelligence are crazy, I’ll answer. Your assumptions probably aren’t crazy – as you’ve defined them and the argument in which you placed them.

            But here’s where I believe your assumptions may be less than accurate: politicians are the ones responsible for the laws in question, and they are far from average people. And, for the most part, they don’t avoid slippery slopes. They make their living (fill their campaign coffers) by intentionally building and regularly greasing the sort of slippery slopes favored by their contributors. Members of both parties do it. The only difference is their slopes slant in different directions.

            • Heathbar09

              Fair enought. I knew you weren’t taking a shot at me. Maybe my youth has given me optimism for something that I will learn doesn’t exist.

  33. 69Dawg

    This whole argument forgets one thing, prostitution is the worlds oldest profession. It has been illegal forever but is still around after thousands of years. As someone said above you can’t made man’s base nature illegal and enforce it. Might as will legalize it, regulate it and tax it, it’s the American way.

    • Cojones

      It’s about to become the way Spain will get out of the financial pickle that they are into.

  34. RandallPinkFloyd

    Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean people HAVE to use it. They estimate that if they legalized pot, they would only see a ‘new’ usage increase of 5-7%. I’ve got plenty of friends who have either tried it once or twice or don’t smoke at all, legalizing it won’t make a damn difference to them. If a person really wants drugs, they’ll get their hands on them one way or another – it makes no difference to them if it’s illegal or not. You might as well decriminalize it and profit off of it instead of letting America’s drug dealers, WHO AREN’T PAYING TAXES, be the beneficiaries of this broken system.

  35. Spike

    Senator, I’ve enjoyed the discussion. I’ve said what I have to say. Thanks for the forum. My offer for a beer summit to resolve this still stands. Name the place and time.

    • Cojones

      Can we bring smokes? If you only drink, you would at least get entertained by the smokers.

  36. Irishdawg

    I assume you’re talking to me with your rant about some cop/arms dealer
    conspiracy, so allow me to retort: where was I talking about violent potheads? I was speaking of drug addicts in general and the argument for legalizing all drugs. Are you suggesting there is no violence in the marijuana trade? Tell that to the park rangers who have to get infantry training because of cartel grows in California parks and the shootouts they get into. I already said I couldn’t care less about the legal status of weed, but it’s a fatuous argument to pretend it’s a bloodless industry, or that the legalization of all drugs will wipe out violent crime.

    As to your second point, where has drug legalization ended organized crime? Not in Amsterdam or at the end of Prohibition. The major cartels in Colombia were broken because of a citizenry sick of drug violence and US military aid, not legalization.

    • Cojones

      Irishdawg, I love ya. When we write our opinions knowing that you have a life’s job that you see in conflict with our opinion, we don’t feel too frisky about countering your points because we don’t want to appear anti-law enforcement. Maybe some of us would like your work to be less dangerous for you and your family by legalizing pot. It is a voting issue that is separate from your enforcement issue, which we respect. Please receive it that way, much in the same vein that segregation law was a moral and social issue that was enforced by those whose job it was to enforce, we wish to correct issues by open forums and voting, not by arrest and punishment.
      While trained to use a bayonnet for crowd control before and during military service, I knew it was to control those who were trying to change the laws that I considered immoral. After military service, I actively joined the protesters.

      I had a friend at UGA who, after obtaining his law degree, was joining the FBI. Before he joined, he took a vacation in Europe and toured on a bike. He also bought an oz. when he got there. He wanted to know what the problem with mj was that he would be arresting people for when he joined. He joined the FBI after the summer, never smoked again from my knowledge, had a long and good career and avoided the small mj arrests like the plague. He went to Europe in the late 60s. Does that give you a hint about how long this issue has been an issue? Revisiting “Easy Rider” would also give an indication how long it has taken us to reach this impasse between people who think both good and evil of mj.

      I got’em and I’ll be smokin’em tonight. It does a body good with peaceful thoughts.

      Everyone. Fly the flag tomorrow.

  37. Bulldog Joe

    In other words, if you’re McGarity and Richt, you might as well put on a brave face about your school’s policy, because you’re going to have to live with it for a long time.

    No. Only 12 more months. (Not that I am counting.)

  38. shane#1

    I think we should legalize all drugs and have the Feds sell them. Sell them to anyone over 18. You clean out the prisons, free up the police, and save us taxpayers oodles of money. Plus, smack and ice could be produced in labs that were safe and inspected by the Feds. There would be FDA standards for acid and coke. But, if an asshole ODs and dies it’s his fault, no money out of my pocket. And drug testing for welfare and food stamps. No crackheads living off me. If a church or someone else wants to help those assholes it’s their money, but don’t take any of mine. As a matter of fact, drug testing for WIC, If your baby dies it ain’t my fault bitch. Who told you to be a crack ho and breed? Not me! Now Senator, a true libertarian speaks. Legalize everything, including my guns, so that when some meth addict shows up at my crib to steal something or rob me I can blow his shit away and not worry about bring charged with a crime or sued. Let’s be real libertarians and legalize anything anyone puts into their bodies. They will either get smarter or be dead, either way it’s no skin off my nose.

  39. AusDawg85

    Great…one of the longest series of post/responses on an UGA blog this summer is about weed.

    Man, can we stick to a stereo-type or what? Keep puffing, my friends.