Stoners Against Legalization’s “New Crimes” Talking Point

Dragonfly de la Luz
Stoner Against Legalization Dragonfly de la Luz asks “Paragraph B? What Paragraph B?” (Image: NPR)

In these editions of #TossedSALAD (Stoners Against Legalization Argument of the Day), I continue breaking down the memes and talking points you may see online or hear in conversation from misinformed cannabis consumers and rent-seeking prohibition profiteers who want you to vote no on your state’s marijuana legalization initiative.

While Dragonfly de la Luz still continues to abuse the good name of Seattle Hempfest Founder Vivian McPeak on her blog, the more despicable act she commits is purposefully obfuscating, misdirecting, selectively revealing, and outright bullshitting about the California legalization initiative, Prop 64.

One of the Stoners Against Legalization talking points that she promotes is the idea that Prop 64 is creating “new crimes” that will lead to greater arrests of cannabis consumers than under the current prohibition.

Dragonfly writes:

Dragonfly New Crimes
Whenever somebody tells you that Prop 64 mandates some punishment for marijuana act, ask them what the punishment is NOW for that act.

Prop. 64 ironically creates new crimes that don’t exist today, and calls for jail time for a host of harmless offenses – including possessing more than an ounce. If you get pulled over with an ounce for yourself and a gram or two for a friend, you will face a draconian 6 months in jail and/or a $500 fine under Prop. 64:

And indeed, as she cites, Prop 64 in Section 11357(b) states:

Persons 18 years of age or over who possess more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, or more than four grams of concentrated cannabis, or both, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than 6 months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

California Marijuana Laws NOW
If someone tells you that California’s Prop 64 “creates new crimes / penalties”, ask them what the law is NOW? (Image: NORML.org)

The problem for Dragonfly? That’s not a new punishment or a new crime. Here are the relevant excerpts from California Health & Safety Code, Section 11357, paragraphs (a) and (c):

…[E]very person who possesses any concentrated cannabis shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than one year or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment…

…[E]very person who possesses more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

In fact, when you compare the two, the punishment for over an ounce of marijuana stayed the same, but the punishment for concentrates was reduced and the amount you could have increased!

NOW: “any concentrated cannabis” = one year, $500.

PROP 64: “more than four grams of concentrated cannabis” = 6 months, $500.

Another example is where Dragonfly tries to scare college-age young adults that passing Prop 64 will subject them to greater risk and punishment, thanks to some “new crime”:

Dragonfly 18-20 Sharing
If reason and logic aren’t helping to make your point, try lots of boldface, italics, and underlining.

Under Prop. 64, even sharing any amount of cannabis would be a crime punishable by jail for teens and young adults aged 18-20 – even though it is not a crime today. Young people in this age group – which includes most college students – will face up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine for engaging in one of the most common and harmless pastimes California indulges in: simply sharing a joint together. Adults 21 and over who pass a joint to another college-age adult under 21 face the same steep penalty.

That sounds pretty scary. Currently under California Health & Safety Code as summarized by NORML, “a gift or mere transportation of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by fine up to $100.” For that to rise to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine is outrageous!

Except, of course, Prop 64 doesn’t do that.

Dragonfly cites Prop 64 in Section 11360(a), which states (in part):

Except as otherwise provided by this section or as authorized by law, every person who… gives away… marijuana shall be punished as follows:… Persons 18 years of age or over shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

But she fails to include (chooses to omit?) the following paragraph (b):

Except as authorized by law, every person who gives away… not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana… is guilty of an infraction misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100).

Dragonfly cites a paragraph (a) that begins with “Except as otherwise provided by this section” and then omits the very next paragraph (b) that is provided in this section. She runs with the paragraph (a) that tells her audience that sharing a joint is going to be a six-month, $500 misdemeanor and then omits the paragraph (b) that says for amounts below an ounce (a joint!), the law stays exactly as it is today.

Either Dragonfly de la Luz is one of the people Stoners Against Legalization keep claiming can’t possibly read and understand a whopping 62 pages of confusing legalistic jargon, or she understands it quite well and is purposefully propagandizing young cannabis consumers to vote against their own self-interests.

Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 198 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Marijuana Agenda, a live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on MJAgenda.com.  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 70 North American cities.