A big win for war on drugs

stoned cat

Last week, the 2nd Circuit delivered a crushing blow on the war on drugs sanity and common sense. The Second held (for the first time, it is worth nothing) that sharing drugs is “illegal distribution” of drugs.

Police raided [Wallace’s] apartment and recovered from Wallace’s bedroom 1.5 grams of cocaine base, a number of ziplock bags, 91.22 grams of marijuana, an AK-47 semi-automatic assault weapon and $460 in cash.

After receiving Miranda warnings, Wallace told police the drugs were for his personal use and, sometimes, for his friends. He said the gun belonged to his father and was kept for protection. He also said the bags were for dividing up the drugs so his friends would not know how much he had and “use it all up.”

No big deal, said the Second Circuit. The act of giving it to someone else makes you a drug dealer – regardless of whether you receive something in return (such as money).

[Judge] Jacobs said the word “distribute” in the statute means “to deliver” and the word “deliver” means “the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer of a controlled substance.”

The court rationalized that Congress, in passing the statute, did not include anything about “consideration” in exchange for the drugs, therefore they meant to treat “passing a joint” differently than hoarding all that pot and smoking it yourself, dammit – I hate you.

In doing so, the Court has now lumped international drug smugglers together with the two 30-year old kids who never grew up, sitting in one of their mothers’ basement, sharing a joint*. Clearly, this is something that Congress definitely intended. I mean, those two guys are capable of causing so much mayhem – think of all the runs to the grocery store to grab all the munchies they can! Will anything be left for the rest of us!? Is nothing sacred anymore!!!?

Unintentionally, doesn’t this create more incentive for people to buy their own drugs instead of mooching off of someone else? So, perhaps, there will be more people buying drugs than before. You better believe it when I tell you that the next time you come over, you can not share my stash. BYOP.

*Yes, I’m beating a dead stereotype. Sue me.

6 thoughts on “A big win for war on drugs

  1. gerard

    As much as I hate to say it, this is actually an argument FOR special legal words that use normal people can’t understand. Any commonly used word is going to have evolving and changing meanings. This opens the door to decisions such as this.

  2. talithajd

    In Alabama, we don’t have this question as the legislature has helpfully answered it for us:

    Section 13A-12-211
    Unlawful distribution of controlled substances.
    (a) A person commits the crime of unlawful distribution of controlled substances if, except as otherwise authorized, he or she sells, furnishes, gives away, delivers, or distributes a controlled substance enumerated in Schedules I through V.

    (b) Unlawful distribution of controlled substances is a Class B felony.

    I have actually had to defend a case where the D passed a joint at a concert. Wasn’t her joint to begin with but she received it then gave it away/delivered it to another person.

  3. Gideon Post author

    Yeah, it’s been the law in CT for a bit, too. I found case law from the CT Supreme Court on it, stating that distribution is the same as sale.

    Doesn’t make it right, though.

  4. Pingback: The war on drugs: Making friends customers | a public defender

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