Women don’t use the phrase “take a whiz.” That’s man-talk. So I assume that the inventor of the Whizzinator, a device to produce fake pee when on-the-spot drug tests are required, was a male–with a sense of humor. And there’s a male on the other side of the plot-to-get-away-with-pot fence, State Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, who has been trying to get legislation passed making the Whizzinator illegal.
Roorda, an ex-cop, hasn’t gotten any traction with his proposed bill in past years. As Tony Messenger points out: “The issue – fraudulent pee – invites guffaws, snickers and more puns than you can, you know, shake a stick at.” But Roorda’s task may get easier now that there’s a court case against state convict Robert Smothers, whose parole officer caught him using a Whizzinator. The prosecutor charged Smothers with forgery. Yes. He was guilty of forging his pee. The trial court threw the case out, but the appeals court decided that the accusation conformed to the intent of the state’s forgery statute.
Of course, Smothers still has to be tried, and his lawyer doesn’t believe that a jury will convict unless there’s a law on the books making the Whizzinator illegal. This may be Roorda’s year, then, to get serious attention for his bill.
Fine and dandy if your aim is to stabilize the economy by creating prison guard jobs that can’t be shipped abroad. I don’t see any other advantage to jailing drug offenders. Doing so is costing the country somewhere between $40 billion and $48 billion a year, and more than half of that expense is borne by the states. Tell you what, you can’t ship teaching jobs abroad either, and I’d rather see Missouri’s half a billion share of the drug war expense going to schools.
Because we all know how much the drug war isn’t succeeding. I understand why people want it to succeed. I mean, nobody’s claiming that drugs are good for us. No, I take that back. They’re at least as bad for us as alcohol usually–and sometimes much more so–but pot as a painkiller works effectively for quite a few conditions. Of course, Big Pharma would rather sell oxycontin to those in pain. Good money to be made there. If marijuana were legal, it would be cheap.
But I do understand why people want the War on Drugs to succeed. Of course. Cutting back on addiction is a laudable goal–one probably best accomplished with drug rehab programs. A War on Drugs fought with rehab wouldn’t be cheap, but keeping drugs illegal is a much more expensive “solution”. Indeed, it’s no solution; it’s a losing battle. The latest news on that front is that Colombian coca plants are getting more powerful because of our attempts to eradicate them:
Since 2000, we’ve been heavily spraying Colombia’s jungles with Roundup to kill coca plants, but it appears that the druglords have, judo style, used our own weight against us. The drug trafficers know that a few plants will develop resistance to any herbicide, and they got their network of farmers busy propagating the hell out of any plants that survived the spraying. Voila, Roundup resistant Boliviana negra. The American government is doing the druglords the favor of dusting their crops and getting rid of all the weeds so that the coca plants are especially large and potent because they don’t have to fight other plants for nutrients in the soil. Furthermore, the spraying kills even legal crops, like bananas, yucca, and maize, forcing any farmers who might prefer to stay legal to grow the only crop that will survive–coca.
Forget about making the Whizzinator illegal. We’re even slower learning from the War on Drugs than we were to learn from Prohibition. We need to legalize drugs and tax them. How much is it going to take to keep Robert Smothers in jail because he’s been sneaking tokes or snorting coke? Somewhere in the neighborhood of $33,000 a year. And that doesn’t even take into account the crime that gets committed to pay for drugs–drugs whose price is inflated because they’re illegal. Instead of spending a billion a year on pot prisoners, we could be raking in more than that in taxes.
Am I dreaming? You better believe it. Sheer logic will never prevail. People are always fond of saving other people from their addictions. But I still say, skip the Whizzinator law.