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A menace to society: sick people who smoke pot to get better ... and our government's tireless efforts to stop them!

YEAH, I'M TRYING TO LEARN HEBREW, BUT IT'S HARD! A RABBI IS HELPING ME, THOUGH ...

I'M WHAT YOU'D CALL A MESSIANIC JEW, SINCE I STILL PRAY IN LUTHERAN ...

I WANT TO MOVE TO ISRAEL IN TIME FOR THE RAPTURE--WHICH SHOULD BE SOON. DON'T YOU THINK?

ROGER SPOHN IS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST SAD-SACK, HARD-LUCK CASE I'VE EVER MET.

THIS BENIGN, SOMEWHAT SPACY SHUT-IN LIVES ALONE IN A TWO-BEDROOM SHACK IN WEST SEATTLE ...

I HAVE TO SLEEP IN THE LIVING ROOM NOW ...

... SINCE MY PLANTS TAKE UP BOTH BEDROOMS ...

HE'S BEEN RENTING THE PLACE FOR ONLY THREE MONTHS, AND HE HOPES HE CAN STAY PUT THIS TIME, WHAT WITH HIS BEING A LEGAL LIABILITY AND ALL.

SEVERAL AUTO AND WORK-RELATED ACCIDENTS HAVE LEFT HIM SLIGHTLY BRAIN DAMAGED AND IN CHRONIC PAIN ...

I'M ON A LOT OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, INCLUDING METHADONE ...

BUT I NEED TO SMOKE POT TO KEEP MY FOOD DOWN.

... THE LATTER OF WHICH LEFT HIM ADDICTED TO PRESCRIBED OPIOIDS, WHICH LED TO A HEROIN ADDICTION, WHICH LED TO HEPATITIS C AND A RAPIDLY DETERIORATING LIVER. ROGER DOESN'T HAVE LONG TO LIVE, I'M TOLD.

BAD LUCK IS USUALLY THE RESULT OF BAD CHOICES, AND ROGER HAS CERTAINLY MADE MORE THAN A FEW, THOUGH THEY HARDLY ACCOUNT FOR EVERYTHING THIS HUMAN SHIT MAGNET'S GONE THROUGH ...

... I WAS SCREAMING FOR HELP AS THE PIT I WAS STUCK IN FILLED UP WITH WET SAND ...

BUT AS MY CO-WORKERS PULLED ME OUT I COULD FEEL MY FOOT COMING OFF ...

AND AS IS SO OFTEN THE CASE, ROGER'S PARTICULAR ROAD TO HELL WAS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS ...

AT THE BEHEST OF HIS RABBI FRIEND, ROGER STARTED SUPPLYING MARIJUANA TO SOME CANCER PATIENTS IN HIS BIBLE STUDY GROUP ...

I'M DOING THE LORD'S WORK!

RABBI SAYS SO!

I'M A GOOD PERSON!

SOMEHOW THE POLICE WERE ALERTED, AND ROGER WAS ARRESTED.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS TECHNICALLY LEGAL IN SEATTLE, AS LONG AS ONE'S PAPERS ARE IN ORDER (A DOCTOR'S CERTIFICATE, ETC.) ...

CAN'T I AT LEAST HAVE MY PRESCRIPTION MEDS?

NO METHADONE FOR YOU, MR. PUSHERMAN.

HOWEVER, ROGER'S FELLOW BIBLE STUDIERS WEREN'T CERTIFIED, SO HE WAS CHARGED WITH "DISTRIBUTING".

ONCE HE WAS OUT ON BAIL, THE COPS TOOK NOTICE OF THE CONSIDERABLE EQUITY ROGER HAD IN HIS HOME AND STARTED TALKING ABOUT FORFEITURE ...

YOU CRAZY MAN!

YOU MOVE OUT NOW!

TAKE SMELLY PLANT WITH YOU!

WHAAH!

THIS FREAKED OUT HIS IMMIGRANT WIFE, WHO DIVORCED HIM IN ORDER TO KEEP THE HOUSE (AND A ROOF OVER THEIR CHILDREN'S HEADS).

ROGER WAS EVENTUALLY CLEARED OF ALL CHARGES BUT SOON BECAME A TARGET OF THE POLICE--AND OF BURGLARS. BUT TO AVOID THE LEGAL HASSLES ASSOCIATED WITH HAVING A BANK ACCOUNT, ROGER CARRIES ALL HIS MONEY ON HIM AT ALL TIMES.

--AH-HA! WHAT HAVE WE HERE?

SINCE WHEN IS IT A CRIME TO HAVE MONEY?

ONLY LARGE SUMS OF CASH NOW SERVE AS "PROBABLE CAUSE" FOR A SEARCH WHEN YOU'RE PULLED OVER BY A COP--WHICH IN ROGER'S CASE IS OFTEN. THE MONEY IS THEN HELD AS "EVIDENCE," AND HE'S LUCKY TO GET IT ALL BACK ONCE HE'S ACQUITTED.

THUS, ROGER IS ROUTINELY ARRESTED (OR SIMPLY "HELD"), CLEANED OUT OF HIS MONEY, DENIED MEDS IN JAIL (ALMOST DYING BECAUSE OF IT ON ONE OCCASION). WHILE ALL OF HIS PLANTS ARE DESTROYED, BEFORE BEING EXONERATED OF A "CRIME" THAT NEVER HAPPENED ...

CASE DISMISSED!

THE ESTIMATED COST TO TAXPAYERS FOR PROSECUTING THIS NONCRIMINAL SINCE HIS FIRST ARREST IS $250,000 AND COUNTING. LET FREEDOM RING!

DOUGLAS HYATT IS ROGER'S LAWYER. HE'S AN IDEALISTIC, PERPETUALLY OVERWORKED CHAMPION OF SEEMINGLY LOST CAUSES ...

THIS SO-CALLED "WAR ON DRUGS" HAS TURNED OUR COUNTRY INTO A POLICE STATE ...

I SWEAR, I'M GONNA MOVE TO CANADA IF THINGS KEEP--

--HEY! I'VE GOT THE RIGHT OF WAY, ASSHOLE!

DOUG IS FULL OF RAGE, DIRECTED BOTH AT OTHER DRIVERS AND AT WHAT THE DRUG WAR'S DOING TO OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

DOUG INTRODUCED ME TO A FEW MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACTIVISTS, WHO ALL HAD PLENTY OF GOVERNMENT-OUT-OF-CONTROL TALES TO TELL ...

THE STATE KEEPS ISSUING WARNINGS OF THIS SUPPOSEDLY HIGH-POWERED "B.C. BUD" COMING DOWN FROM CANADA, ONLY THERE'S NO SUCH THING ...

I WISH IT WAS REAL, SINCE THAT WOULD MEAN OUR PATIENTS WOULDN'T HAVE TO SMOKE AS MUCH!

HUH.

I STARTED TO ASK THEM ABOUT THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT'S AND THE PUBLIC'S RESPECTIVE ATTITUDES TOWARD POT, BUT DOUG IMMEDIATELY CUT ME OFF ...

"DISCONNECT"?! THAT WORD SUGGESTS THE GOVERNMENT EVEN CARES HOW THE PUBLIC FEELS ABOUT THE SUBJECT!

WE NOW LIVE IN A SOFT TOTALITARIAN STATE! OR HAVEN'T YOU NOTICED?

THE DRUG WAR IS A SELF-PERPETUATING MONSTER, THANKS TO THE HUGE FINANCIAL INCENTIVES THAT KEEP IT GOING ...

THE FEDS EVEN LOAN OUT ARMY TANKS TO LOCAL COPS TO BUST UNARMED GROWERS WITH!

WHAT COUNTY SHERIFF CAN RESIST THAT KIND OF MISMATCH IN FIREPOWER?

BUT THERE MUST BE SOME PROSECUTORS WHO ARE TROUBLED BY ALL THIS ...

JESUS. YOU WATCH TOO MUCH "LAW AND ORDER"...

IF THEY GAVE A CRAP ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION THEY WOULDN'T BE SITTING IDLY BY WHILE THE FEDS SLOWLY TAKE OVER THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ...

LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS SOLD THEIR SOULS TO THE D.E.A.!

STILL, THERE MUST BE A D.A. SOMEWHERE WHO--

YOU'RE ASSUMING PROSECUTORS ARE JUST PLAIN FOLKS LIKE YOU 'N' ME. THEY'RE NOT.

THEY'RE TOO BLINDED BY POWER AND AMBITION TO WORRY ABOUT THE ENORMOUS DAMAGE THEY'RE CAUSING ...

THEY DON'T GIVE A FLYING FUCK ABOUT THE PEOPLE THEY ALLEGEDLY "SERVE."

NOTE TO SELF: TALK TO PROSECUTORS FOR A FUTURE REASON FEATURE.

ON OUR WAY TO VISIT ROGER, WE WERE ACCOMPANIED BY ONE OF DOUG'S ACTIVIST CLIENTS, MONTE LEVINE ...

... I'VE BEEN CALLING THE JUDGE'S OFFICE ALL MORNING! I NEED A CONTINUANCE NOW, GODDAMMIT!

ARE YOU OKAY DRIVING WITH THIS LUNATIC?

AAH, I'M USED TO IT.

MONTE'S ALSO BEEN THROUGH THE LEGAL WRINGER, DUE TO HIS H.I.V. PREVENTION PROGRAM, WHICH INCLUDES BOTH NEEDLE EXCHANGES AND MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR A.I.D.S. PATIENTS.

MY PARTNER GREW POT IN A BUILDING I OWNED ...

THE COPS FOUND OUT ABOUT IT FROM SOME TEENS THEY CAUGHT TRYING TO ROB US ...

BEFORE THEY COULD CONFISCATE THE PLACE, I MORTGAGED IT TO THE HILT, THUS RENDERING IT WORTHLESS ...

THEY REALLY HATED ME FOR THAT ...

HEH-HEH!

MONTE AND HIS PARTNER HAVE EXCHANGED MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A MILLION NEEDLES IN THE BLUE-COLLAR NAVY TOWN OF BREMERTON, WA, IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS ALONE ...

=SIGH= ... LOOKS LIKE THE ANTI-DRUG "TASK FORCE" PAID US ANOTHER VISIT ...

SO MUCH FOR SEARCH WARRANTS.

WHILE THEY HAVE LEGAL PERMISSION TO RUN THEIR SERVICES, THEY'RE STILL AT THE MERCY OF ANY AMBITIOUS OR VINDICTIVE D.A. WILLING TO EXPLOIT HIS ORDER ENORMOUS PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION RE: ALL THINGS DRUG RELATED.

AS SOON AS WE ARRIVE AT ROGER'S, HE AND MONTE START COMPARING NOTES ON LIGHTING, SEED QUALITY, ETC ...

YOUR PLANTS ARE ALL SHORT BUT STOUT ...

DO YOU DO ANY CROSS-BREEDING?

NOT IF I CAN HELP IT ...

IT'S HARD TO GET WOOD NEW SEEDS, THOUGH ...

THEY SOUND LIKE A COUPLE OF OLD-TIMEY POT GROWERS--WHICH THEY ARE, ONLY THEY'RE NOT IN IT TO MAKE A PROFIT.

PERSONALLY, I'D BE PERFECTLY HAPPY IF THESE GUYS WERE GETTING STINKING RICH OFF OF THEIR DOPE. THEY CERTAINLY CARE ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THEIR PRODUCT!

DON'T SETTLE FOR THOSE INFERIOR BRANDS ...

TRY "ROGER'S OWN"...

WE NEVER CROSS-BREED!

I ALSO COULDN'T CARE LESS IF THEY GREW THE STUFF SOLELY TO GET HIGH. WHY SHOULD I? WHY SHOULD ANYONE?

NO ONE HAS EVER DIED FROM POT. IT'S THE SAFEST PSYCHO-ACTIVE SUBSTANCE KNOWN TO MAN, AND HAS SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN MEDICAL BENEFITS, YET WE SPEND A FORTUNE DESTROYING PEOPLE'S LIVES FOR GROWING AND SMOKING IT.

ROGER'S LAWYER MAY BE OVERSTATING HIS CASE BY CLAIMING LAW ENFORCEMENT DOESN'T CARE ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE HIM, BUT IF THEY DO THEY SURE HAVE AN INSANE WAY OF SHOWING IT!

[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED]

P. BAGGE '05 (PETERBAGGE@EARTHLINK.NET)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Culture and Reviews
Author:Bagge, Peter
Publication:Reason
Article Type:Cartoon
Date:Aug 1, 2005
Words:1292
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