Marijuana Joke: Mike Marino Tells Funny Marijuana Jokes! – Stand Up Comedy
DA to streamline review of felony marijuana convictions for dismissal
After clearing hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana convictions, District Attorney George Gascon has a new tool that will automate the labor-intensive process for reviewing thousands of felony convictions for possible dismissal. In an announcement Tuesday morning, Gascon said the computer program will automatically determine whether nearly 5,000 felony marijuana convictions in San Francisco are eligible for dismissal or reduced sentencing and, if so, generate paperwork for the District Attorney’s Office to file with the court. Gascon’s office has cleared 428 misdemeanor marijuana convictions since January, when the district attorney began retroactively applying California’s new cannabis legalization laws under Proposition 64 to old cannabis cases. 64 legalized recreational cannabis for adults over the age of 21 and also allowed people convicted of marijuana-related misdemeanors and felonies to petition their cases for dismissal or reduction to a lesser offense. Rather than have individuals petition the court on their own, Gascon directed his office in January to review all 3,038 misdemeanor and 4,390 felony convictions in San Francisco dating back to 1975. As of Monday, the San Francisco Superior Court has granted 428 of the 528 motions to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana convictions that the District Attorney’s Office has filed since January.
The process for reviewing felony cases is more labor intensive, since prosecutors have to analyze criminal histories to determine whether a case can be dismissed or reduced under state law. The effort is also meant to remedy the disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs on people of color in San Francisco, where researchers have found that black people remain more than twice as likely to be arrested on suspicion of a drug offense than elsewhere in California. A recent study from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice shows that black people were not only 2.4 times more likely to be arrested on a drug offense in San Francisco than in California in 2016, but 10 times more likely to be the subject of a drug arrest in The City than residents of other races. The disparities persisted even as the number of drug arrests in San Francisco plummeted by 92 percent over the last three decades, from 29,200 in 1988-89 to just 2,414 in 2015-16. Code for America plans to partner with three to five other California counties in addition to San Francisco, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The group aims to clear 250,000 convictions by 2019.
Since the first statewide medical marijuana laws went into effect in California in 1996, the number of Americans with legal access to what for many is a pleasurable drug has been steadily growing. As a Schedule I drug, under federal law, marijuana is considered to have no medical use, although there are thousands of patient testimonials to the contrary. Today, in states with the most liberal marijuana laws, citizens’ access to the drug now resembles that of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, before the first attempts at federal regulation. Changes in federal drug policy during the Nixon administration loosened penalties for some kinds of drug violations, while expanding the powers of law enforcement and reshaping the federal anti-drug agencies to be more directly responsive to White House control. In 1970, Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which placed marijuana in the most restrictive category of drugs having no permissible use in medical practice.
The scheduling of marijuana was suggested by an Assistant Secretary of Health pending the report from a Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, headed by a former governor of Pennsylvania Raymond Shafer with members appointed by the president, speaker of the House, and the president pro tem of the Senate. As Carter pointed out in a message to Congress in 1977, anti-marijuana laws cause more harm to marijuana users than the drug itself. Ronald Reagan had opposed decriminalization of marijuana as governor of California and, as president, showed no sympathy for drug use or users. Drugs were drugs, albeit federal sentencing guidelines made some drugs much worse. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, which brought police into schools to lecture against drugs, was also founded during this period, as were clubs in many schools that enticed pupils to sign anti-drug pledges.
Concern over drug use appeared to peak in September the following year, when 64 percent of respondents in a New York Times/CBS News poll identified drugs as the single most pressing issue facing the nation, not long after Bush gave an Oval Office speech on the subject. Following the anti-drug campaigns of recent years, it is fascinating to note that today’s liberalization efforts have largely succeeded not by trying to shift attitudes about drugs, but by redefining marijuana as medicine and by focusing on the economic and social costs of the incarceration that has resulted from drug laws.
Back to the Movies
Marijuana and the movies have had a long, mostly potent relationship. Cannabis has inspired any number of cinematic artists, and it’s important to note how public perception of pot has changed throughout the years, with evolving laws and a recent explosion of smoker-friendly content. Marijuana has been used in an erudite fashion by filmmakers, woven into the narrative like a character in Curtis Hanson’s masterpiece Wonder Boys, the iconic Coen brothers sensation The Big Lebowski, and the underrated Leaves of Grass. Oliver Stone’s entire cannon feels especially indebted to ganja, as does Terry Gilliam’s psychotropic adaptation of Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Self-professed cannabis enthusiast Robert Altman left a misty haze over much of his work, most notably The Long Goodbye, California Split, and M*A*S*H, while his protégé, Paul Thomas Anderson, crafted a pot-infused ode to private eye cinema with Inherent Vice.
F. Gary Gray’s sly, smart, and hilarious pot comedy Friday still stands as one of the most influential cannabis narratives. The Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow connection has helped to legitimize marijuana to the masses, with box-office hits Pineapple Express and Knocked Up majorly emphasizing marijuana, treating it like a character as much as any of the leading actors. Musical biopic spoof Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story has some hilarious moments concerning reefer, the two Neighbors movies nearly give off a contact high, and the meta-comedy This Is The End carried a lit-joint torch of pro-pot components. Let’s not forget Danny McBride getting stoned with some sheep in Your Highness, which shared the skunky whiffs of 80’s cult-classics Krull and The Beastmaster.
High school comedies have consistently thrown marijuana into the equation, with Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused standing as cultural touchstones. Nearly all of Kevin Smith’s films seem to have been born out of a cloud of bong smoke, with the Jay and Silent Bob characters feeling like zeitgeist-tapping creations of cannabis-happy comedy. Greg Araki’s Smiley Face with Anna Faris is one of the more perceptive and giggle-inducing movies to feature a stoner at its center, while Jonathan Levine’s unique 90’s time capsule The Wackness painted a portrait of people’s lives fully dictated by marijuana, and how it can be used both for good and bad. Written by Nick Clement.