Last week we published an article on The Minuteman that was critical of the Senate Judiciary Committee for their actions regarding House Bill 1221 or "Andrew’s Law", in which they gutted the eight page bill and replaced it with a two page amendment of their own. Well, today the State’s Attorney for McLean County, Ladd Erickson, had an article published on the SayAnything Blog where he defends the committee’s actions.
Erickson has the same problem the committee has… an unwillingness to turn to amendments to fix perceived flaws in the bill instead of completely revamping or "hog-housing" it. Erickson’s position is just as unacceptable as the committees.
Yet, the best solution to situation’s like Andrew Sadek’s wasn’t encompassed in the original eight page bill. It isn’t in the current two page atrocity either. Nor will it be in the bill after conference committee. Why? Because this legislative body doesn’t have the guts to do what’s necessary at the state level to resolve an issue like this. Nor does the federal government have the guts to do it either. That is… stop the War on Drugs.
Andrew Sadek was caught selling just over 3 grams (his largest sale) of marijuana to a confidential informant. Together with his second sale, the total value of what he was selling was about $80. Yet, he was threatened with a Class A misdemeanor and up to 40 years in prison. If a person cannot see how pathetic and wrong this is, then I am not sure there’s much going on between their ears and rationale is most certainly not a part of their thinking.
Regardless of whether we agree with the recreational use of what Andrew Sadek was selling (and I don’t), that’s not the real question here. The real question is, "Who was he harming?" That’s easy… nobody. And even if someone wants to strongly disagree with it’s usage (and I do), is it worth 40 years in prison, someone’s life, and taxpayer dollars to fight it? That’s easy too… no, it’s not.
The best solution to this entire situation is to completely end the state’s involvement in the War on Drugs. That’s far more sensible to me than the discussion that will take place in conference committee over House Bill 1221. It’s far more sensible than to continue having law enforcement put individual’s lives in danger by conning them into confidential informant agreements.
Now, to be fair, would stopping the War on Drugs completely end the problems associated with confidential informants? No, because they are used for things other than drug cases. But it sure would end the problem for people like Andrew Sadek, who represent a large number of those who are confidential informants.
Yet, I understand. Advocating for and passing legislation to end North Dakota’s participation in the War on Drugs would require guts. And, quite frankly, our North Dakota legislature simply doesn’t have the stomach for it. So, we’ll continue putting lives at risk and spend millions in taxpayer dollars over things like $80 worth of marijuana and non-violent crimes.