Los Angeles Fearmongering Sheriff Lee Baca Stirs Prop 19 Cauldron

With Halloween just around the corner, eldritch tales of bone chilling terror abound. Oh noes! Razors in apples, Liquid-Plumr-laced chocolate, and the worst of all: DRUGS!

Within these stories lies a warning, an ancient morality fable: Nothing is free, and with greed comes a risk. There have only been two cases nationwide from 1958 to 1988 of children dying from eating tainted trick or treats, including one kid who was murdered by his own father with a strychnine-flavored Pixie Stix. Yet the stories continue because they prey upon our fears: Our spawn will be destroyed by (choose one or more):

  • Greed
  • Freedom
  • Outsiders/The Other ( i.e.: pagans, hippies, Commies, Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, amoralists, immoralists, Republicans, Democrats, foreigners, who live down the block)
  • Well, just in time to scare people about Prop 19, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office issued a warning about medibles, medical marijuana in candy form. The Los Angeles Times reports:

    Investigators have confiscated candies and snacks containing pot from marijuana dispensaries, and they are concerned such items could wind up in children’s trick-or-treat bags, they said Friday in a statement.

    Local Los Angeles TV station KTLA–owned by the LA Times parent company Tribune–showed medibles which were clearly decorated with pot leaves and had names like “Kush Candy.”

    WTF!? At $10 to $20 a medible snack, who the heck is gonna be giving out those candies?

    Officials say pot treats, such as candy bars and lollipops are sold in marijuana dispensaries and could be circulating around. “These lollipops, candy bars, they look pretty legitimate. The problem is if it gets in the wrong hands and a kid licks a lollipop, they get ill or intoxicated,” said Cpt. Ralph Ornelas of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Some treats look like regular cookies or candy, but they don’t smell normal. Another clue, many of the products are not clearly labeled (my note: they aren’t very commercial looking compared to say Tootsie Pops or Snickers bars).

    Both stories did add that the Sheriff’s Department:

    says it has never received a report of candy or snacks containing pot being distributed to Halloween trick-or-treaters.

    This is fear mongering at its finest. Oh how I wish Lee Baca was up for re-election. I would be leading the move to get him out of office!

    The warning comes days before Californians vote on Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure. Sheriff Lee Baca opposes the proposition and has said he will continue to arrest marijuana growers even if it is approved.

    Props to KTLA’s reporter who asked if opposition to Prop 19 had anything to do with the news alert. The on-camera deputy said the sheriff’s department was just concerned about public safety. Note that in this photo, courtesy of the LASD, along wth pot leaf logos, you can clearly see the word

    WARNING

    on the candy. I’d file this under pot-hating propaganda.

    Self-defeating propaganda photo courtesy of LASD

    Okay, Snow White’s stepmom handed her a poisoned apple, giving second marriages and witches a bad name, and there was one time on record that pot was passed out to trick or treaters. But that was an accident. Snopes.com reports:

    An odd act of randomness occurred in the town of Hercules, California (near San Francisco) in 2000. Some trick-or-treaters came home with little packets of marijuana done up to look like miniature Snickers bars…Police investigated and were satisfied the homeowner had no knowledge of the special contents of certain bars that were handed out that night.

    The marijuana packets dressed up to look like Snickers bars had landed in the Hercules dead letter office because whoever had tried to mail a package containing them either didn’t use enough postage or had listed an incorrect address…A postal employee (the mystified homeowner) brought the “candy” home to give out on Halloween, thinking the Snickers bars were, well, Snickers bars.

    Had pot been legal, this would never had happened. Maybe some news stories about the high rate of childhood diabetes and obesity would be more on the mark, or a feel good story about alternatives to candy, like pencils, disposable tattoos or maybe even used kids books bought in bulk from thrift shops?

    Side note: Since 1983 I have been doing an annual experiment. On the day before Halloween, I go to the market, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone. The set up varies, but the goal is the same, to see how awake people are. I always make sure to dress as square as possible and cover my tattoos. Glasses add an air of respectability and further the “normal” vibe. Thus costumed as a typical suburban mom and carrying a couple sacks of candy or a bag of apples, I’ll ask a clerk and/or a fellow shopper if they know what aisle the Drano is on. Then I’ll ask where the sewing needles can be found. If I’m with a friend, while standing near some people, I’ll matter of factly ask:

    I’ve got the candy, could you snag the Raid and some razor blades?

    Or I’ll buy a a couple of the above items along with bags of fun-sized chocolate bars–I mean you can always use single edge blades to cut out decoupage designs, and gods know buttons come loose and hems fall out…

    Granted, I’m not expecting the store manager to give me the third degree or be swarmed in the parking lot by the LAPD, but maybe a raised eyebrow, a gasp…Today I was at the airport purposefully holding my arriving guest’s name card inverted, and four people stopped to tell me it was upside down. You’d think–

    I may be a bit of a prankster, but what Lee Baca and the LAPD sheriff’s office did with that warning–which only served the sheriff’s own antediluvian agenda–was ridiculous and only furthers a myth which has been repeatedly debunked.

    Los Angeles Fearmongering Sheriff Lee Baca Stirs Prop 19 Cauldron

    With Halloween just around the corner, eldritch tales of bone chilling terror abound. Oh noes! Razors in apples, Liquid-Plumr-laced chocolate, and the worst of all: DRUGS!

    Within these stories lies a warning, an ancient morality fable: Nothing is free, and with greed comes a risk. There have only been two cases nationwide from 1958 to 1988 of children dying from eating tainted trick or treats, including one kid who was murdered by his own father with a strychnine-flavored Pixie Stix. Yet the stories continue because they prey upon our fears: Our spawn will be destroyed by (choose one or more):

  • Greed
  • Freedom
  • Outsiders/The Other ( i.e.: pagans, hippies, Commies, Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, amoralists, immoralists, Republicans, Democrats, foreigners, who live down the block)
  • Well, just in time to scare people about Prop 19, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office issued a warning about medibles, medical marijuana in candy form. The Los Angeles Times reports:

    Investigators have confiscated candies and snacks containing pot from marijuana dispensaries, and they are concerned such items could wind up in children’s trick-or-treat bags, they said Friday in a statement.

    Local Los Angeles TV station KTLA–owned by the LA Times parent company Tribune–showed medibles which were clearly decorated with pot leaves and had names like “Kush Candy.”

    WTF!? At $10 to $20 a medible snack, who the heck is gonna be giving out those candies?

    Officials say pot treats, such as candy bars and lollipops are sold in marijuana dispensaries and could be circulating around. “These lollipops, candy bars, they look pretty legitimate. The problem is if it gets in the wrong hands and a kid licks a lollipop, they get ill or intoxicated,” said Cpt. Ralph Ornelas of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Some treats look like regular cookies or candy, but they don’t smell normal. Another clue, many of the products are not clearly labeled (my note: they aren’t very commercial looking compared to say Tootsie Pops or Snickers bars).

    Both stories did add that the Sheriff’s Department

    says it has never received a report of candy or snacks containing pot being distributed to Halloween trick-or-treaters.

    This is fear mongering at its finest. Oh how I wish Lee Baca was up for re-election. I would be leading the move to get him out of office!

    The warning comes days before Californians vote on Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure. Sheriff Lee Baca opposes the proposition and has said he will continue to arrest marijuana growers even if it is approved.

    Props to KTLA’s reporter who asked if opposition to Prop 19 had anything to do with the news alert. The on-camera deputy said the sheriff’s department was just concerned about public safety. Note that in this photo, courtesy of the LASD, along wth pot leaf logos, you can clearly see the word

    WARNING

    on the candy. I’d file this under pot-hating propaganda.

    Self-defeating propaganda photo courtesy of LASD

    Okay, Snow White’s stepmom handed her a poisoned apple, giving second marriages and witches a bad name, and there was one time on record that pot was passed out to trick or treaters. But that was an accident. Snopes.com reports:

    An odd act of randomness occurred in the town of Hercules, California (near San Francisco) in 2000. Some trick-or-treaters came home with little packets of marijuana done up to look like miniature Snickers bars…Police investigated and were satisfied the homeowner had no knowledge of the special contents of certain bars that were handed out that night.

    The marijuana packets dressed up to look like Snickers bars had landed in the Hercules dead letter office because whoever had tried to mail a package containing them either didn’t use enough postage or had listed an incorrect address…A postal employee (the mystified homeowner) brought the “candy” home to give out on Halloween, thinking the Snickers bars were, well, Snickers bars.

    Had pot been legal, this would never had happened. Maybe some news stories about the high rate of childhood diabetes and obesity would be more on the mark, or a feel good story about alternatives to candy, like pencils, disposable tattoos or maybe even used kids books bought in bulk from thrift shops?

    Side note: Since 1983 I have been doing an annual experiment. On the day before Halloween, I go to the market, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone. The set up varies, but the goal is the same, to see how awake people are. I always make sure to dress as square as possible and cover my tattoos. Glasses add an air of respectability and further the “normal” vibe. Thus costumed as a typical suburban mom and carrying a couple sacks of candy or a bag of apples, I’ll ask a clerk and/or a fellow shopper if they know what aisle the Drano is on. Then I’ll ask where the sewing needles can be found. If I’m with a friend, while standing near some people, I’ll matter of factly ask:

    I’ve got the candy, could you snag the Raid and some razor blades?

    Or I’ll buy a a couple of the above items along with bags of fun-sized chocolate bars–I mean you can always use single edge blades to cut out decoupage designs, and gods know buttons come loose and hems fall out…

    Granted, I’m not expecting the store manager to give me the third degree or be swarmed in the parking lot by the LAPD, but maybe a raised eyebrow, a gasp…Today I was at the airport purposefully holding my arriving guest’s name card inverted, and four people stopped to tell me it was upside down. You’d think–

    I may be a bit of a prankster, but what Lee Baca and the LAPD sheriff’s office did with that warning–which only served the sheriff’s own antediluvian agenda–was ridiculous and only furthers a myth which has been repeatedly debunked.