This one time in college...

...Mitch Daniels smoked pot.

Oh, and also was found guilty of possessing in possession of two shoe boxes worth of marijuana, as well as LSD and non-prescribed prescription drugs. [ETA: Actually, even though police found him in possession of well over a pound of illegal drugs, he was charged with a much lesser offense, which comes into play later.]

Anyhoo, he paid his $350 and it's all water under the bridge. At least, that's how Daniels (and the sympathetic journalists at CNN) would like to frame it. As Daniels puts it, "Justice was served."

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a website that lists the conversion rate between 1970 US dollars and time in prison.

As I see it, this isn't really about whether it should be legal to use and possess marijuana. And heck, two shoe boxes full of weed? To this day, my relatives who lived through the Great Depression stockpile toilet paper in case the economy collapses (see?) and Kimberly-Clark goes under. Beside, charmer that he is, I'm sure Daniels had plenty of friends with which to share that two shoe boxes* twenty-four ounces of pot.

Anyhow, you might have heard that Mitch Daniels is the Governor of Indiana. Oh! And he wants to be President.

I'm not going to sit here and say that Daniels' past pot use disqualifies him for holding office. [Off the record, being a horrible governor disqualifies Mitch Daniels from holding public office.] However, it's certainly interesting that in 1989, three years before Bill Clinton made a similar admission, Daniels admitted to pot use as no big deal. And then, he made his stance on drug use crystal clear.

Paul Waldman of The American Prospect, ponied up the cash to read an '89 Daniels op-ed in the WaPo:
In calling for enforcement of drug laws against even casual users -- publicizing the names of arrestees, at least minimal fines or jail time for those convicted and requiring no-use policies from colleges and other beneficiaries of government funds and so on -- William Bennett is exactly right.
Two decades ago -- half my life ago -- there occurred the unfortunate confluence of my wild oats period...After one party too many, two friends and I ended up enjoying the hospitality of the local police for two nights. We had been arrested. A few months later, a stern-faced judge fined me $ 350 for use of marijuana.

The effect was immediate, and it has been enduring. My young Midwestern tail was jerked back into line, where it has remained through 20 years of law-abiding, rather conventional life, which has included marriage and fatherhood.

See? He's married with kids now! (And therefore doesn't use drugs?) Anyhow, assuming Mitch Daniels agrees with Mitch Daniels' views on drug users, let us talk about getting arrested in possession of twenty-four ounces a buttload* of marijuana.

In Indiana, assuming the police would dare prosecute a straight, white, cis, Princeton student, possessing twenty-four ounces well over a pound* of pot (or even eight ounces, if we're dividing by three) is likely a felony that involves serving two nights in jail. And then an additional 178 days. At a minimum. Under current New Jersey law, Daniels would also be a felon serving 3-6 years in prison.

Interestingly enough, a law that Daniels signed in 2005 bars from Indiana public office anyone who has ever been convicted of a crime that, under local law "might", have led to over a year in prison. Any public office. Presumably this includes the governorship.

Daniels is still allowed to be the governor of Indiana only because he was merely charged with "maintaining a public nuisance." If Daniels had been charged with a felony, which prosecutors could have chosen to do, he'd be barred from office. By a law that he signed. So that's kinda a big deal. Unless, of course, you're Mitch Daniels.

*Ugh. So for some blasted reason I read "two sized-12 shoe boxes" as "two twelve-ounce shoe boxes." What the hell? I apologize for the rather embarrassing error. :headdesk: I don't know anything at all about marijuana, but I'm pretty sure that the amount of marijuana in question was at least a couple of pounds, depending on how it was packaged.

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