It’s Easier to Get Forgiven Than Get Permission

“On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time.”
– Stewart Brand, printed in a report/transcript from the conference in the May 1985 *Whole Earth Review*, p. 49.

“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”
– Grace Hopper, As quoted in the U.S. Navy’s Chips Ahoy magazine (July 1986)

If you go to Potshot.ca you will find 19 separate issues of my magazine – Potshot – online for free. They are oversized scanned pages of a “clipping zine” I began as something to hand out at the “smoke-ins” I was helping to organize in Edmonton, Alberta, beginning in July of 1993.

At the time, there were no pot magazines of any kind on sale anywhere in Edmonton (there were only zines and newsletters in BC and none of them got to Alberta) and although there had been cannabis “clipping zines” (where news articles and other tidbits of information had been photocopied) such as Mary Jane from the mid 1980’s and Hempfest Times which began July 1993, I had not been aware of any of them when I began making Potshot. As I was finishing the first issue I got a copy of the recently printed Hempfest Times #1, and stuck its front cover on the back cover of Potshot #1.

As you can see by checking out the issues, the content is mostly photocopied from books and magazines, with a bit of commentary written in the margins and the occasional bit of artwork from the past or from contemporary artists. This, of course, is a form of theft, but, as I’m about to argue, it’s justified theft.

There is a legal defense in Canada called “necessity”. It is found in section 8(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Section 8(3) states:

• (3) Every rule and principle of the common law that renders any circumstance a justification or excuse for an act or a defence to a charge continues in force and applies in respect of proceedings for an offence under this Act or any other Act of Parliament except in so far as they are altered by or are inconsistent with this Act or any other Act of Parliament.

One of these “principles of common law” is necessity. In Canadian law, necessity is defined thusly:

…a liberal and humane criminal law cannot hold people to the strict obedience of laws in emergency situations where normal human instincts, whether of self-preservation or of altruism, overwhelmingly impel disobedience.

The leading case regarding necessity is called R. v. Perka, where it is written that “From earliest times it has been maintained that in some situations the force of circumstances makes it unrealistic and unjust to attach criminal liability to actions which, on their face, violate the law.”

The decision goes on to quote from Aristotle, Hobbs and Kant, and then points out that

In the present appeal the Crown does not challenge the appellants’ claim that necessity is a common law defence preserved by Criminal Code s. 7(3).

Since Perka was decided back in 1984, section 7(3) turned into section 8(3). That’s why lawyers have to keep buying the latest version of the Criminal Code: it keeps being updated.

To nutshell it, the defence of necessity maintains that it’s OK to commit a small crime to prevent a big crime. The small crime that I am committing with Potshot magazine is called “violating copyright laws”, and the big crime I’m trying to prevent by committing this small crime is “genocide”.

The United Nations anti-Genocide treaty was written in response to Nazi Germany – the war on cannabis users, growers and dealers meets every criteria that the United Nations use to define genocide:

Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

For those who wish to see a deeper version of the “drugwar is genocide argument”, I suggest you read an article I wrote about it for Cannabis Culture.

I am sure that those who take the time to understand this argument will come to agree with me that the drug war is a form of genocide against medically autonomous people, and that I am completely and totally justified in violating copyright laws with Potshot magazine in an effort to understand, explain, contextualize, chronicle, organize against and challenge this horrific war on soft drug users – a war on those who exhibit an intelligent preference for cheap, effective, often safer illegal drugs over expensive, ineffective, often more dangerous legal ones.

That’s why I feel okay about all the copyright violations and theft. I hope you will all check out the website – Potshot.ca – and let me know here if you agree or disagree that it’s justified.

David Malmo-Levine

Comments

12 Comments

  1. Paul Pot on

    A friend of mine once claimed in court that the drug war was a ‘war crime’ but the judge wouldn’t have it as it was not an actual war according to him. Later we realised ”Crimes against humanity” would have been more appropriate. Genocide also occurred to us.
    The authorities themselves commit extensive crimes in the pursuit of prohibition and the consequences on top, like the wars funded by drug money and the many nations destabilised by drug war corruption.
    The drug war puts the aggressive the incompetent and the corrupt in charge of nations.
    All the worlds current problems, if not actually caused by the drug war, are rendered impossible to solve as a result.
    The drug war is a disaster beyond compare.
    Thank you for putting these ideas in print.
    Legalize! Apologize! Compensate!
    Support ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana.
    War is Over! 2012

  2. Anonymous on

    whats your hang up RB…
    work for the feds?

    Sam’s comments are really interesting and all truth

  3. Son of Sam Walton on

    So facts make you angry RB. I understand DML’s point when it comes to precedents and bureaucracies. There is another book just as good called The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future written by Richard L. Rubenstein (intro by Styron). Most citizens cannot see ‘genocide’ in our drug laws, which glisten the most when you realize neighborhoods and homes and familes are destroyed and futures destroyed because of arrest records . . . but if you cannot do the time, then don’t do the crime, which further pollutes the struggle, so therefore we find a new arsenal called Genocide and War and 9/11: which is or was financed by drug money. Gangsters and a depression helped end Prohibition . . . 6,000 plus dead American soldiers, 9/11 and a three trillion dollar War with Narc-Terrorists creating a recession should end the war on drugs –precedents being from the former in the 1930’s right?

    RB, in your mind, if I was to tell you 1 plus 1 equals 2, it would be diarrhea of the mouth. Drug money kills hundreds of thousands in the form of genocidal finances (there exists in the world, such a thing called money and it is used for purchasing food and or death RB). Did you know that Hitler outlawed drugs to appease the League of Nations’ Narcotics laws . . . this means x amount of the 3rd Reich’s finances came from drug money –or is a war loving and murdering regime only going to use legal money and legally acquisitioned gold and money and property from the Jews to finance their war and ‘final solution’? Anti-Semitism was long popular in Europe and just didn’t spring up as a cure all scapegoat for Germany in her defeat of WWI and economic depression. So, where did the war on drugs spring forth from: Prohibition, opium dens, racism against freed blacks working the docks, British territory in China (opium wars), England’s war on Gin liquor, industrial hemp, temperance, too much cocaine and opium in everyday foods and medicines?

    RB, It seem like the most time you have on your hands is busy packing the bowl and flicking the lighter . . . you are a shortcut to thinking kind of person and one of the reasons why so many civilians (tokers and non) don’t do anything: you are ignorant and lazy . . . it’s a good thing you never attempted college, it would have eaten your lunch with all the research and studying. Did you know that drug money is responsible for killing tens of thousands of Mexicans in Mexico’s Cartel Wars? If that’s true, then how is the possibility of militaries and genocides being financed by X amount of drug money not true? Lack of action on your behalf (not having enough time or too much time on your hands) keeps the drug war going . . . your lack of knowledge on the subject keeps you from writing to your elected officials and spreading the word to your friends and family and co-workers and teachers etc. How exactly do I have too much time on my hands? Are you implying I have more than 24hrs in a day, unlike you –maybe I just use it wisely . . . maybe physicists and doctors and writers have too much time on their hands –is that what you mean?

    You’ve got to placate a bit and learn how to dribble the ball down the court . . . you can’t be holding your weed in your lungs and telling the senator or congressman that ‘this’ is some good shit and should be legalized . . . you need to grab them by the balls and let them know that you know that drug money via its conduit of prohibition created 9/11 and helped defeat the Soviet Union in the 1980’s etc etc.(Have you ever heard of Afghanistan –a nation whom defeated Russian forces and have been fighting England a lot longer than America has been? Know your history or be doomed to repeat it). According to Brown University and a 2011 edition from the NY Times: Americas war on drug money financed terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan and 9/11 will cost over $ three trillion, which means in a decade alone, the war on drugs for America (9/11, 2001-9/11, 2011) will cost $3 trillion . . . would you not count fighting a war against drug money financed terrorism and feeling the effects of a drug money financed 9/11 to not be a part of the war on drugs budget, costs and bill of sales? You need to learn how to read the whole book RB and not just the cover or a few chapters . . . don’t pull your info out of a Crackerjack box. Put down your bong and travel the world –go and see the real world –have a drug money bought bullet from a Sunni or Wahhabi gun graze your Kevlar helmet . . . go to school and write some term papers, instead of just smoking your rolling papers. Don’t act so intellectually challenged . . . the War on Drugs is real and don’t be on this site to drool over some nug and bud pics.

  4. RB on

    if u ask the son of sam questions u will get diarrhea of the mouth answers that make no sense.
    the guy has no clue what he is saying and too much time on his hands.
    read the book Nazi Justiz if you want to see the basis for what is discussed as regards the drug war being like
    Hitler’s war on Jewish people

  5. Son of Sam Walton on

    I only posted it once: I have no control over CC’s reCaptcha telling me it didn’t go through the first time. You could go to the local Library or you could google Narco-Terror and read DEA and CIA blogs or simply connect the dots when you read about Masoud and the CIA and opium and the Soviet Union. You could google the War College and Narco-Terror. I won’t post the websites because that would be me thinking you are incompetent and lazy and you are not since being on this website kind of states you are a free thinker . . . Check up on Oliver North and Air America and the fact that Nam happened in the 60’s and just so happens to be in SE Asia, where Thailand and Burma (Weed and Opium Havens) are. Read about Guinea-Bissau and their president being assassinated . . . and ask why . . . cold it be because someone in Europe inhaled cocaine through their nose? Cocaine costs money and comes from S. America, which logically must be flown in across the Atlantic –but as we both know, Africa is a lot closer to S. America than Europe is . . . read about Morocco . . . they are known for their hash and is not far from Spain and Morocco is a Muslim Country, which logic dictates X amount of hash money is funneled into various terrorist groups . . . read about Malawi, which is a weed haven and Malawi just so happens to be really close to Rwanda and Somalia just so happens to be not too far from Malawi and Rwanda and its only logical to assume pirates protect dope smugglers and get their money from smuggling to do further pirate shenanigans. If the CIA can use dope smuggling to finance and grease their operations (Iran-Contra) then its logical to assume some General uses dope money to finance some of his agenda . . . how many large war factories do you think exist in Afghanistan and Iraq? As many as were running in Germany and Japan during WWII? Even North Vietnam was industrialized, but Operation Rolling Thunder would have destroyed X amount and the fact that Nam had been at war with Europe/America ever since the mid-50’s, would have made it necessary to use drugs to finance X amount. Heroin was a drug during the 1950’s and sold illegally world wide (CIA and Marseille, France/China) . . . You see, Heroin use amongst the Brits and American beetnicks kills communists in China (not so successful), keeps Italy from turning Red after WWII, keeps Russia away from Greece, Keeps the Suez open for the Brits and out of Commie hands and it kills 15,000 Russian soldiers in the 1980’s in Afghanistan. Its simple deductive logic . . . you are not going to find one website telling you X amount died from drug money –no, you will find several hundred websites and books to cross reference –pick up where one left off etc to connect the dots. Even Hollywood uses the stats to help dive into the plot or characters –such as the new movie about the Navy Seals (Act of Valor) or From Paris with Love, The newest Rambo movie or even Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke when they talked about the Nam Grass messing one up –which is a cultural indicator that Vietnam was a hotbed (like LA, and NY and San Francisco etc) for drugs and buying drugs . . . the movie, American Gangster is a true story. There is no possible way to find a reference that says 3% or 15%, but you must use history, geography and culture to find the most logical answer. Have you ever taken a University, Logic Class? It is all about finding facts by using –let’s say 2% of the answers scattered over hundreds of indirect sources –sources having nothing to do or very little to do (or alternative sources) with each other and the answer you are seeking. How do you ever do puzzles if all the pieces are not connected in the first place? You fit each one until it becomes logical. That’s why drug legalization has very little to do with people’s right to do drugs or do drugs without going to jail etc . . . drug legalization has more to do with this Army being in power or this nation going through a civil war or this airliner crashing into this building or these people being butchered by the thousands. Simply look up Narco-Terror, Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau, Burma . . . it will take you a few years to research it all out . . . I spent two semesters of my Senior year researching Narco-Terror and don’t feel like spending that long again to show you sources . . . but they are there or I wouldn’t have a BA.

  6. Bud Grinder on

    Once was more than enough, Son.

    Lots of statistics there, Son. Care to cite some sources?

  7. DML on

    It starts off with simple discrimination, such as that experienced in the drug war, and builds in intensity … like Harper is planning to do with the drug war. He is attempting to create a “drug free society” – which means a soft-drug user free society – and isn’t hiding the fact, either.

    And genocide doesn’t mean killing lots of people, it means getting rid of a certain characteristic of a type of people. In fact, nobody has to die for a genocide to take place.

    Say, for example, all the governments of the world wanted to get away with the destruction of the Jews as people separate from other people, but wanted to get away with it. They could simply force all Jews to choose between jail and conversion. You wouldn’t have to kill a single Jew. That’s why Raphael Lemkin attempted to write the anti-genocide laws to include “forced assimilation” as one of the defining characteristics of genocide.

    If you read my article on genocide, linked to above, you will understand this point more easily.

  8. Son of Sam Walton on

    The Drug War affords regimes an X amount of extra funds to have their own genocide. It would be rediculouse to not concede that the Cambodia Massacre used enough drug money for 8% of their victims, which is 80,000ish lives killed with the funding of drug money . . . the genocide in Rwanda due to its location would have easily had 3% come from drug money (30,000) . . . Bosnia 15% . . . Darfur 20-25% (especially since it was Arab Muslim versus Black Muslim –the Arab Muslim would have greater access to cocaine, heroin, opium and hash) . . . how else does the blood bath over ‘blood diamond’ territory gets its start: dope, so Liberia and Ivory Coast and Sierra Leon would have had several thousand or more coming from drug money . . . the genocide waged by the Contras would have relied on roughly 70% or more and the genocide of the Afghan peoples by the Taliban would have closer to 90% due to the nature of the CIA and the legal Revolutionary Tax in Afghanistan . . . lest us not forget, it was drug use in America, Canada and Europe and not Russia that collapsed the Soviet Union in the late 80’s, since it was drug money that allowed Russia to lose their 9yr war with Afghanistan (War of Attrition).

  9. Son of Sam Walton on

    The Drug War affords regimes an X amount of extra funds to have their own genocide. It would be rediculouse to not concede that the Cambodia Massacre used enough drug money for 8% of their victims, which is 80,000ish lives killed with the funding of drug money . . . the genocide in Rwanda due to its location would have easily had 3% come from drug money (30,000) . . . Bosnia 15% . . . Darfur 20-25% (especially since it was Arab Muslim versus Black Muslim –the Arab Muslim would have greater access to cocaine, heroin, opium and hash) . . . how else does the blood bath over ‘blood diamond’ territory gets its start: dope, so Liberia and Ivory Coast and Sierra Leon would have had several thousand or more coming from drug money . . . the genocide waged by the Contras would have relied on roughly 70% or more and the genocide of the Afghan peoples by the Taliban would have closer to 90% due to the nature of the CIA and the legal Revolutionary Tax in Afghanistan . . . lest us not forget, it was drug use in America, Canada and Europe and not Russia that collapsed the Soviet Union in the late 80’s, since it was drug money that allowed Russia to lose their 9yr war with Afghanistan (War of Attrition).

  10. Anonymous on

    DML is attempting to prevent the following from metaphorically happening to potsmokers (ROCK ON DML!!):

    Babi Yar WW2: Naked Jews were led to a ravine about 150 metres long, 30 metres wide and 15 metres deep. The Jews went down into the ravine through two or three narrow paths. When they got closer to the edge of the ravine, members of the Schutzpolizei (Germans) grabbed them and made them lie down over the corpses of the Jews who had already been shot.

    It took no time. The corpses were carefully laid down in rows. As soon as a Jew lay down, a Schutzpolizist came along with a sub-machine gun and shot him in the back of the head.The Jews who descended into the ravine were so frightened by this terrible scene that they completely lost their will. You could even see some of them lying down in the row on their own and waiting for the shot to come.

    Only two members of the Schutzpolizei did the shooting. One of them was working at one of the ravine, the other started at the other end. I saw them standing on the bodies and shooting one person after another.

    Walking over the corpses toward a new victim who had already laid down, the machine gunner shot him on the spot. It was an extermination machine that made no distinction between men, women and children.Children were kept with their mothers and shot with them.