Man infuriated that park rangers refuse to arrest cannabis smokers

Think of the children (Thanks, Steve!)


  1. While I advocate legalization, I do agree that while it is still illegal in 48 States, smoking weed should be kept to the privacy of one’s own home (or at least where no one else is going to complain). If the man was so bothered, why didn’t he politely ask them to refrain from smoking in front of his children?  I have no problem putting out my cigarette if someone asks politely. I’m sure the 420ers would have been accommodating if he wasn’t a dick about it.

    1. “If the man was so bothered, why didn’t he politely ask them to refrain from smoking in front of his children?”

      If the man was so bothered, why didn’t he find a different part of the (assumedly large enough) park for his family?

      1.  You mind if I let myself in to your house/apartment while you’re at work and sleep in your (or your kid’s) bed while your gone?  I won’t hurt anything, and I’ll bring my own towel and shampoo for when I take a shower.

        1. I’m not sure how suggesting that someone in a public space distance themselves from someone else in that public space is equivalent to breaking-and-entering and an enormous breach of privacy. Please do elaborate.

          1.  Mostly just working on the premise of “they’re not hurting anyone, so what’s the big deal?”.  Both acts are still criminal after all.

            I do fully support the movement to de-criminalize marijuana use, but until that time, citizens should not have to go out of their way for the convenience of criminals.

          2. ” citizens should not have to go out of their way for the convenience of criminals.”

            MORE HYPERBOLE!

            This is not what was going on.
            And calling people who merely smoke pot “criminals” is just ridiculous.  Please. 

          3. A bunch of stoners hanging out in the park ONE day a year hardly qualifies as a crime. The law isn’t as black and white as you may think, especially concerning pot.

          4.  Okay smoking pot when it’s illegal does make you a criminal. It’s illegal. That’s what a criminal is, someone who breaks the law.

            I do support legalization too, but we can’t just choose which laws to follow.

        2. Wow false equivalency….

          They were occupying a small corner of a large outdoor park, a public space which they were entitled to be in. Just because he didn’t like how they were using it doesn’t make him a victim, it just makes him intolerant.

          His home, by contrast, is a great place to enforce whatever rules and limitations he wants. He should go back there when he can’t handle tolerating other people’s actions.

          1. At what point do you start condoning illegal activity?  Yes, they did have a permit to be in the area, but that permit did not give them permission to break any laws.  A more equivalent example would be a very loud band setting up in and blaring 120db noise.  How about in the street right outside your house at 5:00 a.m.?

          2. A marijuana legalization advocacy group got a permit to hold a protest against marijuana criminalization in that park at that time.  So it’s actually more like a very loud band setting up and blaring 120 db noise in a venue for which they had already secured permission to play music.

            I see people breaking traffic laws every day and endangering my life by doing so.  They’re never punished.  How is endangering my life a less egregious wrong than smoking weed in a public park as part of a protest?

          3.  Ya, or if they had a permit to fire guns in the park and were spraying bullets wildly in all directions.  That’s just what this was like.  Pot smoke bullets, hitting passersby, and getting them high against their will.  Stop it, for the children!

        3. Not sure what drugs you’re on, but you might want to switch to something less psychotogenic, like marijuana.

          1.  Witty, and so constructive to the debate as well.  No wonder people value your input.

      2. I’m all for legalization, but this is victim blaming. I’m just carrying my skunk around town! If you don’t like getting sprayed, why don’t you stay out of the way?

        1. Unless they were following him around and blowing smoke in his face, I’d say calling him a victim is a bit hyperbolic.

        2. I’m all for legalizing automobiles, but let’s not blame the victims of idling – when someone has to inhale car exhaust just to cross the street at a walk light, all the motorists who don’t kill their engines at the red should be arrested for assault, amirite?

          1.  A lot of people WOULD like to see cars stop belching deadly exhaust…It’s called the environmental movement. Are their goals really laughable enough to be used a sarcasticc toss-off comment?

        3. In what way is he a “victim”? He’s in a public space, which means that he has to share. 

          People are going to use public spaces for smoking, sports, discussions, plays, improv performances… lots of stuff. People may be inconvenienced or upset by any of these activities, and they’re free to move away or come back during a less busy time if they can’t find an open space.

          1. On the other hand, drinking alcohol in public is prohibited – why is weed different just because it’s a smoking intoxicate rather than a liquid one?

          2. It’s legal to drink in public where you live? I ask because it isn’t legal in California : (

          3. “why is weed different just because it’s a smoking intoxicate rather than a liquid one?”

            Behaviorwise, alcohol leads to a more violent intoxication, parkwise it also leads to more trash.

    2. …why didn’t he politely ask…

      Selections from his YouTube Channel:
      –  Preaching Against Obamanation
      –  Raw Footage: Demon Spirits Manifest at Nation’s Oldest Penitentiary as Word of God is Preached
      –  Militant Mob of Homosexuals Target Repent America
      –  Commercial Against “Hate Crime” Laws

      Mark buried the lede on this one.  Repent America is basically another WBC.

        1. Lo and behold, it’s the stoners church. Where you babble nonsense at an uninterested congregation.

      1. He sounded normal enough on the vid, so on reading your post, in my mind he went from ‘concerned citizen of a conservative bent’ (LOL, suck it up, pal) to ‘utter fuckwit running nought but malware’ (suck shit, arsehole : D ).

        Doubtless it’s a sure sign of the impending apocalypse, wrought by the erosion of America’s Traditional Conservative Values by the relentless liberal commie onslaught, which is so plainly causing ever more untold suffering.

      2. I’m not interested in adding eyeball count for a hatemonger, but I must ask…do all his videos suffer VVS?  

      1. If they’re so bothered about everything they should stay home 365 days a year.  It would be the Christian thing to do.  Actually, the Christian thing to do would be to voluntarily feed oneself for a lion.  Now that’s a religiosity I can get behind!

          1. Dude, you’re barking up the wrong tree; you’re showing your ignorance, citing Christ’s intent like that.

            As any fule kno, select bits of the Old Testament is where it’s at.

          2. You kid but there’s some really great stuff on adjudicating disputes between cattle farmers in Exodus. Granted, it’s mixed in with “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” and stuff like that…

    3. I happen to disagree with you about the “You should do it in your own home” idea. Public spaces are public, and even though I despise the smell of cigarette (and other) smoke, I don’t believe others should have to limit their activities to suit my preferences. Plus, maybe they can’t smoke in their own home; they might live in a non-smoking apartment, be staying in a hotel, live with a small child, or have another issue that forces them to go outside.
      Asking politely is fine if he’s (for some reason) upset that his children are seeing someone smoke, but he shouldn’t feel entitled to have his request automatically granted or enforced by the police.

      1. This was a 4/20 event, not just one or two people smoking in the park.  He wasn’t complaining that his children were being exposed to smoke, he was complaining that they were being exposed to values other than his own.

    4.  While this guy seems to be a professional Dick, and you can question his motives and even the rightness of his request “asking politely” is SO often the wrong way to go, and hardly ever worth it. This may be followed by a bunch of anecdotes “IIII’d be nice though!” you’re not most people, and the odds aren’t worth it.

    5. I think that all smoking regulations should apply to all things that smoke equally. Tobacco and old cars. Get them out of my clean air.

    1. Not sure about this recommendation.   If I didn’t want a whiff of their smoke (and I don’t, any more than I want a whiff of a tobacco smoker’s), I’d stand upwind. 

      As for the rest of your recommendation, I agree.  I don’t indulge, but if I were there, they wouldn’t be harming me or anyone else, as far as I can tell. 

      There’s a good old fashioned Ann Landers, Dear Abby, and Miss Manners saying for these situations: MYOB.

          1. From the perspective of superfluous CO2 generation? The same planet.

            If you’re going to be fair about it, anyone who doesn’t swan about the joint by plane is basically allowed to burn their arse off.

          2. Burning a plant is not much different from eating or letting it decay it in terms of CO2 production. It’s carbon-neutral.

  2. There is only one crime I saw here: making a video in the wrong orientation. There needs to be a law against that. It is obvious that intense social mockery is not enough to change the way these amateur videographers operate. Please think of the children!

      1. Actually, I do have a monitor in portrait mode and I was peeved that the quality was so low that it only filled about 1/12th of the screen.

        1. I’m totally going to run a second 16:9 monitor in portrait one of these days, for web browsing. Would be handy for working on pics oriented that way too, along with miscellaneous other stuff.

          1. I’ve got dual monitors (like everyone) and have one set in portrait orientation and one in landscape.  I did it at first because I make maps in both orientations, but then discovered that the portrait orientation is far, far, FAR better for web browsing as well.

    1.  Honestly, the one one at fault there is Google. Seriously, how hard can it be to detect aspect ratio and serve up a differently sized player?

      1. Also Google’s fault- Android’s pretty terrible at not detecting and adjusting for orientation on my Nexus S.

  3. Your use of the word “infuriated” is pretty liberal. If this were a video of a man filming his encounter with cops at a border patrol, he would be described as calm.

    I’m for legalization, and I think arresting people for smoking pot is a huge waste of time and resources, but I think smoking out in public, around kids, is pretty obnoxious.

    1. “Your use of the word “infuriated” is pretty liberal. If this were a video of a man filming his encounter with cops at a border patrol, he would be described as calm.”

      If he wasn’t infuriated, he wouldn’t be approaching the cops.You can’t help being interrogated by border control and must make the best of the interaction.The contexts are why you are observing a disparity.

      1. Sometimes people act infuriated when they actually could care less or perhaps feel the opposite.  External overcompensation.  Either that or he just wanted to appear as a “badass.”  I put that in quotes because he’d only be a badass in his own mind.

        1. Or, if you go to his YT page, you’ll realize that it’s guerrilla theater like everything else there.

        2.  Parsing your comment was rather difficult. Do you mean “actually could care less” or do you actually mean “actually couldn’t care less”.  It’s the actually that breaks it for me (even an ironic “could care less” loses it’s irony when prefixed with actually).

    2.  Just curious, how is smoking marijuana in public around kids any worse than smoking cigarettes in public around kids or drinking beer in public around kids?  I only ask because I see dozens of people smoking cigarettes and drinking beer in public around kids (often their parents) and no one seems to have a huge problem with it but there are lots of reasons to think that both cigarettes and alcohol are worse for people than is marijuana.

      So is it just because you’ve been conditioned by society to hate and fear marijuana use?

      1. Actually, you’re usually not allowed to have open containers of alcohol in most public parks. It must be because we’ve been conditioned by society to hate and fear drinking. Oh . . . wait.

    3. It was a 4/20 event.  Smoking in enclosed public spaces is obnoxious, but smoking out in the park isn’t.  He’s not upset that his kids are getting exposed to marijuana, he’s upset that they’re getting exposed to values other than his own, and he thinks that the law should enforce his values on other people.

  4. Several years ago I was watching the July 4th fireworks show in the foothills outside Boulder.  A fellow nearby was smoking a bowl and was confronted by one of the rangers.

    He immediately pulled out the rest of his bag, ate the entire thing, and then before the backup could arrive, rode away on his mountain bike.

    The ranger seemed generally concerned after watching the fellow eat what looked like at least an eighth.

    I don’t know what happens if you eat that much weed, but imagine it runs far into the realm of diminishing return.

    1. Not much, really, probably just shit it out and I bet it won’t be terribly pleasant when that happens!  Might feel something, I guess, but it really needs some heat to do much of anything all that drastic.  That’s why people make “pot butter” or “pot oil” before adding it to, say, brownies.

      1.  You don’t need heat as much as you need fat.  THC is fat soluble so that’s why it goes well with butter or chocolate.  You’re right, though… eating it won’t do much.

        1. Actually you do need the heat.  Most of the THC in raw marijuana is in the acid form THCA, which isn’t very psychoactive, and heating breaks off the carboxls, transforming it into THC.  (It’s pretty slow below 100C, faster at higher temperatures, and above about 200C the THC evaporates.)  If you smoke it, or vaporize it, or bake it into brownies, that happens automatically, but if you eat it raw you miss most of the THC, though you do get some of the other cannabinoids.

          Making pot butter or other extracts lets you get the THC without all the green leafy stuff, which mattered a lot more in the 60s when people mostly smoked low-potency leaves, but doesn’t make as much difference with the high-concentration buds that are most of the market these days.

  5. As someone who really enjoys smoking cigarettes or “other” I really actively avoid smoking near nonsmokers or children. Not because of some moral imperative but because it’s a smell for one that people may not like or want to have on them and 2 it’s my choice to inhale whatever I’m inhaling and I don’t want to take your choice away from you.

    If I misread my surroundings and have a smoke, of any kind, I only hope I present a personal demeanor that invites someone to ask me to refrain or relocate.

    I only wish there was some polite way that I could ask people to remove cologne/perfume sometimes. Seriously when did smoking become worse than having a perfume OD or rank BO? It’s not just the health thing, because plenty of people shit on their health but go nuts about smoking anywhere near them even outdoors?

      1.  But there are so many things we accept that are bad for our own health or the health of others. I mean the moralization of smoking to the point that people give you shit even if you’re not smoking. But if you have BO or wear too much cologne or perfume you’re actively offensive all the time.

        1. Actually, when my nose was working perfectly, it was kinda easy to smell out the regular to heavy smokers, down to knowing that they had been in the room prior to me entering. 

      2.  The second-hand smoking statistics are pretty cooked, dude.  A whiff of cigarette smoke from someone walking past you isn’t going to do anything.  Frankly, the ambient car exhaust city-dwellers breathe daily is much worse for them than a little second-hand cigarette smoke.

        1. A whiff of cigarette smoke from someone walking past you isn’t going to do anything.

          Thank you for projecting your health onto the rest of us. If only it were true. However, in my reality, a whiff of smoke does cause an immediate closure of nasal passages, sinusitis and headache.

          1.  How rare is this condition of yours, and to what extent should society be obligated to cater to your medical problems? Not trying to be snarky.

          2. Incredibly common for people to react negatively to irritant smoke. It’s probably a majority reaction. I don’t give a shit if people drink themselves into cirrhosis in the park, because I can just step over them. But smoking should be done where it’s not going to irritate everyone else in the vicinity. Marijuana smoke is not particularly irritating. Nor is pipe smoke, for that matter. Cigarette smoking is highly irritant.

        2. Also, learn some biochemistry: the risk of heart attack from second-hand smoke exposure is close to that from primary smoke exposure because the two main mechanisms for cardiovascular damage of the heart-attack inducing variety are inflammation of the artery walls and platelet activation—both effects of which get saturated from very low exposures.

          The second-hand smoke effect is strong enough that you see immediate changes in hospitalization rates for following enactment of workplace smoking bans. Also, as someone who has published second-hand smoking statistics in the peer-reviewed medical literature I am interested in your sources on “cooked” statistics.

    1. Right on!

      I’m a considerate smoker and would expect to be bailed up if I anadvertently offended someone with my smoke, but what recourse is there for rank perfume?

      If somebody’s BO is foul, perhaps the bravest amongst us may take the person aside for a quiet word, but how do you do it with perfume? I used to work with a bird who’d drown herself in some gunk that smelt like Galliano, and the sickly reek used to make me retch, but I felt utterly powerless.

  6. are rangers even allowed to cuff people up in parks? i’m not familiar with us law on this. criminalization x legalization discussion aside, just sticking to basics, what is actual unlawful and lawful to do in that state.

      1. What seems to be happening is that local police (in white) are telling
        video guy that they can’t enforce the law because the activity in
        question is taking place on federal property.

        The woman in the
        brown, and the bike officer at the end are both wearing National Park
        Service ranger uniforms, so they appear to be NPS law enforcement
        rangers. They are the ones who would have jurisdiction on national park
        land. As federal officers in Pennsylvania, they also have authority to enforce state laws — but it seems they are clearly taking the more low-key approach here.

        1. The last park ranger clearly said that it was an officer safety issue, which I interpret to mean that they don’t have enough park rangers on hand to deal with the slow-motion, stoned riot that would ensue.

          1. Claiming it was an “officer safety issue” was clearly a bogus excuse to get the guy off his back.  It’s usually a bogus excuse for why the police violently overreacted or tased or shot somebody who wasn’t armed, but in this case it was cop-speak for “go away and stop bothering my squad, and don’t go annoying my boss either.”

      2. I thought after 9/11 the law deputized every federal employee down to part time groundskeepers.  For national…  excuse me, homeland security…

    1. Yes, they certainly are. As a former mountain bike guide I knew a few rangers. One ranger told me about the number of times he’d arrested people who were smoking weed–but, as he put it, not for the pot but for stupidity. He said he often encountered people who he knew were burning, but he didn’t care, so long as they made some effort to act like they should be concerned about his presence.

      The tokers who got arrested were the ones who didn’t recognize that rangers aren’t just cops, they’re federal agents with guns, handcuffs, and a direct route to a federal (skip local and state) judge. They’d just leave the bong right out on the picnic table and treat him like he was Ranger Smith, and Yogi Bear was surely close behind. 

      I’m quite sure he was telling the truth about letting the respectful stoners go–because he was telling me this story after interrupting one of my safety breaks on a tour. 

  7. When I go out to a nice restaurant, like Applebee’s and see deviants order intoxicating beverages like, “Bloody Mary” or “Sex on the Beach” to name a few! and then consume them in front of my family and nobody say a word, I mean come on think of the children!!

    1. In all fairness, if the consumption of alcohol involved vaporizing it such that passerby were made to consume it second hand, people’s feelings about using alcohol in public would probably change.

      1. In all fairness, anyone who complains to outdoor smokers because of health concerns looks rather silly considering that he passes hundreds of cars each days – perhaps even sitting in one. 

        If he complains at a campfire, he should lose his voting rights due to proven idiocy.

        1. Funnily enough, the cars here don’t have visible, irritant smoke coming out of them. Is it different in Germany?

          1. It doesn’t have to be visible and directly irritant – by the way, you might want to sniff at even a modern exhaust – to be unhealthy.

            I actually detest the smell of smoke and smokers (hyacinths are worse, though, the stuff needs to be exterminated) and will make a detour around them, but not for health reasons.

          2.  Try putting a fan in your window and not cleaning it at all for a few weeks.  Then when a nice greasy, gray grime has built up on it consider that’s what you’ve been breathing.

          3. And a few weeks worth of grime is somehow equivalent to an immediate and visible plume of smoke? Do you live in a non-temporal reality?

        2.  A lot of these same people would prefer, and do advocate for cars NOT to have deadly exhaust. It’s a little harder to lobby against though, given that internal combustions has some benefits beyond the recreational. Also cars are pretty well ketp out of the middle of parks where children are playing. In the summer in Prospect park, I DO find other particulates annoying as well. When everyone has grills going damn to dusk, the lighter fluid and heavy smoke actually does affect the day. I’m an occasional pot smoker, but smoking in a public park is beyond unnecessary.

      2. He wasn’t complaining about anybody being exposed to the physical smoke, he was complaining about them being exposed to values other than his own limited set. 

        I couldn’t tell from the video whether he actually had his own children there, or was just complaining on behalf of other people’s children who might be in the park getting exposed to values other than his.  

  8. Can’t say whether the individual in the video was being reasonable; can’t watch it at the moment.

    But it does seem like out in a public park is the wrong place to be toking up. It’s bad enough when people bring regular cigarettes to places like that; the smell is incredibly annoying and distracting when one is trying to enjoy being outdoors.

    But even beyond that, I put pot in the same category with alcohol, and really don’t think that a public park is an appropriate place for consumption of either. Yes, both ought to be legal (and IMHO other drugs, for that matter, but that’s a whole other discussion). But there’s a time and place for everything, and recreational drugs aren’t a “shared, public space” sort of thing.

    And yes, at least to some extent, this is about the children. There are a variety of activities that have broad social support for being considered poor examples to model for children. The use of recreational drugs would be among those.

    But more to the point, there’s a broad overlap between the collection of those activities and those that we as society also consider inappropriate and rude for public areas generally, children or no.

    1. In the 80’s me and my sisters used to ride our bikes to the little store near where my grandfather lived on the lake, and buy two six packs of beer: Bud Light for my dad, and Coor’s Light for my grandfather. Somehow, today, I turned out alright!Why is drinking rude in public, if you’re being responsible and not getting drunk? It’s just a fermented beverage.I really, really don’t get the pearl clutching.In fact, I see it s rather dangerous to treat as some forbidden fruit, instead of being open about it while also being responsible.

      I’m not big on smoking in public spaces in general, but that’s more a it’s-stinky-and-creates-smoke kinda thing.  I don’t think someone needs to be ARRESTED for it, but a fine would probably suffice. There could be designated places for this stuff, just like there is smoking cigarettes.

      1. Amen,

        and I findi t also always amusing here that in all the patios, on one side of the fence you can have a drink, and the world will be whole. On the other side of the fence you can have a smoke and the world will be whole. But you want to do both at the same time? Well, now little Jimmy will see you and turn into a chain smoking alcoholic.

      2. “ Why is drinking rude in public, if you’re being responsible and not getting drunk? ”

        Because of all Western nations, Anglos have a historic and ongoing problem with binge drinking.

          1. Originally North of where I  live, but we apparently kicked them out because they couldn’t hold their liquor and started drunken fights. 

            They then settled on a large island to the west.

        1. Not really a great answer. Does drinking responsibility in front of children cause them to suddenly start binge drinking?! Or thinking that binge drinking is a-okay? People keep saying “because this…” but there is still no proof of anything.  Just a lot of opinions.

      3. The short answer: for the same reason that it was a benefit to public health to prohibit depictions of smoking and drinking in children’s TV programming.

        Just because I think that drug use should be legal, does not mean that I think people actually ought to be doing it on a regular basis. And from a public health point of view, we start out on the wrong foot when children are raised in an environment that treats drug use as a normal, hazard-free activity.

        And just because pot is probably the least-hazardous of all the drugs I can think of (including the legal ones), that doesn’t make it hazard-free.

        In any case, the guy in the video wasn’t asking the officers to haul the violators off to jail. He just wanted them to take some action, like getting them to stop breaking the law.

        If we as society eventually decide that public parks should have a drug-use-allowed zone, then by all means…I have no problem with people using drugs in those zones. But as long as drug use is actually illegal in the public park, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to politely ask the officers responsible for enforcing the law to do so, as the man in this video has done.

        I find it telling, and not in a good way, that so many people are willing to berate him for doing so.

      4. @boingboing-8d8ab22b5c1096d6806bece836a2d0b5:disqus  Still no proof.  Just lots of opinions.  “Because someone else said so!” is basically your response. Not good enough.

        Maybe this guy believes it shouldn’t be illegal and is trying to take a stand.  That’s the way I look at it, and I agree with him.

    2. “And yes, at least to some extent, this is about the children. There are a variety of activities that have broad social support for being considered poor examples to model for children. The use of recreational drugs would be among those.”

      Do you find this often convinces others?

      1. The idea that we can as a society make collectively wise decisions about what’s appropriate public behavior and what’s not, and that sometimes these decisions take into account the effect on children?

        Yes, actually…when I’m not talking with self-centered, agenda-driven, personality-followers, that particular way to present the issue does in fact help convince others.

        Here? I can see…not so much.

    3. I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to have a couple beers in a park either, if you’re not being drunk and obnoxious.

      1. I’d rather see someone smoking pot than drinking. But frankly, both inherently involve “being obnoxious”.

        For starters, smoking (anything) is obnoxious, because of the smell and the difficulty in avoiding it.

        But being under the influence of drugs is obnoxious, because people under the influence have impaired judgment and are less able to comply with the social rules that keep us in a reasonaby harmonious existence.

        A drunk is probably more inherently likely to create a direct hazard to others. But I’ve been around plenty of people high on pot who were obnoxious and annoying in their own way.

        It’s hard enough to enjoy a public park, to be able to expect the other people there to act in polite, repectful ways, without throwing drugs into the mix.

        1. But frankly, both inherently involve “being obnoxious”.


          But being under the influence of drugs is obnoxious, because people under the influence have impaired judgment and are less able to comply with the social rules that keep us in a reasonaby harmonious existence.

          I know a lot of people who are far more obnoxious when they’re not smoking marijuana.

          It’s hard enough to enjoy a public park, to be able to expect the other people there to act in polite, repectful ways, without throwing drugs into the mix.

          Sounds like the problem is on your end if you have trouble enjoying public parks even when people aren’t indulging in your pet peeves.

          1. Just because there exist people who are more obnoxious if not inebriated, does not refute that drugs make other people obnoxious.

            Fact: the impairment of judgment of the average person using alcohol or pot is well-established.

            Are there some people who have such poor judgment in the first place that using drugs improves their general demeanor? Sure. But we can’t go around setting policy based on that least-common-denominator.

            Sorry if all your friends fit into that least-common-denominator category. Maybe you should get better friends.

          2. Okay, that kind of puritanical bullshit is one thing I really don’t like about this country. You’d  have to be fairly drunk to be more obnoxious than a sanctimonious busybody.  I don’t find people consuming alcohol or weed in moderation to be obnoxious, and, since I got out of my early twenties, I’ve hardly been in any situations where people consumed any drugs to the point that it made them obnoxious.  It sounds to me like the problem is the people you associate with, if you think that having a couple of drinks inherently makes people obnoxious.  
            (For the record, in Japan, where the general level of civility is ridiculously high, it is perfectly acceptable to drink in a public park.)

    4. I don’t think you should go out of the way to offend people in public spaces but you have no more right to determine what is an appropriate way to enjoy that space than I do. Barring particularly egregious behavior people need to learn to tolerate behavior they don’t condone. That’s why it’s called a public space. 

      1. Having a drink or a smoke is “going out of the way to offend people in public spaces” now?  No.  You can just like, go to another part of that public space, you know.  Look somewhere else.

      2. So, who gets to define “particularly egregious”?

        Fact is, I am not alone trying to “determine what is appropriate”. But as a society, we do make these judgments, and the Boing Boing community notwithstanding, there is relatively strong public support for prohibitions on drug use in public parks.

      3.  Your scenario seems to imagine exactly 2 adults in a large park. one who wants to smoke pot there, the other who would rather people didn’t. your arguments make *some* sense in this case, but doesn’t reflect reality very well.  Though we all may be brainwashed sheeple, I don’t think it’s unresonable for people to feel uncomfortable with the rather strong odor, and second hand smoke concerns to want to set guidelines for the use of a public space.

        1. The problem isn’t even one of guidelines but of prohibitions. I’m a cigarette smoker and have no problem with disposing my cigarette in a designated receptacle or smoking away from those who might not appreciate the odor but I do object to being prohibited from enjoying myself in a responsible manner. 
          Society should focus more on mitigating consequences rather than prohibition. That mindset does the most for encouraging individual freedom and encouraging mutual understanding. 

    5. So children screaming and crying is not obnoxious, but some people chilling out and having a beer or a smoke is suddenly rude?

      Your kids see people drink all the fucking time unless they live in a cave.  Do you take them to restaurants?  Okay, then they have seen people drink. You are just going to have to suck it up and have a talk with them, rather than hide it.

      I am all for being annoyed when there is annoying behavior.  A couple enjoy some wine in the park, or some folks playing boche or something with a beer in hand?  Fuck off with the complaints.  They are not harming you, and your kids are seeing nothing they have not seen before.  

      Now if a bunch of people are being louder and more obnoxious then your kids, you have a right to complain.  If some people are smoking right next the playground, eh, I’ll agree it might be a little rude.  If people are littering, you absolutely have a right to be annoyed.  

      The same goes for pot.  A bunch of folks talking under a tree passing a bowl are not harming your kids.  If you are terrified that somehow seeing reality will lead them down a path of self destruction, then either leave, or go parent.  The rest of the world doesn’t have to stop because of your irrational fears.  

      Just because you decided to breed doesn’t mean that all the other adults in the area now have to bow down to your list of child approved activities.

      1. Is calling me a breeder, or referring to having kids as breeding any less obnoxious than any of the examples you cite of bad behavior?  It’s certainly pejorative and demeaning.  At least my child running around and screaming in a public place isn’t directed *at* you.

        Were you not a child at some point?  Or have you apologized to everyone on the planet who you offended with your typical child behaviors?

        1. Is calling me a breeder, or referring to having kids as breeding any less obnoxious than any of the examples you cite of bad behavior?

          Yeah, I get really upset about all the birds that choke to death on the word “breed”.  No, wait, that’s litter.

        2. I said you decided to breed, which is a true statement.  If you read that as a pejorative, then that is your problem.  

          You also utterly missed my point.  My problem isn’t with kids.  Sure, kids can be annoying, but so can adults.  My problem is specifically with YOU, as the parents.  The kids are not bitching and moaning about a few adults having a beer or a glass of wine in the park.  Overprotective parents are the problem.

          The fact that you decided to have kids doesn’t give you a special status that means the world has to bow down to your neurotic parenting standards.  If you want to be neurotic and hold the utterly insane view that your kid seeing adults have a drink the park (as opposed to drink on a stoop or restaurant) is going to lead them down a path of alcoholism, that is fine, but it is YOUR problem to solve how to shield your children, not mine.

          I am more than happy to tolerate your kids, obnoxious as they might be.  I just ask that you do the same in turn.  Your kids get to scream and yell and spew noise pollution, and I get to hold a beer while playing boche.  I’m not asking you to get rid of your kids or muzzle them, I am asking you to do your own parenting and leave me out of it.

      2. Overreact much?

        Maybe I wasn’t clear, but I am not basing the basic objection on any particular hazard to children. But to think that they aren’t worth consideration at all is downright callous and ignorant.

        I’m also struck by the willingness of the Boing Boing community to dogpile on a guy described and belittled by Mark as “infuriated” when in fact (yes, I’ve had a chance to actually see the video now) the man was about as level-headed and rational as any I’ve seen.

        Maybe it would have been an “officer safety” issue to enforce the law and maybe it wouldn’t have been. Unfortunately, the video does not show the actual smokers nor why the officers involved might have felt they would have presented a hazard to them. But the requests to the officers to enforce the law were perfectly reasonable and made in a respectful, calm way.

        But I can see we’ve got a bunch of Ayn Rand faithful dominating this discussion, and for people like that, there’s no comprehending the difference between having a desire to engage in an action that is impactful on others, and having a desire to be free of actions that are impactful to oneself.

        The two desires are not equivalent. But a person who can’t understand that is also not going to understand why using drugs in a public park is just not a great idea.

      3. Children scream and cry as a function of self-preservation, and out of a lack of ability to communicate their needs with the same sophistocation as adults. Does not compare to an adult making decisions about recreational activities.

        1. Children have minimal control over how obnoxious they are being, but parents do have control.  Parents can always extra their children.  More to the point, I wasn’t arguing that screaming children should be banned from parks.  I was suggesting that if everyone is going to tolerate your children when they are being obnoxious (not to imply that they will always be behaving in this way), you can tolerate some adults quietly smoking or having a drink the park.  

          It is a case of mutual respect.  People will respect your right to have the kids run free and be kids, but you also have to respect the right of adults to also enjoy the park in their own way, so long as they are not causing over harm.  Your kids observing people doing things they see all the fucking time do not qualify as “overt harm”.

          1. I hear your points, for sure, but I would still give kids a looooot more leeway for obnoxiousness than drinkers and smokers. Honestly, I’ll admit I’m dipping completely into opinion territory here, but to me the difference breaks down to essential character and purpose of parks. I think a park isn’t a park where kids can’t run and play freely, but a park is still a park it you can’t drink or smoke pot.

            In terms of mutual respect, though If a kid jumped in the middle of your picnic and kicked over your wine, I’d take your side every time, no prob. I have no problem with drinking subtly in parks. If it’s not overtly noticable to a ranger, they shouldn’t go seeking it out. but I do see Pot smoke as inherently more pervasive and space-filling, and more irritating.

            I don’t have any need to shield kids from seeing people smoking or drinking, or being aware of the idea, but I don’t think overt pot smoking (and it’s pretty hard to do subtly in a city park) is worth fighting for if there are enough people who find it disruptive, stressful, etc…

          2. I don’t have any need to shield kids from seeing people smoking or drinking, or being aware of the idea, but I don’t think overt pot smoking (and it’s pretty hard to do subtly in a city park) is worth fighting for if there are enough people who find it disruptive, stressful, etc…

            There is nothing inherently disruptive or stressful about pot smokers.  On the contrary, of all the people to visit a park, they tend to be the quietest and just sit around quietly talking.  The only reason for someone to be stressed out about pot smokers is if you are a moralizing busybody asshole who can’t mind their own business.

            Those people need to fuck off and grow up.  

            Everyone should have access to space and be able to do as they please so long as they don’t litter or overtly disrupt others.  A few pot smokers smoking under a tree are not going to hurt you.  They are going to be a dozen times more quiet and respectful than a horde of children or a bunch of guys loudly wanking off about sports as their kids play.

            You are entitled to have your “feels” about how scary marijuana or beer is, but when you start trying to evict people from a public space, your stupid and irrational feelings make you a grade A asshole.  Seriously, grow up, and if the other people are not harming you, mind your own business.

          3. Hey Rindan, I think we ran out of reply-nesting below, so I’m just going to tack this on here. I wouldn’t necessarily respond at this point, for fear of  dig the hole deeper, but I read through your disqus profile activity and have a lot of respect for your comment history, the opinions you’ve presented and the way you’ve framed arguments on a variety of issues, so being considered a “Grade A Asshole” by such a one carries enough weight with me that I’d be bothered if I didn’t clarify a couple of things.

            I don’t think there’d anything inherently disruptive or stressful about pot smokers. Being a sometime pot smoker myself, I’m fully on board with your description of their general disposition. It was the smoke itself that I was characterizing. More on that below.

            My position also isn’t about evicting people from a public space. I realize that if you draw a bright line down the middle of this comments section, I appear to fall on the side defending the douchebag in the video. Not even close. I would support a relatively light ticket for pot smoking in a city park, one with a relatively high density like prospoect park, the one I live near. I’ll admit that I’m spoiled that I live right next to the park, so I can pre-game in my home as much as I want, though.

            I’ve fought a lot more vociferously against the cars that drive in Prospect park than I ever would against pot smokers. I actually think that the amazing density of grill smoke that occurers at the height of summer in such a dense park where people are exercising and playing is more problematic than pot smoke. Excesively loud music also bugs me more as well. If you’ll allow that littering is a public responsibility, I consider these things to be airborne littering, and should be regulated accordingly, a relatively light fine. I would also fight a hell of a lot harder for decriminalization and legalization of pot, and the release of all the rediculously imprisoned people under anti-pot laws than I would to limit pot smoking in parks.

            The pot smoke would have to get pretty oppressively dense for me to actively join the fight to limit it, BUT I also wouldn’t fight that hard to preserve the rights of people to smoke pot in a dense park. I just don’t think it’s an important enough right to angirly declare absolute freedom to express. If parents, or even non-parents have concerns about their children, or even themselves being affected, I think they’re overblown and wrong, but I do respect their concerns as genuine, and don’t think it’s worth just steamrolling them for the right to smoke pot in the park. 

    6. But even beyond that, I put pot in the same category with alcohol, and really don’t think that a public park is an appropriate place for consumption of either.

      Yeah, spreading out a picnic blanket, bringing out the sandwiches, pickles, fruit, cheese, fruit juice – all good.  But if a yeast has fermented most of the sugar in the fruit juice – well, that’s a public nuisance and should be forbidden.

      Honestly, sometimes I don’t see why we even bother picnicking in North America.  Then I sigh, pour my wine into an opaque water bottle, and set out.

    7. There are tons of parks where drinking is allowed in America.  Hell, there are parks where drinks are sold.  Including national parks.  Yosemite for example.  So if you “put pot in the same category as alcohol” then I assume that you actually support smoking pot in national parks, including the one that is the subject of this post.  

      1. Well, my main complaint about pot smoking is the “smoking” part. But setting aside for the moment the actual legality of the issue, no…I have no problem with the consumption of pot in a place where the consumption of alcohol is allowed.

        Of course, if the pot is being smoked, I would expect it to occur only where smoking anything else is allowed.

        That said, I support smoking pot in national parks only inasmuch as it is legal to do so. Since smoking pot is still a federal crime, I support the right of anyone to request enforcement when they see a violation.

        I don’t think it should be a federal crime simply to smoke pot, but as long as it is, I see nothing wrong with someone requesting that the law be enforced. Don’t like the law? Get it changed.

        Personally, I’ve got better things to do. If the pot smoking is happening where smoking in general is permitted, I’m not going to waste my time trying to get the law enforced.

        But that doesn’t mean that the person isn’t breaking the law.

        1. So  you think a law is unjust, but you fully support people enforcing the unjust law.  I am going to just go ahead and not invoke Godwin’s Law at you, and instead just point out that anyone who confuses lawful with ethical is an immoral person.  Depending upon how much weed a group of folks might have and what state they are in, you could be advocating for slapping someone with felony imprisonment for years and crippling fines because a busybody can’t mind their own business.

          Unjust laws can go get fucked, as can the immoral pieces of shit that would help authorities brutalize their fellow citizens for a victimless crime.

          1. You can put as much profanity in your post as you like, it doesn’t make your point valid.

            Not all laws are inherently “just” or “unjust”. Many simply reflect societal norms. Nor do I believe it is reasonable for every person to simply ignore every law they feel is “unjust”.

            We have laws for a reason, and a system for creating and destroying them. Acting outside that system should be reserved for only the most extreme examples, and anyone doing so should be prepared to accept the consequences.

            So, yes…a pot smoker in a national park today could be “slapped with felony imprisonment for years”. That’s a really good reason for that person to think carefully about whether they really want to break that particular law or not.

            Why is the onus on the person who objects to the pot smoking to avoid putting the pot smoker in a position where they could be imprisoned? The pot smoker themselves have the final responsibility for that, not the person who reports them.

            Really, it’s not that hard to just not smoke pot.

            Again, I’m not personally going to waste my time reporting the pot smoker, but not everyone agrees that pot should be legal, and a person who doesn’t has every right to report a violation of the law.

          2. It is true that we have laws for a reason. Just not necessarily the stated reason or a good reason.

          3. I suppose you are right.  We do have laws for a reason.  Marijuana for instance was made illegal because it made lazy Mexicans rape white women.  Also, how are private jails going to keep full with less than minimum wage indentured servants without pot laws.  Pot laws are also really good for helping to get blacks off the street.  When you do a stop and frisk, if you find some pot on the, you have the little bastard.

            Would you also defend the right to call the cops if you saw a black man drinking out of a whites only water fountain in the 50s?  Would you defend the right to report people violating sodemy laws that were still being enforced less than a decade ago in Texas?

            You have to pretty fucked sense of morality to think that it is okay to strip another one of your fellow citizens of their liberty and livelihood for years because you don’t like them partaking in a drug that is utterly harmless to you besides perhaps an annoying smell.  People like you who can justify any horror or depravity the state inflicts upon its citizens so long as it is legal horrify me.

            You worry about the ethics of kids learning the reality that people smoke and drink, yet can justify tossing someone in jail for years and stripping them of their liberty for something another person finds annoying?  Holy shit.  If your kids grow up to have a fucked sociopathic sense of morality, it won’t be because they saw a couple of people drinking wine or smoking a bowl in the park.

  9. If you click through to the YouTube video and read the comments there the only people who are posting are angry young men who are very upset with ‘repentamerica’ for posting this video. It is something like 3 atta-boys and 1000 posts being very internet mean to him… 

  10. I am guessing this is a 420 Event?

    If it is a permitted event where they are protesting the law the cops are probably not making the arrests, to avoid the press and attention it would give to the opposition to the law.

    This guy is an idiot.

  11. Some of the context is here:
    The guy is named Marcavage, of “United States of America v. Michael Marcavage” (precedential, 3rd circuit panel, 09-3573), and he is repeatedly arrested by the officers of that same agency for engaging in free speech in the same park.
    An extremely annoying man, promoting causes that many would agree are evil. So he is constantly arrested for activities that he sees as both a) good and b) constitutionally protected. Come 4/20, and he sees that in the same park there are a bunch of people celebrating 4/20, which a) he sees as bad, and b) is clearly illegal according to PA and federal law (Federal Park).
    On one level, it is juvenile “why do they get to do what they want when you always stop me from doing what I want?” On another level it is just the sort of confrontation and illustration of “evil being allowed to flourish while good is suppressed” that will go over well with his donor base.

    1. Heck if he has been taken in repeatedly maybe they recognized him and didn’t want to bother just cuase.

      1. Oh, most definitely.  The rangers are just humans, and if you repeatedly piss off humans, they are less likely to be receptive to your demands.

  12. Holy cow. Is this a Boing Boing post involving law enforcement where they are not villified by either the poster nor by commenters? I remember one post about officers saving a dog, and even in that one someone fullfilled Godwin’s law by saying there haircuts made them look like neo-nazis, another person actually posited that it would have been better that the dog had not been saved.

    1. I say nice things about the San Francisco PD all the time. If I ever run into any nice cops anywhere else, I’ll mention them, too.

    2. Cops deserve every piece of poo flung at them for the big blue wall of silence.  That doesn’t invalidate the existence of cops.  Pointing to and being pissed about systemic corruption in one aspect of policing doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate having cops around.  It also doesn’t prevent you from appreciating when they show restraint and sanity.

      I have had both good and bad interactions with cops.  When there is something wrong, I am happy to have them around.  Hell, they are often polite and I don’t even mind them around when nothing is wrong most of them.  On the other hand, if I am having a negative interaction with cops, and one of them does something illegal to me in the witness of other cops who are not participating, I can pretty much rest assure that I am utterly fucked and on my own when it comes to getting any sort of justice.  If I don’t have video evidence of what happened, I am screwed, and even with video evidence the chances of actually getting any sort of real justice is minimal.

      So, hurray for cops not busting on people minding their own business.  I’m still scared shitless of being stuck with a “bad” cop, even when the “bad” cop is surrounded by and being witnessed by “good” cops.

      1. I could be way off here, but I think those were actually park rangers and not ‘cops’.
        That said, you may have met a polite cop on a good day, but I doubt you met a ‘good’ cop. Unless they are arresting other cops for the constant criminal activity with which they while away their day, then that ‘good’ cop is just as bad as the rest.

  13. Some context!

    It was not just a few people smoking, there were almost 400 smoking as part of a protest (conveniently not shown in the video), and the group had a permit to use the park at Independence Mall. The dozen or so park rangers typically on duty at the park would have a hard time arresting 400 people even if they had the jurisdiction to.

  14. The police should just tell the smokers to find a spot where they don’t annoy anyone, some 20 meters from any alley or bench. Me and my teenage renegade pals had such a spot in a public parc some 25 years ago and nobody ever complained.

      1. What do you think you’re doing, burning charcoal in that public charcoal grill?  Smoke is a public nuisance!

        1. Depending on the density of the park, and the relative thickness and stench of grill smoke and lighter fluid int he hands of an amateur, this actually can be the MOST obnoxious. 

  15. Think is the key word in the phrase “think of the children”…

    I am a father of two teens, I was mildly concerned when walking the Venice beach boardwalk late last year. If you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about. The “Green Doctor is in” signs and homeless people begging for buds and lighting up within 20 feet of cops.

    But the message my kids seemed to take away from the experience was the people smoking dope on that beach were generally losers and not to be emulated.

  16. Why be rational or have a legitimate point of view when you can simply shout ‘Think of the children.’ to incite a little moral panic?

  17.  Kinda makes me think these cops/rangers recognize/have dealt with him before, based on their reactions. ;)

        1. There’s nothing wrong with being a pro provocateur, particularly involving the police.  He just happens to be evil.

  18. Pot should be legal, but come on guys. These kids should be fined for smoking in the park. Some kind of “open container” law for marijuana is completely reasonable.

  19. What a non-issue! He is a little man seeking some meaning for his existence as most of us do. He just wants to find his reason to exist by whining about the basically harmless behavior of other people. I wonder if he shows up in front of theaters that show the gore and horror of murder and mayhem. He walks by a crowd of people sharing and enjoying pot and it bothers him.? Me, I get more upset by violence and carnage which passes off as entertainment. I loved the rangers response to him. Treat him as the petty whiner that he is. Christ what an asshole!

  20. Compared to a pile of dog crap, overflowing trash cans, roving thugs, or random litter,  the prospect of a crossing paths with some smoke is not all that awful.

  21. Funny how people think they can take the law into their own hands. Go ride somewhere else if you are offended douche bag!!

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