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Google Caught On Private Property

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the dude-that-is-so-not-cool dept.

Privacy 668

nathan halverson writes "Google recently launched Street View coverage in Sonoma and Mendocino counties — big pot growing counties. And while they hardly covered the area's biggest city, Santa Rosa, they canvassed many of the rural areas known for growing pot. I found at least one instance where they drove well onto private property, past a gate and no trespassing sign, and took photographs. I didn't spend a whole lot of time looking, but someone is likely to find some pot plants captured on Street View. That could cause big problems for residents. Because while growing a substantial amount of pot is legal in Mendocino and Sonoma County under state law, it's highly illegal under federal law and would be grounds for a federal raid."

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Don't snitch.. (4, Funny)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350817)

Don't snitch.. online.

Re:Don't snitch.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24350871)

Yeah, i must say that was rather monumentally stupid. His BA in economics from the university of minnesota-twin cities is now blatantly out in the open.

Plus, i didn't see the pot angle once in the original story.

You probably just made a fair number of people rather irate and probably the kind you don't want to do that to.

Re:Don't snitch.. (2, Interesting)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351039)

He didn't "snitch", he insinuated.

But he did it so subtly and well most people think he found, or at least that there really is, footage of marijuana on StreetView. Actually he's provided no evidence at all.

Re:Don't snitch.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351113)

Don't even joke about "no snitching". It's a serious problem because people do not come forward to report crimes or give information. People are constantly exposed to this message through clothes (many varieties of 'no snitchin' shirts, hats) and primarily through rap.

It may seem funny but people really live in environments where the fear of retaliation for speaking with the police is so strong that they say nothing. The whole "no snitchin'" thing bolsters that message.

There is nothing funny about unsolved crime and criminals who go free because people are intimidated into not talking.

Snitch! (2, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351139)

Well, besides the fact that anyone who's got no job, an internet connection and a hankerin' for some weed can just go google-maps-weed-hunting... I think "snitching" is the best form of neighborhood control.

If someone is doing something that isn't right, and you don't stop them, you're basically helping them do their incorrect business.

Not that pot is 'evil', but ... all it takes for evil to win, is that good men do nothing.

Re:Snitch! (1, Funny)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351215)

So this makes sense! Pot = Evil, Google does no Evil, therefore Google does no Pot!

Somehow I find this hard to believe but this at least explains why they took these pics!

Re:Don't snitch.. (4, Insightful)

Logic and Reason (952833) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351183)

There is nothing funny about unsolved crime and criminals who go free because people are intimidated into not talking.

There is when the "crime" in question is essentially gardening.

Re:Don't snitch.. (-1, Flamebait)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351273)

oh and do you know what industry uses the most amount of ammonium nitrate? Hint it isn't demolitions. Heck with the right air mixture flour can be explosive. you know the stuff they make bread and cakes from.

oh and I would hardly call a field of weed gardening, farming is far more accurate.

what everyone who wants to legalise weed seem to forget in their weed induced stumblings is that it like alcohol affects everyone differently, and I don't want people driving drunk let alone so smoked out they forget which is the gas and which is the brake as they laugh and hit the car in front of them. Ever watch someone go chill man as they stumble across the floor while high on weed? now imagine someone driving that way. Alcohol should also be controlled tighter too, but controlling that is far harder than controlling weed.

Re:Don't snitch.. (1)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351363)

But dude, think about the rope!!

Re:Don't snitch.. (5, Insightful)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351383)

So your argument is that people shouldn't drive while high. That seems reasonable, just as people can't drive while drunk. As far as I can tell your argument makes the point that it should be controlled like alcohol, not illegal.

Re:Don't snitch.. (5, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351437)

I'm as against drunk driving as anyone, and am even more against driving while high, but I am also highly against restrictions on these things while not driving. You should be free to get high on your own time as much as you want, just so long as you don't try to operate deadly machinery while doing it.

Banning an entire class of substances just because you don't want people driving while under their influence is ridiculous.

Re:Don't snitch.. (4, Funny)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351449)

oh and do you know what industry uses the most amount of ammonium nitrate? Hint it isn't demolitions. Heck with the right air mixture flour can be explosive. you know the stuff they make bread and cakes from.

oh and I would hardly call a field of weed gardening, farming is far more accurate.

what everyone who wants to legalise weed seem to forget in their weed induced stumblings is that it like alcohol affects everyone differently, and I don't want people driving drunk let alone so smoked out they forget which is the gas and which is the brake as they laugh and hit the car in front of them. Ever watch someone go chill man as they stumble across the floor while high on weed? now imagine someone driving that way. Alcohol should also be controlled tighter too, but controlling that is far harder than controlling weed.

Don't post high, dude.

Re:Don't snitch.. (1, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351387)

There is also a huge difference in not snitching because you fell intemidated and not snithcing because you don't want to. You may feel a law is unimportant, unjust, unreasonable, etc and don't feel much sense of civic dubty when it comes to participation in assisting the government with its enforcement.

The former is a big problem that later not so much.

URL? (5, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350819)

Where is the Google link then?

I need "directions to this location".

Re:URL? (1)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350943)

1. Google
2. Privacy
3. Profit!

Re:URL? (4, Funny)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351275)

thc.google.com

The residents thank you, sir (3, Insightful)

gwoodrow (753388) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350821)

Well that was awfully nice of you to post about it on a prominent website.

Re:The residents thank you, sir (4, Funny)

ya really (1257084) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350881)

OMG, feds read slashdot? *hides*

Re:The residents thank you, sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24350973)

Pot smokers are ridiculously paranoid, news at 11.

Re:The residents thank you, sir (4, Funny)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350999)

by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, @04:56PM (#24350973)

Pot smokers are ridiculously paranoid, news at 11.

how true!

Re:The residents thank you, sir (1)

Oh no, it's Dixie (1332795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351033)

Yeah, this is what I'm thinking too. Slashdot is not exactly an obscure site, so this is sure to call massive amounts of attention to this.

Wow (-1)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350873)

Nice job, IF you wouldnt of noticed it and posted it on slashdot of all places, all you would of have done, is contacted google to have the image blur'd or removed all together, NO the retard tells the whole world, nice job moron (I needed to do this, been meaning to rant atlest once this week :)

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

James Youngman (3732) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351041)

Don't call the guy a retard, that's not very nice.

Anyway, would have, not would of. Sheesh.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

Eryq (313869) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351379)

You said it ... those kind've speling mistakes make me loose my temper.

Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (4, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350893)

Most pot growing is still illegal under California Law [canorml.org] . Under Prop 215 [wikipedia.org] you can grow pot for personal use provided your doctor has prescribed it.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24350965)

Excuse a non American dude here, but if growing pot within the boundaries you describe is legal according to the state, how can it be illegal nationally?

Which one of the systems has precedence?

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24350997)

On the books, national. One of these cases went to the Supreme Court, and they backed the DEA.

Thing is, the feds have no real way of knowing about most of the grow operations without the cooperation of local law enforcement. Or, apparently, Google.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (4, Interesting)

slugo3 (31204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351119)

Excuse a non American dude here, but if growing pot within the boundaries you describe is legal according to the state, how can it be illegal nationally?

Which one of the systems has precedence?

Excellent question. I believe the founding fathers of our country intended state law to take precedence.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351191)

Drug law falls under the Interstate Commerce provision, IIUC. Even for local grow operations.

Cue libertard whinging.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351201)

That's right and if I am not mistaken, California's constitution says that its own laws take precedence over the Federal laws. That was a contingency of joining the union. I could be wrong but that is my understanding.

Also, if anyone know of a tool to scan photos in "street view" of certain colors or shapes I would really appreciate a link. Feds usually take a while to get there anyways. I am only an hour south...... ;)

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (2, Insightful)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351345)

No, the Federalists wanted the federal government to take precedence. The states' rights advocates wanted state's rights to take precedence. That's why our government is set up how it is - to make sure all parties play nicely with each other.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351425)

My thoughts too. Only if it crossed state or national borders should it become a federal issue.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (2, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351243)

State law takes precedence, according to our Constitution. Unfortunately, our Federal courts are self-serving, and the Feds have bigger guns, so when they say that growing plants in your backyard for your own use is "interstate commerce," no one argues.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (2, Informative)

sleigher (961421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351313)

From a case about Prop 215:

1. The California Constitution, Article III Section 3.5 (c) states: "An
administrative agency...has no power. . . (c) To declare a statute
unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that
federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such
statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the
enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal
regulations."

3. The California Constitution, Article V Section 13 states: "It shall
be the duty of the Attorney General to see that the laws of the State
are...adequately enforced."

http://www.petermcwilliams.org/articles/1998%20lawsuit.html [petermcwilliams.org]

And your point is what?.... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351359)

I don't see dope mentioned anywhere in what you cite.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351451)

Excuse a non American dude here, but if growing pot within the boundaries you describe is legal according to the state, how can it be illegal nationally? [...]Which one of the systems has precedence?

Functionally, neither.

I think state, county, and local police all are deputized by the state, and so, AFAIK, enforce state or local law. Federal police of various sorts (e.g., FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, US Postal Inspectors, ICE, and even, and I am not making this up, the Amtrak Police [wikipedia.org] ) enforce federal law.

I live in San Francisco, where we allow medical marijuana sales and where the city licenses various operations to grow that marijuana. The Bush-era Feds don't like this, and so will occasionally raid large-scale dispensaries and growers under federal law, showing exactly how much they really believe the standard conservative lines about states' rights, trusting the citizens, and minimal government interference.

At one point, our city council was talking about having the city grow the pot itself, to see if the Feds had the cojones to come and arrest our mayor, but I think that blew over.

Interestingly, the local government is pretty relaxed about who gets access to medical marijuana, partly because we don't care much, and partly because they don't want a lot of records around for the DEA to seize. So by sending the occasional grower or seller to prison for years, the federal government isn't reducing the supply at all, but they have made it a lot easier for people without any real medical issue to buy pot quasi-legally.

Not that it matters a ton; I pretty regularly see people smoking marijuana in open-air bars or at public events in the park where people are drinking.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351011)

Wrong. It's legal if you are a provider for one or more medical marijana patients. The limit on the number of plants varies by county. Used to be up to 99 in Mendocino County, but they just had a ballot initiative that reduced it.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351231)

"Here is an interesting idea: Don't break the fucking law."

The one that says you can grow pot or the one that says you can't?

If your view is that all laws are correct all the time and that none of them should be broken, then please kill yourself now because you offend me.

Re:Small Detail: Growing is Still a State Crime (3, Interesting)

zenyu (248067) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351475)

Most pot growing is still illegal under California Law. Under Prop 215 you can grow pot for personal use provided your doctor has prescribed it.

You can also grow it as a designated agent for someone who has a doctor's recommendation under California Law. The main catch is you can't transport it to them.

Of course the federales can do a bust, but prosecuting people for trivial offenses which don't cross state lines is normally done on the State's dime; and I doubt the people of Wyoming want their taxes raised to keep all those California pot-heads in federal prisons if they manage to get a conviction. The feds just 'arrest' property, since when accused of a crime property in the USA is presumed guilty until proven innocent. Some individuals have put in a claim that their property is innocent of a crime and have had their pot plants returned, but this is rare -- and much more expensive than just growing some more, it is a weed after all.

It's not just the federales harassing the citizens of California. Some local authorities do it too. They are allowed to enforce the silliest of federal laws in addition to the local laws. But the brunt of the federal law kicks in at cultivation of 100 plants or possession of 100 kilos. Many growers in California consequently stay at 99 plants or less. You can get jail time for smaller amounts, but it's generally a misdemeanor and you also need to find a jury that will actually convict. Their main goal is to harass their victims and 'arrest' any cash they find lying around.

As to the topic at hand, you need to be a real idiot to install a road on your property without a closed gate at the entrance and not expect cars to accidentally drive down the road.

PS I find no use for pot in my own life but cringe at the waste of money, lives, and freedom the 'war' has cost us.

In other words (0, Troll)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350903)

People who are busy breaking the law might get in trouble because of Google Streetview.

Here is an interesting idea: Don't break the fucking law.

Re:In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24350991)

Here is an interesting idea: Don't break the fucking law.

I don't think many of them are, but they might be violating marijuana laws.

Re:In other words (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351025)

Here's a clue: not all laws are just, and not all laws should be obeyed.

Re:In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351193)

Here's a clue: not all laws are just, and not all laws should be obeyed.

Dealing with unjust laws is what the courts are for.

Re:In other words (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351321)

A law doesn't get tested in court until someone is charged with having broken it, and contests its constitutionality.

Re:In other words (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351327)

Here's a clue: not all laws are just, and not all laws should be obeyed.

Dealing with unjust laws is what the courts are for.

But not exclusively. We also have the executive branch, not to mention simple civil disobedience.

Wrong, courts cannot do that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351333)

Dealing with unjust laws is what the courts are for.

No they are not. The courts implement, interpret, and enforce laws. They do NOT have the role of declaring a given law as being unjust. At most, judges can make legal comment with regard to inconsistency of a particular law or other problems of a technical nature. And the dear public sitting in the jury benches has no freedom to comment on the law whatsoever.

Politicians are of course totally unable to repeal unjust laws. The bribe money is stuffed far too high up their arseholes.

Which leaves us with public disobediance and concerted pressure on corporates as the only means of "dealing with unjust laws".

Re:In other words (4, Insightful)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351485)

Dealing with unjust laws is what the courts are for.

At least in the US, that is 100% wrong. Courts are for interpreting laws and dealing with conflicts, real and apparent, between various layers of the law.

Dealing with unjust laws is explicitly not part of their remit. A relevant example to this case: someone growing or selling medical marijuana, even when they have a municipal license and are paying all their taxes, may not mention the medical nature of their selling in federal court, because the law in question doesn't excuse that.

Dealing with unjust laws is the responsibility of the citizenry. And, supposedly, the politicians, but I think they've forgotten.

Re:In other words (1)

geekymachoman (1261484) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351029)

"I found at least one instance where they drove well unto private property, past a gate and no trespassing sign, and took photographs."

This is "breaking the law" too in america, am I right ?

Trespassing at the private property, taking pictures, and putting it on the web for whole world to see without permission.

Re:In other words (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351057)

People who are busy breaking the law might get in trouble because of Google Streetview.

Here is an interesting idea: Don't break the fucking law.

Or when breaking the law, don't do it in plain sight.

Re:In other words (2, Insightful)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351373)

Generally speaking, things you do behind fences and no trespassing signs in the middle of nowhere aren't "in plain sight."

Re:In other words (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351061)

I didn't spend a whole lot of time looking, but someone is likely to find some pot plants captured on Street View. That could cause big problems for residents.

Good thing you didn't go making a news posting about this and have thousands of people combing the pictures for illegal activity.

Re:In other words (4, Interesting)

IvyKing (732111) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351067)

Here is an interesting idea: Don't break the fucking law.

I hope you intended that to apply to Google as well - trespassing is breaking the law.

It might take a shitload of well deserved invasion of privacy lawsuits against Google for them to get their act together and do the Streetview correctly. Whoever planned the picture taking for Streetview obviously had little experience with the laws relating to photography - wonder if anyone there ever heard of a "model release".

Re:In other words (5, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351131)

Actually for incidental exposure in public you don't need a model release. Otherwise you would be royally screwed anytime you took a shot in a stadium, at the beach, etc.

Re:In other words (1)

cicatrix1 (123440) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351085)

Thing is, though, it's legal for the state but not for the nation. Who do you listen to?

Re:In other words (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351153)

Unless the state is going to defend you when the feds come, I'd listen to the feds.

Re:In other words (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351263)

Thing is, though, it's legal for the state but not for the nation. Who do you listen to?

How likely is it that the feds would contravene state law on state territory by arresting law abiding (from the state's perspective) citizens? On a practical level, that's what it comes down to. There are so many laws, many more designed for the benefit of corporations than citizens, that which laws you obey and which you break comes down to an assessment of risk.

The phrase "We are a country of laws" is essentially meaningless now. Ethics and morals are becoming exclusively the province of the individual, so here's hoping individuals remain good people for the most part.

Re:In other words (1)

Awperator (783768) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351117)

Wait, is this Slashdot that I'm on. I thought we would be raising an outcry for google encroaching on private property?

Re:In other words (5, Insightful)

tom's a-cold (253195) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351123)

Let's prioritize. Start with dealing with those who are "breaking the fucking law" forbidding wars of aggression and torture. Then let's go after the ones swindling people out of billions. Then smaller-scale violent crime. Once we're done with those problems, maybe we can go after a few granola-munchers growing pot in their backyards, unless by that time the US gets its collective head unwedged and repeals the inane and repressive laws against cannabis.

Incidentally I'm not a cannabis user or grower. I don't like the high and make my money in other ways. I'm for legalization because it's the right thing to do, not because there's anything in it for me personally.

Re:In other words (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351141)

Or at least work to get the law repealed. Selective, arbitrary enforcement merely creates contempt for all laws.

Re:In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351245)

And if the law was that profanity on a public forum was illegal? :)

Re:In other words (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351247)

I take it you missed the recent article posted on /. discussing the fallacy of the "why do you need privacy if you have nothing to hide?" argument. Basically the article pointed out that the argument uses a crappy, narrow definition of "privacy." But I'd like to add a point that the article may not have emphasized enough: somebody's status as a criminal has NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on whether they have a right to privacy. This is an incredibly important part of privacy law. I'd recommend Koestler's "Darkness at Noon" to you because it gives a great demonstration of how that argument can be abused (and how it WAS abused, in Stalinist Russia). If we can justify a breach of privacy by calling someone a criminal, then all we have to do is make a criminal out of everyone whose privacy we'd like to breach.

Re:In other words (4, Insightful)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351305)

It's not black and white, and by treating it as such you risk disingenuousness. In this case there are different laws on the books for the same thing at the municipal, state, and federal level. Why? Because it's a hotly contested issue, which also means that some people feel strongly enough about it to put themselves at risk. Possession of even a decent amount in CA is a civil offense. A parking ticket. You don't have any of those, do you? Are you confident that everything in your house is up to building code?

Some people don't agree with having penalties for thoughtcrime. Some just think they can get away with it. I realize that laws are not "made to be broken", but those who defended the status quo during Jim Crow or Prohibition became history's losers, and rightly so. Plus, consider again the loss of privacy. I trust the system more than I trust some self-appointed vigilantes with internet access. But if this makes mainstream news, they will be judged and sentenced long before any cop arrives at their place.

Funny thing about the law: it applies to companies like Google just as well. Their quest to index the universe is at odds with people's right to privacy. Too bad. Find a business model that doesn't involve breaking the law. This is not the first of these stories. They lose the benefit of the doubt. I am left with one conclusion: that there's an unspoken rule for these drivers: "ignore those gates and signs, or we'll replace you with someone who will."

Re:In other words (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351371)

Here is an interesting idea: Don't break the fucking law.

Dude, like have some pot and lighten up
     

Re:In other words (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351455)

Ah yes, good old "If you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide" rears its ugly head again. It was wrong the first time it was said and it's wrong now.

Re:In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351487)

Here's another idea. Fuck you asshole I hope you get a cavity search at your next DUI stop cock sucker.

Legal locally but illegal on the federal level (2, Interesting)

tecknoh (1138163) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350931)

I am by no means well versed in this area of law. However, it makes no sense to me whatsoever how under state law, the growing of pot is legal, but illegal under federal law.

How can a state tell you that you are allowed to violate a federal law? And, what happens if the feds do raid? Would you be able to make an arguable case in court on the premise that the state in which you reside said it is ok to violate the federal law?

Hoping someone can shed a little more light on this.

Re:Legal locally but illegal on the federal level (5, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351093)

I am by no means well versed in this area of law. However, it makes no sense to me whatsoever how under state law, the growing of pot is legal, but illegal under federal law. How can a state tell you that you are allowed to violate a federal law? And, what happens if the feds do raid? Would you be able to make an arguable case in court on the premise that the state in which you reside said it is ok to violate the federal law?

It works like this, if the state has no law against it and policies in place, the majority of law enforcement (state troopers, county sheriffs, city police, etc.) don't bother you. The only way to get "busted" is if the FBI, BATF, etc. discovers what you are doing and goes after you. There is little the state can do to prevent that, but it makes it highly unlikely you will be arrested because the feds don't have the manpower.

In at least one instance California was distributing medical marijuana through the state police, since state police are immune to federal prosecution for possession of illicit drugs in the course of their duty. Basically, it is just a way for a state to be as uncooperative with federal laws they disagree with.

Re:Legal locally but illegal on the federal level (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351103)

It's a matter of enforcement. The local gendarmes are more plentiful than the feds. If the feds bust you, they're a higher court and precedent says you're screwed if you're growing pot in CA.

Whether you argue for or against pot consumption is moot. If feds want to use google earth, it'll be tough to reason with a judge to get a warrant and bust someone, as google was acting illegally when they took the pics.

At all levels, LEOs know where drugs are grown in CA. It's up to them to decide whether it's worth dragging it thru the courts when there are lot of other important things to do.

Re:Legal locally but illegal on the federal level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351419)

Just a nitpick, but... Californian police are not gendarmes.

Gendarmes are, by definition, military. American police are civilians.

Re:Legal locally but illegal on the federal level (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351471)

Pick your own nits. From Dictionary dot com:

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
genÂdarme Audio Help [zhahn-dahrm; Fr. zhahn-darm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
â"noun, plural -darmes Audio Help [-dahrmz; Fr. -darm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation.
1. a police officer in any of several European countries, esp. a French police officer.
2. a soldier, esp. in France, serving in an army group acting as armed police with authority over civilians.
3. (formerly) a cavalryman in charge of a French cavalry squad.

Re:Legal locally but illegal on the federal level (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351185)

IANAL, but it's not particularly complex. It's quite easy for something to be legal in a state and illegal at a Federal level. States are not obliged to maintain mirror images of the Federal code, and it wouldn't be practical anyway.

If the Feds raid, then the Feds raid. The case would be tried in a Federal court, and Federal law would apply. An argument based on state law would fail miserably, because no one would be accused of breaking state law.

Think of a child in school; he can't stab his teacher and expect to get off simply because the school has no rules forbidding it. State law would still apply.

Laws do not generally permit so much as they neglect to forbid.

Re:Legal locally but illegal on the federal level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351221)

How can a state tell you that you are allowed to violate a federal law?

That's a very long story having to with the USA being the United States of America. It was envisioned that the majority of the governing is done by the states and very little by the Feds. The Feds weren't supposed to interfere in the internal affairs of the states except for specific examples in the the US constitution.

This is one reason the USA has their Electoral College system. The US president is not directly elected by the people, but by the representatives of the states. It is up to each state to decide how to elect their Electoral College representatives. Some use winner-take-all, some use the fraction of the popular vote.

However, using the "interstate commerce" clause of the US constitution, and the cooperation of the courts, the Feds have developed the legal power to override almost any state law by claiming it falls under interstate commerce (which the constitution reserves for the Feds to regulate).

A better question is how a city like San Francisco [michellemalkin.com] openly violates Federal law. SF is openly shielding illegal immigrants who commit serious felonies from deportation.

And, what happens if the feds do raid? Would you be able to make an arguable case in court on the premise that the state in which you reside said it is ok to violate the federal law?

Sorry, no. If it falls under Federal jurisdiction, state law doesn't matter. Your only hope is to argue that the Feds don't have jurisdiction.

Re:Legal locally but illegal on the federal level (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351255)

It just means there will be no "The State VS You".

They're efectively saying they're not going to waste the states tax dollars prosecuting someone the Federal Government is already going to handle.

Whatever happened to liberty? (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351301)

What I want to know is how in the hell did we get to the point of allowing any governmental body to declare a plant that grows normally in nature to be illegal on the grounds that it is bad for us? Sticking a knife in my eyes or eating poisonous mushroom or rubbing poisin ivy all over my body is bad for me too, you know. Do I need a f*cking federal law for that? I don't think so. I am tired of people being so complacent about their liberty as to allow the government to walk all over them.

We should vote every politician out of office who supports these kinds of dumb laws that infringe on the people's freedom or insult their intelligence.

Its not google you dolt (4, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350961)

its whatever local company they contracted to do that business. they contract different companies in every country.

Re:Its not google you dolt (3, Insightful)

kjart (941720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351499)

That excuse is very weak - when you pay someone to do something, you take responsibility for the things they do to that end. You don't let a company off the hook for poor service because they outsource support to India, and people certainly don't get off the hook if they hire someone to murder someone for them.

Ambiguious article. Also, drugs are bad, m'kay? (1)

MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350975)

And this article is about what? Are you (1) complaining about Google trespassing, (2) about pictures taken being incriminating for civilians, (3) about the preponderance of pot in the locales mentioned, or (4) an indirect pot shot at drugs not being legal?

Drugs are social nuisances and cause problems. While I wouldn't like Google people walking over my back yard, I don't see why revealing where growing of illegal drugs take place is a problem.

Re:Ambiguious article. Also, drugs are bad, m'kay? (2, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351369)

"Drugs are social nuisances and cause problems. " If everything that's a "social nuisance" and that causes problems is going to be a crime, there's not a lot left we'll be able to do. Just about EVERYTHING is a nuisance to someone.

Clarification of legal situation? (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350981)

As someone from outside the US, I'm a bit (actually, rather much) stumped by the claim
that the legal status of doing something depends on who looks at the matter.

I know there are differing laws about some things e.g. in Germany on state and federal level,
but there are exact procedures on how to resolve such a conflict of law, and by result, in a single
place, something is either legal or not.
Completely independent from whether a matter is handled by state or federal police.

I would have suspected the same here: That in one place, doing $foo is either legal or not.
That this may very well differ from the legality of doing $foo in another place.
But that it would never be legal or illegal in a single place, just depending on who checks on people doing $foo.

Can anyone explain that please?

Re:Clarification of legal situation? (1)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351145)

Article 6 of the US Constitution: "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;"

Re:Clarification of legal situation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351267)

State authorities (courts and police) have no right to enforce Federal law.

Federal authorities have no right to enforce state law.

So, in this particular case, the pot growing is just plain illegal, because Federal law forbids it. It's illegal in the United States. Done. (The only exception to this would be if the Federal drug code were found unconstitutional, which is highly unlikely.)

On the other hand, it's not additionally illegal in California, and as Californian authorities handle day-to-day enforcement, the pot-growers have nothing in particular to fear from the police.

In the event the DEA conducted a raid, then the pot-growers would probably be looking at prison.

As an aside, the captcha for this post is, "vibrator." Which probably wouldn't matter if I hadn't accidentally hit the mp3 link. People are staring at me now. Thanks, slashdot!

Re:Clarification of legal situation? (1)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351281)

California state legislators passed a feel-good law to restrict local police from arresting marijuana users holding a state issued medical prescription. Federal law holds that it is always illegal to possess marijuana and will win in court every time. The main discrepancy is that California's law hasn't been taken to court yet to be struck down. And congress, with its 9% approval rating, is too scared or weak to withhold federal funds from the state for this is practically everything else.

Re:Clarification of legal situation? (2, Informative)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351355)

There are two sovereigns in play here, the regional California state government and the United States federal government.

California, the regional government, has indicated that it doesn't violate California law, in some circumstances, to grow marijuana. California based law enforcement is under compulsion by state law to go after people growing marijuana in these circumstances.

At the same time, however, there is a federal law that says that growing marijuana is illegal under all (I think, maybe excepting research?) circumstances. Federal law on this point preempts (trumps, overrules) state law on this point, thanks to the federal constitution.

So, because federal law preempts state law on this point, the activity IS illegal in California. Federal law enforcement (mostly the FBI) have the authority to, and will, enforce the law in California. California law enforcement doesn't care as much, and hence is laid back about enforcement. I'm under the impression that state authorities still do have the power to enforce federal law, but don't hold me to that point.

Now, there's also municipal (town, city, county) level legislation and enforcement, which adds yet another wrinkle to this mess.

But yeah, in general, if the federal government makes something illegal, it's illegal nationwide regardless of what a state might say. The only impact of state legalization is that state enforcement will be non-existent for state laws and at least lax on federal law.

Did that help at all?

Re:Clarification of legal situation? (2)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351365)

Dear neighbour, could you please tell me which laws from Brussels take precedence over national laws and which do not? The balance between state and federal government in the US might be unhealthy, but I'm not very reassured the EU is turning out to be any better.

Your pot smoking neighbour from the west coast (Holland, not California).

... but did Google inhale ... ? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24350995)

... great, CNN has iReporters, now it seems that we have iCops as well ...

Re:... but did Google inhale ... ? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351467)

Google is the new G-Man [wikipedia.org] .

Yea and? (3, Interesting)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351005)

Look, if you haven't figured out that Google and the governments of the countries they are in work closely together on everything from data mining to monitoring your activities by now... well you're just a fool.

That's what we pay the CIA and DHS security goon squads to do, spy on everyone (but you of course, you're special and they aren't watching you).

Re:Gub'ment agencies (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351143)

Don't forget the National Search Agency [sic]. I hear they have quite the computational capability.

Google's time in China (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351071)

may have taught them lessons that benefit neo-conservatives.

Ok wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351083)

Doesn't marijuana grow naturally? How can the mere presence of plants, unless they were obviously cultivated, be illegal?

Re:Ok wtf? (2, Informative)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351337)

Yes! And does so quite well :)

Many states spend huge sums, often in the millions of dollars, to seek out and eradicate wild, naturally growing cannabis. And they still can't beat cannabis - much of it keeps growing back no matter what they do.

What's so sad, is that many governments spend lots of money in their quest to eradicate cannabis, which directly kills no one ... and yet they spend little to nothing to eradicate truly deadly weeds, such as Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium), which directly kills numerous people, often teens, every year. The drug war is all about money and control, not safety ... but I digress.

Ron

Re:Ok wtf? (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351407)

Doesn't marijuana grow naturally? How can the mere presence of plants, unless they were obviously cultivated, be illegal?

I agree but whether or not it is being cultivated is none of their damn business, IMO. People, whether in a democracy or a dictatorship, should resist such blatantly fascist intrusions upon their liberties. After all, we are told that we wage wars for the sake of liberty, right? How free are you if you cannot have a natural plant in your backyard?

Legalize it already (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351199)

the massive amount the cops are spending is doing nothing to discourage use, and all that really happens is that:
A: Drug lords can make massive amounts of cash while engaging in very shady practices
B: People's lives are ruined because they were caught setting small amounts of plants on fire(meanwhile idiots light up massive amounts of the legal plants in giant bonfires are a risk to themselves and others and yet go unpunished)
C: Massive amounts of tax payer money are wasted chasing the former, and if they find them, even more is wasted putting them in a prison where they are no longer productive to society and branding them with a record that will cost them even more(and probably cause them to go from productive to an even BIGGER burden on society)

Legalize it for use in homes, but make sure if someone is stupid enough to do it and go out driving that you bust their asses.

Re:Legalize it already (1)

teaserX (252970) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351353)

"Legalize it for use in homes..." That would upset the "War On Drugs" industrial complex. Too much money is made by the government and fringe industries to ever let that just happen.

Dave's not here, man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351259)

Oh, come on. If you're growing illegal (in some jurisdictions) plants within plain sight of an easily-accessible road -- even if people must go down it by accident some distance -- then that's pretty stupid.

Plant the stuff *behind* the house or some other optical barrier, and put up a "No tresspassing" sign.

I suppose a "robots.txt" sign wouldn't hurt either. :-)

Re:Dave's not here, man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24351317)

Agreed. The Google driver was probably reaching for a Diet Coke when the "Private Property" sign came into sight. Why should Google be responsible for shielding careless pot growers?

Celeron (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351349)

I think I have a Slot 1 Mendocino somewhere in the junk drawer. Might as well overclock it to death and get experienced with the magic smoke...

Notice that Google doesn't cover Washington (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351351)

Google StreetView now has all of the major U.S. cities covered. Except the Washington, D.C. area. Of the top forty metropolitan areas in the US, Google has all of them covered except #8, the Washington D.C. area, and #20, the Baltimore area. There's no StreetView data for a 75-mile radius around Washington. They've covered Wilmington, DE and Richmond, VA, both about 100 miles from Washington, but that's as close as they get.

They're working on rural areas of California. They've worked down to Knoxville, TN, Greenville, NC, and Boise, IH. So it can't be accidental that they've avoided Washington.

One wonders why.

Re:Notice that Google doesn't cover Washington (5, Funny)

BillTheKatt (537517) | more than 6 years ago | (#24351397)

They're probably worried about getting shot.
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