A Ramona couple was ordered Thursday to stand trial on charges of illegally cultivating marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale, despite their claims that they were growing the plants for medical use, which is allowed under state law. U~T San Diego
The comments under the article from which the above quote was taken sum it up pretty nicely—the streets of San Diego must be pretty safe for the district attorney to be spending her time and the tax payer’s money going after people like these. This retired couple, beset by medical problems, were growing marijuana in a manner allowed by state law for personal use. Despite having county-issued medical marijuana cards, narcotics agents raided their home at 5:30 in the morning with guns drawn. Obviously, we can all rest a little easier now knowing that these drug kingpins are out of business.
More and more the news seems to have stories like the one above. People who are just trying to get on with their lives and doing their best to abide by the rules, find themselves in trouble with the law or with some other government agency. Pennsylvania police taser a 14-year-old boy in the face while hand
cuffed “for his safety,” New Mexico police subject a man to 14 hours of rectal examinations for clenching his buttocks during a traffic stop, and in 2011, a police officer walks down a line of peaceful protestors, dousing them in mace. Cop Block, and organization that I profile here, does an excellent job of helping to bring to light the overreach of our law enforcement officials.
The slow transformation of our police departments from organizations dedicated to keeping the peace and community service to paramilitary organizations that view you and me as the enemy has been forty years in the making. The reasons, ranging from the War on Drugs to the privatization of the prison system, are too complex to go into here, but needless to say it is contributing to the greater polarization of the country. There are two justice systems—one for people of money, privilege and power, and one for everyone else. If that Ramona couple had been ex-JP Morgan executives, there is no way charges would have been leveled against them.
When the playing field isn’t level, it’s good to have someone in your corner, which is why I was happy to find out about Logan Fairfax, a civil liberties lawyer operating in San Diego, who also accepts Bitcoin.
**Get started with Bitcoin at Coinbase.**
Logan opened his law firm, Logan Fairfax Law, in January of this year after being laid off from a firm during a merger. While working at that larger firm, he says that he was involved in a lot of high-stakes transactions, but that he wasn’t really being fulfilled by it. Also a news junky, he says that he spend a lot of time reading about local, national, and world events.
I particularly enjoy comparing and contrasting the “slant” of the so-called mainstream media (CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, NBC, etc.) with that of the so-called “alternative media” (Infowars, Natural News, RT, Liberty Crier, the master amalgamator Drudge, etc.). I became frustrated at what I perceived as injustices perpetrated by my own government, at every level imaginable, and a shortage of attorneys working to stand up for the aggrieved parties and the core principles that should protect them from government over-reaching.
Although he describes himself as a “political atheist,” the injustices he saw prompted Logan to start his own practice in which he felt he could have a greater impact on what was going on.
I’m lucky to pay rent and put food on my table, but I consider myself rich in so many other ways, including work-life balance and fulfillment in the type of work I do. And while I’m certainly not in this for money, I believe that pursuing passions with gusto leads to enrichment, including pecuniary gain, so I am confident that my passion for civil liberties will eventually bear fruit.
Logan was kind enough to answer a few of my questions regarding his practice and Bitcoin:
What kinds of activities have you been involved in?
Of course, federal, state, and local governments only agree on some of those, and when it comes to cannabis it is amazingly still listed as a Schedule I drug (which are those drugs said to have “a high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment,” and “a lack of accepted safety” for use under medical supervision). I believe such a position is not only completely inapposite in light of the overwhelming body of research concluding otherwise, but that it is irresponsible and will ultimately be reversed to reflect reality. But government is essentially force coupled with the “consent” of the people to exert that force in whatever manner our “officials” (who should be called public servants, and act as such) see fit, so we will continue to see the injustices of the so-called war on drugs until enough people awaken to the sham and waste of resources that it is.
Interestingly enough, my practice has honed in on medical marijuana defense. I attribute this primarily because I met a colleague, Lance Rogers, back in early 2013 and that is a core area of his practice. I believe all people have a natural and intrinsic right to do with their bodies as they see fit: get tattoos, get piercings, have every type of voluntary sex they and their partner(s) want to do in private, consume alcohol, use pharmaceutical drugs, and use any other substances they want, including cannabis, just to name a few things.
What do you feel the appropriate role of government is?
Government is important and should exist, but it should be quite limited. Rights belong to individuals, not governments or groups. The vast majority of all personal and real property should be owned by individual people, not government agencies. Voluntary associations should be allowed, but neither supported nor discriminated against by government (e.g. no big unions in bed with gov’t getting special treatment). Government should neither support nor suppress any religious ideology. Government should neither support nor suppress any form of money or medium of exchange (including Bitcoins). Government should be transparent and our public servants should have a heightened level of accountability to the people. Government should not be involved in marriages.
Absent certain minor exceptions to provide for the functioning of a limited government, government should not operate as a mechanism to take, through force or the threat of force, money and/or property from some people and give it to others, including the government itself. Government should not favor or disfavor any particular business or industry. Government should not guarantee any loans. Government should not provide “safety nets” for institutions or businesses, just as it should not do so for individuals. Government should not be in any way involved in determining whether any particular business, industry, or individual succeeds or fails. Government should not be permitted to mandate that people are required to buy certain things with the fruits of their labor, such as health insurance, automobile insurance, home insurance, bananas, or a housekeeper…it does not matter what product or service is at issue…the government should not be forcefully directing the flow of private monies in any regard. Government should not be our master.
Essentially, the proper role of government is to (i) preserve liberty, property rights, the sanctity of voluntary private contracts and interactions, and the equal and fair treatment of all individuals, and (ii) provide for an organized means through which the people may voluntarily act to defend themselves against serious acts of aggression waged against them. Part (i) should be accomplished primarily through the enactment of straight-forward laws (such as “thou shall not commit fraud,” “thou shall not steal,” “thou shall not harm others physically (except in self-defense) or interfere with their private agreements and lives” etc.) and the establishment of a judicial system through which grievances may be redressed in the spirit of common law jurisprudence (so that people do not resort to so-called “self-help” which creates a host of its own problems). Part (ii) should be accomplished through individuals coming together to voluntarily serve to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from force (and serious imminent threats of force) against them; conscription is often times wrongly associated with patriotism, when really it represents collectivism and a form of involuntary servitude.
Of course, I recognize the inherent grey areas in the structure and functionality of a government operating in this regard (including where the money comes from to properly achieve even its limited objectives and whether or not a purely voluntary military would be enough to sufficiently protect the people) and I do not believe there exists a panacea for all of this, but I believe that these principles should guide the decisions made with respect to the establishment and role of government. I believe the founders of the U.S. Constitution had most, but certainly not all, of these principles in mind, but I do not believe the founding documents are anywhere near perfect. They are, however, the closest thing to these principles that I am aware of, and I believe this country has drastically strayed from them over the years, particularly since about 1913 with the creation of the income tax and the federal reserve system (our third “national bank”). Our liberties have eroded over time and the “police-state” mentality has crept into our lives with the expansion of the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower so prudently warned us about. But it’s all for our safety of course…right?
What attracted you to Bitcoin?
My brother told me about it when it first began and I’ve been interested in it ever since. The concept of it fascinates me, and I think it has the potential to become a ubiquitous and viable means by which people around the world exchange goods and services…that is, if government doesn’t abort it before it fully matures.
Do you have/use Bitcoins personally?
I have a few Bitcoins, but nothing substantial. I have used them in a few private transactions with fellow Bitcoin users, but nothing too major. If San Diego had any physical stores (especially restaurants/bars) that accepted Bitcoins I would go there all the time to support it.
There is a lot of talk about regulation and the possibility of Bitcoin being declared illegal by the government. What do you see as the legal/regulatory future of Bitcoin?
The US government will always try to maintain its monetary hegemony. Between the federal reserve, the big banks, and the treasury, they essentially act as a cartel with a monopoly over the issuance of currency and credit, and because big government contractors (such as the military industrial complex) get to use the money first, they benefit greatly (primarily because currency devaluation takes time, so getting access to newly created money before others provides the recipient with greater purchasing power).
Bitcoins, as well as any other mediums of exchange that side-step the US dollar, pose a serious threat to the system as it exists, and very powerful interests will do whatever it takes to quash these competing currencies. These folks control many significant levers of power in society, including banking, government, politics, and major media outlets. From the Bilderberg Group to the Council on Foreign Relations to the Trilateral Commission to the United Nations, and the many other powerful interests working for a government-centric micro-managed future with a one world government and one world currency, the freedom to choose to utilize anything other than government-provided currency is not only diminishing, it is viewed as subversive and criminal.
Economic freedom is a myth, just as truth is treason in an empire of lies. What do I see as the legal/regulatory future of Bitcoin? I see it eventually splitting.
What I mean is this: On the one hand you’ll have certain Bitcoin services (such as BitPay, as just one example) that will realize more and more over time that they need the “blessing” of big government (and the big banks, which sleep closely next to big government), lest they be targeted for violating the myriad rules in place pertaining to monetary transactions, most of which are extremely confusing, onerous and fail to contemplate alternative digital currencies such as Bitcoin. So government agencies will “interpret” the existing laws to find that these Bitcoin facilitators are doing something wrong, and that they need to do [fill in the blank] to come into the fold and “play by the rules,” including international currency exchange laws, tax law compliance, reporting compliance, KYC, AMI, etc., etc., etc. These companies will, of course, bend the rules because that’s the only way they’ll be allowed to eve walk onto the field to play ball, and one must play to win.
On the other hand, I see the Bitcoin “subculture” (for lack of a better term) continuing to grow. These are folks who are so frustrated with the current system that they want to extricate themselves from it altogether, and they view Bitcoins as one of the ways to do that. They will perform services or provide goods to others in exchange for Bitcoins, which they will not report to the government, and they will acquire goods and services using their unreported Bitoins.
This is very similar to people living their life on a cash-only basis, and reporting little to none of it to the government, except that these folks trust Bitcoins more than cash because of the inherent structural deficiencies with the US dollar (including counter-party risk, devaluation from over-issuance, inflation, its inherent nature as a debt instrument, etc.). Where it all leads is as much your guess as it is mine, but I don’t see Bitcoins disappearing. Just look at its “value” lately as compared against the USD, and this is despite all the setbacks of the last several months. One thing is for certain…the Bitcoin roller-coaster will continue to be an exciting ride.
Bitcoin Warrior would like to thank Logan for taking the time to answer our questions. Logan told us that he hasn’t gotten any bitcoin paying customers yet, so if you are in need of legal advice and would like to support the Bitcoin economy, please drop him a line.
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