Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Free porn

No, I'm not just fishing for Google traffic. Pittsburgh is the scene of the first major U.S. obscenity case in a decade, pitting a California pornography distributor against western Pennsylvania's puritanical federal prosecutor, Mary Beth Buchanan. (You'll recall that Buchanan successfully prosecuted Tommy Chong for selling marijuana pipes and bongs.) The defendant, Robert D. Zicari, is arguing that the federal obscenity statute is unconstitutional, because it allows individuals to own obscene materials but bans the productions and distribution of them. Zicari's attorney notes, according to the Post-Gazette: "If I can't buy them, there really is no right. In order to be able to possess it, I need to be able to buy it."

Exactly. I believe that communities do have a right to regulate where obscene materials can be sold, but if something is legal to own, then it should be legal to produce and distribute. And it should be legal to own (child pornography excepted) because what consenting adults do in their own homes is no business of the government.

Elsewhere in the individual liberties department, residents in a handful of states are voting today on measures to liberalize their marijuana laws. In Alaska, voters are being asked to legalize marijuana for adults:

Alaska already allows legal possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults, the most liberal policy among the 50 U.S. states, thanks to a 1975 state Supreme Court ruling.

"Our territory and now state has traditionally been the home of people who prize their individuality and who have chosen to settle or to continue living here in order to achieve a measure of control over their own lifestyles which is now virtually unattainable in many of our sister states," the oft-quoted ruling said.

Take that, Ms. Buchanan.

2 Comments:

Blogger girl said...

No fair! I wish I was voting to legalize marijuana. Instead, Illinois' referendum is asking whether or not the state should be responsible for offering rehab to substance abusers.

As for the sale and ownership of "obscene materials," I totally agree with you. Since it's not illegal to own, say, a vibrator (and it certainly SHOULDN'T be made illegal!) it doesn't make sense for the production and distribution to be outlawed. I'm so happy I live in liberal Chicago!

8:18 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Thanks for sharing.

But seriously, both the Tommy Chong and the porn case are being prosecuted in western Pennsylvania because this is a socially conservative area, where a federal jury would be more likely to convict.

8:22 PM

 

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