Archive for Legalize Marijuana

Voting to Legalize Marijuana in California.

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on April 5, 2010 by corecompany

Ahh, California, my homeland. It’s the state that nurtured me and made me the cynic I am today. Thankfully, for me and for Californians I live in New York but having spent the first 22 years there, I feel qualified to comment on the culture and of course their drug policy. I know what you are saying, “feelings aren’t facts” meaning perhaps I am not qualified but isn’t that what a blog is for? Unsubstantiated rantings about whatever? That’s what mine is for anyway.

California has a reputation of being a liberal bastion; groundbreaking culture where oddballs cast out of their home environment can feel safe. To some extent this is true, the epicenter of the gay culture found a home in an Irish Catholic neighborhood in San Francisco. Angela Davis shouted from the hills of Westwood at UCLA. Berkeley has long been a community and University of intellectual inquiry and liberal politics. The thing to remember about California is that it is huge and diverse and except for these pockets it might as well be Texas. Californians love the death penalty, guns, the Klan has a strong yet more subdued presence there. Ironically Californians love almost all things Mexican, the food (which by the way is one of the best things about the state), the architecture, as well as naming their cities and streets Spanish names. What they don’t love about Mexican culture are the people. They have staunch opinions about being bilingual and immigration. They vote to exclude immigrants from health care and education. This seems to be institutionalized racism because they all seem to love their individual Lupe, Maria, or Consuela whom they treat as an indentured servant. So in other words the message is: “Mexicans keep out; unless you will mow my lawn, care for my child, grow my food, bus my table, clean my house, then we welcome you North, amigo”. In a sense California is liberal but in a really militant way especially in the Bay area. There is a high expectation of political correctness in the social circles in the Bay area. A smugness that is off-putting, exclusive, as well as mystifying. What is it that makes them feel they have found the secret to happiness? It is a quaint place, aesthetically pleasing and the food is good but is it important? No, it is not. Certainly not to the degree it feels it is. For a place that celebrates diversity it is oddly rigid. If you didn’t go to UCLA or Stanford, live in the Marina and drive an Audi A4 you will never be a cool kid, not ever. Los Angeles? Not enough time to comment on that quagmire of vapid dudeosity they call a city. Oh what to do about the California problem? Get a burrito and a surfboard and join them? Hardly an option. Stay in Brooklyn and make fun of them? Watch their political climate closely? Yes, this will be a better plan.

Why California on the brain? The measure that will be on the November 2nd ballot to legalize marijuana. I have never made any secret about my position on marijuana: I consider it a dangerous psycho reactive drug and I encourage people to steer clear of it. I hate the culture that surrounds it; the complacency, the stupidity, the dirty hacky sack playing white kids with Dred locks that look like they need parenting and a bath. I really do not like hippies or their hypocrisy. With that said, I am a supporter of taxing and regulating a substance that clearly the people want and consume. Additionally, I would never support the government having the right to choose an individuals intoxicant, especially when the one they choose is one of the most dangerous ones out there.  California has clued in, or maybe they are thrust into this by their fiscal crisis. Whatever the motivation, California could be the first state to reduce illicit drug use by more than half, generate revenue and a tax base for something that already goes on, and allow a personal liberty that the government has no right to intercept. Where is the downside of this? Additionally, it would seem to merge various cultures in California. The Hollywood limousine liberals could feel good about themselves (although what would stop them?), the San Francisco smugness would be justified (in their minds) and the gun-toting Mexican hating, tract housing living conservatives should be happy that big wasteful government would be turning a loss into a profit. Will they be? Will these cultures align and be the first domino to fall in America? Who knows? Anyone who has ever tried to organize drug users to do much of anything knows, addicts don’t vote. They are too self-centered, often high and unaware of any civic responsibility. Addicts in recovery are of course a different breed of cat. Will they put the bong aside, the Doritos away and turn the Xbox off long enough to vote on an issue that impacts them? Maybe they won’t. Their weed could increase in price and dealers will deliver. It takes minimal effort to get high at the moment so maybe they won’t do it.

The polls suggest most voters favor the move to make marijuana legal. There are voices out there dissenting. One is Pastor Ron Allen, a crack smoker turned cleric, (really is there any better kind?) who is one of those “Just say no” evangelicals voicing bizarre opinions based on his sample of one of what to do about the drug problem.  Other’s are surely to surface opposing this issue, likely they swill scotch and hate Mexicans but culturally stereotyping people is really not part of my bag of tricks so I will leave them alone.

Which California will emerge on November 2nd?  I hope it’s the one that will approve this and end a piece of the senseless, bloody drug war. I say either end the prohibition of Cannabis or reinstate the prohibition of alcohol. Ok, California, its, like, you know, up to you to lead the nation on this one.

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Legalizing Marijuana in California

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , on January 14, 2010 by corecompany

California, took another step closer to legalizing recreational use of Marijuana. A 4-3 vote by the assembly public safety committee kept the bill moving. Jared Huffman (D. San Jose) summed the baby step up pretty well, voting for the measure but distancing himself from it. In a bold statement, Huffman declared, “I don’t want my kids to use it”. Solid parenting assemblyman. I am not sure that anyone wants a kid, whose brains are like wet cement to use a dangerous psycho-reactive drug but that is not what the legalization movement is about. To me it’s about honesty. “Of the people, by the people, and for the people”, well, the people like to get high, relax, unwind, whatever you’d like to call it with cannabis. Should we make our own people criminals because they would like to do that with cannabis rather than alcohol?

One of the dissenting votes called the 1.4 billion dollars in potential tax revenue “blood money”.  What would the money spent on incarceration and paramilitary tactics be if taxing and regulating is blood money?

In my own smug way I like to distance myself from the marijuana smokers. For a variety of reasons, I have been intoxicant free for nearly 13 years but in all that time, I don’t think I have gathered the opinion that everyone should be. It’s really not my business, and frankly, I find the marijuana culture insultingly stupid, complacent, and boring, but I don’t think we should shoot people because they like it or want to participate in it.  So if any of you hippies are out there reading this are thinking we will be friends, forget it. Just play with your xbox in your apartments and let me be your champion from up high, from my lofty perch.

To me, legislating people into a specific intoxicant goes against the foundational ideas of America. When did we become a nation of judgment and shame? Bay area politicians hemming and hawing and apologizing for their vote?  Good work with the vote but why not sound off like you got a pair, step up and have an opinion. Is that so hard?

Will California Legalize Marijuana?

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , on November 16, 2009 by corecompany

I say it not less than 5 times a week, “the AMA has recognized alcoholism as a disease for decades”.  It’s an arrow in my quiver used to penetrate denial in some way. Sometimes it’s just a wiseass comment. I like to pull it out when people say ‘I don’t think alcoholism is a disease”.  “Really Dr., the AMA disagrees”.  IS the AMA a friend to our culture, our cause, to us pinko reformers?

While the AMA is asking for more clinical trials regarding the medicinal value of marijuana, they are careful to distance themselves from the long-haired, twinkee eating, Cheech and Chong  loving complacent pot culture. The AMA is clear  that they do not endorse any state based medical marijuana programs and does not support the legalization of marijuana. Why not AMA? It doesn’t take an MD to know that many of the substances that freely flow out of  doctors offices are way more dangerous and harmful than Marijuana, so why would a doctor not feel comfortable writing a Marijuana prescription?  How may lives are claimed by Percocet, Vicodan, Oxycodon and/or Zanax? More than we know, certainly more than people are honest about. How many marijuana overdoses are there annually? ZERO, ZERO!!!!

Marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 drug, the most restrictive of five schedulings. Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medicinal use (tell that to someone having chemo), and a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug. Another schedule 1 drug is heroin……. Less restrictive substances in the schedule 2 arena include cocaine. What? Our government believes that marijuana needs more restriction than cocaine? Does anyone really believe that drug policy is working? Where is the outcry for the massive reform of drug policy in this country?  The lack of discourse is staggering. Where, oh where, does alcohol fall into all of this? It seems again, that it gets a free pass.

Looks like California will be the first to vote on legalization of marijuana. Ok, Cali, let’s see it.

John P. Walters and the Bush Administration Fail the Drug War!

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , , on April 29, 2009 by corecompany

drugs

WSJ Photo Illustration/ Sergio Capursi;

John P. Walters’s recent piece in the WSJ is the kind of attitude and beliefs that keep people sick. The article focused on why we shouldn’t legalize drugs. Mr. Walters argues that legalization would “emasculate” prevention and law enforcement.  That would be horrible to make both of those systems ineffectual.  Prevention, enforcement, treatment, and all of it is effective to the degree that we can be honest about it. The honesty is that regulating chemicals would put huge funding into treatment and prevention, which would in turn support law enforcement and empower them to enforce laws that make sense and are realistic

            Walters goes on to argue that America would have twice as many users and addicts. Wrong again! First of all what does he mean “addict”? Does he mean people who meet DSMIV criteria? Does he mean people who break the law? If what he means is people who break the law, then legalizing would reduce the numbers of addicts dramatically. Just by decriminalizing Marijuana we could reduce the number of illegal drug users by half.  If he means that more people would meet DSMIV criteria because they could buy their weed at 7-11 there is no research to support that position

            Walters is misinformed, arrogant, and goes on to cite that he was a drug policy maker for the Bush administration. Impressive Mr. Walters, except that the DEA themselves admit that there has been no meaningful or measureable change in the availability of drugs on the streets. The Bush administration supported plan Columbia, a paramilitary venture attempting to control the available cocaine on America’s streets, the result? As much Cocaine on the street as ever. Addiction correlates to many things. Availability of intoxicants is not one of them.  My favorite part of the article is when Walters looks to ancient China to demonstrate his point. Ancient China! If we are looking at history why ancient China? Why not, hmmm? Ummm? I don’t know? Prohibition? There’s a historical lesson. People like to get high, legal, illegal, decriminalized, whatever the policy.  Alcohol as damaging as it is (certainly is far worse than all street drugs combined) would be worse if it were not regulated. The same is true of other intoxicants. Nice try Mr. Walters but you, and the Bush administration were as effective at fighting drugs as you were at fighting terror. Fighting a War on a health issue makes as much sense as fighting a war on an abstract concept like terror. Did the Bush administration think the terrorists would emerge from wherever they are with white flags? Does Walters think addicts will do the same?