Archive for Marijuana

Deciphering the War on Drugs

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on October 13, 2010 by corecompany

I was in a hotel room in Canada recently. Mercifully, I found an old movie to watch amongst the bizarre Canadian programming. The movie was from 1972 and was adapted from a Joseph Wambaugh novel, “The New Centurions” starring George C. Scott as an LAPD police officer who develops his own brand of justice, which is a mixed bag, but he defends the rights of the immigrants and protects them from an exploitive slum lord.  The character argues that they do jobs nobody else is willing to do and they are humans seeking a better life for their children (what is a more American value than that?).  It struck me that the film was almost as old as I am and yet we have the same arguments today as we did then, it’s a forty-year argument, other than most marriages, who has a forty-year argument?

I have wondered about how the drug war is connected to the immigration problems we face. It must be, the border towns are bloodbaths, more people killed there than in Iraq (I swear, check it out). If we had a stable regulated drug trade would we have immigration problems? Yes. If we had a tax and regulate system of decriminalized free choice intoxicant would we have more secure boarders? Yes.

President Obama just signed a $600 million bill for border security. I am a huge Obama fan and am hesitant to be critical, but, is this  time to pander to the right?  Not to mention, I thought the Obama administration ended the “war” on drugs? They said they did, they said they wanted to change the language of it, move more toward the treatment and prevention. Did I miss the $600 million for treatment bill? Must have skipped CNN that day or maybe I was in Canada?

Am I crazy or is this thinly veiled funding for the war on drugs? Call it what you want, but I think if there are more people killed in an effort than the war on terror, it’s a war too. There is clear and present danger along the border of the US and Mexico and it’s not all housekeepers sneaking across, its drug traffic.

Lets enter Joe’s fantasy world and decriminalize Marijuana, tax it ( how a $40 billion industry doesn’t pay taxes I will never know), regulate it, sell it at 7-11. The violence along the border is greatly reduced, money is made instead of spent and we help the immigration problem. Oh, and some people get really high, giggle at comedy central and eat twinkies and chips.  How is this a choice? People shot and killed or people high, stupid, and complacent? I really don’t get it and I am fairly irritated with the President for not taking a bolder step with this. I am sure he will be really worried when he hears about how upset I am. I say it frequently. Humans like to get high, they like intoxication, no amount of money will change that.

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Ron Nehring is Shocking on So Many Levels!

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , on April 8, 2010 by corecompany

When will I learn? Where do I live in this drug world? Sometimes I think that the culture is shifting and we are beginning to treat drug use and/or misuse with some honesty and then I suddenly realize that I am really out of touch with the rest of the world.

California Republican Chairman, Ron Nehring issued a statement on where the party stands on the legalization issue on the November 2nd California ballot. Shockingly, they oppose it. Why am I shocked?  I thought Republicans were opposed to big wasteful government and nothing is more wasteful than arresting, processing, and incarcerating nonviolent Marijuana users. Nehring goes on to state unsubstantiated opinions about cost and, apparently he is clairvoyant because he seems to know what will happen should the measure pass.  He goes on to state that California Republicans will fight this and anything else to expand drug use. Does he really believe that there are people out there writing and sponsoring legislation to expand drug use? One of my favorite parts of the statement is that he calls Marijuana “dope” throughout and then draws the obvious conclusion that only “dopes” would vote for “dope”, get it? Aren’t Republicans funny?  I personally think that anyone who commits acts of domestic violence against women, as Nehring has been accused of, is a dope!

Nehring argues that whatever “taxes” are paid (why taxes is in quotes, I don’t know), they won’t cover the societal costs. Again, what is he basing this on other than his misguided opinion? Who does he think pays the cost now? YOUR taxes pay for whatever damage is done not to mention the cost of draining the police, courts and prisons.  Nehring states that the proponents are masking their effort as a revenue generator for the state. I wonder what he thinks is the hidden agenda, what are they masking exactly? Does Nehring and the Republican party think there are people out there thinking,” Wait until this is legal, boy am I going to smoke some weed, I can’t wait until it’s legal, oh boy oh boy!”

Drug misuse is very costly to society; nobody will argue that. What the legalization movement is about is not adding insult to injury. Why have layers and layers of damage to society when we can have less damage? How could I have ever thought it would be the Republicans to see this as an opportunity? I’ll bet Nehring has a crystal Scotch decanter in his office. What do you want to bet?

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.

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?

The Solution to Supporting Addicts in Recovery

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , on December 9, 2009 by corecompany

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“Billions upon billions of U. S. taxpayers dollars have been spent over the years to combat the drug trade in Latin America and the Caribbean. In spite of our efforts, the positive results have been few and far between”.  So Says Eliot Engle, representative from New York, and author of a bipartisan bill that will create an independent commission to evaluate U.S. policies and programs aimed at reducing the supply of narcotics in the Western Hemisphere. Engle goes on to say, “Cleary the time has come to take a fresh look at our counternarcotics efforts”. No shit congressman.  How is it that the government does not know what any dope fiend can tell you? The drug trade is really very simple economics, it’s about as complex as a lemonade stand. To date the policies have tried to repeal the law of supply and demand because we don’t like the culture that surrounds people who like to get high. That’s my best guess anyway. Why we cherish people who swill booze and treat people who shoot dope like the unwashed, I will never understand.  The law of supply and demand is just one of those things, that seems to just be the way it is.  In other words, millions of people want to get high so somebody will meet that need/want or want that becomes need.

Engle, who is also a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on health, goes on top say “ To tackle our nation’s horrific drug problem, we can not simply look to solutions on the supply side”.  That’s a good thought and I am glad there is someone in Washington having it. The bill passed unanimously so it seems that Engle isn’t the only one having the thought.

Let’s not pull any punches. I think I should be on the commission. Actually, it’s not important that I am on the commission but it is important that the voice of recovery be heard. As a nation we have tried “just say no”, military tactics, incarcerating an entire generation, shooting people, shaming people, demonizing them, we have tried a lot, since Nixon made his declaration of war on drugs. What we have not tried is taxing, regulating, treating, and providing continuing care. Why not?  We have not tried to support people in recovery build the infrastructure to sustain their recovery. No, not really.  This should be national news, but it’s buried on the internet being read maybe by a few reformers. Well done Eliot, come on over to the loft, lets talk some policy reform, just don’t bring us wine when you come over for dinner because unlike most systems in America, we live intoxicant free. Is anyone in government the least bit curious as to how we do that?

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.

The Battle Continues – Legalizing Marijuana in California

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , on October 17, 2009 by corecompany

legalizing-marijuana

The debate to legalize marijuana in California is on yet again.  The state is saddled with huge budget deficits and proponents of the decriminalization movement argue that it would produce north of a billion dollars annually in tax revenue for the state.  California, land of disenfranchised misfits, has a long tradition of liberal idealism as well as arch conservatism. Remember Regan shut down the Berkeley campus and scolded the kids for acting up. This would seem to a natural reach across the aisle issue, tapping into both republican libertarianism and liberal freedom of choice.  The state already has laws on the books making marijuana “legal for medicinal purposes”. What does that mean in real terms? It means that any pot smoking doctor will write you a prescription for a hang nail, anxiety, back pain, glaucoma, whatever. The downside for some is that it labels you as a user of a substance that is “bad” or at least not approved by the government. Remember it is alcohol that does the most damage to society and the individual. The state is legitimately looking at the issue. Iconic former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, says,  “People are no longer outraged by the idea of legalization”.  Chong says, “Yea, man!” In an effort to inch toward legalization, the city of Oakland, facing no opposition voted to tax the marijuana dispensaries at the insistence of the owners of the stores themselves. It was an effort to demonstrate that this is an idea that can work. So what happened? There was an economic boom in the neighborhoods and people got high. Of course people would be getting high if the neighborhood remained in urban squalor.

            Let’s say they get this passed. What will that do to the federal law making Marijuana illegal? Will it set up a further war on drugs? Will it turn into more of a civil war? Will California finally succeed? Will people get high and eat Twinkies? Will Californians no longer swirl wine in their glasses and glibly pontificate the virtues of their perfect weather” paradise”. Is it the alcohol lobby that opposes this?  Oh, California, what are we going to do with you?