I just teamed up with women’s lib writer Barbara Walker and Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School to publish on Kindle Pot Stories and Atheist Essays 

One piece, “Pot Story,” offers a very persuasive polemic for legalization and at the same time shows some of the misery and suffering that unwise laws have caused over the decades.  One section describes Harry Anslinger, the founder and first commissioner of the Prohibition Movement, as a conspicuous bigot and inarguable moron. 

Ms. Walker, in her inimitable style, writes of the abuses of religion over the centuries and the mistreatment of women, mostly due to original sin.

Also included is a podcast of Dr. Grinspoon where he categorically states there is no physical damage to the body at all.  He tells the story of how he first turned on, exhorted by none other than Carl Sagan on a cruise to a conference in Europe. 

If you’re interested in marijuana, either medically or recreationally, this is a must read so you’ll know what you’re doing or talking about.  Lot’s to discuss, n’est-ce pas?  

 

Tags: 420, Barbara, Goscicki, Rich, Walker, atheism, grass, marijuana

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Smoking and driving is like drinking and driving.

I used to smoke years ago but not today. This day and time I don't even smoke cigarettes, but if you were standing next to me smoking pot I would get high just by breathing.

Someone (I forget who -- damn faulty short-term memory :) ) said that those who use a lot of marijuana would probably benefit from using less, and those who never use it might benefit from using some.  I heard of (but didn't read) a recent study in which participants were allowed to smoke as much pot as they wanted to get very stoned.  When their driving abilities were tested, most did about as poorly as someone with a 0.08% blood alcohol content -- the floor of the legal limit in many states.  I certainly don't advocate driving while stoned, or drunk, or distracted, or just unskilled, but pot appears to be a great deal less debilitating than alcohol.  Another study seems to show a correlation between heavy pot use by teenagers and slowed development of the brain during that crucial period.  It would be interesting to see a similar study of the effects of television.

In the late '60s & early '70s I smoked up to a quarter pound per week of the tepid stuff we had then.  That amount probably did have many harmful effects, and I try to blame it for why I'm so stupid now.  I don't recall having bought any or having smoked much since about 1974.  When I was back home in Colorado I may have been the only person on the mountain without a medical marijuana card.  One user was a 104 year old neighbor who was still on the hospital's board, and had been its long-time head nurse.  She started using it after she was injured in WWII.  The loudest local opponent of legalization was the owner of a biker bar, and a real scumbag.

I'm neutral on whether pot has primarily good or bad effects.  I don't generally smoke it any more, partly because I can't afford it, and partly because most of the time I prefer to stay clear-headed.  But if someone pulls out a joint at an appropriate time I'll share in a little illegal smile.  I'm encouraged by recent softening of prejudices against marijuana use, and hope to see new extensive research to better inform the public and hopefully debunk entrenched myth.  Most puritanical concepts have a finite life, but many last far longer than is good for society.

}}}}

Many years ago I went to a Pink Floyd concert with someone. We had eaten marijuana brownies beforehand - you can get very stoned that way. 

On the freeway driving back, he told me "if you knew how stoned I am, you'd jump right out of this car". 

I didn't, and we got home OK.  Then, he told me he'd been seeing visions of horses galloping across the freeway.  And it seemed to take absolutely forever.

Pat, I see I hit a nerve.  Why so sensitive about ruining the lives of innocent people?   

You certainly made your point about driving below the minimum speed limit as tough that were the issue at hand.  I stand corrected and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt being I don’t know the whole story. 

But recounting your favorite cases is way off topic.

<Sentenced a man to 110 years for slitting the throats of two elderly people's in their home on Christmas morning while he was stealing their grandchildren's present.

   Putting away the child rapist who forced his daughters to perform fellatio on him before they could go on a date.>>>  

I’m sure it gives you some satisfaction to see justice served as it does most people—deservedly so.

My question, however, was very specific:  I was talking about people incarcerated and slammed in an insane, inhuman penal system because they got high on marijuana.  (They don't call it the "slammer" for nothing.) This is without hurting others, without driving and without robbing anyone to get another fit as depicted in the ridiculous propaganda film, Reefer Madness.

Were you thinking of the movie and other such nonsense when you rationalized sentencing so many people to serious time?  I’ll reprint the link for the Lester Grinspoon podcast that I impresarioed with my friend Lynn Thompson.  It’s my contribution to history in that when it was recorded when there were no states with legal marijuana use, medical or otherwise.  As dean of Harvard Medical School, recently retired, Lester states that marijuana causes no physical damage to the body at all, AT ALL. 

So I’ll repeat the question:  Don’t you losers in the War on Drugs (everybody’s a loser ‘cause it was such a waste) have any compunction for the countless souls whose lives you ruined?  If not, listen to the podcast and tell me I’m wrong.  Now that the truth comes out, I think you should at least say, “I’m sorry.” 

A little anecdotal afterthought:  When Harry Anslinger’s friend Joe McCarthy started getting severe stomach cramps due to chronic alcoholism, Harry got him all the morphine he asked for.  Harry was the first Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics after the Prohibition fiasco, which also ruined thousands of lives. Where was the War on Drugs then?  

You really don't have one fucking clue, do you. I suspect you've never worked within the system, have only lived in major metropolitan areas, and have never spent any time in towns and cities between the Appalachians and Sierra Nevadas. You remind me of the theist who hates all atheists, because were all immoral, godless heathens who will rape, pillage, and lay waste the countryside. You've made up your mind based on prejudice, and not facts. Is the "war on drug" a waste? Yes. Are there people trying to deal with it while minimizing the effects on the average citizen and going after those that prey on the innocent, just like the mobs during prohibition? Yes. I would strongly suggest you remove your head from a particular body cavity, and make your arguments based on reality rather than emotion.

Pat, some judge.  Let's try to keep it civil in a reasonable debate.  Consider Judge Mark Ciavarella taking kickbacks from the detention centers.  How many lives did he ruin?  I'm not clueless.  Do you blame me for being irate at the wanton corruption?  

I shouldn't have to tell you that as you represent authority.  You should apologize as your position really looks weak.  

What about the question, no cursing OK? Try to keep it polite and reasonable.  Were you thinking of Reefer Madness when you slammed down the gavel and gave some misguided youth some serious time?   

What about the podcast I cited?  Where is Dr. Grinspoon wrong about anything he states?  

Where do get that I am or ever was a judge? At what point in this conversation did I say I sat on the bench? I was a prosecutor. I guess this is an example of what frustrates me. You make assumptions which are not based in reality, and posit them as true, when in fact they're not.  One other criticism. I suppose I can cite example after example of individuals in a particular group who engage in bad or unethical behavior. But you then take a broad brush and unjustifiably paint everyone in the group as having those undesirable traits. One judge gets kickbacks, and it is therefore wanton corruption of all people who work in the justice system. Stereotyping. If anyone needs to apologize, I suggest it's you, for your irrational depiction of an entire group of people.

Quite right, my apologies.  What's right is right.

As far as Ciaverella goes, it's just that the case is so outrageously immoral and cruel.  To my mind, it indicts the whole system that it's possible to get away with such dastardly corruption.  

Accepted. I see your point about Ciaverella, but I guess my take on it is rather different. Yes, he was about as low of slime as you can get. But, to me, this is where the system worked. Ultimately, he didn't get away with his wrongdoing. Once his corruption was uncovered, he was not only stripped of his position, but sentenced to 28 years in prison. People working within the system helped correct it. It's an indictment of him. Not the people who uncovered his wrongdoing and saw to it that he was punished.

While I believe that it should never had made illegal, I am suspicious of it's timing after the "legalize it" movement went virtually nowhere for decades. Suddenly, after the internet is in everybody's house and people are free to communicate, socialize, form groups, make videos and become more politically active, now they start legalizing it? We have many, many concerns with a much greater priority but our benevolent rulers see fit to give us another form of SOMA? And in the most liberal states? hmmm.  People have been waking up the past few decades, atheism is on the rise, people aren't listening to the corporate news anymore (at least the younger demographics); now they want to "give us" our freedom back? With all the drug addicts, alcoholism and big pharma "brain candy" now they offer us yet another drug? I'm very suspicious of those in power, especially when they act like they are doing us a favor! "We're going to give you back a freedom we should have never taken from you in the first place and lied about for decades".

If you are writing a book on MJ, could you please dedicate some space for her poorly  maligned cousin, hemp? Could save a lot of trees, fuel, water pollution from pulp industry, and she never did anything wrong, just guilt by association. I think they are estimating about a 200billion dollar industry for hemp alone and its still illegal even in Colorado and Washington.

I am a pot smoker for a long time, My wife got hit by a drunk driver and the result was broken neck, out of work for 6 month. My wife do understand that is my only way to release my pain is to edible and smoking. I told the doctor that my wife get really sick on pain killer, I made her candy, she took 3 a day until the pain when away and never touch it after. I have a web to show how to cook for man and lady in their 70 and 80 years old. If you want to check it is www.ganjafinecuisine.com, I have T bone steak, phyllo pastry and more. I have to go back and upgrade it. The english is good done by some one else.

Thanks for the comment, Serge.  Well done.  There are many stories of mj working miracles, even with cancer patients.  

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