Welcome back to you! And to me!

Gan-jay-jay’s absence collapsed no empire but I did bring like a blockage to this blog, like when you get too high and devour too much cheese.

I apologize for that.  The story is very long and sad and boring for enjoyers of reading, so condensing it, the stories and events I planned to cover got sidetracked for a year. I wait and wait and urge my people with their garden plans but they move at the pace of the turtle who drinks the blackberry wine but with more toes.

I do not wish to tell you of every old story because these are the new days. Fresh sciences are afoot.

And one by one, the others on this ranch insisted on their laboring rights to have a vacation, too. It is goose good; it is gander good, they say. We did not have to smoke too much herb to agree about geese, then someone mentioned Ryan Gosling.

Much laughter then, and now, our long vacation it is over. Many will return with their new stories.

Mine will begin with the story of a grow house conversion.

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Oregon is all Abuzz today

It’s a day for The Ages here in sunny Oregon. Though recreational adult use was legal July 1st, acquiring cannabis remained in a gray zone Best of best budknown as Immaculate Conception, because recreational dispensaries won’t likely be up and running till next summer or later. So smokers had to buy their stuff black market still, which was technically illegal.

The legislature came up with a temporary fix: the existing medical dispensaries, beginning today, can set up and sell flowers (buds) to recreational users in limited amounts. No medibles, lotions, etc, only flowers.

So some dispensaries opened at midnight last night, to long lines. I visited one today that opened earlier than usual, at 7 am. They said people were sleeping in their cars, waiting. The poor budtenders looked a bit harried.

So Oregon is extra high today. And 10 hours into it, in related news, Oregon has reached peace agreements with Syria, Isis, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and the Sudan. We also negotiated a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, China and Pakistan, converted Ben Carson to Islam, and Donald Trump’s new fiance is an undocumented woman from Oaxaca.

We got federal funding doubled for Planned Parenthood and nobody has a headache today either.

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Zero Tolerance For Zero Tolerance Bullshit

Okay, this is a tangent, but seems connected to our overarching interest in justice:

Ahmed Mohamed was wearing a NASA T-shirt when he was placed in handcuffs and led out of his high school.

The 14-year-old had brought a homemade digital clock to MacArthur High School in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas.

Now, the teenager, who described his hobbies as “inventing stuff” is suspended and may be charged with making a hoax bomb, according to a Tuesday report from the Dallas Morning News.

Methinks this is part and parcel of The War On (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs in that authorities assert a “zero tolerance” policy toward not just their ostensibly legit target, but ancillary stuff as well (e.g., kids bringing Midol or other medication to school). The War On (Some Colors of People Who Are Less Likely To Engage In) Terrorism is just another example of privilege masquerading as a solution to a hyped problem.

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What A Thoughtful Democratic Candidate!

Some thoughtfulness in Vermont:

For more than a year, Smith has been undecided about this issue but now he says he’ll work to pass a legalization bill in the 2016 session.

For months, Smith has taken a “wait and see” position concerning the legalization of marijuana. He said he wanted to remain undecided until Vermont lawmakers could closely evaluate the experience of Colorado and Washington, the two states that have legalized marijuana for more than a year.

Smith is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2016, and this legislation could be become a campaign issue.

Smith says he thinks it makes sense for Vermont to legalize marijuana if it can be done with a thoughtful approach.

Good for Shap seeing the light.  And finally, an advocate for legalization who is thoughtful about it instead of so glib like all  those thoughtless candidates over the years!

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The War on People Who Went to War

Way back in May I posted about an Iraq war vet who was self-medicating with marijuana as a way of dealing with his PTSD symptoms and other ailments brought on by his tours of duty (and the typically lame response by law enforcement).

And then in July, I brought you the story of the pharmaceutical industry’s dastardly efforts to keep cannabis from being used medically by PTSD sufferers in legal-pot Colorado.

Well, the vets in Colorado are having, if you’ll pardon my French, none of that shit.

Now, five PTSD patients from Colorado are suing the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment and the Colorado Board of Health to get the decision changed.

“This is not your traditional lawsuit where one side is suing the other and has a burden of proof and new evidence,” Bob Hoban, the lawyer representing the patients, told ATTN:. “This is what’s called an administrative appeal.” Basically, the government chose a board who made this decision in the middle of July, and it was an administrative final decision, but they want to reverse it. “When they make that decision, you can appeal it if it’s incorrect or erroneous or arbitrary and capricious. You can appeal it to the district court…”

“We’re arguing that the board has abused its discretion, because it ignored the fact there was a great deal of scientific evidence in the record that showed marijuana does in fact help PTSD patients,” Hoban said. He said he didn’t see any evidence at the hearing that countered the claim marijuana helps PTSD, and he thought it seemed to show it helps treat the condition.

As usual, we run into the old catch-22 of not having any federal studies showing the beneficial effects of marijuana on PTSD, because, um, there are no federal studies being done.  Even so, there has been research done by the state of New Mexico that might have swayed the board in Colorado, if they’d been allowed to hear about it:

The study was done last year by Dr. George Greer and examined 80 veterans with PTSD who were involved in the New Mexico medical marijuana program. Greer found participants experienced a 75 percent reduction in their PTSD symptoms while using medical marijuana.

“If the study is accurate, which I believe it is because it went through peer review, there is no combination of medications that could come close to a 75 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms,” Sisley said. She said the typical drugs prescribed for PTSD, Paxil and Zoloft, don’t get anywhere near 75 percent effectiveness.

What it all comes down to in the end is the Federal government’s asinine, outdated, and downright stupid policies on medical marijuana which are keeping the soldiers that we sent to fight in our stupid idiotic wars from getting the help they need.  Is that going to change?  Eventually – when we have political leadership that is courageous enough to finally admit that the War on (Some People Who Use Some) Drugs has been an amazing, colossal, stupendous failure.  But until then, we’ll have to put up with bullshit like this:

Although recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, meaning PTSD patients could get it from recreational stores, the prices and varieties are very different between medical and recreational shops. Medical marijuana in Colorado is taxed at about 3 percent, while recreational is taxed at at least 25 percent. Also, most recreational shops in the state do not offer products people need to treat their PTSD, such as marijuana strains that are very high in CBD. To get those products, you typically have to have a medical card. Most people purchasing marijuana from recreational shops in Colorado, however, are looking for products that are higher in THC.

Hoban believes people with PTSD should be able to tell their doctor what they have so the patient can receive treatment for that condition, instead of the doctor treating them for a condition they don’t really have. He believes the review board did not have the interest of patients in mind when they made their decision and that they instead based it on the official position of the federal government.

“It’s a political decision, and it’s disgusting that they would do this to human beings—to our military veterans,” Hoban said. “Politics is getting in the way of people getting the legitimate medicine they deserve and that they need. They shouldn’t have to lie about their condition to get a recommendation from a doctor.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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Finally, a Bong for the One Percenters


Well, guess I’ll have to start saving up...

This basically looks like a sexy (and weird) water bottle with a filter, except it’s even better – it’s a sexy and extremely sleek bong that definitely has a unique look to it. The Aura Water Pipe is designed to “provide a cleanable, durable, and user-friendly water pipe smoking experience.” It sure looks it!

Tell me more…

Aura’s form is driven by a simplified user experience created by grouping the touchpoints of smoking (the handle, bowl piece, and mouthpiece) at the top of the device. First time use of a traditional water pipe can be a confusing and intimidating experience given the lack of an intuitive grip and the poor ergonomics of a vertical cylindrical mouthpiece. A holding place for the hand is created by the branches of Aura’s mouthpiece, providing intuitive control and comfort. In addition, the wrist and neck of the user are in a neutral position when smoking thanks to the angle of the mouthpiece. Lost lighters are no longer a problem, as space within the mouthpiece is provided to store one when not in use.

Dishwasher safe, too.

And how much does this sexy, sleek piece of hardware cost?  Who cares?

Oh, around $250.  A bargain at twice the price.

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Who’da Thunk It?

Heard of D.A.R.E.?  In case you’re not familiar with them

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) is an international substance abuse prevention education program that seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior. It was founded in Los Angeles in 1983 as a joint initiative of ex-LAPD chief Daryl Gates and the Los Angeles Unified School District as a demand-side drug control strategy of the American War on Drugs.

Students who enter the program sign a pledge not to use drugs or join gangs and are informed by local police officers about the government’s beliefs about the dangers of recreational drug use in an interactive in-school curriculum which lasts ten weeks.

What could possibly be wrong with something that was started by Daryl Gates?

Those of you who have little buckaroos and buckarettes running around the homestead, or have had them at some point, know all about D.A.R.E.  I can remember the propaganda that my young’un brought home from school when he was a tyke, which placed marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the same bag labeled EVIL DRUGS, but somehow managed to avoid talking about the martinis and manhattans that mommy and daddy consumed by the gallon (not to mention the cigarettes they smoked, or the pills that their doctor prescribed to keep their anger at the upper class in check). Then there’s this classic bit o’ nonsense:

I don’t know about you, but I WISH my friends had turned me on to drugs in school.

Well, Kirk Cameron would probably be VERY disappointed to learn that D.A.R.E. is singing a slightly different tune these days.

D.A.R.E., the organization designed to plant a deep-seated fear of drugs in the minds of every late-20th-century middle schooler, published an op-ed calling for marijuana legalization…

Written by former deputy sheriff Carlis McDerment in response to a letter in the Columbus Dispatch, the op-ed explains that it’s impossible for law enforcement to control the sale of marijuana to minors. “People like me, and other advocates of marijuana legalization, are not totally blind to the harms that drugs pose to children,” McDerment writes. “We just happen to know that legalizing and regulating marijuana will actually make everyone safer.”

Anyone who suggests we outlaw everything dangerous to children would also have to ban stairs, Tylenol, bleach, forks and outlet sockets and definitely alcohol. Those things harm children every day, but anyone championing that we ban them would be laughed at.

I support legalization precisely because I want to reduce youths’ drug use. Drug dealers don’t care about a customer’s age. The answer isn’t prohibition and incarceration; the answer is regulation and education.

Or. ARE. THEY????

Update (8/1): Daily Intelligencer reached out to D.A.R.E. for comment, and Director Ronald J. Brogan responded:

The article you wrote about was mistakenly posted on our website by a service we use. We have not changed our stance of being opposed to the legalization of marijuana.

Oops.  Sounds like someone at headquarters had a little difference of opinion.

The substance abuse prevention education program D.A.R.E. says it has not changed its stance against marijuana after it accidentally published a post supporting its legalization.

Well, I guess it was a bridge too far for the abstinence-only folks at D.A.R.E.  Anyway, it’s not the first time they released something to the public that they probably wished they hadn’t.

“Marijuana candies, sold on the street as ‘Uncle Tweety’s Chewy Flipper’ and ‘Gummy Satans’ are taking the country by storm.” That’s the breathless opening sentence of a news story posted on the Web site of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the infamous anti-drug organization that sends police into schools to teach kids about the dangers of drug use.

After I called to inquire about it, D.A.R.E. removed the story immediately without commenting. But it’s been preserved at the Internet Archive, and I’ve screenshotted it in full below. “It is sad that in a country as developed as America, such third world drugs such as marijuana are allowed to exist,” the story’s anonymous author wrote. “Children are being addicted to marijuana. I knew this day would come, when a liberal president allowed a state to legally sell Marijuana Flintstone Vitamins to children.”

“Marijuana. It is one of the most dangerous drugs on Earth,” the author concludes ominously. “For every one joint of marijuana, four teenagers become burdened with pregnancy.”

Shocking, no? The people at D.A.R.E. certainly thought so, enough that they reposted the entire story, titled “Edible Marijuana Candies Kill 9 in Colorado, 12 at Coachella” from topekasnews.com. The only problem is that topekasnews.com is a satire Web site, one of dozens posting fake-but-just-barely-believable stories online. The marijuana story is fake, as are the numbers it cites.

Just keep scrambling those eggs, folks.

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