Reefer Madness-or the song remains the same

Pat Ryan

Ever since Kari decided to tie Blue Oregon to Facebook, a bunch of us have migrated conversations to that platform. It ain't long form or comprehensive, but it's quick and affords the reward of instant feedback, and the cherry on top is that I now have a whole bunch of new "friends" who are obliged to attend my funeral. It's your own danged fault Kari.

Anyhow, running the list a couple of days ago, I came upon an exchange between some of our indefatigable Pot Warriors and a senior member of our congressional delegation, and what a depressing exchange it was. The Warriors asserting that Marijuana is the Second coming of the Holy Grail, enabling you to, as Neil Diamond once opined, "Drop your shrink and stop your drinkin' " and many other wondrous things; while the legislator rebutting with old and tired tropes about impairment, gateway drugs, and other fun fact-free facts. Really depressing stuff for the year 2010.

Now mind you, I have a huge respect for both the legislator in question and for the hemp guys in their organic footwear and their cute little retro hats, but nobody's bothering with the cold equations anymore.

The fact is that while America's mainstream drugs of choice, coffee and distilled liquor, have only been discovered and broadly used for a few hundred years, cannabis has been in use for thousands of years. It ain't a gateway drug, or a driver of psychosis, or a disproportionate cancer risk, and except for rare cases of libertarian students in Baptist schools who worship Aqua Buddha does not set people on paths of scary self destruction as is the case with methamphetamine, cocaine, and some of the more outre' club drugs.

So to remind: The cannabis trade and attempts to quash it, have made a mockery of our system for about fifty years now. millions of people have become criminals and have had their lives destroyed. The state has incarcerated hundreds of thousands, and spent hundreds of millions of dollars, that could have been better spent elsewhere. And the continued prohibition has contributed mightily to the rampant cynicism that dominates our modern culture. When students are taught a bunch of flatly untrue crap about this relatively innocuous drug, they are then way less inclined to believe anything drooled out by clueless authority figures about truly dangerous substances to which they also have ready access. Meanwhile, the pro-pot guys have taken to touting the alleged medical benefits of this wondrous panacea with a militancy not seen since the long, ultimately successful struggle to elevate chiropractic treatment to the level of a bona fide medical procedure.

For once could we please just do the sane thing? Legalize it for adults. Explain to adolescents, that they will get their shot as soon as they've matured enough that the development of their natural brain chemistry is not at risk, as we do with alcohol. Then standardize and tax by potency, as we do with alcohol.

Comments

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    Right! I agree.

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    Well said. Not an issue high on my priorities (pun noted) but a policy view I heartily concur with.

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    Right on. Legalize now. Save those precious funds and jail beds for "real" criminals.

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      Fair enough. Just speaking to my own impulses and behavior I guess. That said, I miss the Old Days the mudslinging and hysteria, and comments that used to run to the high double digits.

      I'm probaly in the minority among Blue Oregon regulars though...

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        Actually, Pat, I agree. There may have been more mudslinging, but I honestly don't think the level of discourse was all that bad back then. I'll go along with FB authentication, but I still resent having to log in to FB every time I want to comment here. It limits the number of comments I do post, although most might not mind that.

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        While I do not miss those who commented only to criticize others and offer nothing positive in return, I do miss the more frenzied pace of comments back in the "good ole days"

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        I miss the Old Days the mudslinging and hysteria ... I'm probaly in the minority among Blue Oregon regulars though...

        Yeah, it takes a special kind of personality to enjoy the "mudslinging and hysteria", and I'm not surprised, Pat, that you're the sort -- in part, it's why we love you!

        That said, we were facing outright rebellion from a large number of our contributors and quite a few regular commenters, too. I think our comment threads are better - and the feedback I've gotten suggests the vast majority of our readers agree.

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          Yup. You've managed to get the number of occasional dissenters down to about half a dozen or so.

          Side note: Is anyone planning on an article on why I should vote for Dr. Do Over or are we going to stick to just bashing the guy with the R after his name?

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            We're not ejecting dissenters - and we never have.

            We are, however, going to insist that people use their real names.

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              Exactly! And that's why I like the change.

              It's not about restricting dissent. It's about forcing individuals to more fully own their dissent.

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              Anonymity was never the problem. A couple of people being ass-clowns was.

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                Yes, but it was the anonymity that empowered and emboldened the ass-clowns.

                There is something about the fact that the person you're insulting might sock you in the nose in the grocery store that brings discipline to the comments.

                Also, Facebook authentication makes it easier to permanently ban spammers, scammers, trolls, and people who make violent threats.

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    I've not seen excessive use of marijuana at Gateway (99th Ave. NE).

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      Yeah it all looks innocent enough at Gateway, but before you know it, you're mugging little old laides in San Rafael, and stabbing people with syringes in Parkrose.

      It's the famous slippery slope right down to Sandy Boulevard, and finally you arrive at MARX street.......

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      Agreed, Ken. Sauce for the goose and all of that.

      When it comes to (non-financial) issues of personal liberty, liberals and libertarians agree on a lot more than Thom Hartmann or Lars Larsen would like to acknowledge, springing as we do, from the same Enlightenment philosophies.

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        Another good observation I would concur with Pat. This is goes even into old school use of the term conservative GOPers (not just libertarians) like Ted Olsen who did a great job exposing the bunk the anti-gay Prop 8 folks were pushing to deny equal protection under the law to same-gender couples, or get someone who on more than a few issues I dispose like Bob Barr to work with the ACLU on privacy issues vis-é-vis opposing serious problems thereof within the PATRIOT ACT.

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          Thank you for addressing one of my pet peeves about what passes for "conservative" these days.

          Interestingly enough, the old-style conservatives call themselves paleoconservatives now days and are nearly as critical of "conservatives" as they are of liberals - and for the very reasons you highlighted!

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          Ugh.. that should have read I despise, not I dispose. lol

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      OK Ken….but should we really allow the gays to use marijuana? Shouldn’t getting high be between a bong and a heterosexual human?

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        Hoping that this comment is incusively humorous.

        If the comment is to imply that Ken's world view best aligns with homophobes and other reactionaries, you're misunderstanding both Ken and basic libertarian ideology.

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          Maybe you missed it Pat, but Ken engaged in extensive commentary criticizing supporters of equal rights for gay Americans on Evan Manvel’s post: “A Step Forward for Equality.”

          He may claim a different rationale for his opposition to equal rights but he’s still in the same lot (label them what you will) w/ the others who oppose equal rights for all. What I’m implying is that opposition to equal rights for gays is wrong and plain stupid, whatever the reason.

          As for my basic understanding of libertarian ideology,” I can sum it up in four words: me, myself, and I.

          Glad to see you wasting more time defending right-wingers who oppose equal rights.

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            Speaking of missing things, wow did you miss my point. When you get older or more experienced, you may learn that not everyone who disagrees with your point of view is a hater.

            The only hater I have seen in this thread is your hate-speech towards Pat and myself. Neither of us suffer fools gladly, nor do we have to listen to them. Therefore I will just ignore you from now on, instead discoursing with those who have a modicum of tolerance for people who don't (group)think like themselves.

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          Thom Hartmann, a guy w/ a pretty good understanding of libertarian political ideology, has said more than once that libertarians are "Republicans who like to smoke dope and get laid"

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          Thanks Pat. I am not a homophobe. Never been afraid of gay people in my life.

          I also don't suffer from triskaidekaphobia which is why I went to work last Friday.

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    What Ken Ray said.

    Never thought I'd post that.

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    What Mitchell said too.

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    I agree with Pat. The War on Drugs is over; not having declared a winner. US society has lost hundreds of millions. Legalize pot, tax it at every step of the production stream like tobacco (except DO NOT federally subsidize the cultivation) and make it available at age 18.

    Then in lock step develop quantitative tests to determine "under the influence" for operation of vehicles, machinery and work. Treat it like alcohol, but also lower alcohol consumption down to age 18.

    Speaking of gateway drugs, it is most likely beer rather than pot.

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    I also would point out to my fellow consoiracy theorists that marijuana was not listed as a Schedule 1 drug and banned until AFTER a little company named DuPont invented synthetic fibers.

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    Thank you very much Mr. Ryan for this dose of sane reasoning on the subject! The comments rock too.

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