Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
April 2008



Over 130 years of being wrong

You may have thought the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was merely a sadly delusional chapter in our nation’s history. And yet, every now and then I see a letter to the editor in the local paper signed by someone who calls herself head of the local WCTU chapter. What I didn’t realize (until I read Allen St. Pierre’s post today) was that they also take a position on marijuana.
At their marijuana ‘facts’ page you can learn a number of interesting things, including:

long-term marijuana users experience withdrawal symptoms such as stomach pain, irritability, and aggression. […] Sudden heart attacks have been linked to pot smoking […] Loss of fertility in both males and females may occur. Marijuana can disrupt testes and uterine function. In males testosterone levels and sperm counts can decrease and abnormal sperm form. Menstrual periods have ceased in females who use pot regularly. […] fathers who smoked pot might increase the chances of their babies dying from SIDS. […] Marijuana use is a major risk factor in the development of full-blown AIDS in HIV-positive persons. HIV marijuana smokers progress to full-blown AIDS twice as fast as non-smokers. […] Chronic use results in adults being four times more likely to be depressed later in life and to have suicidal thoughts. […] In a 1999 report of 664 drug-related deaths, 187 of them resulted from marijuana use alone. […] A scientific study of airplane pilots showed their inability to properly land a plane using a flight simulator even 24 hours after smoking one joint. […] As of January, 2001, the Mississippi Research Center for the National Institute on Drug Abuse had on record more than 15,000 studies on cannabis. None of them show the raw material marijuana to be safe or effective for medical use. […] Many of the state-based referendums on medical marijuana have been supported and funded by individuals and organizations who favor decriminalization and legalization and who would profit from producing and selling marijuana.

If I didn’t know the damage that this organization has done to the country historically, I would merely consider this nothing more than a group of deluded oddballs who are completely and hilariously wrong.

Dust up – Day 4

It’s delightful entertainment over at the LA Times, because we so seldom get to see prohibitionists in any kind of debating forum, and Stimson is a textbook case as to why that is. It’s no contest at all — Jacob Sullum hardly has to try. Today’s question is about violence. While Stimson admits that legalization […]

Fun stuff

“bullet” Sean Mullins’ “The Ballad of Kathryn Johnson” is available for 99¢ on iTunes or at Amazon. As Radley says:

And it‰s good! Well, the music is good. The lyrics wander around a bit, and don‰t really tell what actually happened. But hey, it‰s a good pop song about a botched drug raid. I‰m not going to complain.

“bullet” Scott Morgan has discovered a handy guide for teens to obtain prescription drugs. It’s put together by the Drug Czar. And it’s a nifty site.
“bullet” California Brewery faces federal fines for putting the name of its town on its bottle caps. The Mount Shasta Brewing Company is located in Weed, California.

Part 3

Part 3 of the Sullum/Stimson debate is online. Will Stimson get any fans?


Argentina Decriminalizes Drug Consumption

A federal court in Argentina has decriminalized the personal consumption of drugs in that country. According to the court‰s ruling, punishing drug users only ‹creates an avalanche of cases targeting consumers without climbing up in the ladder of [drug] trafficking.Š

Stoners in the Mist revisited – the quiz

I couldn’t help myself. I knew better, but I decided to go back to Stoners in the Mist and explore some more of this propaganda. This time, I decided I should know some more about marijuana, so I took the quiz. I didn’t do so well (mostly because I refused to answer the answers that […]

The debate continues

Day 2 of the Los Angeles Times’ “Dust-up” between Jacob Sullum and Cully Stimson on drug policy is now up. It’s turning into a real gem of a series. The Part 2 question: Do federal raids of legal local marijuana dispensaries violate state sovereignty? Here, Stimson at least gets it technically right in terms of […]

A 420 message on 4/21

I experienced a fascinating synergy this weekend that has made me even more optimistic than my normal glass-half-full self.

An energized group of young people from colleges all over the midwest converged for a day of speakers and workshops here Saturday. These SSDP activists are bright, compassionate, and determined, and they’re ready to make a […]

More interesting stuff

“bullet” Check out this counterpoint between Jacob Sullum and Charles “Cully” Stimson in the L.A. Times. Sullum, as usual, really has it together and his arguments are really impossible to refute, which is why Stimson apparently has to act like he didn’t even hear them, and instead invent arguments out of thin air.

[Thanks, Allan […]

Open Thread

Postings have been a bit light the past few days. Let’s see… 63 hours of four-square (to raise money for scholarships), the midwest conference of SSDP, Theatre of Ted (performance event), RockSquare (outdoor rock concert of local bands in conjunction with four-square marathon), Hempfest, “Super High Me” screening, and several events I needed to photograph, […]