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Spreading like a weed

Interesting article in the New York Times: A Popular Plant Is Quietly Spreading Across TV Screens by Brian Stelter

Tips for cultivating marijuana. Testimonials by patients about its medical benefits. Cannabis cooking lessons. Even citations for award-winning strains of pot. Viewers here can now watch, every week, what amounts to a pro-weed news program.

Booted off one skittish TV station but quickly picked up by another, the low-budget “Cannabis Planet” show is televised evidence of how entrenched marijuana has become in California’s cultural firmament and a potent example of the way the pot subculture has been edging into the national mainstream. […]

There are similar stirrings in the scripted TV world. On “Glee,” Fox’s new high school musical, one of the characters is a medical marijuana dealer. At the New York Television Festival next week one of the competing pilot projects seeking a TV network home will be “Rx,” a drama set in the medical marijuana world.

A rash of recent news reports have documented the mainstreaming of pot, citing among other examples frequent drug references in the media and endorsements by a growing list of celebrities. This month Fortune magazine’s cover asks: “Is Pot Already Legal?” CNBC repeats its eight-month-old documentary about the pot business, “Marijuana Inc.,” at least once a week; it continues to be rated one of the channel’s most popular documentaries.

This is good stuff. While there is the potential for some backlash, the most likely result is that people will get used to the notion of marijuana as an accepted part of society. Most people are, to some extent, already. Nobody but politicians, die-hard prohibitionists, and others who profit from prohibition argue for tougher laws on pot.

When they see the notion of marijuana accepted everywhere from the editorial pages to the cable TV shows, and then realize that the sky hasn’t fallen, there hasn’t been a rash of marijuana-induced ax murders, and all they have had to deal with is an increase in the prevalence of that sticky-sweet smell, then people will wonder (even more) what all the fuss was about.

I wonder if the media is having a harder time finding prohibitionists to comment, because Calvina Fay is getting a lot more print than usual recently.

Calvina Fay, the executive director of Drug Free America Foundation, said a weekly TV show extolling marijuana as harmless contributes to inappropriate public perceptions of the drug. “They are putting people’s lives in danger as they promote a toxic, harmful weed to sick people and intentionally ignore the harms of it,” she said, adding that the drug had been “linked to a plethora of health problems.”

Toxic, harmful weed. Right. Here’s an idea, Calvina. I’ll take your toxic, harmful weed and consume it while you consume some other weed — something like, I don’t know, foxglove, or bittersweet nightshade, or castor beans, or mountain laurel, or yew berries. Then we’ll compare notes in a week.

And as far as promoting it to sick people… Well, we haven’t had to. They’ve been asking for it because it helps them, and because it’s safer than the other medications that they get from pharmaceutical companies, most of which are, you guessed it, promoted to sick people every night on the TeeVee.

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12 comments to Spreading like a weed

  • PMP

    It’s exciting to see the excitement of others. Nevertheless, I’m worried that fickle fashionistas will turn this into another passing fad. One year we’re saving rainforests, the next is AIDS prevention, and maybe we can redouble our efforts to devote a year to both hybrid vehicles and energy-efficient light bulbs?

    Although I appreciate the support from Hollywood, I think the ultimate answer is more structural than cultural. We have enough localized support to win in local venues. I’ll bet that certain Rust Belt cities that have 20% unemployment wouldn’t protest if some entrepreneurs tried to set up thriving, labor-intensive grow and/or retail operations.

    The problem is that our politics is too centralized. We can’t win a majority on the federal level. If every state, county, and city could make its own marijuana laws, we’d be lightyears farther towards a policy which reduced harms, respected liberties, saved taxpayer money, and focused crime-fighting efforts on violence and fraud.

    We need to respect federalism, as it is enshrined in our Constitution, and pare back the overreaching, counterproductive, evil usurpations of our Federal government.

  • Seth

    While I understand that mainstream news outlets and the like aren’t going to be reporting on how or why marijuana should be legalized anytime soon, I can’t help but feel a bit used and disappointed that all these media giants are making vast profits from these sorts of programs, while ignoring the end of the equation.

    I know it’s good that so much light is being shed on marijuana, particularly that it’s portrayed as harmless in most cases. The blatant fence-sitting is what bothers me. Sure I’m glad that Fortune magazine has taken the time to write an article detailing the odd legal/social status of marijuana, but who wants to bet there won’t be a single mention of the obvious necessity to legalize and regulate it, DUE TO its very odd legal/social status (not to mention the clear harms of prohibition)?

    Once the mainstream media is willing to go all the way through with one of these kinds of stories, I’ll be happy. Till then, although mildly helpful, I’ll remain stark mad with them.

    As for Calvina, and the rest of the prohibs, the media is doing the general public a grave injustice by not reporting their profitable ties to keeping prohibition in place. When a congressman’s ties to a particular industry come to light, they’re all to happy to report on it. How is this at all any different? Point blank, if you have financial stake in any policy, your opinion on it should not be heard, period. Leave the policy making/dismantling to objective sources and keep your self-sustaining remarks to yourself.

  • Seth

    PMP agreed. Unless we, as a nation, are under attack at gun/knife/etc. point, then the federal government should have absolutely no stake in the situation. What happened to our union of SOVEREIGN states. More and more we’re becoming homogenized through fear tactics to better fit the greed of a few.

  • BluOx

    Calvina tells lies for money. She’s done it for at least 30 tiresome years now. A “drug free” anything is a preposterous notion. We’ll have to find her a nice ‘Straight’ jacket once the war is over, which may be sooner than later.

  • kaptinemo

    “What happened to our union of SOVEREIGN states.”

    Seth and anyone else who’s curious about that, take a look at how the Founders capitalized the word ‘States’. This is because in essence the States were originally meant to be sovereign countries within a voluntary federation.

    Now, why is it that only in a very few places do you ever see the word properly capitalized when referring to these supposedly sovereign entities, and you almost never see it that way when the media refers to them at all?

    Because we are no longer such a voluntary federation. We are a de facto empire. The States have become the ‘states’, little more than a subsection of a postal address; the word has lost its’ meaning due to overweening centralization of government. In short, the once sovereign States have become provinces.

    The consequences of that are all about us. Were it possible to claim that the States were indeed sovereign, then the Feds would have to ask permission to make raids on California’s MMJ dispensaries. Instead, we see just what the detractors of the Federalist Papers said would happen: a centralized government behaving unconcernedly tyrannical.

    So, what has to happen? The States have to re-assert their 10th Amendment rights. And with the eventual shrinkage of the economy, with a corresponding shrinkage of (stolen) taxpayer dollars going back to the States, the States have every right to demand the Feds butt out of their affairs. it’s that, or adopt Tricky Dick’s Executive Order 11490 (and Clinton’s attempt with EO 13083) and eliminate the States altogether and form Federally administered Regions. Which is exactly what DrugWarriors would like see happen…

    For the curious, I offer this link. It can explain better than I can what i am trying to impart.

  • Cliff

    Do you hear that?….TINK, TINK, TINK. All those sledge hammer wielding reformers chipping away at the wall of prohibition. What was once a few, determined reformers are being joined by other people who have seen the truth, and look, they brought their own sledge hammers and a couple of skidsters with jack hammers.

    The wall is crumbling and turning into rubble. The people are yelling, “President Obama, Tear down this wall!!”

  • kaptinemo

    One more thing: it would go a long way to review what happened in 1937 between the Supreme Court and FDR, with his proposal to undermine the SC’s striking down his proposed legislation by increasing the Court’s numbers to 15.

    This broke the back of the SC’s resistance to FDR’s plans…and also allowed for the passage of Wickard which formed the cornerstone for weakening the States’ independence of the Feds…and also allowed for the creation of the Federal anti-marijuana laws.

    It was Wickard that the SC used as a cheap defense against Angel Raich’s claim that Fed cannabis laws violated the Commerce Clause since the cannabis she and other California MMJ users consumed did not cross State lines. By using Wickard as a defense, the supposedly ‘federalist’ SC judges belonging to the Federalist Society proved themselves rank hypocrites of the first order in their rulings. But it all got started back in 1937. More reason why SC appointments are so terribly important…

  • truthtechnician

    Media coverage does not translate into political change. The media-savvy segment of society has the worst voting turnout!

    Unfortunately, Cannabis will never enjoy the populous majority that alcohol does, even when legal. In a winner-take-all system will we ever amass the numbers necessary for political reform?

  • PMP

    There’s a direct line between Wickard v. Fiburn and Raich v. Gonzalez.

    There’s too much power in Washington.

    Not all of the nation’s smart people live in the District of Columbia, but you’d never know it from looking at the amount of power we’ve concentrated there…

  • R.O.E.

    TINK,TINK,TINK….TINK,TINK..TINK,TINK,TINK. “Mr President,Tear Down This Wall!”

  • truthtechnician

    I second the comments about Wickard v. Fiburn and Raich v. Gonzalez. The latter was the nail in the coffin. The Court has clearly decided debate is not an option and that Federalism is antiquated.

  • claygooding

    Medicines from the weed that isn’t medicine!

    I. Drugs that contain chemicals taken directly from the marijuana plant
    Name/Trade Name Manufacturer Approval Status Suggested Medical Use Cannabis-Related Properties
    1. Sativex GW Pharmaceuticals U.S. Phase III clinical trials started in late 2006

    Approved for use in Canada (2005) and Catalonia, Spain (2005); Licensed to Bayer in the UK and to Almirall in Europe

    Ongoing Phase III MS (Multiple Sclerosis) study in the UK due to report results in the first quarter (Q1) of 2009 and regulatory submission scheduled by the end of the second quarter (H1) in 2009.
    Treatment of neuropathic pain and spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS); Analgesic treatment in adult patients with advanced cancer who experience moderate to severe pain. Mouth spray whose chemical compound is derived from natural extracts of the cannabis plant

    II. Drugs that contain synthetic versions of chemicals naturally found in marijuana
    Name/Trade Name Manufacturer Approval Status Suggested Medical Use Cannabis-Related Properties
    1. Dronabinol/
    Marinol Unimed Pharmaceuticals,
    a subsidiary of Solvay Pharmaceuticals
    FDA approved in United States as an appetite stimulant (1992) and for nausea (1985)

    Approved in Denmark for multiple sclerosis (Sep. 2003)

    Approved in Canada for AIDS -related anorexia (Apr. 2000) and for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy (1988)
    Treatment of nausea and vomiting for patients in cancer treatment; Appetite stimulant for AIDS patients; Analgesic to ease neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis patients Synthetic Delta-9 THC
    2. Dronabinol Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)/
    Marinol aerosol Solvay Pharmaceuticals
    Not approved for use as of Feb. 15, 2008

    Phase II clinical trials in the United States completed Sep. 7, 2006
    Treatment of nausea, vomiting, migraines, spasticity in MS patients, and neuropathic pain Human-made THC inhale

    Prohibition or Crime

    Our elected legislators have allowed a federal bureaucracy to become so powerful that they could be causing the unnecessary deaths of American citizens.
    It is mandated by congress that the ONDCP refuse and refute any clinical or scientific proof of marijuana as a medicine or recommends that marijuana be moved from schedule I. They are required to fight legalization by any means necessary.
    The DEA is the main law enforcement in the federal government for interdiction and enforcement of federal drug laws . They are also the agency charged with the final approval of any studies or clinical testing of marijuana.
    As of this date,they have routinely refused all applications trying to prove any medical uses of marijuana,in any form,except to the pharmaceutical companies,(Marinol).
    The pharmaceutical companies also have several more medicines in various stages of testing,that are either derived from or are synthetically produced because the chemical compounds that are naturally in marijuana have shown to have medicinal properties.
    Yet the ONDCP still claims that marijuana has no medicinal uses.
    Every medical evaluation that congress has ordered,since 1972,has stated that marijuana is a possible therapeutic medicine and has recommended that it be removed from schedule I ,and they have refused to listen to the doctors and scientists.
    Now there are four studies,one paid for by the ONDCP budget ,that has stated that marijuana in it’s natural form shows
    cancer blocking properties and may prove to be a cure for some cancers.
    They are still refusing to reschedule marijuana so scientific testing can be done to find out if we are possibly prohibiting a natural cancer blocker.
    Any study that the DEA approves now,with their history of and continued anti-marijuana campaign,and a federal budget in the billions riding on the findings of such a study.would be tainted.
    They are required by law, to lie if necessary,to keep protecting America,even if it kills us..
    The pharmaceutical companies are trying to synthesize and extract the medical compounds from marijuana,so they can put it in a pill,to sell you,but the plant already has the compounds in it,safely. Big pharmacy’s one attempt at synthetic thc,marinol,
    has been listed as the cause of death four times,and only been used by a very few patients. Marijuana has been used by millions,with real thc in it,and never been listed as a cause of death. And the same results may occur with the new medicines,derived from or copying compounds from pot.
    Every day that goes by that they delay the testing to see if marijuana blocks cancer,may be allowing people too contract cancer that could have been blocked or treated with marijuana
    and it is a dangerous game they are playing with peoples lives
    just too protect who?

    Whether marijuana blocks cancer 62% as claimed in one study,or even 1/2 that amount,wouldn’t it be better to block cancer than treat it. And big pharmacy has no cancer blocking medicines,and there are none going through any clinical testing
    but they are working on some more cancer treatments, using cannibinoids that are in marijuana.
    Pharmaceutical companies are suits and ties,not caregivers or even doctors,they are after the buck,for the buck and of the buck. They don’t want cancer blocked,or cured,they make billions treating it.
    Someone STOP this INSANITY

    PS.the stupid potheads are already blocking cancer as much as they can,please don’t tell the ONDCP or any DEA about this wonderful plant.