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More bad OpEds

You know you love ’em. You love to trash ’em. Sure, some of you complain that I even give space to these ravings, but I figure it’s part of our entertainment.

First up, from The Olympian in Washington is Jill Wellock with Marijuana Saps Initiative, Ambition and Responsibility

She starts out with the obligatory proof-by-example fallacy:

In eighth grade my friend started hanging out behind the portables with the stoners, which was weird because she was the school’s star softball pitcher. She could swing her arm around so fast that I thought it might dislocate and fly off toward the bleachers.

She smoked pot before school every day. Before long she started missing practice, which didn’t matter once her grades failed and she couldn’t play softball. She had spent years perfecting that pitch.

My friend and I attended different high schools, but I saw her at the end of freshman year at the mall, about 20 pounds heavier, with greasy hair and dirty clothes. I asked a guy from her school what had happened, and he just said, “Burn out.”

Gateway drug marijuana is now legal, used medicinally in Washington and 12 other states, with 15 states pending legislation for its medicinal use.

Yep. Because her friend followed a particular course, that will be true of every person who smokes marijuana. Barack Obama? Burnout. Carl Sagan? Burnout. Willie Nelson? Burnout. Michael Phelps? Burnout. See, I can use examples, too. Based on that approach, I can argue that everyone who smokes marijuana will win multiple gold medals in the Olympics.

Wellock’s other argument is that legalization will cause everyone to work stoned.

Most users likely work. If demand is so high that comedian Jay Leno framed a whole joke segment around the new medical marijuana industry on Dec. 3, then Californians can expect to encounter a lot of high workers.

Drivers, too. […]

Consider marijuana’s effects on workers who multitask, or who safeguard others. How about the staff at your child’s day care? Bus drivers? Construction workers?

No one wants their ER phlebotomist to smoke a joint before an IV start, but if Washington state follows California’s lead in legalizing dispensaries, health care facilities – and all businesses – will have to drug test workers with frequent signs of fatigue and red eyes.

What an image. Phlebotomists smoking joints. And day care/bus drivers — you knew there had to be some kind of “What about the children?” reference. Apparently, it’s OK if your phlebotomist chugs a bottle of Jack Daniels before drawing your blood or if the day care has a kegger. Interesting.

Next up is a student OpEd in the Orion – Chico State’s Independent Student Newspaper. James Jelenko has Legal weed problems: Both sides take an all-or-nothing approach to marijuana legalization

He takes a rather unusual approach in his OpEd.

He’s doing that Journalism 101 thing of “it’s not black-or-white and the truth is somewhere in the middle” — an academically sound approach to journalistic investigation, but not to writing an OpEd, unless you can actually demonstrate that premise.

Note how he sets off the two sides:

The debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana is like a twisted NASCAR race. One machine — filled with pungent smoke and long-haired freaky people — blazes toward an ashy world constructed almost entirely of hemp byproducts. Another, piloted by Gil Kerlikowske, the chief of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, moves in the opposite direction toward a drug-free nation where marijuana simply doesn’t exist.

Ah yes, the “long-haired freaky people” (if you’re wondering why that phrase is sticking in your head, it’s probably because of the song “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band). It would be interesting to see how he’d react if he met some members of LEAP.

Of course, he throws in some obligatory pot “jokes.”

Both sides are stuck to their perspectives like a stoner stuck to a couch.
But if any headway is going to be made on this issue, it needs to be a joint effort.

He actually scores some points against the prohibitionists (mention of the Compassionate IND program, for example), but his entire actual slam of the legalization side is:

The pro-legalization advocates claim marijuana has enormous medical potential, but conveniently ignore or refute the plain and simple argument that it is still a drug and has negative side-effects.

Huh? First of all, if we actually refuted it, then it’s not true. If it’s true, then it’s just like any other drug with enormous medical potential. And if we ignored it, that doesn’t change the truth of the claim.

What I really love is why he’s so upset by the fact that the two sides won’t compromise.

The problem with this status-quo is that taxpayers — many of whom have little or no opinion when it comes to the legalization of marijuana — get stuck footing the bill for this ideologically-charged debate.

When it comes to governmental action, nothing happens for free. There are many wheels in the machine of government and each one of them needs greasing. Every time legalization, decriminalization — or any other type of bill — goes to Congress for a vote, someone has to pay for it. If the conversation were going anywhere, I’d be fine with providing financial support because that is the responsibility of a citizen. However, it seems that whenever the issue arises, both sides try to bogart the conversation instead of listening and working together.

Congress just passed $2 billion for the DEA for one year without debate, and he’s worried about the cost of all the votes Congress is having regarding legalization and decriminalization? Did I miss something on C-Span?

For some real discussions — well thought-out substantive ones about drug policy, stay away from the OpEds, and instead proceed directly to the comments section of this blog, where the best discussions are going on right now. If you’re only reading the blog entries here, you’re missing a lot.

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27 comments to More bad OpEds

  • chris

    yep, the comments are half the fun here

  • kant

    wait, i’m confused. I try to stay up to date on drug war news, correct me if i’m wrong but when has congress EVER voted on decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis?

    the closest I can think of is Ron Paul’s and Barney Frank’s Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act.

  • InsanityRules

    Apparently, the opposition to drug law reform has degenerated into incoherent, delusional ramblings. That’s really about all they have left, and most everyone has learned to see through that BS.

    When speaking about amotivational stoners, don’t forget the reigning Super Bowl MVP and this season’s NL Cy Young Award winner were both arrested for marijuana during their stellar seasons. Someone should keep a list…

  • Steve

    There is entertainment value to these opeds, that’s certain. People dig their claws so far deep into their own idea of morality they couldn’t be pulled out with ten tons of their own bullshit. It’s sad that after all of the information that is available out there, people still choose to ignore it and/or warp it to their own meaning. Though, you have to hand it to someone who still tries to write negatively about cannabis because the comments usually ostracize the writer for being an idiot. At least that shows that more and more people are starting to use logic and understanding when thinking about drug policy.

  • revolution-starter

    I would like to start off by saying that i have been faithfully reading this website for a number of months and genuinely appreciate its content and the people that read and comment on it.

    That said, I think by this point that everyone must realize that in every article posted or even written in which someone is favoring prohibition or, is in anyway anti-drug that the authors have abandoned any attempt at intelligent journalism and it is profoundly obvious how ignorant and uneducated they are on the subject material and its effect on the human condition.

    While I understand that it can be fun to pick this stuff apart and it may be comforting in some way to see that the people in opposition to our opinion are not much more than a bunch of emotionally fueled irrational boobs. I think that our energies could be better used in a more positive way, I mean do we really need more proof at this point of just how wrong they are?
    Why not stop gathering everything they say and focus on gathering those who support ending prohibition?
    We have the tools at our disposal, the Internet has given us a gathering place, there are hundreds of websites with millions of visitors that all feel the same. Right now we just need to get everyone connected and all at once all together stand up and say enough is enough. I am sure if we make enough noise we will force people to pay attention. But it has to be done in the right way. Pot rallies and gatherings of that nature that showcase stereotypical drug using behavior are not the answer. This website is one example of an outstanding platform but more needs to be done. I have a lot of ideas, I am just lacking some resources at the moment. What does everyone think of giving these articles less attention and putting more energy into getting our voices heard and trying to put together a more centralized rally point?

    like I said I understand that it can be fun to rip these apart and poke fun at how ignorant these people are, I just feel like that is fueling negativity and somewhat of an exercise in futility.

    Thanks!
    Revolution-starter

  • Hope

    Revolution-starter.

    These articles, opinions, and rants are news. We come here to keep up with whats going on in the nation and world as far as this issue is concerned.

    Revolutions are good. There’s one going on here. These articles are about, and a part of, and news involving that revolution. Jump in. Help make it go faster.

    We’d like it to be a bloodless revolution, but of course, all the blood shed and destruction doled out for the sake of the war on drugs is one thing we’re all revolting against.

  • Hope

    Besides news that helps us keep up with what’s going on, it’s news we can respond to and participate in and share with others and plan efforts and share ideas and contribute in all sorts of ways. I see you’ve got some good ideas.

    It’s powerful stuff. It’s been changing and is still changing “The way things are”.

    Jump in and grab a bite out of the beast. We’re trying to take it’s very head off. I think it’s working. They keep growing back, of course…. that’s what happens with megalithic hydras… but eventually we’ll take the last one down and get to the heart of the monster.

  • revolution-starter

    Hope

    This is a topic that I am very emotional about, prohibition has had an enormous impact on my life. Revolutions can be good and at least in the beginning are often about people overcoming oppression.

    This is a revolution, it has started and will continue. I hope that we may be the first to have a truly peaceful revolution one based on intellect and freedoms not patriotism or idealism. The drug war has caused more than enough violence and adding violence to violence will not result in peace. We should all remember that and do what we can to ensure a peaceful revolution.

    That said, these articles are not news they are published opinions nor do they reflect what is going on anywhere as in most cases they are followed by a host of comments about how wrong the author is.

    This is a great place to come to learn about this topic and to research our opposition. I just think it is time to start making our own news rather than basking in our enlightenment and criticizing our opponents ignorance.

    I have been on the front lines of this so to speak for some time and I have paid greatly for my choices. I live every day in constant opposition to the drug war participating like this on the computer has been new but was started just as research as i thought I had a somewhat novel idea. I was pleased to find that I was wrong, there are lots of other people who feel similar. Now we just need to stop talking so much and start doing more, that is my biggest criticism (and it applies to me too).

    Revolution-starter

  • Hope

    There is news and discussion of it here.

    The discussion is important. We’ve discovered that we aren’t just talking to each other here and some of the other anti prohibition sites. The place is crawling with prohibs hoping to find more reason to hate and accuse.

    They can’t help but pick up a little bit of truth here and there…even if it’s just digging it off their jack boots after they stomp it. They see it. The truth. Truth has power in itself. Not much sometimes. But it has power.

    There was a time when very few people were talking much publicly about the damages caused by this prohibition. They are now.

    From these little puddles and reservoirs of truth, like DrugWarRant, have sprung great lakes, seas, and oceans of truth and eventually, it will not be denied.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been a victim of the injustices of this “War”.

    I really am, but I’m glad you didn’t get killed outright. They do that sometimes.

  • DdC

    revolution-starter the internet has been a jewel for anti-prohibitionists, and constantly attacked by Censorship since DiFi Hatch, typical tool of the fascists. Paid trolls come in with diversions, red herrings with no inclination of honest debate. Same with the politikans, if they don’t have to deal with it they don’t. Avoid reality at all cost. I urge everyone to supplement their internet activity with petitioning your cable service or city counsels or whatever it takes to adopt a Community TV station for the public to bring these issues to everyone. Only transparency will overturn the lies and deceptions perpetrated by the drug worriers. We rarely get normal TV airtime, and when we do its limited or they simply choose one of their own to out shout the reality. We have come a long way and shouldn’t settle for Incrimental ConPromises.

  • revolution-starter

    Hope

    I agree with everything that you just said. I just think it is time for more than discussion. Sites like this have created a public forum for those of us who were looking for it because of our own individual realizations. But now I think we are sort of getting bogged down in the conversation and I think that there are some simple steps that we could take that would move us much farther forward. That was really my only point.

    We can tear these articles apart all day as there isn’t a single intelligent argument among them. Any point they try and make can be refuted with scientific fact, hate is all they have to stand on. And that is starting to become evident all over as no matter what city these article originate in for the most part they are all followed by comments about how the author is wrong. Again that is more great progress. I just feel that at this point it seems like most people are getting it and we need to take that next big step. I have an idea as to what that may be and how to go about it, i have just recently lacked the resources.

    My choices have been my own and I have never looked for sympathy but I sincerely thank you. To that I will add that it is not only through imprisonment and loss of personal freedoms that we/I suffer. We and I continue to suffer and are constantly persecuted for our beliefs and actions and threatened with loss of life or freedom. Being a victim of the drug war permeates every aspect of life and that is something that most people fail to realize, and one of the biggest evils of the drug war.

    Revolution-starter

  • revolution-starter

    DdC

    I agree, the Internet is the most powerful tool that we have. There is no way we would be where we are without it. I have a few ideas on how to use it better, it will be vital to the revolution. And yes TV is pretty much a joke, even things that are slanted our way are conservative at best. One point I want to make here is that in order to succeed we need to be unconventional and the Internet will allow us to do that. We need to cause a commotion, and while I would never say not to, signing petitions and writing letters in conventional ways will not move us in a timely fashion towards our goal.

    Revolution-starter

  • Why we fight

    I love the bit about the girl sofball player. This just isnt the case for everyone, I know from first hand experience.

    Also funny how they are worried about spending money on debate when we spend BILLIONS year after year on a failed policy. But thats ok , it for the good right? Year after year ?

    People just love believeing their own propaganda and love their blinders…makes the whole world look so much better from that point of veiw.

  • Hope

    It’s just my opinion, but I think the most amazingly productive situations we made use of in this rebellion of sorts, was the power of the every day people wanting to help and willing to write Letters to the Editor about it.

    Some people did an amazingly good job in that area. Allan and Pete, among many others, come to mind.

    It drove change. Peacefully. Barely sometimes, and not at all on the prohib side, but relatively peacefully and with powerful effect.

    The Internet helped people know about that opportunity and respond to it quickly. And respond they did… and they still are responding.

    We got published. A lot of people got published a lot. I remember we would sometimes set goals of writing so many, say twenty letters a day. People against prohibition are still getting published. More than ever, in fact.

    That, along with other things have helped us a lot. But I can’t stress to you enough the power of a sensible letter to the editor of a newspaper. If it’x not sensible, they won’t print it… unless it’s maybe funny, somehow. Even the not so sensible ones usually get read somewhat by someone.

    It can be dangerous though, so be careful, be cautious, be rational. Especially if you live in small communities with a rabid prohibitionist mindset. They’re out there. Believe me.

  • Hope

    And knowing you aren’t completely alone in the world, about your attitude about all this, makes you stronger.

    It makes us all stronger to know that someone, somewhere agrees with us, or understands us. Even a little. That’s pretty empowering.

  • Hope

    People going to political meetings and rallies and asking pointed questions about “Illegal” drugs.

    Vigils. Marches. Billboards. Radio and television interviews. Magazines. Authors writing and promoting books. Call ins to radio and television programs. Blogs. Polls.

    There are and have been very many things happening.

    Organizing on all sorts of levels. Public speaking.

    So much has been done by so many people for so long to get us this far.

    It’s not over, but there have been more and more reasonable changes since so many people have begun to speak up against the completely unacceptable failings of the war on … something.

  • Paul

    Actually, I believe she’s right in that MJ does seem to sap ambition from some people, especially if they smoke it every day. It is not 100% harmless. However, jail cells ALWAYS disrupt life, sap ambition, and beat people down.

    The trouble with the drug war is that the cure is so much worse than the cold. Are drugs harmful? Yes, of course they are. But we have “saved” millions who have spent far more harmful time being run through the criminal justice system and prison, and nobody can get that time in their lives back. Many of them will never get over their prison time.

    The drug war is racist and cruel, and it is SO wicked it makes my head spin just to think about it. As H.L. Mencken said, “All decent men are ashamed of their government.” If someone is unreservedly in favor of the drug war (I’m looking at YOU Sheriff Joe Arpaio), they either live under a rock or deep down inside don’t care about other people.

  • revolution-starter

    Hope

    What your saying is basically supporting my point and the reason for what I am saying.

    In no way am suggesting not to do those things.
    They are all outstanding, and part of the reason to support why the realization of the wrongs of the drug war are starting to permeate regular society. That and, the intrusion and destruction of peoples lives on an epidemic proportion.
    This is not only in the US, the drug war is world wide and causes severe harm in every country. Though the US is one of the worst as we are the biggest market, spend the most against it, and unfortunately dictate world policy.

    What I really am saying is what next?

    The drug war has created all of these injustices around the world. It has effected all of us, weather it be us directly or through a family member or friend. Concerned people who have felt this suffering have written letters and gotten published and used the Internet, people are paying attention because this is such a costly war affecting so many lives around the world.

    So how can we reach out to all of these individuals and have our collective voices heard in a positive and peaceful way? And it is not just the people, at this point even other governments are calling for change as our drug war has had a crippling affect on the people of there country and potentially there economies. The Internet allows us a peaceful way to reach out and connect all of these people, and show the rest of the world that It is possible for what is now so harmful and disastrous to individuals and societies to have a wholly beneficial and helpful aspect, and a positive outcome overall. Causing harm only to an individual of there own free will and provideing care to those individuals. Thus reversing the suffering.

    I guess I will share with you my idea for how this could be done, some of this I’m just thinking on the fly and some I have been thinking about for a while and maybe this is the best way and the proper place to discuss it.

    So what if, someone where to record themselves reading a declaration for peace?
    This would have to be done in a respectful, sincere and genuine way but in the video read a statement to the US and to the world asking that we finally end The war on drugs and prohibition. End the suffering and injustice.
    Support it with the facts of harms that the drug war is doing and has done, the cost financially and in human life and impact that it has on our society.

    It could be followed by a proposal for what could be. I believe there is a way for our society to deal with these things in a positive manner one that reduces harm to individuals and society overall. It would also take advantage of the financial aspect of drugs that would benefit society, ours greatly and those of other counties.

    Once the video is recorded up load it to youtube. Then use the Internet to reach out to our world community, use websites like this where like minded people congregate to get the word out and publicize the video. Main stream media will pay attention, the world will pay attention to this if it becomes the most viewed video on youtube.

    At that point try and use one website as a rally point, add a counter with a simple statement, like “those in favor of ending prohibition” . Ask every one to respect the accuracy and take all proper steps from a technical point as well. For people that want to click away, click the video. I think that if we were to do that in an effective manner, then we could really make a change and do it in short order. Possibly to speed it up start with just marijuana as I think that main stream society is ready to hear that first, but I don’t know if that would help of hurt the overall goal.

    The events of the past brought us to where we are, let us realize them reflect on them, become the good, wash away the bad if we could do this we would be far better, I guess individually and as a society. Maybe this could be a first step? Maybe this could be the first truly peaceful revolution? I guess we’ll see.

    Revolution-starter

  • Hope

    Revolution-starter.

    Make that video. See what you can do with it.

  • Hope

    It could help. You could help. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

  • Hope

    Have you searched War on Drugs at YouTube?

    Link

    Check this out.

    A younger Barack Obama on the War on Drugs and marijuana

    Link

    You can see he is already becoming quite the consummate politician at this point in his career.

    I heard him say something, enthusiastically, too, and quite a lot of something… but I’m left wondering, “What?”

  • Hope

    This looks like some interesting results.

    Link

  • Bailey

    Here’s a Letter to the Editor that I sent into the Olympian:

    “Marijuana saps initiative, ambition and responsibility” demonstrates perfectly that “reefer madness” is more how people feel about marijuana, than how people feel using marijuana. Upset that a childhood friend started smoking pot, the author advocates keeping the same policies that made the drug so available. A friend of mine smoked pot daily while getting his masters degree. Barack Obama and Sarah Palin both smoked pot as teens, does their ambition seem sapped?

    The truth is the author doesn’t like people who smoke marijuana, so she finds excuses to make her opinion fact. She says marijuana saps ambition and responsibility then admits that most users have jobs. She still calls pot a “gateway drug,” but the Institute of Medicine reports 98% of users never become heroine or cocaine addicts. Property and violent crime rates actually declined after Washington enacted its medical marijuana law. Over 15,000 scientific studies done show that marijuana is less addictive, less intoxicating, and less deadly than alcohol or tobacco. How can her feelings be so strong and her facts so wrong?

    Today, more teens smoke pot then smoke cigarettes, despite tobacco being more addictive and more socially (and legally) acceptable. The same fact-based education campaign that has made cigarettes passé to teens can work for marijuana, but we have to stop irrationally demonizing pot smokers, because it glamorizes them to adolescents. When society accepts arguments based on anecdotes or takes innuendo as fact, we give up more responsibility, initiative, and ambition than any plant could ever take.

  • Chris

    Over 15,000 scientific studies done show that marijuana is less addictive, less intoxicating, and less deadly than alcohol or tobacco.

    Actually studies found that it was less intoxicating than alcohol, but more so than tobacco (which has almost no intoxication), and yes, that it is less addictive and deadly than either of them. Which is just obvious anyway.

  • revolution-starter

    Hope

    I will be making it soon. Have not been sure of the right way to start as I think society is ready to hear this for marijuana, I don’t know how it would go over for an out right end to prohibition. What do you think the best first step would be?

  • Hope

    Start writing and perfecting the speech you will video.

    Choose your setting and what you will wear.

    Upload it to YouTube and tell us about it.

    Go for it!

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you create.