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Deadly but legal

I consumed some of it today. Right out in public where I could be seen. Savored it slowly and obviously. There was even a police officer there for some other reason… saw me… and turned away, completely uninterested.

It’s everywhere – parties, restaurants, stores… A 10-year-old could walk into a store today and purchase a pint (with nobody stopping him), walk out of the store and consume it… and die.

I’m talking, of course, about strawberries.

To those susceptible to strawberry allergies, eating strawberries can lead to death, and yet there is no call for making strawberries illegal. You can find them everywhere! People with allergies have to carefully check the ingredients of all labels because you just don’t know when they might have added strawberry to something.

This relates to the disingenuous harping about the link between marijuana and mental illness. We often get caught up in the back and forth of whether there is a causal link or merely a correlation, and the truth is that science just doesn’t know enough about mental illness to provide any kind of certainty of a causal link.

And in reality, the fact is that it is an issue that has absolutely no relevance to legalization. It’s an issue that may have importance to mental health professionals, but should have no bearing on legalization discussions.

It would be stupid to talk about criminalizing strawberries because some people can die from them. And yet strawberries are not essential to our diet. We can get what we need from other fruits and berries. We could paraphrase Peter Hitchens and say “Nothing of lasting value or importance would be lost if cannabis [strawberries] disappeared from our society.” And that would be wrong.

Strawberries are wonderful. Their flavor, their shape, their color, their aroma, the way they mix with chocolate or banana. Outlawing strawberries because of their effect on one small portion of society would be an affront to a free people. So no, we won’t outlaw strawberries. What we’ll do is put the burden on those susceptible to allergies to be careful of what they consume.

So with cannabis. Even if the unlikely fears are true and cannabis has a causal link to mental illness, then it behooves us to address that with the care of addressing a mental health problem, not with the society-wide sledgehammer of prohibition.

And much of lasting value and importance would be lost if cannabis disappeared from our society — the food value, the fiber value, the medical value, the fuel value, the recreational value, the beauty of the plant, and ever so much more than… the deadly strawberry.

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20 comments to Deadly but legal

  • SHuff

    This would make great testimony… If only Lamar Smith had given the Barney Frank/Ron Paul bill some floor time.

  • vickyvampire

    Wow I had a strawberry smoothie a few days,ago I’m living on the edge. I better think twice about that Banana split.Some are also allergic to raw Bananas,year ago my mom’s throat constricted after eating just a few bites of Banana.

    The DEA better put warnings on these real DANGERS.

    • pt

      My throat used to constrict very badly when I ate bananas, when I was younger. It used to piss me off so bad because I loved them. Luckily I got over it and can eat them now.

  • Last I heard the humble strawberry was remarkably closely related to the persecuted cannabis plant — no doubt the more science-minded among us can lend more info — less related than the peanut, which some folks have a seriously horrible (or deadly) reaction to. And not related to the poison ivy plant, which perhaps all of us hate to come in contact with.

    While I totally agree that strawberries go very well with some flavors, I would also point out that many of us are very visual, and blueberries next to strawberries is a real eye grabber.

    However, my main thought is that most 10-year-olds with “disposable income” are going to buy candy, NOT strawberries. 🙂

    And some of you may know the mayor of Boston has created a color-coded system for categorizing the healthiness of foods (or perhaps just drinks) sold on city premises, a color system just like the former terror alert system. I don’t know all the details of the over-regulated shenanigans, but I’m sure sugar is one of the key “thou-shalt-nots.”

    I didn’t read Peter Hitchens piece, but I did mouse over the link and see it’s called “resting my case.” Frankly, if only he (and other prohibitionists) rested their case and finally shut the hell up, instead of destroying their souls with all their foul blatherings. I’ll bet a quart of strawberries (and a bag of delicious frozen blueberries) he didn’t “rest his case” and finally stop writing or commenting on the issue of prohibition.

    • Servetus

      NOVA program First Flower, originally broadcast on PBS … such as the news that strawberries and marijuana are closely related. …

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/flower/about.html

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        Hmm, interesting. For a couple of years I’ve been encouraging the strawberries to do away with the grass in my backyard. Here I thought it was just because I hate mowing the lawn. I’ll get back to you in a couple of months and tell you how cured strawberry leaves taste in the vaporizer.

      • Servetus

        In that case, you might enjoy getting into some hobbies or contests, like hybridizing plants. First person to produce a mariberry wins a plant patent and billions of bucks.

  • darkcycle

    I’m allergic to rats (really, and it’s a bad allergy too, not just hives,…. throat closing, tongue swelling, fall down and die allergic). They ought to put warning labels on those things. Ban ’em or something.

    Pete…Hitchens still got you stewing?
    This from a real honest to gawd psychologist with real honest to gawd experience with schizophrenic people:
    Of all the causal factors tied to schizophrenia, and there’s a bunch, cannabis use does not figure in in any meaningful way. Factors such as genetic predisposition and parenting factors are far far far more influential. They are grasping at straws to the Nth power. Even if it were related to extent they claim it MIGHT be, we’re talking about such a vanishingly small percentage of the population as to make it inconsequential. The percentage of the general population that MAY fall victim to cannabis induced psychosis is truly tiny. More people will become diabetics from eating Big Macs than will become schizophrenic from smoking cannabis. Fatal reactions to some OTC medications happen to a larger percentage of people. The effect this has, however, is to sew fear among people who don’t know any better.

  • I made my first-ever fresh strawberry pie from scratch, including the crust, for 4th of July bbq. That pie sooo rocked…

    You can ban strawberries when you pry them from my cold freezer. I bagged and froze 5 gallons (and ate another gallon at least whilst just grazing) from about a 30 sf patch. And of course they’re medical! A case could be made that all strawberry use is medical…

  • Mike R

    And they even peddle the filth to little children on public access television… That Strawberry Shortcake chick is the worst thing to come along since the smurfs. And making shortcake all sweet with desert toppings like the cigarette peddlers did with their mandarin orange and blueberry flavored death sticks. How can this go unanswered? The children?

    • Windy

      I really miss clove flavored cigarettes. I used to buy a pack every few months or so and smoked one a week or so, just for the taste, but since the ban on flavored cigarettes I have no choice but to do without.

      • malcolm kyle

        This information is dedicated to fellow clove and flavored cigarette smokers. You can still buy your favorite flavored cigarettes online! Here is research to back my claim that it is not illegal to buy clove cigarettes online from other countries or importing flavored cigarettes to Americans. United States Customs will not be a problem so long as you do not order in bulk.

        United States Customs

        According to United States Customs, it is only illegal to sell flavored cigarettes in the United States. From the “Letter to Industry on Cigarettes Containing Certain Characterizing Flavors,” as of September 22, 2009, it is illegal to sell cigarettes containing certain characterizing flavors except menthol anywhere in the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

        The import regulations for clove cigarettes and other flavors, according to the United States Customs: 1000 cigarettes, a reasonable amount of tobacco and 100 cigars ARE allowed. United States Customs

        http://www.clovecigarette.eu/news/where-to-buy-clove-flavored-cigarettes-online/

  • Servetus

    Until each and every one of the 400 varieties of strawberries is studied and completely exonerated for individual safety by government scientists—research the government has no intention of funding because it will prove the government’s prohibition of the strawberry is a total fraud—the strawberry must remain on Schedule I of the DEA’s Index of Forbidden Fruit.

  • Scott

    To define risk is to define liberty.

    In the U.S., among the revolutionary rights specified in the Declaration of Independence, liberty is never to be explicitly defined by humanity.

    The masses need to understand this, but they are never really taught it. Entertainers should be teaching it, but they never apparently learned it.

    Certain recreational drug use is illegal, because our public servants have concluded in the Controlled Substances Act that such use “has a high potential for abuse” (i.e. such use is too risky).

    The act of breathing potentially leads to all rights infringing acts, but the risk is low.

    Even if our public servants never regulate your breathing, a legal line defining your liberty must be drawn by human beings (the people in power, of course), opposing our fundamental “truths to be self-evident”, all in the name of legally defining risk.

    Either you believe the people in power should define your liberty, or you do not (you believe in the Declaration of Independence’s definition of liberty — the only limit against your liberty is the right itself).

    There is no middle ground, because such ground automatically creates the slippery slope we are on now, increasingly granting that definition to the people in power to supposedly minimize risk. This slippery slope is why alcohol is legal and marijuana is not.

    The slippery slope must end now, but that only happens when the masses understand the danger in allowing our public servants to legally define risk.

    The true “clear and present danger” is ironically the legal notion of a “clear and present danger”.

  • Peter

    Thanks for that Pete…..reading your post and the comments following have just sent me further down Alice’s rabbit hole of upside-down total absurdity…. usually i imagine some cunning, calculating hand behind these cannabis memes, but your strawberry analogy has brought the perspective to such an extreme that i begin to wonder what these memesters have been smoking. I just can’t comprehend how they can continue to pull this shit and get away with fooling most of the people all the time.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    “…and the truth is that science just doesn’t know enough about mental illness to provide any kind of certainty of a causal link.”

    Without in depth knowledge of the causality of mental illness we can’t eliminate the possibility of causality? To me, simply the fact that the incidence of mental illness was the same in the US in the 1940s and 1950s as it was in the 1960s and 1970s is proof that cannabis doesn’t cause mental illness. One simply does not increase the causal factor for anything by over 1000% without seeing an increase in the thing allegedly caused.

    1960s: 1000% increase in the number of people who enjoy cannabis.

    1960s: 0% increase in the incidence of mental illness in the US.

    Case closed.

    PS Why isn’t Jamaica just lousy with Rastafarian lunatics?

  • It´s not proven that Cannabis may lead to mental illness.
    To put someone in jail because have bought or sold cannabis can lead to mental illness and suicide for instance.
    How many people died because incarcelation due to cannabis use, in any way

    The fact that cannabis prohibition leads to the actual offers of legal cannabis synthetics, comming fully legaly from China for instance, full of dangerous solvents, is much more insane than the prohibition itself.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Speaking of deadly but legal, how about a BAC of 0.19?

    I’m never going to understand the Denver Post. When a man falls 100 feet from a bridge with a BAC of 0.294 with the coroner not listing cannabis trace as a causal factor in the death, the headline reads:
    “Marijuana found in system of man who died in Pitkin County fall”
    http://www.drugwarrant.com/2011/01/68-year-old-eurie-stamps-next-drug-war-victim/comment-page-1/#comment-61552

    Yesterday it was reported that:
    “Robert Seamans​ was drunk and had THC from marijuana in his bloodstream when he fell to his death after a baseball game at Coors Field on May 24, the Denver Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday.

    The autopsy report, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, found that the 27-year-old Pueblo resident’s blood-alcohol level was 0.19 — more than twice the 0.08 limit considered drunk in Colorado. The mixture contributed significantly to his death, the autopsy concluded.”

    The Denver Post headline reads:
    “Autopsy: man who died at Rockies game was drunk”
    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_18598042

    Don’t pay any attention to me. I think I’m suffering from the hobgoblins of consistency. Gosh, why the heck can’t I just accept that the guy would still be alive if it weren’t for the cannabis? After all, how could a guy die from just drinking too much beer at a Stadium named Coors Field?

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    OK, if cannabis should be illegal because it causes schizophrenia, when shall we expect the criminalization of wheat?

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201103/wheat-and-schizophrenia-0

    It sure looks like there’s a better case against wheat than against cannabis as a causal effect of schizophrenia. Where are the people demanding that wheat be criminalized to prevent schizophrenia?

  • DdC

    The ‘Virtues’ of Ganja
    The Politics of Pot

    WHEREAS, according to the National Institutes of Health, an average of 317 Americans die annually as the result of alcohol overdoses; and
    WHEREAS, there has never been even a single fatal marijuana overdose recorded in the medical literature, as noted by the British Medical Journal in September 2003; and
    WHEREAS, according to U.S. Department of Justice, About 3 million crimes occur each year in which victims perceive the offender to have been drinking at the time of the offense. Among those victims who provided information about the offenders use of alcohol, about 35% of the victimizations involved an offender who had been drinking; and
    WHEREAS, extensive research, documented in official reports by the British government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, among others, shows that — unlike alcohol — marijuana use is not generally a cause of violence or aggressive behavior and in fact tends to reduce violence and aggression;
    WHEREAS, it is the intent of this ordinance to have the private adult use and possession of marijuana treated in the same manner as the private adult use and possession of alcohol;
    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER

    “a smoker would have to theoretically consume nearly 1500 Pounds of marijuana within about 15 minutes to induce a lethal response.” By comparison, he adds that “eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response,” and that aspirin “causes hundreds if not thousands of deaths each year.”
    ~ Dr. Andrew Weil,
    Testimony before the US Congress

    “There is not a shred of hope from history or from cross-culture studies to suggest that human beings can live without psychoactive substances.” Bees drop to the ground after having nectar from certain orchards. Birds get drunk off berries and then fly into windows. After cats sniff certain plants they swing at imaginary objects. Certain range weeds will make cows shake, twitch, and stumble back for more. Elephants purposely get drunk on fermented fruits…”
    ~ Dr. Andrew Weil,
    University of Arizona College of Medicine