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August 2012
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Open Thread

Sorry for the recent lack of posts! It’s been a real whirlwind.

A 750-mile drive to Rochester on Thursday, then dry tech and set up the stage on Friday. The cast arrives late afternoon, and we re-block the show to fit the new stage and make several adjustments to the order before performance at 10 pm. Three more shows on Saturday, and then we drive back on Sunday. Great fun and a very successful trip with wonderful audiences.

Rear lug stud broke off on the trip back, but fortunately the wheel stayed on. Getting that fixed tomorrow.

Anyway, I’m back and looking forward to getting back up to speed on what’s going on in the drug war.


bullet image Some major action over at Huff Post tomorrow. A series of live web chats as a Shadow Convention. I believe most of these are in the noon to 4 pm Eastern time range.


bullet image We need a drug dog so we can seize more property and raise more money – a town that’s very up-front about their need to steal from citizens.

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39 comments to Open Thread

  • cy Klebs

    Where are NGOs when we need them here in the US of A? Why this gratuitous abuse of authority of the average citizen. And it makes use of automotive products impractical. We need more drug dogs like a lake trout needs a Canondale!

  • Freeman

    I saw a link to M.A.R.K.’s chat over at RBC. I won’t have a chance to watch it live (gotta work). I’m a bit leery of the title. The war is still full-on, whether the prohibitionists want to admit it or not. I’m not sure what he means by “what happened to [it]”.

    • claygooding

      they are searching for a way to deny it ever hsppened and I will bring up that just changing the name and continuing to put people in prison while claiming drug abuse is a medical problem makes me wonder if the next time I am sick,,do I check into a hospital or the closest prison.

      • Freeman

        I saw you over there in the comments. I thought this was one of the best comments there: If God could not enforce prohibition,although He is all-seeing and all-knowing,how much more of our rights will the government take away trying to achieve the impossible?

  • jonny goldstein

    Hi Pete,

    Big fan of your blog! I was wondering if you have seen this news coverage about a study showing detrimental long term effects of heavy cannabis consumption which starts in teenage years. It’s getting a lot of play http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/08/27/teenage-marijuana-use-may-hurt-future-iq/

    Thoughts?

    Keep up the good work!

    • darkcycle

      That’s deeply suspicious. This is uncovered now? After seven decades of furiously searching for ANY negative effect with nothing to show for it?
      I’ll be waiting for this one to be replicated. I’m honestly wondering if they made these subjects sleep with their heads in a paper bag or something.
      “They were suffocating those monkeys!” (or in this case, students)

      • Plant Down Babylon

        All kinds of drugwar related articles on huffpo.

        Plus there’s a Sabet article with the comments open!

        99% of the commenters are ripping him a new one. Geez, he really is an idiot for a phd

        • Plant Down Babylon

          This bozo too.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sack-md/medical-marijuana_b_1751367.html?utm_hp_ref=fifty&ir=Fifty

          David Sack, M.D., is board certified in Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. He is CEO of Elements Behavioral Health, a network of addiction treatment centers that includes Promises, The Ranch, The Recovery Place, and The Sexual Recovery Institute

        • Freeman

          My brother has a phd and a handful of other degrees. He’s no dummy, but he’s no genius either.

          Having a phd doesn’t mean someone is particularly smart. It means they were willing to put a great deal of money and effort into getting one. If you are going to be a university professor (like my brother is), you need a phd, so you do the work and earn one.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      My first thought is that a significant majority of degenerate addicts start their drug seeking behavior before age 14. You can color me skeptical that the 13 year olds in the study weren’t getting high on anything you can possibly imagine.

    • Servetus

      For better reference: Duke University Press Release

      Maybe the teenagers had lower innate cognitive skills before they started smoking marijuana. Maybe the marijuana test subjects neglected school and academic pursuits.

      It’s known that students who don’t read over their summer vacation lose cognitive ability when compared to those who do read. Maybe there’s something about New Zealander culture that skewed the results. Did the researchers test Maoris as well to do a cross-cultural comparison?

      Adding to the problem, IQ testing has come under assault in recent years by people who question its veracity. It’s called the IQ controversy: see Measuring Intelligence: Facts and Fallacies by David J. Bartholomew.

      There’s been research to show that IQs can fluctuate over a person’s lifetime for a number of different reasons. Just studying for SAT tests changes the wiring in a student’s brain. People who medicate for depression experience a positive jump in their IQ. In most ways, the brain is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.

      All of which demands the question: if low IQs are the issue, what’s the prohibitionist’s excuse? Does prohibitionism lower IQs, or were prohibitionists originally mentally handicapped? Further research is required.

    • Matthew Meyer

      Even if this study is 100% correct, it is important to see that it is an argument for legalization.

      Kids will have a harder time getting ahold of pot sold in stores, just as they do with cigarettes.

      And if we have good evidence that it’s really bad for developing brains, kids will believe us a tad more once America gets over her current infantile attitude toward cannabis.

    • Well, I got a post up on it now, but you guys pretty much wrote it for me!

  • Uncle Albert's Nephew

    Saw this in the Boston Globe last Sunday. It’s about a “recovery home for addicts and former gang members” That’s taking subcontracts to move furniture for hotel remodeling jobs and paying it’s “recovering addicts” $4.00 an hour for the work. Link here. I guess if you’re saving the world from drugs you can steal labor. Who wants to bet that “drug courts” will give us much more of this?

  • No. Respect. At. All.

    .
    .

    Is there something in the water down way under? A study out of New Zealand says that adults who choose to enjoy cannabis show no decline in IQ. So what’s the headline?
    Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss
    /snip/
    Interestingly, interviewees who did not begin using marijuana before reaching adulthood did not present a similar IQ decline. It was unclear, however, at what age marijuana use becomes “safe.”
    /snip/

    It looks like all of the major English speaking mongers of hysterical rhetoric were in on this one. But I guess that when you’re trying to palm off a bill of goods you have to promote the extremes. I wonder how the IQs of those who used drinking alcohol to excess starting at age 13 fared? I wonder how many of the 13 year olds in the study did that as well as choosing to enjoy cannabis?

    Just another piece of evidence supporting the assertion that cannabis is the Rodney Dangerfield of substances on the naughty lists. Here’s the study itself before being translated into hysterical rhetoric by the MSM: linky

    Just another day at the office for the prohibitionist parasites. Then again it’s easy to understand their worry. the PPs just don’t have any IQ points to spare.

  • jonny goldstein

    Here’s how the New Zealand study is summarized on Wikipedia “According to a recent 35-year study by an international research team, which gave 1,000 New Zealanders IQ tests at ages 13 and 38, the age of onset of smoking marijuana is the important variable. Users who started in adolescence showed an average decline of 8 IQ points, and quitting cannabis did not appear to reverse the loss. However, individuals who started cannabis use after the age of 18 did not show similar declines in memory, attention, focus, or IQ.”

  • darkcycle

    Ah yes. A loose correlation turned into causation by the P.P’s. Where have we seen this before?
    Again, they’ve looked and looked for any neurocognitive deficit that could be laid to marijuana. Seventy years they’ve looked. They were so stymied that they resorted suffocating a bunch of monkeys and then tried to tell us it was pot. Even that failed. And they find this NOW? In a cohort of one thousand?
    If we assume 7% of their cohort fit the criteria (my rough guess puts it at more like three percent), that’s only 70 (or 30) people who fit the description of a heavy user that started at thirteen. Smelly.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      About 5 percent of the study group were considered marijuana-dependent, or were using more than once a week before age 18. A dependent user is one who keeps using despite significant health, social or family problems.”

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120827152039.htm

      Serious question DC…are you aware of anyone who demonstrated significant drug seeking behavior before the age of 14 who practiced that drug seeking in moderation? Is there even the proverbial snowball’s chance that these particular 13 year olds didn’t use whatever kinds of drugs they could get their hands on? I don’t know about New Zealand but in Falls Church Virginia in 1978 PCP was a favorite of the degenerates in my high school.

      Anyone who wants to may choose to disregard my opinion, but I believe that addicts are born, not made. I understand that even on our side of the table most believe that people can become addicts.

      • darkcycle

        Serious answer, Duncan…no. It’s likely you’ve nailed it. And so many other destructive and risky behaviors are part of that picture, that to lay it to cannabis is pretty far fetched.

      • I prefer to think of it as a predisposition whether born or made. Born suggests no choice in the matter, whereas choice is the saving grace of the addict.

        IQ can be influenced by so many variables, just being commissioned to find fault in the study is enough to sway the factors in their behalf.

        • claygooding

          In my part of the country and in the 60’s,,we were still trying grapevines,,then tobacco,,then alcohol(usually wine or beer first time)followed by a few that were trying airplane glue and huffing chemicals from cans,,,very little marijuana use in Texas in the 60’s,,wasn’t until HS that Mary Jane showed up..TMK,,,after JFK was killed.

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          Funny, I’ve never met a person with a disease that chose to have the disease. An addict most certainly can choose to not feed his addiction but that doesn’t mean that he’s no longer an addict.

          A type 2 diabetic can choose to live a healthy life keeping his diabetes in check with exercise and the proper diet. But regardless of his current blood sugar level he’s still a diabetic.

          A major plank in the argument in favor of the war on (some) drugs is the nonsense thought that addiction can be prevented by curtailing supply. I say that it can’t be prevented. You may be able to steer an addict into huffing gasoline fumes by curtailing supply, but the addiction will still manifest itself.

      • Freeman

        Wait – so more than once a week is “dependent”? If that’s the case, we’ve got a SERIOUS caffeine dependency problem that needs immediate attention!

  • Servetus

    Reacting to the study, Wim van den Brink, Professor of Psychiatry and Addiction at the University of Amsterdam, said it was interesting research but its findings should not be overestimated. Speaking to Dutch daily de Volkskrant he pointed to the results from a sub-group in the study who stopped smoking the week before being tested. The effect on their IQ’s was much less pronounced.

    http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/young-pot-smokers-risk-permanent-damage

    “The researchers are right to warn of the consequences of cannabis use at a young age,” he said, “but their results are probably being exaggerated.”

  • stlgonzo

    Pete,
    Congratulations for the success of your show. Great to hear.

  • Servetus

    “Valerie Curran, professor of psychopharmacology at University College London and a member of the UK’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, was more sceptical, saying that other factors, such as depression, are also associated with heavy use and reduced motivation. ‘Although the overall sample size is excellent, the data on adolescent onset of heavy use is based on just over 50 people.’

    She also noted that the findings represent a very small decline in IQ as a result of very heavy use over a number of years, ‘which doesn’t relate to recreational use’.”

    http://www.nature.com/news/drop-in-iq-linked-to-heavy-teenage-cannabis-use-1.11278

  • Steve

    There’s a bunch of nice, conservative people who discuss human exceptionalism and its consequences at a Discovery Institute-related blog called Second Hand Smoke. These are decent people that deserve to be more capably dissuaded from backing continued marijuana prohibition than by my meager effort. If you’re interested, Mowie Wowie Lowers IQ in Teens.

  • Duncan20903

    Maia tosses her 2¢ into the ring:


    Does Weekly Marijuana Use By Teens Really Cause a Drop in IQ?

    A new study suggests marijuana use could have an impact on America’s IQ, but how great is the effect?
    By Maia Szalavitz

    /snip/“Scientifically, these are extremely preliminary findings,” cautions Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University, who has studied the cognitive effects of marijuana in humans in the lab and was not associated with the research. (Disclosure: he and I are working on a book project together).

    Hart notes that because only 38 people in the study— around 8% of those who ever tried marijuana— used it heavily enough to get diagnosed with dependence during several follow-up periods, he is skeptical about how generalizable the results are. He says that in his studies of people who smoke at least three times a week, “When you compare these people’s scores to a normative database on a wide range of domains including executive function, memory, and inhibitory control, they score dead smack in the middle, in the 50th percentile.”
    /snip/

    Gosh she really is an extraordinary woman. I must remember to send her some flowers and a get out of jail free card (never leave home without one).

  • I tried couchmates, I really did…

    I gave Ann Romney’s speech at the Convention a chance and at about a minute and a half in I was feeling nauseous and switched the TV off before I ukepayed. Dog, what are these people thinking? Do they believe this dung? Of course the Repugs will give her praise but they should be handing out airsickness bags.

    Oh… so Ron Paul won’t be speaking (altho’ Rand Paul will be speaking tomorrow). I’m still betting the WO(s)D gets 0 mentions during the Convention…

    • Servetus

      Ann Romney is probably OK as a person, aside from her being from an alien planet. It’s just that any slime mold can reproduce other little slime molds. We expect more from people. She should have emphasized her public service work instead of her brood. Overpopulating an overpopulated planet with prohibitionist Romneybots does not draw a lot of appreciation, or votes.

  • Windy

    http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_21422612/medical-marijuana-president-opens-legal-defense-fund
    FTA:
    UPLAND – Aaron Sandusky is seeking a little help from his friends in the pro-medical-marijuana movement in his defense against the federal government.
    Sandusky, the president of G3 Holistic, a now-closed medical-marijuana cooperative in Upland, has opened a legal defense fund to help him pay attorney fees and some living expenses while he is under house arrest awaiting his trial.

    “This has been a very difficult thing for me to do. I have always been the one giving,” Sandusky said in an email. “I have never had to ask for any help like this before but (because) the DEA has seized all my personal assets, forced our business shut, put me on house detention and are monitoring my every move, I don’t have many choices.”

  • kaptinemo

    About the drug dog story:

    I said many years ago that as the economy worsens, there will be a kind of race going on as to what happens first, relegalization, or the attempt by cash-strapped municipalities, county and State governments to try to increase severely dropping tax revenues with gambits like this.

    The race is on. But in the end we’ll win, if only because the increased use of forfeiture will cause political repercussions. Most citizens have their financial backs to the wall, too, and cannot afford the kind of literal ‘highway robbery’ the police are engaging in.

    Anger enough citizens, and those cops will be lucky to have any employment at all, as the citizens counterattack with lawsuits to further drain the coffers of the local and State treasuries. And increased attempts at intimidation on the part of police may spark the increased use of ‘stand your ground’ laws…against police.

    It’s becoming increasingly obvious that there are more than monetary costs to be counted in this (as usual, un-)civil war on illicit drug users. The only way it can be kept going now is by increasingly inflation-reduced value ‘grants’ (translation: our money) by the Feds and outright theft such as this. But most people lucky enough to still have a job are only immediately aware of one thing: money. They can’t afford to lose any. Certainly not to these uniformed thieves pretending to be public servants. When things get that tight, people get mean. Dangerously mean. And angry enough to do something about it.

    Mean enough and angry enough to act politically. What precipitates the final fiscal crash will be something other than the DrugWar, but it will play its’ part in the end of prohibition simply due to the fact that every arrest of a cannabist hangs another millstone around the necks of local and State governments, bringing their heads closer and closer to the fiscal red-ink river that will drown them. It’s either leave us alone in peace…or self-destruct from their misplaced zeal to punish literally costing them everything.

  • Francis

    I don’t know, guys. I certainly share your skepticism about this New Zealand study, but if (and this is a big “if”) it were shown that heavy cannabis use begun before the age of 18 decreased IQ, that could really impede reformers’ efforts to allow unrestricted sales of cannabis to minors. (The plan for vending machines in elementary schools would probably be out as well.) What’s that? Oh, that’s a position that essentially no one is taking? The actual debate concerns the right of adults to use cannabis free from government violence? … Well, gosh, in that case I guess it’s pretty much irrelevant from a policy perspective — unless you think we should ban all products that can be unsafe when used by children (motor vehicles, chainsaws, credit cards, etc.)?

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Vending machines in elementary schools? I’d think that Big Merrywanna would supply the kiddies with free samples!

      That was a joke, but sometimes I seriously feel like telling the prohibitionists that if they don’t back off using school children as puppets in their prohibitionist puppet show that it’s what I’m going to do.

  • Duncan20903

    Russ Belville certainly has a sense of humor.

    /snip/”This week, The Huffington Post is doing a feature called “Shadow Conventions” where they address topics that neither the Democratic nor Republican conventions will address. Today they took a look at the War on (Certain American Citizens Using Non-Pharmaceutical, Non-Alcoholic, Tobacco-Free) Drugs and my one non-pot-smoking friend Dr. Kevin Sabet appeared like Punxsatawney Phil on Groundhog Day to see his shadow and declare six more years of Drug War. And like the movie Groundhog Day, the repetition of his fallacious anti-legalization arguments is beginning to sound like the opening to I Got You, Babe by Sonny & Cher.
    /snip/
    linky

    I Got You, Babe – Groundhog Day