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What excuse do we have for doing a better job regulating chewing gum than heroin?

That’s the premise behind this excellent article in Alternet by Bill Fried: What Would It Be Like If Heroin Were Legal

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66 comments to What excuse do we have for doing a better job regulating chewing gum than heroin?

  • Freeman

    Good article! Link didn’t work for me, though. Try this one.

  • Irie

    “Legalized regulation of all drugs will yield a quieter, safer world, as we say goodbye to community-destroying street violence, family-destroying arrests, folk-hero drug dealers, dirty needle deaths, deaths from contaminated drugs, widespread corruption and SWAT team smack downs.”

    Even I as a mother don’t want my children to use this drug, but it makes so much sense to create this “reality” so as to make it normal, as would be, in our society. The drug laden violence, drug dealers and SWAT invasions are NOT normal, for any household, this way (legalization) would create normalcy, in that it would not be bringing attention to it, like the article say, “life would go on”.

    Great article, thanks Pete for sharing!

  • CJ

    woah that writer is a bad ass mofo. that was sooooooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! damn that was good. damn!

  • kaptinemo

    Cannabists, arise! You have nothing to lose but your stigmas!

    Why Does Society Think I’m Some Kind of Freak for Abstaining From Alcohol?

    This article expresses the sentiments of this life-long teetotaller cum cannabist as succinctly as possible…and it’s a frontal assault on the special interests that want to keep us from legally having a safer choice of intoxicant. IMNHO, it’s worth the read…

    • WatchinItCrumle

      When it’s pointed to out the self righteous marijuana prohibitionists alcohol defenders the hypocrisy of alcohol not being illegal too considering the damage it causes society , they invariably retreat to the stance that it is too ingrained in society and prohibition with it won’t work. Fine, how bout a simple prohibition on advertising/promoting it. Surely that is a reasonable step, right? I mean it’s not like it is going to create a black market in advertising. Between NCAA and Professional Sports, how many billions has been spent glamorizing this poison?

      • kaptinemo

        What always gets me is the subconscious attitude present in the belief that cannabis cannot quickly attain that very same culturally ingrained aspect within society that alcohol presently monopolizes. The tell-tale assumptions present in that speaks to an ideal of society as being cast in stone, immovable against social forces…when the diametric opposite is historically the norm. We’re witnessing that, right now.

        “the Olde Order Passeth…” and all that goes with it. The generation slated for DrugWar-supporting brainwashing to keep the con game going grew up and pulled the voting levers in WA and CO partly in a quiet but fervent upraised middle digit at their previous tormenters…and those who insulted their intelligence.

        The prohibs were always acting like old-time radio announcers, ‘sending messages’, broadcasting but never listening.

        This time we’ve sent a message, loud and clear, and it got through the cloud of noise that surrounded the issue; critical mass has been achieved, reaction underway…and unstoppable. The time for leadership amongst the formal political stakeholders is past; they fumbled, and the now it’s down to the sovereign citizens to do what those they hired cannot. Major social change is about to force a showdown with a mindset that has sought to immobilize that very same social change. A mindset that believes the increasingly authoritarian aberration of the social fabric courtesy of the DrugWar these past 30 years has been the norm.

        An irresistible force is about to meet a certainly movable object. It is truly ironic that this issue above all others will be the one to illuminate how the diminution of our civil liberties began…and how the process can be reversed by re-legalizing cannabis and removing the cornerstone of the Police/Industrial Complex.

        The sparks will fly…

  • ezrydn

    I am a non-drinker. Have been most of my life. As a child, I watched my dad drink himself to death by the time I was 13. I lost them both. I never acquired a taste for the stuff, plain and simple. Do I have an occassional drink? Seldomly, but sure. Never alone though. One cold suds on a very hot day, with a friend, maybe. It’s healthier being an outlaw.

    • Windy

      I do not abstain from alcohol, but I NEVER drink to the point of drunk. I usually have small glass of wine with dinner and I like my one King Alphonse (half homemade kahlua and half cream) on weekend evenings (I’d like it every night but it packs on the pounds and I’m trying to lose 15 not gain more). When I’m off on a weekend with my girlfriends (2 or 3 times a year) I like a bloody mary or two (3 is my limit). But for getting “intoxicated”, I prefer pot; laughing is fun but drunk is uncomfortable. I don’t like to be off balance or puking, and more than 3 drinks in an evening will make my knees feel weak, my head spin and if I don’t pass out I will puke (know this from three experiences just before and after I turned 21, I refuse to go there again). I also don’t like being around drunks, most of them either get belligerent or maudlin, which are both exceedingly unpleasant to be around. The alcohol I choose to drink is more due to the flavor than to the alcohol’s effects. On the other hand I do not drink pop/soda, I don’t like ANY carbonated beverage, I do like an occasional root beer but it has to go flat first.

  • Jake

    Sorry to highjack this thread.. but have you guys seen this:

    Federal Government Reports Marijuana Effective in Combatting Certain Cancers Reports ADSI

    I think the report is from Jan, but this statement by Advocates for the Disabled and Seriously Ill has gotten some attention the last couple of days..

    • darkcycle

      More notable still, it was reported on by NBC. The wall is falling all around us. Back a few years ago, seems like it was only us. Now it’s looking like a block party.

      • Jake

        knew it had been on a more major network, just couldn’t remember which one. Thanks darkcycle! Bit-by-bit it’s falling… let it continue at an accelerated pace!

  • darkcyle

    The N.J. Weedman aquitted on distribution charges, found guilty of possession, recieves probation:
    http://articles.philly.com/2013-01-18/news/36396510_1_nj-weedman-nj-weedman-medical-marijuana

    • skootercat

      dark- after sentencing, Ed (he thought) had permission to go to CA to continue bone cancer treatment therapy. His intent was to get therapy and return in a few days to file a reconsideration of sentence to Judge Delehy, thinking a stay of sentence pending appeal comes before he should report for probation. He started to leave town without first reporting to his probation officer. Posted his plans on Facebook, the prosecutor (Luciano) read the news he was leaving for CA, knew he had not reported, and filed for a fugitive warrant immediately! They grabbed him at the airport and put him in the Burlington County Jail. He was just given 9 months to do on what appears to be a set up violation. The prosecutor was obviously pissed he got no jail time. I am getting this from a letter he sent to me from jail before his release received yesterday. It is my understanding he is now heading to CA for therapy and will return to do his sentence/appeal.
      Love him or leave him, he is one highly visible pot activist. His future plans are to make a pilot reel for the people at Weed Country (Discovery) or American Weed (NGeo) with the hope of them using his JURY NULLIFICATION angle. He is also trying to put together an independent effort at “www.indiegogo.com/projects/jury-nullification-tour-2013” but to date few have helped. That would be some show, where he goes to pot cases and brings a whiff of jury nullification into the mix. Nice if it showed a way to more jury nullification of pot laws.

  • Bruce

    Million Buck Investigation Nets $100 Fine.
    All Involved deserve a Medal. May I suggest a Design Incorporating 45 Tazmanian Devils emerging from a Dust Cloud dressed Like GI Joe and holding 5 Foot 100 lb Daddy with One Gibbled Arm at Gunpoint, Shaking a Few Coins from His Purse.
    De-Fund. Stand Down. Close Up Shoppe. Give Your Heads a Shake. Park the Fleet. Meet your Neighbor. Grow a Garden. Feed the Birds. Be Kind to raccoons. Yadda yadda, there really are no Words…

  • Servetus

    Kristen Gwynne has written a piece called: “Report: High School Kids Twice As Likely to Smoke Pot As to Smoke Cigarettes – Alcohol Consumption Also Down. That’s a good thing.”:

    Roffman told the AP he expects marijuana legalization to encourage healthier decisions, and he’s probably right. As the survey shows, kids are already choosing to use a relatively harmless substance (pot) over a toxic, cancer-causing one – and that’s a good thing. The survey also found that alcohol consumption among 10th graders had decreased 5 percent. It’s no secret weed is a much safer choice than booze.

    It appears that because of weed, the American public is trending toward healthier, life-saving alternatives to cigarettes and distilled alcohol.

    By contrast, the beacon of light on a frozen, windswept hill for American prohibitionists, Sweden, is the subject of an article by journalist Ola Tedin who discusses the death of Swedish MP William Petzäll from a drug overdose in an article titled “Sweden views drugs like the Catholic Church views condoms”. Tedin notes that:

    Still, people in William Petzäll’s position are today more likely to end up in prison than in rehab. And sometimes only for having minuscule amounts of illegal substances in their bloodstream.

    As a result of this moralistic stance, Sweden has an unusual high percentage of drug-related deaths.

    About 400 people die every year as a result of their addiction, an internationally high figure that probably would be a lot lower if the addicts were to be primarily treated as suffering patients and not as wanton criminals.

    Prohibitionists reject the Dutch drug experience as irrelevant because it’s a foreign country, while simultaneously citing the unsubstantiated success of the Swedes in drug use prevention as the foreign debacle to imitate. Despite all the prohibitionist fantasies, drug law reform is finally receiving some attention in Sweden.

    • War Vet

      And I bet you the Dutch model works to stop attacks happening to her unlike her neighbors of England and France and the post-World War Two German Olympic games. It’s hard for a terrorist cell these days in Amsterdam with a loosened prohibition limiting the drug money they so desperately need to live off of and buy weapons with. When I was in Paris, I could have sworn to god I was back in Iraq with all the French Army and all their grenade launchers attached to their M-16’s, while guarding that very tall metal tower of there’s. They were all geared up for combat in Paris that night from the looks of the body armor and full grenade belts they adorned. Nor would I have ever guessed that the ‘Bourne Supremacy’ surveillance van would ever be on my list of sights to see in Paris on the way to the Opera House . . . got to see the inside of it when the door was sliding open and I swear it had more computers and in it than some Google headquarters. The men with the 9mm’s didn’t look like a news crew in a news van either. Actually, it just looked like a big white Euro van. And on that same day, one of Paris’ largest and most luxurious shopping centers, Printemps, was discovered to have several sticks of dynamite in one of the bathrooms, but with no detonators, which meant it was a warning for them to get out of Afghanistan, according to the news and all the police/military scuffle of that Christmas season of 2008 . . . bombs with no detonators is like saying airliners are easier to possess or manufacture than a few screwdrivers or hammers. So, yes, I do believe the Dutch model limits violence and attacks, which is far more efficient than our American model.

      http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2008/12/17/printemps-in-bomb-scare

      Hell, even my would be mugger in Amsterdam was very polite to me when I refused to buy his coke and refused to give him my money or camera . . . I’ve never had anyone use an apologetic tone with me after telling me they were going to shoot me and stab me . . . even as he followed me for a quarter mile in a more remote part of the city, did it appear he was making sure I crossed those streets safely to avoid the traffic and bicycles: “Well, I’m sorry I couldn’t mug you today, but you have a wonderful time in Amsterdam and please be safe.” Had that been Miami or L.A., I don’t know what would have happened. John Travolta or Vincent Vega told me the police cannot search you in Amsterdam. Lack of police and policing appears to make the world safer since it incorporates respect for the population, which demands that the populace act like adults and to police themselves, instead of the police policing up the populace. When the American people wake up and realize that the war on drugs harms, affects, attacks and kills more non-drug users than drug users, they might stop it. That’s why I always say: Drug legalization has nothing to do really about legalizing drugs, it just keeps the wars less violent or stops wars even. I cannot imagine why someone would picture a bong hit or crack cocaine when the term drug legalization comes about. I see a little black boy in Africa with his arm not cut off. That’s the real image of legal dope for the end of global drug prohibition.

      • Servetus

        When I think of drug legalization, I picture Amsterdam, which is my favorite city.

        Policing is more subtle in the Netherlands. They have very polite, plainclothes cops patrolling the streets and transit systems. I apparently look like a Dutch plainclothes cop, at least to a couple of Dutch kids I overheard. Is the undercover-cop look a good or bad thing?

        Anyway, I think the benefits of Netherlands’ quasi-legalization is that drug merchandising is dispersed throughout the country, scattered among individuals and small cells. There are fewer possibilities for criminal power to become concentrated into large cartels. Gang activity is limited to a few Hell’s Angels. There’s small property theft; pickpockets. Knives, but no guns. Amsterdam’s homicide rate is nil when compared to virtually anywhere in the U.S. They’ve had one terrorist attack, the murder of Theo Van Gogh, that put the whole country on red alert.

        So yeah, a terrorist would face serious problems hanging out there.

        • War Vet

          Maybe in the Dutch youth’s mindset of being an undercover cop: it might not be such a bad thing . . . their biggest fear might be you writing them a ticket if they were actually up to no good and not because they may have a little baggie in their pocket.

          I do recall reading about that assassination. Only in Heaven can a coffee shop be called, ‘The Doors’. And I say, what about Breakfast at Barney’s? (reminds me of a song and a book by Capote.) Did you try any of the smart shops –wow, talk about packaged like gas-station or grocery store sandwiches: those delicious fresh mushrooms they used to sell. Anne Frank’s House . . . I double dog dare anyone to go there and not cry –no matter how good the ice hash is . . . a reminder to us about the Prohibtion of Jews? Not crying at Anne Frank’s house is like being a Mig Welder or such and not getting burned. The Rikj Museum (yeah, I know, not the full name, I promise you that’s not my fault, but this blue berry pineapple stuff is making me not write the whole name of that huge Dutch art museum). The Rembrandt house and the Van Gogh museum still blow my mind when I think of it. Art and weed, sounds just like rum and coke: delicious. Have you ever visited the Dutch City of Delft? Amsterdam and Delft were the only two cities I stayed at while in that lush green country. Delft’s not huge, but not small either: just right and with many a fine Vermeer original art work in sight . . . and his house/work studio one can visit along with the famous but expensive signature blue Royal Delft POTtery factory and museum with their large entire Rembrandts and Vermeer portraits made out of blue china for the cost of a kilo of coke in Panama or Honduras, (from what I read of course) just makes you want to get addicted to buying little coffe cups and plates: exquisite taste. The coffee shop in Delft I visited was watching some good ol’ American Rodeo on the big screen tele, a sport extremely popular in my area . . . wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t filmed in my area too. Good bonding with people in their native habitats: smoking the best of Delft’s finest bud and watching rodeo. A lack of prohibition (in comparison to the U.S.), even made the world’s best chocolate milk I think: Chocomel. You are right Servetus, Honest to God, not just the cops, but the entire Dutch people as a whole are extremely nice people, maybe it’s because of something in the water or in the policing. Their Pancakes are great too: nuts, chicken, cherries, carrots, burnt rum, honey, a little onion and some kind of syrup on just one pancake like contraption (compared to our IHOPs –even their pancakes were polite come to mention it). And what’s best for the munchies along with the large paper cone full of fries and mayo in the middle . . . it’s Disneyland for pot heads. But it’s fantastic for non smokers as well. And the beer and jenevers: that’s a topic on another web site: Pete’s Pub.

          Funny Story about being on legal mushrooms in Amsterdam (damn pados prohibition –good luck now): Tripping at Conscious Dream smart shop, overlooking one of the larger canals in early December, all Christmas’d up with lights and trees across the city –great setting, with maybe something like Enigma playing in the background while sitting on a big couch (Possibly this couch –who could have told after one gram over the line). But alas, in walks one of the boyfriend’s of the girl working there and he has bought her a new Con-Air curling iron and if that wasn’t great, he could demonstrate it. So now they are sitting on the couch –a big huge soft square couch made for 20 overlooking the canal inside the trip room. And not far from me on this huge blue couch just so happens to be the power outlet for I guess people’s cell phones, lap tops or curling irons. So there a few cushions away from me. The young man plugs the curling iron in and I’m beginning to freak out in my mind: Am I going to be the first person on this earth to be killed or tortured by a pepper hot curling iron? What to do: jump out of the window into the icy canal or walk out tripping at night in a foreign city where most likely I’m the only one talking the mushroom dialect and not the Anglish the good Dutch know so well. Brain full of mushrooms and on the first time and first night to visit Amsterdam too, all by myself and first time to travel alone. Well, I don’t have any scars on me now that could have came from thick broken glass (unless it was thin from experience when dealing with ‘jumping tourists’), so I’m guessing I just walked out into that brightly colored night. I must have waited to leave for almost 30 minutes as the girl was doing her hair, I didn’t want them to think I was on to their plot of burning the tourists, nor did I want them to think that I was tripping that hard to think that. Stay, walk out, or jump out: the trinity of options when death becomes a curling iron.

        • darkcycle

          “…when death becomes a curling iron.” W.V., I don’t know. Duncan says the most frightening thing in the world is a sentient Bagel. Especially if it knows all about you, and about how many of it’s kin you had eaten.

  • Irie

    Here is a nicely done story (video) on Breckenridge, Co. It really sets a good tone! Hope you enjoy!

    http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2013/03/breckenridge_colo_could_be_the_next_amsterdam_according_to_the_bbc_video.php#more

  • darkcycle

    Here’s a cheerful story of a prohibitionist getting his ass the reaming it deserves. Something to get your spring weekend off to a sun-shiny start, no matter what the weather is doing:
    http://tokesignals.com/anti-weed-legislator-hit-with-marijuana-charge-in-n-y/
    (p.s. This is not to be construed as any endorsement for the website or the author)

    • jean v

      what has four legs and chases katz? two new york state troopers. (guess that one works best orally)

      • Duncan20903

        I liked the part where he attacked a Chihuahua. I wonder, could he have mistaken it for Kev-Kev?

  • mikekinseattle

    CO releases Amendment 64 Task Force recommendations:

  • Mmmmm Heroin Chewing Gum

    Nice article by a LEAPster, he hits on all the major social benefits of regulating heroin like alcohol. Bill Fried does gloss over the major objection to such a scheme, increased use.

    Casual use would almost certainly increase. I remember a poll asking, if heroin was legal would you use it? 99% said no. Still 1% across the 300+ million people in the US is an additional 3 million users. If you believe drug use=drug abuse, this would certainly be a bad thing (whether it is worth the costs of the status quo is debatable, and subject to one’s perception of how “bad” of a drug heroin is).

    What are the risks of increased heroin use? Heroin converts to morphine in the body, and the side effects of morphine are mild (sedation, constipation, some men experience impotence) compared to alcohol or tobacco (liver toxicity, various cancers). Addiction is, of course, a risk. Though it is ludicrous to claim heroin is prohibited because it is addictive when tobacco and alcohol are freely available (not to mention behavioral addictions to gambling, food, sex, ect). The main risk with opiates is overdose.

    Our current system operates in such a way as to maximize the chance of an accidental overdose. Uncertain dosages and mixing of other drugs into the “cut” contribute to overdose. However ODs from prescription medications have in recent years increased at an alarming rate, so not all the blame can be put on the black market nature of heroin. Here distribution of the antagonist naloxone would really help out. Vials of naloxone should be given out with every opioid prescription, under legalization they could be distributed with every purchase. Having a ready antidote available could save a lot of lives.

    I tend to think education could go a long way to reduce opiate ODs. A great many ODs blamed on opiates are the result of mixing drugs. Doctors are statistically more likely to be opiate addicts than the general population. This is usually given as evidence for prohibition, easy access to opiates results in a higher incidence of addiction. In reality the opposite is true, if opiates are inherently degrading, where are all the doctors on skid row? Where are the doctors with collapsed veins and heart valve infections, living on the streets? They can’t be found, could it have something to do with using pharmaceutical quality drugs, sterile injection technique, and the requisite knowledge to use drugs safely? Sure doctors sometimes get busted for forging prescriptions or stealing drugs, but in general they can’t compare to the homeless heroin addict hustling in the streets to get money for their medicine.

    Another criticism is that “Big Pharma” (BP) will take over the dope game. Good let ’em. I don’t have a lot of love for BP, but better them than international criminal organizations. It is the pharmaceutical companies that know how to make drugs as safe as possible. Currently they are tasked with making drugs “abuse” resistant. This futile task often results in increasing the harms. They should be tasked with making drugs as safe as possible, including the design of drug delivery systems that reduce harm (Vapor vs. smoke, pills safe to inject vs toxic fillers, ect). With the increased profits from drug sales, perhaps the price of other pharmaceuticals will decrease. Since heroin is a plant-derived drug whose patent has long expired, it should be relatively cheap.

    Prohibition also contributed to ODs, by stigmatizing opiate users they are driven to hide their drug use. Many users do their drugs in secret, behind locked bathroom doors. If they OD, there is no one around to revive them.

    Among addicts use would certainly increase, this does not matter. Or rather it would be a good thing. With opiates, much like tobacco, people will increase their dose to a point, but eventually everyone reaches a plateau. One smoker may smoke 3 packs a day, another a half-pack. Same with opiates, one user may be fine taking 30mg of oxycodone a day, another may need hundreds of mgs of heroin. Once the dose is stabilized and tolerance develops, the individual need not be any more dysfunctional than the tobacco addict (there may still be day to day fluctuations in dosage). Prohibitionists define success by a meaningless metric, levels of drug consumption. If cigarettes went from $5 a pack to $5 a cigarette, consumption would decrease. But then a black market would arise, and tobacco addicts would be committing crimes to raise funds. As is usually the case, attempts to protect people from themselves results in more problems than the behavior itself, and is fundamentally at odds with the ideals of a free society.

    There are countless examples of high functioning opiate addicts, the abolitionist William Wilberforce (who credited opium with his success at public speaking), stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, physician Thomas Syndenham (author of the famous quote “Among the remedies which it has pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium.”)…just to name three. Regardless under legalization opiate addiction would be like tobacco addition, a personal matter (with some medical aspects, though I disagree that addiction is solely a medical problem) to be dealt with according to the individual’s values and priorities. Many people acknowledge their tobacco addiction, yet choose to continue to smoke because they enjoy it. This is no less true for heroin. Why should we tolerate one, but criminalize the other?

    • War Vet

      They’re talking about making heroin smoking legal in some area since it would decrease overdose and lower the risk of beginners getting addicted, since smoking heroin for them is seen as similar to smoking pot or taking mushrooms in the realm of experimenting.

      But these doctors on average are far more educated than the pill popping public and those riding the street horse. Drug education could have a whole lot to do with the fact that opiates for them don’t damage their lifestyles or bodies. Mind over matter could be that trick to not get hooked i.e.: I’ve smoked tar twice several years back all on the same night. I loved it and I plan on doing it again in the future, thus I’ve successfully proved heroin is not addictive: Mind over matter. Heroin though can become addictive, but it isn’t in essence an addictive drug. I had a roommate who every month received well over a hundred oxycodeines and a hundred xanex, and he was addicted and he would often dispense me pills like a Pez dispenser, but I chose to space them out, thus proving their inability to become habit forming for those not needing pain management. But I admit, I feel sorry for those who are in pain and need them and become dependent. Drug education would lead to fewer pills for pain if one can get the same results from pot.

      Proper Drug education to reduce drug use or find better pain management. That reminds me of my first attempted novel I wrote, but didn’t finish as a novice writer: A doctor whose wife gets cancer where life or death was 50/50. He realized that she was a vegetable and not getting better because of all those opiates, so he grew pot and even dispensed some to his patients (in Arlington, VA). Her condition improved and it was like a grey cloud had lifted up over the family to bring out the sun. Alas, he was arrested, jailed and his wife and kids were killed in a car accident because his arrest forced her and the kids to live with his brother (to take care of her) who would take the slack and take her to her chemo and sessions, which by the way was now a much longer and farther drive through busy high speed traffic in comparison to where their home was, which was much closer to the treatment center. Had he not been in jail, she and the kids would have lived. The doctor went crazy over the fact his having to be in jail (plants, processed weed, a gun, scales, distribution: stacking charges added to a new house payment and medical bills meant he was not going to waste his family’s money on expensive bail), meant it was the catalyst for his family to die. So in short, he went around collecting the judge, two arresting officers who spotted the pot growing in his house, and the DA and punished them by surgically removing their arms, legs, genitals, tongue, vocal chords, eyes, ear drums and tinkered with the part of the brain that could smell . . . after the surgeries, the four DOJ personnel were fully conscious beings who could no longer feel with their hands and arms nor feet and legs . . . nor could sense stimuli (other than the cool air on their faces or the feel of the wooden wall on their backsides) or express themselves with talk and he hung them on his wall like deer trophies, and took care of them and fed them and made sure they went to the bathroom and gave them meds when they were sick, just like how a prison takes care of inmates. I never finished because I didn’t want the uneducated to mis-read into the book and actions. The dumb would have had a hard time seeing the dismemberment as a picture of what the DOJ drug laws do to the world. I didn’t want to be known for that being my first, since I can do much better than that when writing a novel about the drug war –a novel where the Drug War doesn’t look like the main plot so I can trick the reader into reading the essence and agenda of drug prohibition vs. drug legalization. So I trudge with a newer and better story. One of my professors asked for my autograph once since I guess I awed her so much with a flash-fiction short story piece where liquid and dew drops where the main characters caught in a situation of life and death (evaporation vs. finding other dew drops to stay moist). I’m trying to make a story where ‘liquid molten metal’ is the main character as a method of representing human struggle for good against evil.

  • strayan

    I have a hard time believing there would be a significant increase in people injecting lyophilised diamorphine powder* (even just casually) if re-legalised.

    Heroin use was widespread in Australia prior to prohibition in 1953. A newspaper report from 1949 explained that “it does not follow, however, that addiction is more common in this country than in any other.” http://adlrf.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Screen-Shot-2012-02-04-at-8.57.43-PM.png

    *http://www.auralis.co.uk/Products.aspx

    • Opiophiliac

      An significant increase in injection? Probably not. But heroin can be smoked, snorted or eaten. Not to mention if heroin is legal it is hard to justify prohibiting oxycodone. Regardless it does not follow that free access results in higher incidence of addiction. Opiates are no more inherently addictive than alcohol.

      Its hard to say how prohibition influences opiate addiction. Addiction itself is a somewhat amorphous concept. Different researchers define it differently, and at any rate the illegal nature and high social stigma means that any estimate is little more than an educated guess. Is someone who becomes dependent on opiates due to chronic pain an addict? What about someone self-medicating for depression? I tend to think most people predisposed to becoming addicts will do so, at best prohibition may cause people to choose alcohol over opiates. At least the alcohol merchant won’t pull a gun on you, plus an alcohol (or tobacco) addiction is a lot cheaper. It is the high cost of black market opiates that compel many users to commit crimes. Before prohibition there was no correlation between opiate use, addiction and crime.

      Opiate use was once common. Even Thomas Jefferson cultivated poppies at his Monticello Estate. In a truly Orwellian rewriting of history, the DEA has exorcised this bit of illicit drugcraft from history.

      • primus

        Here in Canuckistan, many people cultivate poppies in their yards. These are decorative only, not opium poppies and are legal. The article infers that in the Excited States ALL poppies are illegal. Is that so?

        • allan

          they are legal to grow in the states too. It’s when you cut the bulb to extract the opium sap that it becomes illegal

        • Opiophiliac

          Sorry Allan, but I think you are incorrect. Poppies seeds are legal, the minute they enter the ground they are illegal. I highly recommend reading Michael Pollan’s article, Opium Made Easy. (excerpt below) There is a plant called the California Poppy that is does not produce morphine (opium), but the opium poppy, which goes by many different names like oriental poppy, papaver somniferum, papaver paeoniflorum, and others, is illegal. North America is an ideal growing location for poppies and poppies grow all over the place, the DEA seems to have settled on a strategy of obfuscation instead of eradication. Technically grandma growing poppies in her garden could be charged with manufacturing a schedule II narcotic. `

          I read through the court papers with a mounting sense of personal panic, for the squabble in the Seattle courtroom did not in any way seem to challenge the underlying fact that growing or possessing opium poppies was apparently grounds for prosecution. I called Hogshire’s attorney, who confirmed as much and directed me to the text of the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

          The language of the statute was distressingly clear. Not only opium but “opium poppy and poppy straw” are defined as Schedule II controlled substances, right alongside PCP and cocaine. The prohibited poppy is defined as a “plant of the species Papaver somniferum L., except the seed thereof,” and poppy straw is defined as “all parts, except the seeds, of the opium poppy, after mowing.” In other words, dried poppies.

          Section 841 of the act reads, “[I]t shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally . . . to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense” opium poppies. The definition of “manufacturing” includes propagating—i.e., growing. Three things struck me as noteworthy about the language of the statute. The first was that it goes out of its way to state that opium poppy seeds are, in fact, legal, presumably because of their legitimate culinary uses. There seems to be a chicken-and-egg paradox here, however, in which illegal poppy plants produce legal poppy seeds from which grow illegal poppy plants.

          The second thing that struck me about the statute’s language was the fact that, in order for growing opium poppies to be a crime, it must be done “knowingly or intentionally.” Opium poppies are commonly sold under more than one botanical name, only one of which—Papaver somniferum—is specifically mentioned in the law, so it is entirely possible that a gardener could be growing opium poppies without knowing it. There would therefore appear to be an “innocent gardener” defense. Not that it would do me any good: at least some of the poppies I’d planted had been clearly labeled Papaver somniferum, a fact that I have—perhaps foolishly—confessed in these very pages to knowing. The third thing that struck me was the most stunning of all: the penalty for knowingly growing Papaver somniferum is a prison term of five to twenty years and a maximum fine of $1 million.

          So C. Z. Guest had been right after all, and Martha Stewart (and the state trooper) wrong: the cultivation of opium poppies, regardless of the purpose, is indeed a felony, no different in the eyes of the law than manufacturing angel dust or crack cocaine. It didn’t matter one bit whether I slit the heads or otherwise harvested my poppies: I had already crossed the line I thought I could safely toe—had crossed it, in fact, back on that April afternoon when I planted my seeds. (What’s more, I was vulnerable to the very charge that hadn’t stuck to Hogshire—manufacturing!) I was, potentially at least, in deep, deep trouble.

    • War Vet

      Some drugs may ‘dis-invent’ themselves when the people have a legal choice. How many of you guys still drive your 1890 cars? Maybe Special K or many of those opiate pills might not be around for very long when drug prohibtion ends.

  • claygooding

    Truth be known,,the ONDCP would probably have less objections about heroin legalization than marijuana,,except for the banks that run the opium trade and the CIA’s loss of black ops untraceable funding.

    • War Vet

      The Portuguese dictator loved smack . . . it made his people calmer and quieter, though it wasn’t legal. I’m surprised the Racist Anslinger didn’t allow smack or opium to remaine legal for those ‘upity (not to finish that bad word)’.

      • darkcycle

        Anslinger provided morphine addict Senator Joseph McCarthy with official protection, and supplied him with dope. While making sure it remained hush-hush, and illegal for everyone else.

      • Servetus

        Anslinger could afford to dole out a little morphine here and there. Anticipating World War II, Anslinger directed the government to stockpile enough morphine to last the length of the war, which turned out to be a good thing. So he understood the drug’s military significance, and later its political applications as well, when he became Joe McCarthy’s drug pusher. There’s no limit to government intrigue involving drugs.

        • War Vet

          Yeah, and he based his whole life’s work from the screams of one opium addict he heard when he was a boy they say. Was it a true addict’s scream of sickness or did he just overhear some drunk or weird kinky sex.

          I know this guy who gets off having his girl friends dress like deer in a deer costume all fitted out with hooves, tail and antlers. He likes it when they make deer sounds . . . the women don’t mind since he usually takes them to Europe for a few months off and on throughout his relationships and he’s been known to pay 5-6 years in advance on their home payments or rent, even though the kinky deer sex fueled relationships usually last but a few months and maybe a year. Maybe Anslinger witnessed the sounds of a man or woman imitating a deer. Regardless, Anslinger is a Melon head, which gave him his area and funding for his operation. I guess you can call Anslinger a whore since he was willing to do immoral kinky stuff like drug prohibition for money and power . . . I mean, he did fuck America like a good well trained greasy whore would for that price . . . South America as well even and probably with the President’s secrete service since they love hookers apparently. And since the War on Drugs robs kids of their freedoms and parents, one must say Anslinger was a pedophile since he fucked all (over) the children of this nation too (and many other nations as well). Some poor dog has one less milkbone because his owner had to pay a drug fine, which means Anslinger must have practiced bestiality as well, since the Drug War is a virtual pestilence to not only the people, but to nature and all the animals by the time you add pesticide sprayings in Mexico and Columbia and more trees going up to the mills because no hemp can save them now. What’s it called when you do the ‘naughty’ with a tree or the soil? The drug war encourages pollution.

  • claygooding

    ASA has an article by Gtinspoon:

    Cannabinopathic Medicine: Lester Grinspoon, M.D.’s New Coinage

    http://tinyurl.com/am5zfkd

    March 14th, 2013
    Posted by Sunil Aggarwal

    I am honored and delighted to be able to publish here for the first time a new comprehensive piece written by Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, entitled “Cannabinopathic Medicine”. Dr. Grinspoon started writing this piece in 2012, when I was privileged to read an early draft and give editorial suggestions. He has been looking for a suitable venue for publishing it where it could be read widely. I am grateful that he agreed to allow me to use this blog space to share it. It is approximately 6,000 words and well worth a read.

    Cannabinopathic Medicine byLester Grinspoon, M.D.

    A native of Central Asia, cannabis (hemp) may have been cultivated as long as 10,000 years ago. It was certainly cultivated in China by 4000 BC and in Turkestan by 3000 BC. It has long been used as a medicine in India, China, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and South America. The first evidence of the medicinal use of cannabis is an herbal published during the reign of the Chinese emperor Chen Nung 5000 years ago. It was recommended for malaria, constipation, rheumatic pains, “absentmindedness”, and “female disorders.” “snipped”

    • claygooding

      Cannabis is so therapeutic that it causes disbelief,especially after being subjected to countless big pharm medicines and their mortality rates.

      How could so much medicine be in one plant and be non-toxic?

      My guess is that man had nothing to do with it’s creation.

      • Knee deep in philosophical wax

        Would you care to speculate about the possibility that cannabis created man? No, I’m not kidding.

        • claygooding

          I wouldn’t go that far but I believe that cancer rates will drop so much the following 10 years after legalization that denial of it’s benefits will get the next Anslinger/Sabet lynched if they try to prohibit it again.

        • Servetus

          Human beings are just marijuana’s way of producing more marijuana.

      • War Vet

        IMHO: If Christians really believed in their God, they would have recognized that God and Christ invented the plant for multiple reasons . . . pot is good medicine for your leaky roof and for your physical human pains. I tell pastors and other ‘so called’ believers that it’s physically impossible to be both Christian and pro-drug prohibition. Even the New Testament calls for the end of drug prohibition when Christ said, “if you believe in me, then you will love me and if you love me, you will obey all my Father’s commandments”. And the number one commandment and example lived by the book’s character, Christ was love they neighbor . . . all the 10 commandments have to deal with treating others the way you want to be treated . . . even the ‘no other Gods’ and ‘Attend Sabbath, keep it holy’ commandments are based on treating people equally the way we want to be treated: ‘If you want God to love and believe in you, then you should love and believe in God’ . . . kind of like, why would I still your Twix Cookies Clay, since I don’t want you to nab my Eggo Waffle (hey, lego my Eggo, but I will share). Of course sharing is why only true Americans and earthlings alike would accept a true money free communism/tribal government based on the equal share/work model and providing for those who cannot for themselves. Capitalism is prohibition because we are prohibiting the poor who cannot always help their outcome. It is not fair that a man who cannot become a doctor because of things beyond his control (like being uneducated because one is born in a 3rd world nation or just cannot understand the math and didn’t do well in it in high school) cannot earn a doctor’s salary while working fast food or being a farmer etc. Paying humans more or less than others is wrong if they are equally hard working in their fields. A prohibition on property ownership may be the only logical prohibition the world could use. What do you think? P.S. Clay, not responsible for going off tangents, it’s the kush and lack of sleep. I never had blueberry pineapple before.

        For Church goers: Marijuana prohibition is the same exact thing as calling God a Fool, since its man positing the notion that we are a bit more brighter than God who invented the plant. Notional Christians who don’t mind prohibition have become the Nietzsche parable of the ‘God is Dead, because we killed God . . . we killed God and buried his rotting corpse via no longer needing him, like no longer needing the plant and no longer needing to treat others as equals, no matter what they drink, eat, smoke, snort or inject.’ Who hung out with the sinners and tax collectors in the stories found in the New Testament: An anti-prohib named Jesus according to the big ancient book. Personally, I think the creation of pot, opium and even all natural hallucinogens is evidence of a creator. If such highes are not natural for the body or life, then the planet wouldn’t allow its existence to have sprung forth and our brains wouldn’t react to them in a pleasing way. If man wasn’t meant to experiment with drugs or to at least accept those who did, then pot or coca leaves would kill upon contact or make you sick like poison ivy and datura. Starfruit is natural and thus good, but I don’t eat it everyday, but that doesn’t mean it should be prohibited because oranges might be healthier or easier to control or cultivate.

        If behind every 420 movement, there were thousands of soldiers and cops in uniform being active in ending the drug war, we might end this thing sooner than later. And I swear to you all that because of who my in-laws are, I will one day meet Lee Baca and tell him that it’s physically impossible in America to both enforce drug prohibition and not to be a radical jihad terrorist simultaneously, since the War on Drugs means this nation must kill itself as a method of stopping drugs, which is wrong. I guess that’s some of the perks of marrying into an ex-pigs/Vietnam vet family. Even they respect legalization though ‘pot is stupid’ in their opinion . . . now I just have to show them that legalizing Crystal Meth is the equivalent of being patriotic after 9/11 or after the death of Osama, which it is. Such a task is far easier for me to do because I wore the uniform and wasn’t one of those hippies who spat upon the men and women who served. Respect is to be them so they can be me. Being a cop or soldier who supports drug legalization is confusion. Kind of like I confused the preppy and good’ol boys of my high school football team when I was both a goth/metal head hippie with a flare for urban rap clothing, who simultaneously played football and did marching band and yearbook: the football team didn’t know whether to smack my ass in the showers because of a good game or to beat the fuck out of me in the showers for being a freak. I got their respect by playing football with them and high school boys who play football in small town Oklahoma sometimes end up being ‘pro-drug war’, which should make them question it because everybody in the Army and Corps smokes pot (well, not quite literally, but a lot more than before) and therefore smoking pot is something patriotic law abiding cops should do if they don’t want to abuse tobacco or alcohol themselves or for the other reasons as to why people get stoned. . . to at least accept their fellow officers who do partake in the joint committee meetings.

        That reminds me of a funny story of a cop who was driving a bit drunk in his police car. He didn’t mean to drive drunk, he thought he gave himself enough time (one drink, one hour), but over did it by even a little. Well, he’s driving and then he recognizes that he’s technically and legally buzzed, so he flashes his lights and pulls over and does the necessary paper work and gets in the back of his squad car handcuffed. Yep. He pulled himself over –read himself his ‘Miranda Rights’ and placed himself under arrest. Drug legalization is a requirement of the law since hypocrisy destroys and negates the law totally. I wish I was a cop, but my record won’t let me. I could make some meth head’s life or day by respecting his dope of choice and not arrest him, so maybe he could be a cop like me in the future and do the same thing to another drug user. I’d only wear the badge and uniform for a few years though (ten at best), not for life since absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s why one should never join the military or police force for retirement, but then again we need a few ‘lifers’ to teach the new recruits how to be honorable soldiers and cops that all the people’s of the world will come to respect and admire: ones that just say ‘no’ to prohibiton. If this is false, then it’s physically impossible for anyone to boycott Taco Bell or vacationing in Somalia with the family.

  • Daniel Williams

    An important point to remember, and one not mentioned in the piece, is that when heroin (and morphine, laudenum, opium and cocaine) were available from the Sears, Roebuck catalog and nearly every drugstore, we had zero drug crime. Zip. And the addiction rate then of 2% is virtually the same as that of today.

    The stigma of drug addiction at the time was actually less than that associated with alcoholism. Doctors almost universally prefered dealing with a heroin addict than an alcoholic: the heroin addict, by definition, was more sedate and predictable than the alcoholic.

    Amd we must not forget that drug prohibition was, at its core, a result of religious bigotry.

    • allan

      fellow MAP lte writer Kirk Muse uses that theme consistently. If’n I recall c’rectly it was Judge Kane out of CO that pointed out for us the lack of difference between then and now in addiction rates.

    • Opiophiliac

      Quite right, before 1914 there was no association between opiates and crime. As for the rate of addiction, different authors have widely different estimates. While opiate use was not stigmatized, addiction was, so efforts were made to conceal it. Regardless of the numbers of addicts, opiate addiction was not seen as a social problem. It was probably viewed like tobacco addiction today, a personal vice outside the purview of the law.

      Not only religious bigotry, by ethnic/racial bigotry. The first opium prohibitions were directed at the Chinese and at first only smoking opium was outlawed (most White Americans took their opiates orally, some used a syringe). It is important to note that opium did not harm the Chinese, else it would have been encouraged much like alcohol consumption was encouraged among the Native Americans. In fact opium use probably helped the Chinese laborers deal with the backbreaking work building the railroads.

      Morphine was also used to treat alcoholism. Doctors perceived (correctly) that opiates were less toxic to the body and opiate addiction less disruptive to society. If we could today convince all our alcoholics to switch to morphine the savings in healthcare alone would probably be in the billions.

      • War Vet

        Have you read Dequincy’s ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ (1821)? Do you ever read the dark masters of Paris: Charles Baudelaire or Arthur Rimbaud? They loved their opiates. Legalize all the opiates to reduce booze could work. But when the drunks decide to wean off their heroin for sobriety, we can dish out marinol pills and THC pills, something a bit stronger than the bud or brownie. What’s that African powder called again: Heroin be Gone or something? Ibogain? How bad is that Mexican black stuff for the lungs? Now that’s a great drug. My roommate was far from an amateur when it came to opiates, but our very first tinfoil hits of the Worchester Sauce flavored black blobs sent him off on his motorcycle in the middle the hills and woods . . . I could have sworn music from the ‘Lost Boys’ bike riding scenes were playing as soon has he got on his motorized horse, while on horse. Heroin is great. And everybody who likes to get stoned, should try it once -if for only to know a bit more what it’s like to be an addict of that particular drug. One day, I’ll try it again, but I’ll smoke it and then I’ll wait a year or so and do it again. We should prove to people that heroin is not addictive when we can choose to smoke it once in a while and not everyday -to throw away the lies that heroin is addictive as soon as you do it. Why anyone on Earth will live their life not experiencing it just once is beyond me, but then again, there are some people who would kick and scream just to avoid getting a free vacation to Paris, France -now that is True Heroin: I’ve been hooked on France since my first Camus or Celine. Paris is the real drug, not smack. In the States, I can go my whole life buying inexpensive clothing from the farm and tractor stores, but Paris forces me to buy golden spoons just to dissolve all that Armani and Celio.

        • Opiophiliac

          I’ve read de Quincey, I actually prefer the second edition, though I know most people say the first is better. Read some of Baudelaire, though never cover to cover. Never read Rimbaud.

          Smoking anything is probably not great for your lungs, though with H you smoke so little I hardly think it would matter. Smoking it regularly can have health consequences, leukoencephalopathy has been reported in regular smokers. Why only smokers get this disease is unclear (doesn’t occur with injectors or sniffers). By the way black-tar isn’t heroin, strictly speaking. Due to sloppy production methods it is actually a mix of heroin and esters of morphine and codeine. Gives a slightly different high than pure H, some people prefer it for this reason.

          I remain skeptical of the “ibogaine cure” for heroin addiction. Iboga is a root from Africa that has entheogenic properties (like LSD, psilocybin, ect). Similar claims were once made for LSD, though there may be a hint of truth to the practice, for some users.

          Heroin is indeed a wonderful drug, though it certainly can be a dangerous one. A little harm reduction knowledge can go a long way. Heroinhelper.com has some good HR info.

  • darkcyle

    Hmmmm….maybe it’s time to start writing the U.S. Patent Office and let them know that this is already known and being used to treat patients currently. And maybe it’s time to stop doubting Rick Simpson:
    http://tinyurl.com/bg63gjw

    • darkcycle

      Seriously, this is theft of knowledge and medicine already in the public commons….there has to be a way to stop this.

      • claygooding

        dark,I don’t see this as a problem,,when G&W tries to sue someone for treating themselves it will be easily proven that hash oil has been around for eons and used by too many people for them to have a valid patent on it.

  • Irie

    Hold on to your sides while reading this one!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/15/steve-katz-marijuana-possession_n_2885697.html

    Ba,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,(intake breath),ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,OH LAWD,ha,ha,(gasp for air), ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, the facts speak for themselves, he says, reporter asks, what are the facts……ha,ha,ha,

    Sorry, you just can’t make up stories like this!!!!

  • Irie

    Sorry, tried to edit, but it wouldn’t let me, wanted to add, catch Katz look of “deer in the headlights” when the reported ask, “what are the facts? Were you smoking pot in your car?” Its that YOU’RE BUSTED look we all know!! Ba,ha,ha,ha, Oh am so sorry, am having tooooo much fun with this one……how does re-election look for you Steve!!

  • primus

    Proof once again that politician is a synonym for hypocrite.

  • Bruce

    Love the Smell of Weed in a Car. Fun to Stink-Up the Car in the Driveway, crank some Heavenly 80’s Disco, and not go anywhere. $10,000 in Fines, Tow Trucks, and Impound Fees Saved. God Gifts, in Threes, Divine.

    • claygooding

      They once had an “egg” shaped chair with 8 speakers inside it and hung from the ceiling with a cable,,I know it was invented by some head that didn’t want to have to go to the driveway.

  • pfroehlich2004

    Well, we’ve finally gotten a floor vote on one of this year’s crop of legalization bills. The NH House defeated a pure legalization bill (eliminates criminal penalties for marijuana full stop) 239-122, which works out to just under 34% in favor.

    I’m fairly certain this is a record high for any state legislature.

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2013/mar/14/new_hampshire_marijuana_legaliza#comment-195374

    • War Vet

      Do you want to do an ‘exchange program’: our politicians from Oklahoma will live in N.H. and likewise, those from the N.H. will be ours? It could be good (for us).

  • Hey Peter,

    Love what you are doing.

    On Saturday I attended the NORML Mid Atlantic Regional Conference. My first ever cannabis law reform event. I drew large scale visual notes for the event which will give folks a recap on what was discussed should they want to check them out.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonnygoldstein/sets/72157633028833294/