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October 2013
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Odds and Ends

bullet image Radley Balko’s been tearing up the joint with a new six-part series on Utah, of all things. Worth checking out. How A Botched Drug Raid in Utah Sparked An Unlikely Movement — the first five parts are out.


bullet image Science for stoners: What is marijuana ‘abuse?’

Interesting article, pointing out that as we approach legalization, new discussions will be had regarding use and abuse of marijuana and that defining abuse may not be so easy, nor will it necessarily fit in the same way as seemingly natural comparisons (like with alcohol) want it to fit.


bullet image ‘Joint war” against drugs declared — a coalition of hard-line countries in the war on drugs.


bullet image If Gallup Says Most Americans Want to Legalize Marijuana, Gallup Must Be Unreliable, by Jacob Sullum

Writing at The Huffington Post, anti-pot activist Kevin Sabet tries to piss on this parade, but his aim is not so good.


bullet image Nice Reuters Column: The militarization of U.S. police forces


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50 comments to Odds and Ends

  • cave horse

    “Abuse”: Behavior that someone else does not approve of.

  • claygooding

    Marijuana abuse is someone hiding your stash until the yard gets mowed.

  • allan

    cannabis abuse = bad pot

  • It looks like the supposed krokodil cases in the news recently are bogus:

    Suspected krokodil a false alarm

      • I had my doubts too, the one thing that gave me pause was one story claimed a user tried cooking krokodil based on reports from the internet. The rest of the cases were in heroin users, but it just did not make sense for so many cases to appear at the same time in different locations.

        Obviously the prohibitionists have no qualms about disseminating a piece of hysterical nonsense (remember “cheese” heroin being marketed to grade schoolers?), but it is possible someone with a large amount of codeine on hand might try synthesizing something stronger.

        Apparently what’s going on here is a batch of contaminated heroin. There were cases of anthrax outbreaks in the UK due to heroin contaminated by smuggling in animal stomachs. We may be seeing something similar, especially since there’s a chance the heroin made its way into the country through someone’s bowels.

        God I hate prohibition.

    • I suspect that stories have been appearing in the press as of late as an attempt to document the value of the performances of the DEA to the general public. This is difficult, and I think they resort to making things up. The DEA needs to replace their PR man.

  • cthulu advocate

    “Marijuana abuse” is selling moldy weed. I look forward to reduced marijuana abuse after legalization.

  • allan

    btw mates… is EZ asleep behind the couch? No hear long time GI.

    And can someone check on Malcolm, make sure he didn’t blow away in Europe’s latest weird weather… please and thanking you.

    • darkcycle

      Malc is around. He was recharging his batteries and traveling to help with the Hemp harvest. We all deserve a break.

    • Malc

      Thanks for checking on me, allen! Have indeed been helping with Ireland’s hemp harvest. I even got quite a lot of posting done, considering I was in a barn with very limited bandwidth. Just arrived in Wales, missing the storm of the century by a few hours. If anybody needs me I’ll be curled up in some corner dreaming of our very green and pleasant future.

  • Bat shit crazy is a term I have heard bandied about here at Pete’s site to describe the behavior of prohibitionists who in their desperation are doing something so obviously absurd to all that are listening, so obviously absurd as to be apparent to all except the speaker himself.

    That is how I rate the story mentioned above by Pete and nicely done by Jacob Sullem.

    The only defense the man has left is to say that there must be something wrong with the polling agency to describe his sentiments about the latest Gallup Poll saying that a majority of the country supports marijuana legalization.

    Who pays to have people listen to this garbage? Listening to Kevin has become a complete laugh.

  • N.T. Greene

    I sort of wish I blew away in a storm.

    …its OT, but student loans suck and I am not going to be able to afford my payments soon enough. I wish there was more money in being logical and well read, because then I might not be living at home and potentially facing default. Oh, and my car is dying.

    Life sucks and not just because of dumb laws sometimes, I guess. But you guys are my support group.

    • Half the country is unemployed NT and its not much solace to say that you probably have a lot of good company.

      • N.T. Greene

        It isn’t, sadly.

        Plus, there are unemployed people in this state who make more money than I do, as evidenced by their propensity for buying lotto tickets and cigarettes with big bills.

        All the while I worry about defaulting and work full time. I tell you, its a genius way of screwing an entire generation…

        • Here is the scenario, NT

          http://tinyurl.com/mnrj7cm

          Private industry provides no cost housing and meals free.

        • darkcycle

          Foolish behavior with money doesn’t imply the person is wealthy. It implies the opposite. I live hard up by the rez. It is difficult to watch, but EVERY time I go to the store down the block, I see obviously destitute people (my neighbors, actually, I have got to know many) dong the same thing. I know damn well they can’t feed their own families. But there they are.
          If you don’t HAVE the education to understand the complexity of statistics. If you don’t understand that people who are rich have either worked their socks off, or have connections that made it easy, you see a lottery as an easy fortune. It’s a shiny object, a hope. You’ll spend money on hope. Any snake oil salesman or pharmaceutical company will tell you that.

        • N.T. Greene

          I was more implying that net income wise, they appear to have more money to “play with” than I could ever hope for.

          But I concede your point — a good number of street folk come in and buy tickets with change.

          I for one, don’t understand its allure — but perhaps I understand all the processes behind it and THAT’S my problem with it. I played enough RPGs in college to know what a 1-in-3 chance can turn out as in practice. (Read: It is pretty abysmal if you don’t fall victim to the gambler’s fallacy)

          But I think it’s funny that gambling your last dollar away when you live on a bicycle is fine, but you absolutely must put that person in prison if they spent that money on drugs.

          It seems like the problem we should really be dealing with is the massive poverty problem (and by extension: wealth redistribution). And the big student loan bubble is that problem in a different dimension — except in that case you are basically forcing highly educated people into indentured servitude for the sake of big banks.

          …man, I hate money sometimes. I would like enough to pay my bills and be left the bloody hell alone, but that just isn’t possible with a BA in English and and Associate’s in Arts and Sciences. Screw me for seeking out meaning and shit, am I right?

        • primus

          No sympathy. You chose the field of study. Did you investigate job opportunities and salary scales prior to choosing? If you did not, shame on you. If you did, you made the choice with your eyes wide open. The choice was yours, the consequences yours as well. I read of a study comparing four people; a plumber, a doctor and two schoolteachers. In the end, the doctor barely edged out the plumber for top lifetime earnings, the teachers did far worse. Sometimes education is merely an extremely expensive amusement. Suggest you look for a way to parlay what you already have into a career that will pay enough to support you.

        • N.T. Greene

          Was never about the salary, and… ouch.

          But really, it was a field with plenty of prospects when I began — sure, nothing lucrative in a grandiose way, but teaching is not necessarily the only option (though, a path to tenured professorship somewhere is the ultimate long term goal). However, the job market went and drastically changed and with it my options shriveled up. And since it is tough to land something better than a part time retail job in my area (and I cannot relocate for various reasons)… I don’t exactly have the resources to go to grad school at this point; though fall 2014 is a tentative goal as far as getting back to school goes.

          I would think people would sort of get based on my posts that I really don’t give a hoot about making a ton of money so long as the work is meaningful and beneficial to the community. I just want to do something pertaining to what I was ultimately trained for.

          Maybe I’ll start a blog for that extra $5 a month in income. Who knows.

        • Duncan20903

          Why in the world would someone oil a snake?

        • Malc

          “Why in the world would someone oil a snake?”

          You obviously don’t know any Welsh women 🙂

  • This is a bad paradigm. Like a squirrel trying to chase its own tail. We need to end this drug war to enable us to see what is really going on.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I don’t think that I can recall ever seeing a squirrel chase it’s tail. If they’re scared and unable to run away they’ll hide under it. Seriously, it’s just plain precious. It’s also probably a valuable survival tool because it changes their shape to threats from above. It’s also easy to see that they’re very aware of their tails. I think I have sound basis to assert that their tails are the center of their being. If you watch them when they’re playing squirrel tag it’s easy to see that they use them for communication. I’d wager that the male squirrels with the biggest, fluffiest tales get laid a lot more often. Those with short, stubby, barely furred tails probably have an inferiority complex.

      BTW it wasn’t that long ago when I was obsessed with trapping and relocating the suckers. I caught more than 200 so I was closely observing their habits. What I’d really like to know is how the heck can they run down a 90 degree tree trunk at full speed? No, I don’t have a life, what’s your point?

  • allan

    Sullum: the ship is sinking.

    Sabet: is not

    Sullum: No, really Kevin, the water is up to your knees.

    Sabet: is not

    • allan

      version 2…

      Sullum: Hey kevin, you should get off the tracks, there’s a 300 mph freight train coming.

      Sabet: is not

      Sullum: um yeah Kev, there is, even Pat Kennedy knows it’s coming.

      Sabet: is n*SPLAT*!!

      • allan

        requiem…

        Beep Beep!

        • kaptinemo

          I sometimes spend a few vanishing seconds wondering what it must have felt like for the supporters of alcohol Prohibition in the months immediately before the 21st Amendment was finally ratified. We’re seeing the same kind of thing today; false bravery in the face of looming defeat, that sort of thing.

          But what I am really waiting for are (IMNHO) the inevitable, wide-eyed, foam-flecked secular versions of crazed hysterics such as those displayed by arch alcohol Prohibitionist preacher Billy Sunday.

          The prohibs have always kept their real loons (e.g. Volkow, McDonough the Fungus Man, etc.) safely locked up in the back of the PR armory, afraid to let the loose cannons out where people can see them for what they are. But as they get more desperate, the temptation to let said loons out as a last resort will become unbearable. A ‘forlorn hope’ in the military sense…and just as doomed

          I’ve got my popcorn and rotten tomatoes ready. Bring it on!

        • Jean Valjean

          … sabet is even more of a loon than velcro and the others….his smarmy slickness is becoming a caricature…when the mask finally slips his head will suddenly make a 360 degree turn and come around with with flame red eyes…just you wait

        • DdC

          There’s as much chance of repealing the Eighteenth Amendment as there is for a hummingbird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail.
          –Prohibitionist visionary Senator Morris Shepard of Texas, 1930

          Dec. 5, 1933 | Ratification of 21st Amendment Ends Prohibition

  • DdC

    Cannabis abuse? Like clean air abuse…
    Abuse is trying to make laws against nature.
    Or abusing powers outlawing competition.

    The only freedom which counts is the freedom to do what some other people think to be wrong. There is no point in demanding freedom to do that which all will applaud. All the so-called liberties or rights are things which have to be asserted against others who claim that if such things are to be allowed their own rights are infringed or their own liberties threatened. This is always true, even when we speak of the freedom to worship, of the right of free speech or association, or of public assembly. If we are to allow freedoms at all there will constantly be complaints that either the liberty itself or the way in which it is exercised is being abused, and, if it is a genuine freedom, these complaints will often be justified. There is no way of having a free society in which there is not abuse. Abuse is the very hallmark of liberty.
    — Former Lord Chief Justice Halisham

    Abusus non tollit usum.
    [Abuse is no argument against proper use.]
    — Latin proverb

    Corruptisima republica plurimae leges.
    [The more corrupt a republic, the more laws.]
    — Tacitus, Annals III 27

    I have never seen a situation so dismal
    that a policeman couldn’t make it worse.
    — Brendan Behan (1923-1964)

    Power is sweet; it is a drug,
    the desire for which increases with a habit.
    — Bertrand Russell, in The Saturday Review, 1951

    The benefits of making pot legal.
    Thom Hartmann 29. October 2013
    The state of California legalized medical marijuana 17 years ago, and what they’ve found out has been very interesting. Not only were ominous warnings about increased crime and drug abuse wrong, but that state has seen the opposite occur. And, legalization brought a rise in tax revenue and a boost to local economies. In fact, research conducted in that state found that legalizing marijuana led to a decrease in alcohol abuse, and found no evidence of higher pot use among teens.

    For marijuana consumers, the legalization resulted in an expanded market and cheaper prices, and the taxes imposed by many local communities did not push users to buy from drug dealers, as many predicted. A recent Gallop poll found that 58 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, and it appears the state of California has proven that the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to making pot legal.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Fool me once well shame on you.

    Fool me twice well shame on me.

    Fool me thrice well I must by a sycophant of prohibition

  • allan

    what the heck is a reptile dysfunction? I keep hearing these commercials talkin’ ’bout “reptile dysfunction…”

    I know a lot of folks own lizards and snakes but I didn’t think there were enough to sell products to on TV… I don’t watch, it’s just background noise while I’m on the ‘puter.

  • thelbert

    reptile dysfunction=lazy lizard

  • strayan

    Mark Kleiman and Keith Humphreys weigh in on the Oreo is more addictive than cocaine debate: http://www.samefacts.com/2013/10/drug-policy/junk-food-junkies/

    I try to explain pharmacological determinism* to Mark, he fails to grasp it and insists:

    “some commodities tend to form bad habits”

    Would someone please tell me how a commodity can form a bad habit? I can understand how people can form a bad relationship to some commodities, but a commodity forming a bad habit to someone? How?

    *the idea that certain substances possess unique addictive or “enslaving” powers

    • Matthew Meyer

      Pharmacological determinism, as you have it, is closely related to the idea of fetishism–classically, the misattribution of agency to inanimate objects.

      Interestingly, while Europeans spent a great deal of energy elaborating on “fetishes” in their encounter with Africans, much of their theorizing was based on bad ethnography.

      It turns out the idea says a lot more about “us” than about “them”–and it’s a cornerstone of ideas about drug addiction.

    • Paul McClancy

      “*the idea that certain substances possess unique addictive or “enslaving” powers”.

      Jacob Sullum literally coined a term for this– voodoo pharmacology.

  • Servetus

    Another reason to prefer marijuana to alcohol. Don’t let this happen to you:

    http://tinyurl.com/oay8usv

  • Servetus

    New York Police Commissioner “Stop-and-Frisk” Kelly exited stage right at Brown University amid jeers of ‘racism’ from students who are angry over Kelly’s support of NY’s stop-and-frisk policies.

    Among the activists present were “Direct Action for Rights and Equality, Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Providence Youth Student Movement, and Fuerza Laboral. An hour before the event, several dozen students gathered and made a picket line outside the auditorium. Some carried signs reading “Ray (cist) Kelly” and “Don’t honor the police state.

    Blowback and revolution have arrived, courtesy of the drug war. Support for prohibition has become a third rail in politics.

    • N.T. Greene

      Welcome to the end times, gents.

      A few years back, and even at times now, they called us selfish, stupid, intolerant, drug-addled, and child destroyers.

      Soon, they will be asking us for advice, for it has been revealed that not only are we none of the above… perhaps they have more of those traits themselves.

    • strayan

      University President Christina Paxson said “The conduct of disruptive members of the audience is indefensible and an affront both to civil democratic society and to the University’s core values of dialog and the free exchange of views.”

      What the hell?

      Why does her condemnation of the students appear more severe than for a man whose actions demonstrated a total lack regard for the welfare and liberty of his victims?

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        Birds of a feather flock together. While she doesn’t have a badge she’s still in a position of authority. Perhaps someone in charge of a school may be even more apt to fall into the trap of authority because of also being in loco parentis?

  • thelbert

    in chula vista,ca a few days ago a 19 yo was pulled over after running a stop sign with 2.5 tons of dope in his truck. today the news is about a 100 yd. tunnel 60 ft. deep under the border. a well built tunnel from the tijuana airport to a warehouse in otay mesa. eight tons of dope and 375 lbs. of coke were found. i wonder if the two things are related.