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Thoughts on a wonderful thing.

The drug policy reform movement is about ending a set of prohibition policies that cause corruption, destruction and death in just about every aspect of society. It’s not about people wanting to get high.

And yet, I’m sometimes annoyed by the amount of energy we end up expending just debunking junk science and defending cannabis as being not that dangerous, when we should be able to talk more about the positives of responsible use. Even in places where pot has been legalized in this country, they’ve been ridiculously strict about where and how it can be used, like it should be some kind of solitary, shameful activity.

And that’s wrong.

I want to get high and see great modern dance, so I can, for a moment, partially suppress my analytical mind and better immerse myself in the abstract stories being told in movement. I want to smoke a joint with friends on the sidelines of a soccer field, enjoying the beautiful sunny day and the constant joyful patterns of athletic movement.

I want to hang out in a comfortable lounge with intelligent stoned folks discussing philosophy and time travel. And I want to play Cards Against Humanity with them and forget whose turn it is.
I want to play music. I want to play the piano and jam with percussion, bass, and guitar — not for a paying audience (where I’d be paranoid about “performing”), but just for us and good friends. And I want to let cannabis slow down the time as it has for musicians throughout the ages and let us luxuriate in that space between the beats, which is where jazz truly lives.

I want to get high while hiking through nature, and experience the sights, the sounds, the smells. To sit in a gazebo while a spring rain falls. To stand on a pedestrian bridge at night while a train goes under me (OK, I might want shrooms for that).

I want to have a gourmet cannabis barista help me select just the right strain that will be perfect for a Sci-Fi film or a steak dinner, and also have that one batch that I keep in a drawer and only bring out to savor on a special ocassion, just like I might with an aged Gouda, or a scotch from Islay.

I don’t want to get stoned every day. I don’t want to be baked. I don’t want to be sitting on my couch slack-jawed covered with Cheetos stains while the final heartbeat in Dark Side of the Moon pulses in the surround sound…. OK, yes, I do want to do that last bit, but just once in a while.

But I’m not doing any of those things. I’m writing about corruption in the criminal justice system, the financial self-interest of those on both sides of the drug war, the propaganda paid for by our tax dollars, the people dying from unregulated drugs, the wasted lives in prison, the destruction of rights, the failures of international policy, and the feckless cowardice of elected officials.

I will continue to fight to end the scourge of prohibition. But we can’t stop with just putting fewer people in jail. It’s not enough to convince people that these drugs aren’t the satan-spawn depicted in prohibition’s lurid propaganda porn. No, we need to realize that responsible use of drugs can, in itself, be a very wonderful thing.

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52 comments to Thoughts on a wonderful thing.

  • darkcycle

    Yes. That.

  • “People who are involved in psychedelics should live lives of such exemplitude and impeccability that the notion that there was anything shady or wrong or curious about this phenomena would be ludicrous”
    – Terrence McKenna

  • thelbert

    your eloquence is matched by your perspicacity

  • jean valjean

    Thanks Pete, that’s how it should be, and how I hope it will be one day, yet this is the reality of cannabis use in America:
    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/florida-swat-cop-guns-down-unarmed-man-marijuana-raid

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/taxonomy/term/258

  • Frank W.

    A wonderful piece, but is it a Unabomber manifesto or a suicide note? By the way, don’t jump.

  • Poca

    Nice people do drugs!

  • jean valjean

    OT
    “Professor David Nutt says a distinction must be made between traditional varieties of cannabis and new types known as ‘skunk’… ”

    Sad when even Dr Nutt falls for this mythical hash good, skunk bad bs. I would have expected him to be a little more knowledgeable about “hash” and “skunk” strains, and their thc levels.
    http://tinyurl.com/nrel4r2

    • Common Science

      JV – You have to feel for David Nutt. He was the altruistic British ‘Drugs Csar’ trying to introduce a scientific paradigm to categorizing psychoactive substances (contrary to the unrealistic political classifications of the 20th century). This was be seen as loosening severe restrictions on drugs that were relatively harmless compared to de facto hazardous regulated substances. He became an easy political pariah in the middle of the British tabloid ’skunk pot hyperbole’ that he was stepping on. He didn’t originally let the murkiness of an imagined frankenstein cannabis strain (that lept botanical boundaries into chemical horrors) sway his findings. But in the atmosphere of the most benign substance being attacked as not being 100% safe in all possible circumstances, his reward was to being fired.

      Proffesor Nutt is motivated in large part by the fact that severe regulation efforts are focused on the most popular illicit drugs rather than the most harmful. A mass resignation of scientists on Britain’s Drugs advisory panel immediately followed his departure in 2009.

      IMHO; with him trying to get the big message out, he is facing the same dilemma that US scientist faced in the early 70’s. Most government-funded marijuana studies coming out of universities were reporting on therapeutic benefits, but always felt obliged to add a footer along the lines of; ‘It does seem peculiar we couldn’t find results that fall in line with your agenda, but if we are still eligible for more funding, we might be able to find something more in line with law enforcement and monopoly positions of the empowered legal substances.’

    • Poca

      Excellent points on Prof. Nutt @CommonScience

      Just recently Richard Branson also said something to the effect of hash being less harmful than “skunk”. They are going along with a line of reasoning that was brought up by an older Channel 4 news anchor. He did a segment where he went to a lab strapped into an MRI scanner getting high off bud and hash and taking measurements, then tell some bogus narrative comparing the two.

      It is the British version of “today’s pot is not your father’s Woodstock weed.”

      Most people w/ a vague first hand experience involves some sort of hash, probably even just crappy soapbar hash. So the powers that be can somehow convince daily mail readers to believe that “skunk” is somehow a different newfangled drug not at all like the hash they may remember…. Fear uncertainty and doubt.

      Sadly it makes them look clueless, Branson and Nutt…maybe they want it to look like the see the Emperor’s new robes… We all in the know, that HASH IS MADE FROM “SKUNK”, can see the emperor wears no clothes

  • joe minella

    Very well said, sir. Maybe my grandkids will see that day!

  • DonDig

    .
    Good stuff Pete.
    Inspiring.
    It can be that way.
    Attitude is everything.

  • pete bulkner

    And I will continue to spread the fact potheads rape children. Potheads murder rape and pdervert the fact with liees . just admit the fact you are child molestors

    • Irie

      Look Kap…
      There is one of those ‘mental prohibs’ now, foaming at the mouth, running around the couch as we all sit here in amazement at what “predictable stupidity” is coming from his pie hole!
      Go back into what ever hole you crawled out of ‘Pete’ and just go beat your meat and don’t say a peep, as you are being beat and losing badly!!!

      • kaptinemo

        No, please, don’t frighten him away. I’m stuck inside because of the snow and I’m bored out of my gourd with looking at funny animal videos on YouTube. An inchoate, gyrating, foaming prohib would be a momentarily welcome distraction.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Wow, a complete, utter flatline. That’s something you just don’t see every day.

      Hey Petey, would you care to share the name of the drug that got you there? Oops,sorry, I almost forgot that it was because of that drunken surgeon who botched your lobotomy. My bad.

    • Frank W.

      They got us out-thumbed, pete. I’ll get more ammo from the mules and you keep me covered.

    • darkcycle

      Petey B. is drunk again. Maybe he’ll leave without throwing up all over the porch this time.

    • jean valjean

      Hey Pete Bulkner….I thought they took away your computer privileges at the funny farm?….you must have been a good boy for a while to get them back…. so that’s why we haven’t heard from you for a while! Welcome back to the couch…

  • mike

    Thank you Pete Guither for putting a human face on Cannabis. Staying compassionate and loving in the face of
    overwhelming Gov. propaganda against our Constitutional Rights..

    Last night on the Nightly Show Larry Wilmore showed the
    world what Gov Propaganda against Cannabis looks like
    with his Quote from Harry Anslingler about how Cannabis
    would make White women feel.

    Thank you Larry Wilmore for showing US what the Gov
    has used against the People.

    Thank you pete bulkner for showing how this propaganda
    has affected so many.

  • Will

    “And yet, I’m sometimes annoyed by the amount of energy we end up expending just debunking junk science and defending cannabis as being not that dangerous, when we should be able to talk more about the positives of responsible use.” [Pete]

    We have been on the defensive for a very long time. What some of us choose to consume are described as ‘vices’ in need of ‘sin’ taxes — and that’s the legal stuff!

    Kevin Sabet has made the ridiculous and erroneous claim that “alcohol is legal because of its cultural relevance”. This is nonsense of course (does this guy get anything right?). Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol, it doesn’t work for any substance in demand (I know, I don’t need to type these words AGAIN). But with respect to ‘cultural relevance’, Kevin disingenuously ignores that in the US a thriving cannabis culture has been around longer than he has been alive. More significantly, add in the global culture and it goes back many centuries.

    Pete, you are correct, we need to extol the virtues of cannabis use along with remaining vigilant in debunking the propaganda machine. When I say, “extol the virtues”, I don’t even care about converting the uninitiated, or pleading my case, or trying to get those heads filled with propaganda to come around. I mean, “I enjoy it, it’s relaxing and interesting and inspiring. Now for those of you who disaprove, I don’t really care what you think. Good day”.

    • Will

      Heh, jeez, am I a bigger bonehead if I can’t quote another bonehead correctly? Yeah, probably. Kevin Sabet’s explanation as to why alcohol is legal is because of its cultural significance (not relevance as I stated above). Not that that changes my point much. Still, apologies for the error.

  • aye Pete you express what MANY feel… freedom is so liberating and Prohibition just plain sucks.

  • pricknick

    Great post Pete!
    Yet I have to tell you, you will never find a barista that can help you. No two people react in the same way. That’s what makes helping people with medical ailments so difficult. What works for one, in many cases, will not work for another.
    Good luck though.

  • Servetus

    Some common psychedelic drugs get exonerated by Norwegian researchers Pål-Ørjan Johansen and Teri Krebs:

    The use of psychedelics, such as LSD and magic mushrooms, does not increase a person’s risk of developing mental health problems, according to an analysis of information from more than 135,000 randomly chosen people, including 19,000 people who had used psychedelics. The results are published today in Journal of Psychopharmacology.

    And the rave drug Ketamine, or Special K, “holds promise for treating depression fast. Companies and clinicians turn to ketamine to treat mental-health disorder as pipeline of new drugs dries up”:

    Used clinically as an anaesthetic in animals and humans, it has proved an extremely effective treatment for depression, bipolar disorder and suicidal behaviour.

    It also works incredibly fast. Unlike conventional antidepressants, which generally take weeks to start working, ketamine lifts depression in as little as two hours. “It blew the doors off what we thought we knew about depression treatment,” says psychiatrist James Murrough at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

    Prohibitionists just can’t seem to catch a break from the scientists. It’s no wonder professional idiots hate scientists and the scientific community with a vengeance.

  • NorCalNative

    A tip of the hat to a well-written piece.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Will somebody please tell me why the prohibitionist parasites have such a hard on for Colorado?

    Sheriffs sue Colorado over legal marijuana

    Don’t their “lawyers” actually read on point rulings before filing a case?

    At least these lawsuits are keeping a number of ambulance chasers from getting into REAL mischief for the time being. Idle hands are the devil’s playthings! I”m pleased to reiterate my prediction that the whole kitten caboodle of smoking that marijuana business soap opera implodes before September 21, 2015. Does the SCOTUS go on vacation in July or August?

    The Roberts Court has refused to grant certiorari to LEOs who didn’t want to return illegally seized medicine in City of Garden Grove v. Felix Kha (2008). The SCOTUS had no interest in hearing an appeal from the County of San Diego v. San Diego NORML which meant that the County was forced to obey State law and implement the Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB-420)

    Pop quiz! How stupid can a prohibitionist be? Think about this: the only involvement in the second case listed above by San Diego NORML is limited to their name on the case title. The petitioners filed the case without even bothering to find out the correct identification of their respondent.

    • kaptinemo

      It’s amazing. It really is. Most of the enemies of real freedom within the country who are exposing themselves like this don’t seem to realize what they are doing.

      The prohibs really are outing themselves for later removal via the electoral process. They might as well be wearing laser targets at the carnival shooting gallery. They will make this so easy.

      Oh, jeez, Monty Python strikes again. The prohibs have evidently not learned the value of not being seen.

      Since they want to attract the attention of those taxpayers – who will now have plenty of reason to cut their budgets and force them into unemployment for this unwarranted power grab and attempt to disenfranchise their paymasters – may their careers suffer the same fate as those unlucky people…

    • Will

      From the link you posted;

      ——————

      “Lead plaintiff, Larimer County, Colo., Sheriff Justin Smith, calls the case a “constitutional showdown.” Each day, he says, he must decide whether to violate the Colorado Constitution or the U.S. Constitution.

      Colorado is “asking every peace officer to violate their oath,” Smith said. “What we’re being forced to do … makes me ineligible for office. Which constitution are we supposed to uphold?”

      ——————

      Yeah right, now Sheriff Smith is conflicted. A real ponderous spot for Mr. Smith. I think he needs to remember he’s a sheriff in a county that’s in a state that has legalized cannabis. Maybe he needs to think ‘local’ and be done with it. He needn’t rack his brain with deeply philosophical meanderings, hand on chin with furrowed brow, “Hmm, what to do? Where do I begin to know what to do?”. Now with back of hand to forehead, “I stare at both constitutions everyday, I must honor both, but how? Our 3 page sheriff’s manual doesn’t cover a question that would surely stump the deepest of thinkers”.

      Or maybe, “I’m basically suing the people I’m meant to protect and serve. Nah, I’d better not”.

      • primus

        It seems a simple concept: State Sheriff follows State Constitution. If he is a Federal Sheriff, he follows the Federal Constitution. Which he is depends on who pays his wages. I would assume the state is the paymaster, so he is a State Sheriff. Therefore, his ultimate loyalty as a Sheriff is to the State, not the Feds.

        • Will

          Exactly, you’d think an attorney for Larimer County (or even a worker shoveling snow at the courthouse) would’ve tapped Barney Fife Justin Smith on the shoulder, “Hey Justin, can I speak with you for a moment…”

        • Windy

          All Sheriffs ae county Sheriffs, and they are the only Constitutional form of law enforcement and are also the highest ranking government official in their county (outranking even federal officials).

      • Windy

        Well, since there was no authorization for congress to criminalize cannabis or any other ingestible substance or plant, in the first place, in order for the Sheriff to uphold his oath to the Constitution of these united States of America he would have to STOP conducting raids and arrests over drugs, which in the case of cannabis, also complies with the CO State Constitution. So no problem, IF he actually abides by the federal Constitution (which he’s already shown he doesn’t).

    • Servetus

      Salon.com is featuring a current article that might explain the craziness of the anti-marijuana sheriffs.

      It’s called “system justification theory ”. The theory posits that some people are so fearful they end up exhibiting an irrational tendency to cling tenaciously to the various institutions they believe are responsible for keeping them safe, such as government, a political party, or a religion. Their fears are so unsettling they are likely to enter into denial regarding anything that criticizes or challenges their belief that government, or some other form of leadership, is functioning the way it should. People such as this are like the judge on the bench who believes the cops can do no wrong, and who always rules for the state. Psychologists note:

      We found pretty clear and consistent correlations between psychological motives to reduce and manage uncertainty and threat—as measured with standard psychometric scales used to gauge personal needs for order, structure, and closure, intolerance of ambiguity, cognitive simplicity vs. complexity, death anxiety, perceptions of a dangerous world, etc.—and identification with and endorsement of politically conservative (vs. liberal) opinions, leaders, parties, and policies.

      The one threat the sheriffs may not have thought about is the fact they can sometimes be voted out of office over their opposition to liberalizing the marijuana laws. At least one example of one such sheriff’s election loss took place some time ago in Humboldt County, CA.

  • Matthew Meyer

    “benefit maximization” not “harm reduction”
    tonics>toxics

    What a beautiful paean to stony moments, Pete.

    Sometimes it seems the drug war is about policing those experiential spaces, souring them.

    Thanks–it’s nice to be reminded there is actual content to freedom, that it’s more than the residue of a lack of oppression.

  • Dave in IL

    “And I want to let cannabis slow down the time as it has for musicians throughout the ages and let us luxuriate in that space between the beats, which is where jazz truly lives.”

    Yes!!! Beautiful piece overall, but that part in particular struck a chord with me (heh heh, get it?). As a music geek, that is probably the experience I look forward to most when under the influence of cannabis. At its best, it’s as if the separation between artist and listener has disappeared and the music just floats to you in warm rhythmic waves. As time slows down you even notice aspects of songs that you did not pick up on previously. Fantastic!

    But this does not mean that being stoned makes any kind of music sound great. Shitty music is still pretty bad, but I’m more inclined to laugh at it than be annoyed. I can’t get too annoyed if I’m high. And that is kind of nice once in awhile.

    Though not completely benign, cannabis–in my experience–induces a calm, almost meditative state that focuses the mind on what is most interesting at that particular and filters out less vital stuff (hence the temporary short-term memory problems). It allows you to ponder and not feel rushed for a bit. Of course, if you are in a situation that requires quick decision-making (at work, driving), then being high is not such a good thing.

    In closing, altered states are not necessarily a bad thing, assuming the time is right and you are responsible. No responsible adult should face sanction for exploring such states.

  • Crut

    .
    .
    Would a Bigger Police State Win the Drug War? Link

    the United States has the same type of governmental program as the brutal and tyrannical communist regime in China.

    Some good arguments here!

  • Will

    The Daily Fail never fails to deliver;

    Rise of the CANNABIS allergy: Plant can cause hayfever-like symptoms and asthma, doctors warn

    http://tinyurl.com/kve7wqk

    Gems include;

    ————-

    “Cannabis pollen normally sheds in late summer and early autumn.

    The researchers wrote it is ‘very buoyant, allowing for distribution across many mile’.”

    ————-

    Tip to researchers: describing pollen as ‘buoyant’ and able to ‘distribute across many mile’ suggests you need to go back to researcher camp.

    But wait;

    ———

    “And the study noted some people who injected marijuana developed reactions including facial swelling and wheezing within minutes of exposure.”

    ———

    If we’ve warned you marijuana injectors once, we’ve warned you a thousand times…

    • Nunavut Tripper

      “I tried to inject marijuana once but the stems and leaves got stuck in the syringe.”

      OK that’s my corny joke of the day however I did read a serious article recently that stated that Hemp pollen is heavy and only spreads about a mile or so in the wind unlike
      ragweed pollen that can blow for many miles.
      I guess the Daily Mail doesn’t realize that growers don’t grow male plants unless they’re breeders who capture it like it’s gold.
      Thanks for my Daily Chuckle Will.

    • darkcycle

      Pot allergies are a real thing. I know several trimmers who ultimately had to give it up because of severe allergies. Dried material is much less allergenic than green, fresh plants thankfully. But it is fairly common.

      • Nunavut Tripper

        Yes it can be allergenic and I always get the sniffles when I trim a lot of fresh bud in an enclosed room.
        I think it may be the terpenes in such large quantities that set me off but I get no such reaction to dried and cured bud.

      • strayan

        I don’t know if I’m allergic but I certainly can’t go anywhere near cannabis without wanting to gag.

  • With all its’ useful properties, the medicine flower is truly the enemy of collectivism. Imagine a nation where the farmer has total freedom to grow and distribute. To be a producing entrepreneur. To process it into the useful form of his free choice. And where proctors and monitors are stripped of the nasty work of prohibition. We all know why it’s like it is. Doctors need sick people and lawyers need “law” breakers and jails need “culprits” to pen up and torment. I will not be growing the medicine flower in the current environment of organized criminal conspiracy to lock mankind in permanent slavery.

  • thelbert

    i have some plants in the backyard just because i can.

  • claygooding

    If this big economical depression hits as hard as predicted and our inflated money won’t buy necessities I will be growing in my yard for bartering and fuck anyone that doesn’t like it,,of course by then the government will be laying off workers and tortillas and beans will be whats for lunch.

  • n.t. greene

    How many CLANG!s before their heads are ringing permanently?

    I’ll give you a hint– it’s a trick question.

  • primus

    When hunger stalks the land revolution is at hand. As the old saying goes, ‘No country is more than three missed meals from a revolution.’

  • hope

    Thank you, again, Pete. I’m so thankful for you.