Writing papers

I get an email:

Subject: I’m writing an essay on marijuana.

Text: I need you background to say your not a nut. Please reply. Thank you.

Probably not the best approach, Phillip, when asking a professional for information, but fortunately, I’m a laid-back kind of guy and don’t mind the potential “nut” reference.

However, I’m also a teacher, and I’m afraid I can’t let your spelling and grammar go uncorrected. I’m hoping you’ll do much better in your paper about marijuana. We’ve developed a bit of a reputation in recent years of being the smart ones out there, and if you go and spoil it for the rest of us by looking like you were too stoned to pay attention in English class, then us nuts are going to be quite unhappy and come after you.

“I need you background…”

OK. “I need you” is what you tell your girlfriend (I need you, Suzie), not what you tell a background. I’m going to assume you mean that you need my background. In that case you should say “I need your background.” “Your” is the possessive form of the pronoun “you” (“my blog,” “your paper”).

“… to say your not a nut.”

Remember our previous lesson? “Your” is the possessive form of “you.” This seems to imply that I possess a “not,” but I don’t think that’s what you had in mind. You probably mean “… to say you are not a nut” and then intended on shortening the “you are.” You can do that. But when you shorten “you are” it ends up as “you’re” (with the apostrophe taking the place of the missing space and “a”).

Thus the entire sentence should read:

“I need your background to say you’re not a nut.”

It’s a bit spare and could use some amplification (such as “I would like to get some details of your background to add as bibliography when I cite your writing, so I can show you are a qualified resource and not just a nut.”). However, that’s not really essential, and your revised statement (perhaps with the addition of “in order to”) would do a better job of passing minimal grammatical scrutiny.

“Please reply. Thank you.”

Again, a bit brusque, but at least it had the very nice “Thank you.” (which is why I’m providing what you ask).

At the top of every page of DrugWarRant.com, near the left, you’ll see links for “Home,” “About,” and “Articles”. If you click on the “About” link, you’ll find out things about the site and about me. If you’re ambitious enough to continue to follow links from there, you’ll also get to my regular work resume.

Good luck with the paper.

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35 Responses to Writing papers

  1. darkcycle's wife says:


  2. darkcycle says:

    Well, there you have it.

  3. claygooding says:

    right arm,,,onward,thru the fog!

    Great news dark,about the refusal of the Supreme Court to strike down Ca Supreme Court ruling,,what will this do to the fence sitting states with mmj bills in the works,,I think a lot of them will move forward now.

    Waiting for WashPost or major news source puts it out so I can get it on facebook.

    • darkcycle says:

      That’s exactly why I popped right over here to post that link. It’s also very good news for those efforts to get municipalities to allow dispensaries to open. Removes or blunts the Federal Law objection local Sheriffs always raise.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      If you want to read the news reports you’re going to need to dig through the meida outlets’ archives. City of Garden Grove v Felix Kha was denied certiorari on December 1, 2008.

  4. addycat says:

    Write a damn good paper Philip! Also, maybe you should write that even law review members at some of the best schools smoke weed.

    • Francis says:

      Unfortunately, sometimes when those weed-smoking law review members from the best schools go on to become President, they completely sell out their supposed principles. (I’m not thinking of anyone in particular.)

  5. claygooding says:

    and most of the teachers.

    The only Maui I ever got I was from the head of the history dept at a local college.

    He only carried the good stuff.

  6. primus says:

    “we” nuts are going to be unhappy… If you correct grammar you should vet your own as well.

  7. Francis says:

    OT: Good news! There’s a story in the San Francisco chronicle today reporting that:

    Inhaled marijuana appears to be a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain when used in addition to narcotics like morphine and oxycodone, according to a small UCSF study that is the first to look at the combined effects of the two classes of drugs in humans.

    Unfortunately, that pain relief comes with a pretty terrible side effect. Physical dependence? Nope, that’s not it. (At least on the cannabis side.) Liver damage? Nope. Nausea? Loss of appetite? Weakness? Painful or frequent urination? Seizures? Blurred vision? Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue? Difficulty breathing? No, it’s something even worse:

    Medical marijuana has only one side effect he doesn’t care for: the high.

    “I used to smoke pot when I was a kid, just goofing around,” he said. “The stuff nowadays is pretty strong, so that is one thing I don’t really like now.”

    At UC Berkeley, Nomura agrees. He and other biologists are studying ways to tap into the useful effects of cannabis without the drug high that comes with it.

    “Obviously medicinal marijuana is still widely used. There are really undisputed beneficial effects,” Nomura said. “But in terms of moving forward with drug development, we need to develop safer drugs that don’t make you high.”

    I have to assume that researchers who study the medical benefits of cannabis feel the need to spout this kind of nonsense as a way of signaling their “legitimacy.”

    • claygooding says:

      It is the required disclaimer if you want to be able to get federal grants to study anything else.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Dr. Donald Abrams is one of the most impressive people on our side of the table. Dr. Nomura wasn’t involved with the study. His gratuitous comment was (IMO) solicited by the Chronicle. It wasn’t Dr. Abrams who made the comments about not liking the side effect of getting high, it was a patient. A lot of people involved with medicinal cannabis seem to be unable to accept that most people don’t take medicine to get high, they take it to get better.


      • Francis says:

        Thanks Duncan. Good points. I should have read more carefully. And you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to experience th medical benefits of cannabis without wanting to feel “high.” Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with wanting TO enjoy that ancillary benefit. I guess I was too quick to read into their statements the all-too-frequent moralizing that surrounds cannabis.

      • darkcycle says:

        The high goes away for the most part with acclimation. To eat, I start using cannabis right when I wake up, every single day. First thing I do after I fill my coffee cup in the morning (it takes at least 30-40 minutes after ingesting to get anything like an appetite) so I can eat breakfast. Otherwise, w/out Cannabis, it is two or three o’clock in the afternoon before I can eat anything, and by that time I’m shakey and weak. Usually get a little buzz first thing in the morning. It goes away after twenty minutes or so, then, I’m sorry to say, I get no buzz at all (unless I make a concerted effort to ingest a large ammount in a short period of time.).

        • claygooding says:

          I start my day finishing off the half joint I put out when I went to bed.

          I eat marijuana for my arthritis and it works better than aspirin or tylenol.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          But one has to acclimate in order to be acclimated. I’m not passing judgment but the fact that most people don’t care for the pleasures of cannabis is something that I had to come to accept.

          I do think it’s interesting that so many people report not getting high anymore. 34 1/2 years on 1/1/2012 and I still get enjoyment from cannabis. BTW I do believe the people reporting that the high goes away. I don’t understand it and it hasn’t happened to me but enough of those reporting this are substantially credible in my judgment. I’ve seen some snippets hypothesizing that the neuroreceptors react differently when there’s pain involved. But that was about opioids which apparently can also not have any psychoactive effect as a consequence of medicinal use.
          clay, Dr. Abrams seems very adept at getting approval to perform his research for some reason. Perhaps he was taught by Dale Gieringer, another guy who seems magically able to get the Feds to cooperate.

        • dt says:

          Dunc – isn’t there some strain of cannabis out there for everyone? Maybe people who say they don’t like it actually just need a strain with higher CBD relative to THC.

        • Maria says:

          I’ve heard that as well. I think we all have these anecdotes and, while I know that anecdote is not the singular of data, all these anecdotes hint that there is something complex going on when the plant is ingested over long periods at a relativley steady dosage.

          I have a friend who suffers from IBS and arthritis. He says that he doesn’t get high and that there is not much of a buzz except when he changes from batch to batch (ie. new plants, new strengths, etc) however the pain, muscle, and appetite effects are still there and enable him to keep working.

          Another friend eats home made cookies for his severe panic attacks and muscle spasms. Same thing. No high, just help.

          All our anecdotes are why there needs to be an explosion of well run, properly controlled research studies done with ingested/eaten cannabis. God damn it shitfucks, let us do them already.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          Point well taken dt. I haven’t had any personal experience but I’ve read that Harborside can’t keep their high CBD in stock. But that product still has ~5% THC IIRC. I often wonder if CBD content is why I recall pot from the ’70s being better that all of today’s fancy pants strains. God knows I want to smoke some more of that Panama Red and Afghan black hash that I enjoyed so much.

          The Canadians say some of their hemp varieties have around 2% CBD in their “waste” product and they hope to exploit that to create a new revenue stream.

          One of the more ironic things about the war on (some) drugs, suppression of stuff that won’t get you high and quite likely would have substantial medicinal utility. Go figure that one out. If you do, give me a call because it makes no sense at all.

          Say, did everyone hear that Donald Trump is going to MC a Republican POTUS wannabe debate? Mitt Romney has already said he won’t be there. But it’s for the safety of the public. If hair and anti-hair attempt to occupy the same space…BOOM!!! Oh wait a second…that would be a good thing if those clowns got blown to smithereens.

        • darkcycle says:

          Oh man are you ever right…seems like the “High” that I craved all but dissapeared around 1982. ’bout the same time domestic sinsemilla took over the market. I really miss the Columbians and Jamaicans from back in the day.

        • darkcycle says:

          I also let my medicine go a lot longer before harvest just for the extra cbd.

  8. Maria says:

    Oh lordy lordy. I suspect that’s one paper that’s destined for the “Shit my Students Write” hall of fame. Could be that I’m just a little too cynical lately.

    Please make us nuts proud.

  9. whaat? says:


  10. sojournerC says:

    First, let me introduce myself. I am the Creative Director/ Marketing Manager at Denver Relief, the 4th oldest dispensary in Denver.

    I love the blog, and appreciate everybody’s insight.

    I thought I would chime in today because we have gotten several similar requests for information about marijuana and what we do from students looking to write papers – some definitely more eloquent than this request.

    Isn’t it a good sign that high school and college students are taking an active interest in medical marijuana and prohibition and teachers are allowing the discussion to take place?

    • darkcycle says:

      I’d say it’s a good sign. If it’s become a valid topic for a High School paper, that’s a good indication the discussion has truly moved into the mainstream.
      I was told in very clear, blunt language that illegal drugs were NOT an acceptable topic for a paper as a High Schooler.

      • allan says:

        high school… I bought my first joint in HS. For $.25 in homeroom and I didn’t know it stunk to high heaven when burned… so I took it home and lit it up in the garage. Holy crap! Why didn’t I just dump some old leaves in there and set them on fire? When questioned I claimed exactly that, “must be one of the neighbors burning his leaves.” And I had no clue my dad had tried pot when he was a young man and that my ruse prolly made him roll his eyes…

        Of course nowadays, burning pot still stinks up a space, but I care far less than I did 44 years ago. And I smoke herb whenever I’m writing, it helps me block out the distractions. Of course I can write so I have an edge on young Phillip.

    • Pete says:

      Yes, it is a good sign. I’ve actually had hundreds of High School Students contact me over the years, either for more information for their paper, for permission, for my pedigree, or to just tell me that they used my stuff for their paper.

      Almost all are due to Why Is Marijuana Illegal? page, which has had millions of visits over the years.

      I’ve even had a few High School teachers tell me that they guided students who were looking for material on this topic to my page.

      And yes, it is good to know that these discussions are allowed in some High Schools. There are even a few with an SSDP chapter.

  11. primus says:

    My son’s buddy was in HS in N Dakota,(we are all CDN) asked me for some interweb info he could use for just this sort of presentation. I obliged, giving him links to several sites including this one, and discussed some approaches he might consider. He did his presentation on why legalization is the best way to deal with drugs. This is in a very conservative area at a catholic HS. He said the students’ jaws dropped but the teacher was cool. That was about 8 years ago, so this is not exactly new.

  12. Scott says:

    Hey, wait, your not a nut? Whodda thunk? 😉

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