The Nation on Pot

The November 2013 issue of ‘The Nation’ is stuffed full of articles about marijuana and legalization. It also marks that magazine’s official endorsement of marijuana legalization for the first time. Katrina vanden Heuvel explains:

If Clinton, Bush and Obama, ex–pot smokers all, were deemed responsible enough to lead the world’s most powerful nation, largest economy and strongest military (with thousands of nukes), why are we still arresting young men and women—especially young African-Americans and Latinos—for doing what these men did? Why do countless people languish behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes? And why is pot still classified as a dangerous drug?

This is especially astonishing when you consider that almost half of all Americans—myself included—admit to having at least tried pot. As a parent who has had the substance use-and-abuse talks with my 22-year-old daughter, I’ve had a hard time explaining why she can freely purchase cigarettes, which can certainly kill her, but not marijuana, which will surely not.

If you follow the link above, you’ll be able to access a large number of the articles in this edition. However, some of them are only available to subscribers or those who have purchased the issue. If you have a Kindle (or a Kindle app) you can purchase the digital issue for just $1.99.

I’m still working my way through the articles. Overall, I think it’s a pretty good mix.

I do have a little quibble with Carl L. Hart’s article: Pot Reform’s Race Problem. He starts out by pointing out that scientists, and agencies like NIDA, have mostly ignored the racial aspect of the drug war in their studies. True.

But then he goes on to say that the reform community has ignored the race issue as well. He specifically mentions NORML and MPP (and I don’t know what their actual record is) while giving a partial positive nod to DPA (for which he is a board member).

I call on our allies to break their silence on this issue and make racial justice a central part of the fight against pot prohibition.

The way he words it makes it seem that he is claiming that the entire drug policy reform community is silent on this issue (though the wording makes that vague and it may just be me reading that into it). However, my 10+ years of writing about this issue gives me a little different perspective. My recollection is that it has been the mostly white drug policy reform community that has ironically been a leader in promoting awareness about racial disparities in the drug war, even back when many African-American advocacy organizations were still calling for greater drug war enforcement in their communities (fortunately, that has changed in recent years).

Additionally, it’s odd that Mr. Hart fails to mention the great work that has been done in this area for years by both LEAP and the ACLU.

Feel free to talk about any of the articles in comments.

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24 Responses to The Nation on Pot

  1. divadab says:

    It will be interesting to see how the legalization unfolds in a corrupt system devoted to maintenance of the status quo.

  2. Duncan20903 says:


    Well Florida’s collection of prohibitionist parasites certainly can’t be accused of being slouches. The language for the proposed Amendment to the State’s Constitution hasn’t been approved and the advocates still need more than 1/2 a million valid signatures to get it on the ballot if the language is approved. But the brain free prohibitionist cohort already has a date with the Florida Supreme Court in an attempt to stymie the medicinal cannabis law reform advocates. Here goes Florida joining the ranks of States that don’t want to emulate California, despite have a crime rate 1/3 higher and a significantly larger cohort of Floridians in “treatment” for the popular substances on the naughty lists. Wow, since 1996 the number of Floridians in “treatment” is up almost 770%!

    Senate, House Leaders Join AG To Block Medical Marijuana Admendment

    “We firmly believe the wording of this amendment is not about legalizing marijuana for serious medical illnesses, but rather creating a path in our constitution for marijuana shops on every street corner,” Weatherford said. “The ballot summary is misleading and the impact of this amendment is far, far greater than John Morgan and his supporters would like the public to know.”

    I am presuming they meant “Amendment” since I’ve never heard of an “Admendment.” I admit that I could be out of touch. Are they selling naming rights for Constitutional Amendments nowadays to the highest bidders?

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I just noticed I forgot a couple of words in my post above. It should have read: “Wow, since 1996 the number of Floridians in “treatment” for heroin and other opioids is up almost 770%!”

  3. BossIlluminati says:

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!

    just a matter of time now, from 0 states to half the country, almost there


  4. Nunavut Tripper says:

    This study suggests that raw plant based cannabis is more beneficial than pharmaceutical manufactured cannabinoids.
    The big pharma gangsters are gonna get their panties in a knot over this news.

    Bedrocan BV, The Netherlands.

    “Cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, are the most important active constituents of the cannabis plant. Over recent years, cannabinoid-based medicines (CBMs) have become increasingly available to patients in many countries, both as pharmaceutical products and as herbal cannabis (marijuana). While there seems to be a demand for multiple cannabinoid-based therapeutic products, specifically for symptomatic amelioration in chronic diseases, therapeutic effects of different CBMs have only been directly compared in a few clinical studies. The survey presented here was performed by the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM), and is meant to contribute to the understanding of cannabinoid-based medicine by asking patients who used cannabis or cannabinoids detailed questions about their experiences with different methods of intake. The survey was completed by 953 participants from 31 countries, making this the largest international survey on a wide variety of users of cannabinoid-based medicine performed so far. In general, herbal non-pharmaceutical CBMs received higher appreciation scores by participants than pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids. However, the number of patients who reported experience with pharmaceutical products was low, limiting conclusions on preferences. Nevertheless, the reported data may be useful for further development of safe and effective medications based on cannabis and single cannabinoids.”

  5. thelbert says:

    everyone knows that the only people in need of medicine are those that suffer from serious diseases. people with trivial diseases don’t need to take medicine, in fact they could just walk it off if they weren’t so lazy. we need to ration medicine in this country because charging exorbitant prices for health care is not working. too many people are recieving health care that don’t deserve it. it’s a good thing we have conservatives trying to conserve our homeland’s precious medical resources.

  6. Freeman says:

    THUD!!! There goes another big chunk of the Wall!

    He starts out by pointing out that scientists, and agencies like NIDA, have mostly ignored the racial aspect of the drug war in their studies. True.

    Yes, True that. Here’s Kleiman’s take on the subject:

    Kleiman spoke more, though, about reasons for the city and state to step up law enforcement against illegal dealers in order to gain market share and tax revenues for the legal system…

    …Noting the history of racial disparities in marijuana enforcement, Councilmember Mike O’Brien said he’d be concerned that ramped up enforcement would “compound the problem.”

    Kleiman said that’s certainly possible because poorer people and racial minorities might be more likely to use street corners for illegal pot commerce, and be subject to enforcement, than affluent white people.

    “I think it’s worth taking the transition cost,” Kleiman said, in order to undercut the illicit market.

    …Said the affluent white guy. In the context of legalizing the market, no less. Nice. Somebody should explain to that guy how black markets and prohibition work, so that he can avoid coming off like such a moral and mental midget in the future. Oh wait, somebody already has:

    [Alison Holcomb] pointed to alcohol prohibition as a lesson. “The battle of the bootleggers was not won by enforcement but by the fact people wanted to buy legal booze,” she said.

    Yeah, we’ve all brought that up many times. Some people either will never be able to grasp the concept, or stubbornly refuse to consider it.

  7. Jean Valjean says:

    Depressing update on the anti-science effects of prohibition from Prof David Nutt:

  8. Servetus says:

    We suspected this, but at least now we have some science to back it up. The latest research from the University of Granada indicates that former drug czar Bill Bennett has function abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex of his brain that affects his decision making. Yes, it’s organic, and a sinister pathology it is, given Bennett’s projection of his gambling addiction problems onto drug consumers:

    University of Granada researchers have analysed similarities and differences in psychological profile and brain function when comparing cocaine addicts and gambling addicts. The study reveals that gambling addicts present brain function abnormalities affecting their decision-making capacity.

    In two articles, recently published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, they confirm that cocaine has cumulative prejudicial effects on the functioning of areas of the brain (anterior cingulate and part of the prefrontal cortex) necessary for correct control of impulses. This has been proven through laboratory tasks and techniques that identify abnormal brain function through electroencephalography (EEG).

    However, these negative effects on correct control of impulses were not present in the gamblers, as their addiction does not involve the use of toxic substances. The research—conducted at the University of Granada—shows that individuals addicted to gambling do present other brain function abnormalities in areas of the prefrontal cortex. These are related to the severity of their affliction and affect their capacity to take decisions.

    The research effectively shoots down simple analogies someone might make between pot or jackpots, or casino gambling and consumption of drugs. For a carbuncle like Bill Bennett, it means no amount of rehab is likely to help him. He’s irreparably brain damaged.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      For a carbuncle like Bill Bennett, it means no amount of rehab is likely to help him. He’s irreparably brain damaged.

      For that you need a scientific study???

      But thanks, you just taught me the meaning of a word. Sure, I’ve heard of carbuncles before but had no clue to the dictionary reported definition until a few moments ago. It is just such a perfect fit for Mr. Bennett and the rest of the prohibitionist parasites.


      Pathology. a painful circumscribed inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, resulting in suppuration and sloughing, and having a tendency to spread somewhat like a boil, but more serious in its effects.

  9. Duncan20903 says:


    It really is just plain outrageous that a lot of people believe that Mary J. Wanna is a medicine when all that these potheads just won’t accept that it is not medicine because the dispensaries/drugs dealers are marching it out the back door and all they want is more of the filthy lucre. Would an American pharmaceutical company ever jeopardize the health of the American people by selling their products to people who don’t need them just to line their corporate pockets? Does a pope shit in the woods? Is the Bear catholic?

    Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.2B in U.S. health care fraud settlement

    “J&J’s promotion of Risperdal for unapproved uses threatened the most vulnerable populations of our society – children, the elderly and those with developmental disabilities,” said Zane Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

    Why the fukk aren’t these companies having their assets seized?!? What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander! I guess we can take some comfort in the fact that the government used “the children” as political pawns.

    • Jean Valjean says:

      Or, more to the point, why are their senior executives not going to jail? Oh, I know…sell $1000 worth of illegal drugs and go straight to jail…sell $1 billion and you just pay a fine.

    • allan says:

      Risperdal is the one that causes gynecomastia

  10. primus says:

    I prefer: Does the bear take a Reader’s Digest into the woods?

  11. Jean Valjean says:

    These things are sent to try us?…seems like someone’s thumb is on the scales:

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I’m glad that I wasn’t on that jury because you’d be reading about my conviction for contempt of court.

      But damn, that woman looks like a friggin’ madam that ran a whore house which I had occasion to visit a couple of times back in the 80s during the time of my misspent youth. Obviously it couldn’t be that woman but it might have been her mom.

  12. kaptinemo says:

    I’m reading the articles…and I’m thinking We did it. Too soon for the final hurrahs, but we did it. A sure sign of impending victory: The Media are echoing reformer points. Just about all of them.

    I’ve been waiting a long time for this. And it’s come. I said long ago, here and in other fora, that if the Media started getting LTE’s making the obvious connection between Prohibition 1 and 2, the public would soon get the message, and the tide would begin turning (a crappy economy doesn’t hurt either, when you point out the waste that still goes on, but that’s another posting).

    We’re witnessing the next step. The acknowledgment that a demographic shift of tectonic proportions is rocking the US ‘body politic’ to the core, threatening to undo ‘machine politics’ forever, due to the nature of the newly-empowered electorate not tolerating ‘business as usual’, not when that ‘business’ has essentially destroyed any plans they had for a safe and enjoyable future. And symbolic of that ‘business’ mind-set was cannabis prohibition as a ‘culture war’-sired ‘FU’ to the up-and-coming generation.

    These articles are essentially a few of the voices of that new electorate. Voices that those in power had better quit trying to silence and heed, instead…lest they become political roadkill.

    Rejoice, Couchmates! The 300 MPH train just got some ram-jets installed! Chamber temperature is increasing, prior to ignition! Buckle up tight and hang on, as the ride – and the hard-core prohibs – will get a lot crazier from here on out!

    • allan says:

      it’s been *click* a long time comin’ Kap. Pleased to share this long journey w/ you (15 years we’ve been sharing fora mate!). I think we all deserve a passing of the virtual hooter for auld tyme’s sake… pfffffffft…. ‘ere…

      I guess Big Bong and Obs never got the transporter fixed. Too bad… then we could really pass a doob around the world.

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