Open Thread

bullet image Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin has passed away. I must admit that I did not know much about him, but in the world of psychoactive chemicals, he was considered a true visionary. Erowid has lots of coverage, and their twitter feed today is full of tributes.

bullet image Jacob Sullum: Anti-Pot Prejudice vs. Federalism

Yet Republicans still overwhelmingly opposed the amendment, by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, while Democrats overwhelmingly supported it, by a ratio of 10 to 1. Given the GOP’s frequent lip service to federalism, the party’s lack of enthusiasm for letting states set their own policies in this area requires some explanation. So does the need for this amendment under a Democratic administration that has repeatedly said it is not inclined to use Justice Department resources against medical marijuana users and providers who comply with state law. It is hard to say who is being more inconsistent: a president who promised tolerance but delivered a crackdown or members of Congress who portray themselves as defenders of the 10th Amendment but forsake federalism because they are offended by a plant.

bullet image New information, recent history raise more questions about drug raid that burned Georgia toddler – more from Radley Balko.

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42 Responses to Open Thread

  1. jean valjean says:

    perhaps the spelling of byrne grant needs to be revised.

  2. B. Snow says:

    Holy Cow – Boy & Girls,
    Jacob Sullum = totally kills it in that Reason article!

    During his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly signaled that he would take a less repressive approach to medical marijuana than George W. Bush had.

    Jacob hits every damn nail, the “Mail Tribune-Interview”, the “Ogden Memo”, the “Cole Memo”, ALL the Polls, Colorado & Washington, “Prosecutorial Discretion”, and the most recent events in The House of Reps…

    He covered nearly all the currently relevant bases, and the stories that got us here!

    He also has a couple Updates on the Horror story from Habersham County, Georgia Why Did Baby-Burning Drug Warriors Think There Were No Children in the Home They Attacked? [UPDATED]

    So, uhm yeah that’s all I got for now – If I run into any more pairs of pennies to throw around = I’ll be back… (either way) – just sooner if something newsy happens.

    • primus says:

      Reckless endangerment. Pure and simple. To do such a sloppy job of your profession, to NOT do what a competent professional would have done, is to be reckless, and they definitely endangered others. If the baby dies, it should be upgraded to the appropriate manslaughter charge. Negligent homicide at the very least. Not that that will ever happen, just that it SHOULD happen.

  3. Frank W. says:

    I’d been wondering where Balko went to. The “Agitator” link at right just takes us to an old Huffpo story.
    Last month in Southern Oregon there were many, many Republicans running on “creating jobs” (and also fighting communism!) and not one suggested the Colorado Solution, or even hemp farming.

    • allan says:

      Frank… at least we’re gonna get rid of Sheriff Winters! B’bye, don’t let the door hit you in your bigoted ass!

  4. Howard says:

    From the Scullum article;

    ‘Two months later, when another Oregon paper, Willamette Week, asked Obama whether he would “stop the DEA’s raids on Oregon medical marijuana growers,” he replied, “I would, because I think our federal agents have better things to do.”‘

    I’m sick and tired of this “I think our federal agents have better things to do” argument. Does this mean that if they magically got caught up with all their other duties, the president would then say, “Well, the DEA and state’s attorneys now have nothing better to do, so we’re going to send them after medical marijuana again.”? It’s a hollow explanation. Still to feckless to lead.

    But I have to say, although Democrats are cowardly hypocrites, the GOP is in a bigger pickle with respect to the WOD in general and cannabis laws in particular. As an example, recently in Pennsylvania;

    “A spokesman for [Pennsylvania] House Republicans said Friday that a majority of members do not support authorizing Mr. Corbett’s vision of allowing children with intractable epilepsy not helped by standard therapies to have supervised access to cannabidiol, a component of marijuana that does not cause a high. The Republican state representatives believe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not states, should decide what is medicine, spokesman Steve Miskin said. “That is where the majority of members of our caucus stand. They do not believe the state should approve pot — marijuana — of any sort,” Mr. Miskin said. “At this moment there are no plans to move any type of legislation to legalize the use of any derivative of marijuana.”


    Why of course, “We’re all for state’s rights, except when we’re not”. And even though there is now ample evidence that cannabis oil predominately containing cannabidiol is helping children with intractable epilepsy in other parts of the country, children with that condition in Pennsylvania are just shit out of luck. I suppose Pennsylvania Republicans should at least say, “Yes, we like to ask, “what about the children?” when it suits us. But when it comes to helping certain children with a non-psychoactive marijuana derivative, our rigid, nonsensical ideology compels us to tell them, “Too bad, you might want to go ahead and die already”.

    I don’t know if certain Democrats and Republicans think this is a side issue that the public will eventually move on from. But if any pols think they can just ride this issue out, they are doomed.

    • Mallam says:

      I don’t care about hypocrisy. Everyone knows Democrats are feckless; their progressive base (not sure I count as the base as I’m a socialist) supports drug liberalization, yet they’re still scared to dip their toes in the pool.

      I also don’t like utilizing “state’s rights” to achieve ends that I believe should be, well, achieved. Doesn’t end well when applied to most other things. In this case I can make deals with the devil and say pass the “respect state’s powers to enforce X drug law.”

      Regardless, if it comes down to drug liberalization, no matter how much Sullum wants to bring it back to the president, and no matter how fecklessly useless they are at times, the answer remains clear: when it comes to state power, writ large, more Republicans isn’t the way to achieve it.

      • Howard says:

        Here’s where “states rights” fails for me. On a cannabis reform web site are two headlines, one on top of the other;

        Tampa SWAT Team Kills Armed Man In Marijuana Grow House


        Seattle Man Offers One Million Dollars For Cannabis Retail License

        One man should not be killed for growing a plant that another man is willing to pay 1 million dollars to obtain a license to be able to sell IN THE SAME DAMN COUNTRY.

  5. Servetus says:

    Speaking of Georgia and its law enforcement dysfunctions, check out Nancy (Dis)Grace pushing her anti-marijuana campaign by claiming pot-smoking was responsible for a Dallas mother deliberately trying to drown her two children. (Nancy worked in the Atlanta-Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney’s office as a prosecutor.)

    The marijuana was allegedly laced with PCP, but Mint-Julep Nancy doesn’t want to think about that, nor that the drugs themselves might have had little or no effect on an individual’s homicidal behavior, because Ms. (Dis)Grace believes all marijuana is laced with PCP, and because thinking might burst a blood vessel in her tiny brain.

    Nancy is full of drug horror stories to peddle, like this one described on her Wiki page:

    Grace claimed that “rumors of steroid and drug use are swirling” in the case of Ultimate Warrior’s death,[47][48] although an autopsy had concluded that Warrior had died of natural causes with neither drugs nor alcohol in his system at his time of death.[49] During the segment Grace made several mentions to a list of wrestlers who had died young, linking their deaths to drug abuse. The list included wrestlers whose deaths were unrelated to drug abuse.[47]

    It’s a disgrace that Nancy hasn’t been taken off the air.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      It’s not many blathering heads which find a major network show that invents a recurring character created for reasons of belittling that blathering head. On Law and Order: Criminal Intent Faith Yancy is a reporter, and the host of the “Faith Yancy Hour”:

      Former judge Harold Garrett once described her as a “Botoxed TV shrew”, which would probably be how most would describe her.

  6. DdC says:

    Tobacco Industry Had High Hopes for MJ Business

    • Common Science says:

      I am being blocked by a web filter at work so I don’t know if this cannabisnews article is based on the new one at Alternet:

      • DdC says:

        Looks like two separate articles written about the same documents.

        Cannabis News article by Evan Halper from the Los Angeles Times said
        “The issues the tobacco companies were exploring are all still there today,” said Stanton Glantz, director of the UC San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. “The only thing they were wrong on is they thought legalization would happen a lot sooner.”

        The Alternet article says Stanton Glantz and Heikki Hiilamo are the co-authors of “Waiting for the Opportune Moment: The Tobacco Industry and Marijuana Legalization,”

        The full paper is available for free here. pdf

        • Common Science says:

          Thanks DdC. The LA Times/PDF report is a Porche compared to the Alternet’s Gremlin.

  7. Plant Down Babylon says:

    I had NO IDEA that the evil marijuana growers were responsible for using up all our precious water.

    But hey, I guess it’s ok for roundup residue to leech into the water supply.

    • DdC says:

      Study finds medical pot farms draining streams dry

      We Need a Law Against “False or Misleading News”

      Study finds?

      His study estimates that about 30,000 in each river system
      and he estimates

      Study finds medical pot farms draining streams dry?

      His study estimates… he estimates
      marijuana cultivators in Northern California
      could be draining?

      ☛ Nothing new about growing pot in this area the past 40 years.

      The ordinance specifies that the marijuana must be organic.

      The Santa Cruz City Council gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a new ordinance modeled on an Oakland law that was successfully defended in court. (March 2000)

      So again instead of a remedy with proper farming at local levels. The industries poisons sprayed and factory farms. Dairy water use. Fish farms mercury. But if another drug war government agency barks some one in the press is sure to repeat it. Obama could eliminate this incrementalism and be regulated as any other crop. Replacing many less nutritious and many synthetics also draining the water. No one is above the law as far as environmental abuse. If someone has satellite pics then why weren’t they confronted? Nothing to due with growing cannabis. Public lands are already growing during prohibition. So it seems Thou Dost Protest Too Much, Methinks.

      What is recent is fracking.

      ☛ 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and none of the 12 percent lives in developing countries.

      ☛ Nearly half (47%) of oil and gas wells recently hydraulically fractured in the U.S. are in regions with high or extremely high water stress.

      Anadarko Petroleum was found to have the highest water risk exposure among leading shale energy producers, with more than 70% of its wells in high or extremely high water risk regions (including Texas and Colorado).

      Apache, Encana and Pioneer also had most of their wells developed in high or extremely high water stress regions

      Chesapeake Energy was the biggest user of water for hydraulic fracturing at 12 billion gallons, with most of its wells in regions of medium water stress.

      The top 3 service providers: Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes – accounted for about half of the water used for hydraulically fracturing nationally.

      California: Nearly all hydraulic fracturing water use in California is in regions of extremely high water stress, although water use per well remains relatively low. Most of the industry’s activity is centered in Kern County, which has a large agricultural water demand and heavy reliance on stressed groundwater resources. Occidental Petroleum, Aera and XTO Energy are the operators with the largest water use in the region.

      golf courses in the United States consume about 0.5 percent of all freswhater used in the country,

      2011 water consumption for all shale wells completed that year represents about 0.3 percent of total U.S. freshwater consumption.

      biggest sources of water consumption in the United States remains agriculture
      32,850 billion gallons of water annually

      California’s Water Wars: 2014-2030
      What happens after California drought, peak oil, climate chaos, economic depression and water privatization finally get to the population of the Golden State? Those who hope to keep water in public hands are at odds with those who connive to gain private control of this vital resource.

      One well uses what 11,000 families use per day.

    • DdC says:

      Seems the biggest loss is where the major rivers enter the ocean. Redirect the fresh water, lowering the oceans rising levels to compensate global warming. Hemp roots are as long as the stalks to aerate more soil to retain more water. Hemp has 10 times more biomass than corn and makes fine blue jeans. 10 times less water used. No brainer. and… No crud profits and they’d lose another hobgoblin.

      Exporting cattle, profits a few. Cows take 12 pounds of grain for each pound of meat. Each pound of grain takes water and are sprayed with poisons. Cotton takes 98 million pounds of poisons, and its run off. Fracking uses water, but it also contaminates other aquifers that aren’t counted. For what Hemp could replace. There are plenty of answers but no one is asking the right questions. Easier to scapegoat cannabis.

      I admit cannabis has many properties useful to humans. Sooner or rather later people would “get it” and question why it is prohibited. The drug worriers keep going deeper into ridiculous. Now the no medicinal value highly addictive narcotic, is a stimulant. Marijuana use is associated with impaired sleep quality
      Although the design of this study did not allow for an examination of causality,
      A new study… According to the National Destitute on Drug Abuse pfffft…

      Sleep & Relaxation emperor
      Cannabis lowers blood pressure, dilates the arteries, and reduces body temperature an average of one-half degree, thereby relieving stress. Evening cannabis smokers in general report more restful sleep.

      I’d say its only the difference between Sativa and Indica. Cured with education not incarceration.

  8. primus says:

    California has water supply problems but to lay the blame on MMJ gardens diverting streams is a red herring. Most of the water used in agriculture in Cali is imported, much from the Colorado river, which results in it not reaching the sea most of the time. It runs out in the Mexican desert. The water is used to grow all kinds of agricultural crops in Cali, including lettuce, cotton etc. all of which are high water demand plants. The quantities of water used by cannabis plants cited in the article are very high on a per plant basis, especially in the early phases of growth when they are small. Even with such ‘enhanced’ numbers, if we total up the amounts they don’t begin to compare to the amounts used elsewhere in the state for agriculture, swimming pools and watering lawns. The amount used to grow cannabis is miniscule by comparison. Bad journalism, bad research and biased presentation. Quite the package.

    • Jean Valjean says:

      Completely ridiculous…I think this journalist heard the words “watering the grass” and assumed it was weed, instead of lawn care.

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      Agreed cannabis water usage is tiny in perspective…but CA doesn’t import most of its water…it comes from the Sacramento River, which drains many prodigious Sierra Nevada watersheds.

      • primus says:

        Sorry, I relied too much on memory. Only the Imperial valley (500,000 acres) and the cities of LA and Diego rely on the Colorado River. Much of the rest of that river goes to water the desert in Arizona and NM.

  9. allan says:

    omg… I wait every year for this day!

    I have a strawberry bed (5 varieties) that produces 3 – 6 gallons each year. The first flush is always the biggest. Just a bit ago I went out for my second day picking (the first day is mostly grazing… mmmm…) and got a gallon.

    I love smoking a good bowl and going out and picking my strawberries. The scrub jays swung by (they try to chase the ground squirrel out of the berry bed) and one of my local pairs of mourning doves paid a visit. The dogs hang out, it’s quiet (except for that dang FANG pilot that had to do a couple of passes) and I can be lulled into a moment where all feels right in the world. That of course passes…

    So many things go so well with ganja. Speaking of which my babies are looking robust now that it’s warmed up. And my old bones like it warming up too!

    • Sukoi says:

      I sooooo envy you Allan… One of these days I hope to have such an experience again and I sure hope that it’s soon…

      • allan says:

        I feel ya brother. Maybe the best part for me? The fresh strawberry pie I make… w/a fresh homemade crust… mmmmm… Marie Calender’s makes a good fresh one too but not near as good as mine – and theirs’ costs almost $20. Plus I can’t smoke a pipe load at Marie’s table! Mine’s a much better deal all around.

    • Windy says:

      I have to contend with a noisy and expensive to run (for which you, I, and the rest of the taxpayers are paying the costs) ICE helicopter flying the same pattern over the rural (soon to become suburban) neighborhood in which I live (instead of the border 35 miles north which they are supposedly “policing”) when I am picking my berries (the slugs are going to get todays batch as I was away from home and didn’t get them picked). Soon I’ll have raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries and blueberries to pick, too. I drown out their noisy nuisance with my music when I am floating in my pool or just relaxing on my deck.

  10. Jean Valjean says:

    Richard Branson on the business failure of the WoD, with clip from Jarecki’s “Just Say No to the War on Drugs,”

  11. claygooding says:

    All this shit is giving me deja moo,,that feeling you have experienced this bullshit before.
    The only people that don’t think the war on drugs are a failure are the people making their living from it,,there is a lot less of them than us,,let’s declare war back on them.

  12. Jean Valjean says:

    Hilarious Maureen Dowd tries medible candy, freaks out:

    • Crut says:

      Ok, so labeling needs to get better on Edibles. But still, how did she form her expectations that she would see a quick effect from eating the bar? Like a prude in a porno store, she probably got in and out of the dispensary as quick as possible instead of being a inquisitive reporter or *gasp* normal person and asking either the bud-tender or even google what she should expect.

      Take one part stupid person, mix with new experience, get unexpected results. Damn, that sounds just like the drug war…

    • Howard says:

      “In Denver, Dowd sampled a marijuana candy bar (this is research after all), and when she didn’t feel anything at first, she ate some more.”

      Dumbass rookie mistake. That said, do these edibles come with any instructions? Maybe they do and she was in too much of a hurry (again, dumb).

      Back in the late ’70’s I saved a good amount of shake from some Columbian Gold that was available for many weeks in a certain state where I lived. I baked some sesame bars with a generous helping of the shake. I gave some of the bars to a few friends of mine — with full disclosure of the extra ingredient. A couple of days later I started getting phone calls with the general theme, “What the hell did you put in those sesame bars?!!”. When I told them it was the Columbian Gold they all basically said, “Well, no wonder I couldn’t function for hours!”. These friends of mine were not cannabis rookies by any means. One friend who had a boombox in his car because his radio didn’t work, at one point realized he was adjusting the boombox dial while driving for a very long time with his eyes off the road. Of course, that isn’t funny. Even some seasoned cannabis consumers don’t fare well with edibles (I always liked them). N00bs should still clear until they have more knowledge of the effects of smoked or vaped cannabis well before eating a cannabis edible. Let Maureen Dowd’s experience be a lesson (especially her impatience).

      • Duncan20903 says:


        The warnings really should be presented in 40 point type. It really does amaze me that the “rookie mistake” of thinking you’re not going to get high, eating more and more until the bagels and English muffins on the shelf at the Walmart start belittling you or similar. But it wouldn’t matter to the prohibitionists. They’re not interested in reasonable, arms length regulations or clear instructions. They’ll figure out some totally stupid excuse to ignore any mitigation of of alleged harms. You know that you’re dealing with bigots when you just can’t do anything right.

        I recall back in the 1980s how the enemies of freedom would attack the gay cohort because they’re all promiscuous pervert. Nowadays they condemn gay people who want to have a legally acknowledged monogamous relationship.

        Oh no smoking causes cancer!
        Oh no! They’re using vaporizers to avoid getting busted!
        Oh no! They’re making edibles that (shudder) taste good!
        The childrens! The childrens!! The childrens!!!

        Yes, there was a time when I had an edibles overdose and the baked goods at Walmart were harassing me mercilessly. Fortunately they had no legs so I was able to escape. Finding my way out of the parking lot was a different story. I couldn’t find my car keys. Who the heck would have thought they might be hanging from the ignition switch? Yeah, edibles can be pretty darn intense.

        • primus says:

          Especially for the non-initiated. At its core, how is that experience any different than someone overdosing on alcohol the first time or two because they don’t know how much to take? Where on the bottle of whiskey is the dosage? It is up to the supposedly intelligent user to figure it out. Unlike alcohol, it’s not like pot is toxic or anything, the antidote is sleep.

        • Nunavut Tripper says:

          I would have to agree that clear instructions on the titration of medibles is lacking with some of these cottage industries. An OD on medibles is cured by a couple hours on the couch but to an inexperienced cannabis experimenter in can be a rough ride for a while.
          My wife and myself,although we often use vapes ,cannabis infused olive oil is by far our favourite method. The effects,taste,duration and healthy ingestion of the olive oil and full spectrum of cannabiniods is superior to inhalation.

          However it’s POWERFUL.

          The difference between a quarter teaspoon or a half teaspoon is significant.
          A few months ago I took two teaspoons in one setting just to “finish off that batch” and went to bed.
          A couple hours later I was flying through outer space well on my way to Jupiter. I passed a few stoners on Mars scratching their heads ,wondering how they could find their way home.( Was that you with the funny hat Duncan ?)

          Actually it was kinda fun and I ended up having a sound sleep and felt great in the morn.

          So proper titration instruction is very important

      • claygooding says:

        I do not have the testing equipment available to see what the THC saturation point is for butter but I just turned 3 ounces of trim leaf into 1/2 cup of cannabutter and one 1 1/2″ X one and one half inch brownie is a nap in about 35 minutes,,you barely get to feel the buzz coming on and you are searching for the pillow..
        This was made off FP trim.

      • Windy says:

        Like a few commenters on that article pointed out, she SHOULD have known, the bud tenders always ask if one has used edibles before, and for NooBs they recommend a very small serving and warn about the length of time it takes to feel the effects (which also depends on whether you ate food before eating the edible), IMO, she either didn’t pay attention or willfully ignored that information.

        • B. Snow says:

          I thought this bit should be illuminted to prtray the IRONY here:

          Dowd doesn’t say how much of the candy bar she ate, or if she ate the whole thing. But the next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant told her that it should have been divided into 16 pieces, especially for someone like Dowd, who says she is not a “regular” marijuana user.

          But that suggested serving size isn’t mentioned on the label.

          (Why – Well could be = Zero Regulation?, Poor Self-Regulation??, or Total absence of forethought by the edible-cooks??? – although regs tend to go too far = They should have a serving suggestion, Me thinks the people that make these will soon realize this problem *and what it could lead to*, And -fairly quickly- remedy the issue.)

          Oh yeah, I remember – She simply should’ve fucking known better – for a variety of reasons! But apparently she didn’t think it was all that “dangerous”.
          And as it turned out, it really wasn’t = I suppose it could’ve maybe if she did something ‘Really Stupid’.

          Especially considering she ate enough to feel alot like Chong eating Cheech’s entire LSD stash in one bite!
          I think she should be forced to write “I did something carelessly due too impatience & ignorance” 1000 times by hand on paper & then scan, shrink it, and include that as a pdf in her next piece.

  13. When I wrote my book, The Naked Truth About Drugs, I spoke with Ann and Sasha about my chapter on MDMA. They were both very kind and gracious in their review, and Sasha wrote a cover blurb for the book. As did Albert Hofmann. The book didn’t sell for shit, but having Albert and Sasha give their seal of approval was more than enough to make up for meager sales.

  14. Duncan20903 says:


    Well kind of off topic, but the linked 99 second video is funny as hell. It wouldn’t shock me if people put this one in the same category as the DEA agent shooting himself in the foot and the cop who overdosed on edibles and called 911 because he thought he and his wife were going to die.

    Florida Judge Tells Attorney ‘I’ll Beat Your Ass,’ Allegedly Does Just That

    I suppose there’s a not insignificant chance that it was staged since you really can’t tel if the vocalization wasn’t overlaid. But it is Florida.

  15. Servetus says:

    Drugs to the rescue. Will some new wonder drug fight crime? The research is in on a telltale gene correlated with criminal/delinquent behavior in 99 test subjects. A yet-to-be-developed drug interacting with and affecting the monamine oxidase A gene (MAOA-uVNTR) might one day empty a few jail cells:

    Background: A number of studies have found a functional variable number tandem repeat polymorphism in the upstream regulatory region of the monamine oxidase A gene (MAOA-uVNTR) interacts with childhood adversity to increase risk for antisocial behavior. Several studies have also reported null findings.
    Results: The low expressing allele of the MAOA-uVNTR genotype (MAOAL) interacted with abuse to predict self-reports of less serious criminal and delinquent behavior and had a direct association with serious criminal activity. MAOAL genotype interacted with parental criminality to predict self-reports of serious criminal behavior, property arrest rates, and violent arrest rates.

    Conclusion: The findings suggest that crime prevention efforts may be improved through attention to the neurodevelopmental consequence of gene-by-environment interactions.

    Drugs are good, …mmkay?

  16. Crut says:

    Reason magazine has a plethora (love that word) of articles about Cannabis legalization, including a documentary on the War on Drugs that they released today. Probably not a lot of new stuff for us, but really well formatted and comprehensive. The opening of the America’s longest war documentary detailing the death of US Marine Jose Guerena hits home just as hard today as when I first heard about it.

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