Year in review

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. My mom decided to celebrate by falling off a chair and breaking her leg, so I got to spend a lot of quality time with her over the past few days visiting with her in the hospital. She’s doing OK, but will have a full-length cast on her leg for some time.

So all of you readers who are advancing in years, remember that your bones aren’t as supple anymore and really be careful out there.

This is a time when we’ll start seeing a lot of year-in-review pieces. And it’s been a big year for drug policy reform.

Here are a couple already.

bullet image Five Drug Scares in 2014 by Jacob Sullum.

The history of drug control in America is a series of panic-propelled policies, most of which have not turned out very well. Those of us who support a calmer, more tolerant approach to psychoactive substances therefore spend much of our time defusing scares aimed at justifying or expanding the government’s role in policing our bloodstreams.

bullet image The Year in Drug Policy: Movement at a crossroads by Alfonso Serrano at Al Jazeera.

The 43-year-old war on drugs had never seen such a barrage of opposition as it did in 2014, with successful marijuana legalization initiatives in several U.S. states, California’s historic approval of sentencing reform for low level drug offenders and world leaders calling for the legal regulation of all drugs — all of which cement the mainstream appeal of drug policy alternatives and offer unprecedented momentum going into 2015.

What are your favorite drug policy moments of 2014?

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30 Responses to Year in review

  1. darkcycle says:

    Alaska and Oregon. Now, except for California, the entire West Coast of the U.S. has legalized. And California won’t be far behind.
    Think about that, Couchmates…would you have even dreamed of this in 2000? Or even 2008?
    Every time I think on it, I’m flabbergasted.
    Sorry about your Mom, Pete. Hope she’s back and dancing in no time flat. I would have sent another Salmon, but I’ll be damned if the Salmon guy hasn’t gone completely missing. If I turn him up, I’ll send another fish (man smokes a mean salmon, I’ll tell you that).

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Heck, I can barely dream of it now. Seriously, at least a couple of times a week I wonder if I’m a coma patient in some long term care facility and this whole thing is just a product of a trauma damaged brain. That feeling usually doesn’t persist for long because if that were true I’m almost certain that Pete wouldn’t be Pete but would in fact be the Swedish Bikini team and that Maryland would have been the first to establish a regulated retail distribution chain for cannabis intended for enjoyment.

  2. DonDig says:

    Glad to hear your Mom’s doing OK. Hospitals and broken things are no fun at all.
    Happy Holidays to one and all.

  3. strayan says:

    That Sullum article is glorious.

  4. claygooding says:

    It is blurred by time but I can’t remember if the leg breaking or the first time after the cast came off and my foot fell off the chair I had it on and the knee bent for the first time in two months that hurt the worst.
    I had a bone density test done at the VA 2 years ago and they said I have the bones of a 30 year old,,I still don’t bounce back up like I used to.
    Hope your mom is feeling alright and she mends well,,not only do the bones break easier they don’t heal as well in geriatrics.

    Most impact on drug reform,,for me was Obama’s NYT interview and all the wall breaking that has happened because of that interview,,not only in the USA but other countries as well.
    Followed closely by the legalization in DC even more so than OR and AL…it could cause a lot of Congressional legislators some grief when and if the continue backing marijuana prohibition,,especially if DC gets to start a legal market for marijuana and start making taxes from it.

  5. thelbert says:

    Pete, tell your mom that you have a couch full of compadres wishing her well. and hoping we all have an even better year in 2015.

  6. free radical says:

    For me, the most profound moment was the very constitutionality of cannabis prohibition getting a hearing in a California federal court. Though not without some precedent, this case presents a unique challenge to said constitutionality, as it is to be examined in light of recent developments in drug policy reform, which seem to create a conflict with the equal protection clause of the constitution. In short, the federal government cannot choose to punish some, but not others, for the same crime, as they now seem to be doing.

    I may be overly optimistic, but I feel this case has the potential to, and in fact *will* cause California’s cannabis prohibition to be overturned, similarly to how same-sex marriage bans in states have recently been overturned by the courts. This could happen as early as this January. From what I’ve seen of the case, it’s cut and dried, although I will admit to some bias. The prohibitionists, who in this case are the prosecution, really failed to demonstrate a reason for cannabis to be schedule one, and even admitted at one point, that cannabis has medical value.

    This case slipped under the radar, despite my incessant screaming. We’ll see whether the verdict comes out with fanfare or barely a squeak.

    • claygooding says:

      Hardly without notice,,but when the court moved the announcement from Nov to Jan it has raised my anticipation to the point if I think about it I can’t sleep,,did they delay so bureaucracies could shred records or what,,if it was going to be denied the Republican’s would have “leaked” it before the elections,,it has me on the edge of my fucking seat and you had to bring it up again.

      That interview that forced the DEA/DOJ to admit they have never had the science to prove marijuana was more dangerous than alcohol is part of the facts that judge had too look at.

      The reform committee may have just brushed it off and continued the war on marijuana but the judge may not.

    • NorCalNative says:

      Free Radical, checked out your blog. Instant fan of your Whirly Art. VERY COOL STUFF!

  7. NorCalNative says:

    Pete, best hopes for your mom’s speedy recovery.

    If you visited the Forbes article, one of my hometown’s (Santa Rosa, CA) most famous former residents, botanist Luther Burbank is the Forbes quote of the day.

    This year lots of significant stuff happened but I have to go with California’s Prop 47 due to the fact that it muted and damaged a lot of the ability of both LAW ENFORCEMENT and the TREATMENT INDUSTRY to resist and campaign AGAINST California’s cannabis legalization in 2016!

    Raising the bar for what constitutes a drug-related felony eliminates MUCH of the role of SWAT-enforcement (only felonies are SWAT-worthy) AND substance users who encounter the justice system are NOW given the OPTION for drug treatment rather than automatically becoming an “enforced and captured “customer.”

  8. allan says:

    quite the year of thuds, clangs, thwacks and kablooies! If 2014 was all that, look out 2015, drug policy reformers have your number!

    • allan says:

      and having just stepped into a thread on welfare drug testing, the value of couchmates as FB friends proves out… ignorance is a spooky bunch o’ caca and it helps to have friends that know which end of the shovel to hold.

  9. allan says:

    As the year winds down I’d have to nominate Pete and DWR, again. Consider these interesting tidbits about DWR from Alexa:

    – his female audience is almost twice the wwweb average
    – his audience’s education level is over 50% higher than the wwweb avg
    – over 50% of his viewers come from outside the US
    – and while not shown on Alexa, techorati, googletrends, compete or any other traffic comparison site, guaranteed the cannabis consumer avg is exponentially higher than the wwweb avg… puff puff

    I tried to do a traffic comparison between DWR and ONDCP, DFA and Partnership for Drug Free Kids but haven’t found a site that works for “low volume” websites. Way back when my old Mac was adequate for the then-wwweb I compared the ONDCP and DFAF to MAP/DrugSense and it was a laugher… kind of like Kev-kev’s Oregon tour compared to Rick Steve’s 😀

  10. free radical says:

    Oh yeah, then there was the moment of seeing k-dog’s Oregon “education” tour crash and burn. Most satisfying.

  11. claygooding says:

    MSNBC is showing a special on pot right now,,,”Pot Barons of Colorado” but don’t hurry,,they are showing it twice back to back and 3 new episodes starting at 9 PM CST.

    Looks like tonite has gone to pot.

  12. Servetus says:

    Too bad about your mom, Pete. At least the battle against aging continues on the medical front. Under the general rubric of know your body chemistry, she and others might find this bit of information useful regarding the latest bone loss supplement.

    My favorite drug policy moments were the two seismic shifts happening in the midst of the most dysfunctional Congress ever, one marking hemp legalization, the 2014 Farm Bill; the other, a long overdue recognition (and slap of Big Pharma’s face) of the medical utility of cannabinoids and other marijuana compounds, now under a directive that chokes off funding for federal raids of medical dispensaries. The feds reacted because states acted to fully legalize or decriminalize, a clear signal of who leads the country on drug policy reform.

    In 2014, the reactionary opposition to drug reform retreated to its bunkers, edifices complete with outer landscaping overgrown with marijuana plants. The cannabis green leaf is a ubiquitous image on the Internet. Through such imagery the drug war has been reframed as a tool of oppression, which is something it’s always been.

    What remains is a bringing about a public realization that the most miniscule social directives can have immense and uncontrollable ramifications. Unlike Newton’s equal and opposite reaction in physics, nothing so predictable exists in sociology or history. The prime directive should be do no harm. Yet we have a rabid element in our society that desires precisely that for chemical heretics. The Inquisition is over. Those still clinging to their fantasies of social control are harming themselves.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Human bones have CB-2 receptors. From the National Institute of Health collection:
      A cannabinoid 2 receptor agonist attenuates bone cancer-induced pain and bone loss.

    • DdC says:

      Healing vibes from the left coast Pete’s Mom…

      I always give recuperating patients a copy of Breakfast of Champions Now its online…
      Can’t hoit…

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  13. Duncan20903 says:


    Today is a red letter day without doubt. While the article itself is rather dull, some editor finally wrote a headline appearing over an article about cannabis law reform that was somewhat amusing. Take a look folks, this is something which may not occur ever again:
    Poll: Coloradans’ still high on pot

  14. Common Science says:

    Not a drug policy moment but chalk one up for science vs politics:

    Early in the year the University of Arizona’s, Dr. Suzanne Sisley had her marijuana study aimed at PTSD suffering veterans finally approved by the FDA , the Department of Health & Human Services and the Arizona House of Representatives (52 to 2). But it was stopped dead in its tracks by a lone state senator. Senator Yee killed the bill that would have been funded by the fees collected from Arizona’s medical marijuana program and earmarked those monies to be instead spent on a public service announcement campaign urging kids not to smoke pot.

    Four months later the illustrious 7 year associate professor at the college of medicine was let go. Another four months after that miserly political act, the Colorado health department jumped in and approved Dr. Sisley’s marijuana study with a $2 million grant to be split between the original Arizona vets she was working with for four years, and John Hopkins University.

    • DdC says:

      This is what they fight for… Their exhales pollute the air…

      Republican State Senator Kimberly Yee blocks PTSD study

      Oh, maybe Yee figured first PTSD, then a Gateway to using marijuana for inflammatory bowel disease among young patients, and another might look at marijuana for pediatric brain tumors. What would the message to kids be then?

      Colorado health officials recommend grants to 8 marijuana studies: via @johningold
      Colorado health officials have recommended funding two studies on childhood epilepsy, two studies on post-traumatic stress disorder and four other studies as part of the largest-ever state research program on medical marijuana.

      Just a slimy trail of corruption

      The most difficult struggle of all is the one within ourselves. Let us not get accustomed and adjusted to these conditions. The one who adjusts ceases to discriminate between good and evil. He becomes a slave in body and soul. Whatever may happen to you, remember always: Don’t adjust! Revolt against the reality!
      — Mordechai Anielewicz, Warsaw, 1943

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