Changing the Face of Cannabis
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The Very Important Blog 2009
December 22 - And Was His White Horse Mescalito?
December 20 - More Hollywood Buzz
Reportedly Streep also smoked medicinal pot in One True Thing, a film in which she plays a cancer patient who takes her own life with an overdose of morphine (I guess that consequence was bad enough for the censors).
Meanwhile, VIP Jeff Bridges, known to many as the pot-puffing "dude" in The Big Lebowski, picked up a SAG nomination and is generating Oscar buzz for his new role in Crazy Heart, where he plays a down-and-out drunk instead. For his SAG, Bridges will be up against VIPs Morgan Freeman (playing Nelson Mandela in Invictus, with VIP Matt Damon). Also nominated is George Clooney, who was quoted in 1997 saying, "I loved acid when I was at college. It was an escape. I liked mushrooms. They were like easy acid."
Rerun - Boston Legal's "Tea and Sympathy"
To the statement, "It was a 20 oz. bag of hallucinogens found in her chambers," Shore shoots back, "It was tea...and who is your witness, a naked hallucinating dancing man?" Pointing out that the D.A. has prevailed in many a case decided by Judge Weldon, Shore ponders aloud, "one has to wonder, was she on the woopie tea while she decided her previous cases...imagine all the felons in jail planning to file appeals." As a final blow, he points out that the young D.A. will have to face other judges who tend to "get constipated when one of their own is targeted."
When Shore tells Judge Weldon he's prevailed, she rewards him by saying, "How about I invite you over for a cup of tea?" He replies, "I'm not a great fan of hallucinogens. That commercial with the frying egg had a profound effect on me." So they settle for sex, and happily go back to convicting lesser mortals on drug charges. No sympathy for those devils.
December 17 - Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg Bake Some Brownies
Streep Flick Gets "R" Rating for Pot References
Streep smoked pot on film before, in Silkwood (1983), and brought her prodigious acting skills to Adaptation (2002) where she gets high off some plant material. In 1985 she played VIP Isak Dinesen in Out of Africa. Streep's been nominated for a SAG acting award for her protrayal of Julia Child in this year's Julie and Julia.
Meanwhile, the holiday movie fare includes The Young Victoria, with Emily Blunt playing Queen Victoria around the time she was prescribed cannabis for her menstrual cramps. On Christmas Day, Sherlock Holmes opens with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. The casting couldn't be more spot on, since the fictional Holmes took cocaine, as did his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.
In The Vital Message (1919), Doyle wrote:
December 12 - Malaysian Cyclist Gets Death Sentence for 10 Pounds of Pot
Ramli Kasron, 41, from Batu Pahat was calm when Judicial Commissioner Ahmadi Asnawi passed the sentence. "There is only one punishment to be meted out and that is to be hanged till dead," Ahmadi said in his judgment. However, he said although the court had found the cyclist guilty and passed the death sentence, there were still avenues for him to appeal.
Ramli, who represented the country in the Manila SEA Games in 1991 and participated in several national cycling events, was arrested at the Air Hitam toll plaza on April 19, 2006. According to the facts of the case, he was found with 4,477gm of ganja or cannabis on back seat of his car when police stopped him at about 6.45pm. Defense counsel Allen Yu Chin Aun said his client was not aware that a pink plastic bag handed over to him by a friend known as "Man Biak Kong" actually contained cannabis.
And a Hungarian court on Thursday sentenced Olympic wrestling champion Peter Farkas in abstentia to seven years imprisonment for growing marijuana. Farkas, his brother, Karoly, and a third defendant were prosecuted last year for having grown thousands of marijuana plants at their mother's house in Budapest.
Several Degrees of Carrie Fisher
Of herself, Fisher writes she first tried smoking pot when she was 13, after renters at her family's Palm Springs house left behind a baggie. When her mother Debbie Reynolds found it, she said, "Dear, I thought instead of you going outside and smoking pot where you might get caught and get in trouble--I thought you and I might experiment with it together." But Reynolds promptly forgot about it so Fisher and her friend May tried it on their own in their backyard treehouse.
"And you've got to figure I enjoyed it, because I ended up experimenting with marijuana for the next six years until it suddenly--and I think rather rudely--turned on me," Fisher writes. "Where at the onset it was all giggles and munchies and floating in a friendly have--it suddenly became creepy and dark and scary....This was when I was about nineteen, while I was filming Star Wars. (It ultimately turned out to be Harrison's pot that did me in.)"
According to the book Harrison Ford: Imperfect Hero by Garry Jenkins (Citadel Press, 1998), Fisher smoked openly on the Star Wars set and, according to some, Ford joined her. "They had a nice little relationship going there. Whenever anyone couldn't find Harrison, you'd say, 'Have you tried Carrie Fisher's changing room?'" recalled Dave Prowse, the bodybuilder who wore Darth Vader's suit.
One day in the 1970s, Jenkins writes, Ford was in the UK, simultaneously giving an interview with Britian's Ritz magaine while he did a photo shoot for GQ at photographer David Bailey's studio. When Litchfield asked why the now-wealthy Ford was rolling his own cigarettes, Ford responded, "You want a toke of this all-American reefer?"
"Can you work on this stuff?" Litchfield asked. "Nope. I can't even admit it exists," he replied, then went on to say he was smoking a strain of pot from Humboldt County, California. "This is not Cannabis indicta, [sic] or Cannabis sativa, this is Cannabis rutica," he said. "A real strong dope."
There is no such thing as Cannabis rutica; Nicotiana rustica is a hallucinogenic form of tobacco. A kif made with cannabis and nicotiana rustica is used by Moroccan fisherman to improve their night vision.
In college, Ford smoked a Calabash (Sherlock Holmes-style pipe) and often said he wanted to open a pipe shop. During his days doing bit parts as a "rent-a-hippie" at Universal Studios, Ford was often "seen sniffing from a small case he carried in his jeans....Turns out he was sniffing snuff." (Jenkins) Maybe his powerful mixture of pot and hallucinogenic tobacco was more than Fisher could handle.
Fisher turned to hallucinogens and painkillers (a bad combination), and Reynolds enlisted Cary Grant to speak with her. Grant famously took LSD while it was still legal, and found the experience illuminating. Grant called Fisher and chatted about nothing in particular, she writes. She has now endured electroshock therapy, having been diagnosed as bipolar.
December 7 (UPDATED 8:54 PM PST) - Monroe Pot Smoking Confirmed
Carmen died in 2007, but her son Brandon James writes, "My mom was not a 'pot smoker' but she did smoke pot on occasion. Marilyn was the same way." (This makes Carmen a VIP too.)
James travelled with his mother to events in the 1990s, and gathered her experiences in JEANNE CARMEN: MY WILD WILD LIFE (2006). One reviewer said, "Written by her son, Brandon James, many of the book's 550 pages recount Marilyn-and-Jeanne "I Love Lucy" hijinks in which the two women appear as softcore versions of Lucy and Ethel - fun-loving gals who'd spank a naked Jack Benny in a steam room or ogle Rock Hudson scoring a very special hole in one with a younger partner on a golf-course green."
One of the gals' experiences happened in 1961 or 1962 when they were invited to a "boat party" with B-movie actor/ladies' man Steve Cochran, who fancied himself a new Errol Flynn. Cochran pulled out some weed but when he tried to turn the party into an orgy, Marilyn and Jeanne jumped ship. (Alchibiades lives, but it's the Goddesses we still worship.)
According to an interview on CNN, Carmen met Monroe in NYC at the Actor's Studio, where they were both enrolled. She confirms Monroe's affairs with JFK and RFK, and says Peter Lawford and mobster Johnny Roselli advised her to leave town after Monroe's death -- which she did for 18 years.
Tony Curtis's book American Prince: A Memoir speaks of an early meeting with Monroe, when she was 22 and still an aspiring actress. "She had a friend named Jeanne Carmen, a showgirl, who was very important to her," Curtis wrote.
December 4 - Alleged Tiger Woods Mistress Proffered Medical Pot
Could this mean Tiger is one more sports superstar (like Michael Phelps, Santonio Holmes, Geovany Soto, LeBron James, Usain Bolt) who puffs (or puffed) pot? Stay tuned...meanwhile, another alleged mistress, Rachel Uchitel, claims she and Tiger had "crazy Ambien sex."
December 2 - More on Marilyn
Turns out the filmmaker is named Gretchen, and it was the FBI who tipped off documentary maker Keya Morgan to the film's existence. Morgan told AFP, "They felt that Marilyn Monroe posed a security threat to the presidency because she was under the influence of marijuana and under the influence of alcohol, and could be a danger not only to herself but also to the presidency," he said. He added, "The reason we know for a fact it's marijuana is the lady who shot it, she's still alive. She rolled up the joint and handed it over to Marilyn."
Blonde pot-puffing love objects with Mexican love interests play in two seminal Hollywood novels, The Day of the Locust and The Last Tycoon, see Can L.A. Solve Its Mexican Marijuana Problem? Not Until It Confronts Its Past
November 17, 2009 - Boomers see views relaxing on marijuana
September 28, 2009 - NORML Conference Report
Although the "Yes We Cannabis" poster with its photo of Obama smoking was censored by its photographer before the conference, the poster's designer Sonia Sanchez was on hand with a cut-out of the poster that made it an everyman piece.
California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano spoke about AB390, the landmark legalization bill he introduced this year. The measure will see informational hearings this month in the Public Safety Committee, which Ammiano now heads. The affable Ammiano said his colleagues were privately telling him, "This is great, I smoked when I was in college," but weren't publicly supportive until they did polling on the issue in their districts and got positive numbers. As a result, the tone in Sacramento is now "more user friendly," especially in response to the Republican's "draconian war on poor people" in answer to the budget crisis. About law enforcement, he said they may not want exactly what we do, but are willing to "talk turkey" because they see the costs of the drug war and are criticized for not responding to violent and property crimes. "This is a social justice issue," he said in closing. "People's lives have been ruined by our arbitrary attitude about a beneficial and effective herb."
The man whose NORML speech inspired the VIP project in 2002, Harvard professor emeritus Lester Grinspoon, appeared by Skype from his home in Massachusetts. The author of Marijuana Reconsidered, Grinspoon, now 81, was asked whether or not he had tried the strain of cannabis newly named for him. He replied that he hadn't, but would like to. He said his son flew to Amsterdam to try it and pronounced it great. He said he's received emails from all over praising it, despite its high price ($17/gram). "If any of you have some..." he said. The Australian rock band "Grinspoon" is named for Lester and Oaksterdam University's logo is based on Harvard's in his honor.
Grinspoon spoke about what a "wonderful, safe, hangover-free recreational drug [cannabis] is." Not only can it enhance sexual and culinary experiences, it can "catalyze new ideas, insights, emotional intimacy, and spiritual depth," qualities more experienced user appreciate while younger ones go for the sociability and fun cannabis provides. Grinspoon said his friend and VIP Carl Sagan was a daily smoker.
Recalling the times when he was one of three witnesses testifying at John Lennon's deportation trial over a hashish bust in England (the others who testified were Dick Cavett and the director of MOMA testifying about Lennon's cultural importance). Grinspoon got Lennon off when he said that hashish, which was illegal in England, was different than marijuana, which was illegal in the U.s.
"Is cannabis a performance enhancing drug?" CelebStoner Steve Bloom asked a panel of athletes. "You can use it to enhance your life all day long," WWE wrestler and VIP Rob Van Dam replied, adding that when he hasn't smoked he feels physical pains more and is less focused. He also said, "I'm loud and proud. I love pot," and "Everybody knows if you smoke a lot, you can drive and smoke." (Marinol is labeled accordingly.)
Unlike VanDam, who said during his ECW days he often smoked "up until the time my ring music was played," former Dallas Cowboys center Mark Stepnowski said he didn't smoke before his games but "after the game's a different story." Stepnowski played in the NFL for 18 years and was on two Superbowl-winning teams. "Smoking marijuana never prevented me from attaining my goals in high school," he said. "You can achieve your goals if you use it properly and have your head on straight." His membership in NORML went unnoticed until he became president of Texas NORML and began successfully lobbying his state legislature.
MMA fighter Toby "Tiger Heart" Grear said he stops smoking 21 days before a fight to follow league policy. Grear is medical marijuana patient sponsored by Medicann, whose ads remark about what a "Typical Stoner" looks like. After the talk, he told VIPs that, like fellow MMAer Nick Diaz and Michael Phelps, he's been diagnosed with ADD.
Attending the conference was Rick Steves, the popular travel writer/PBS host and NORML board member. When I thanked Steves for taking his stand, he said, "There are a lot of Rick Steves still in the closet."
After being introduced at 2008's Lutheran of the Year who is the second biggest seller of the Eurail pass (after Eurail itself), Steves gave a thoughtful, heartfelt and rousing speech to cap off the conference.
Steves said much of his work is in bringing home realities into Americans' comfort zone. "Travel addresses your fears. The flip side of fear is understanding. When you travel you overcome fear." Traveling alters perspective, and "you can travel vicariously with a little marijuana and feel the altitude." When you travel and smoke a little pot "it's travel squared; supertravel," he smiled.
When he gets the occasional call from someone who is offended by his public stance on legalization and won't travel with him, "I think, 'Europe will be a lot more fun without you'," Steves said, adding, "I've [advocated for pot] as publicly as possible and it's been a plus for me across the board." Reporters are uniformly nervous about interviewing him on the topic, but as soon as the mike goes off, they say, "Wow, right on." He has talked with his mayor, his pastor, school officials and law enforcement officers about the subject.
Steves revealed that his PBS underwriters made him sign a document promising he would not promote marijuana use on his website. But he said he has found a way to mention marijuana in every one of his 20 guidebooks. A recent show from Bern has footage of two people passing a joint behind the cathedral there.
Americans and Europeans have different attitudes about drugs, Steves said, with Americans preferring incarceration and Euros opting for harm reduction measures. Scandinavians hire drivers to take their kids to graduation kegger parties, he said. In Zurich the public restrooms have blue lights so heroin users can't see their veins to shoot up inside; instead there is a public Cafe Fix heroin maintenance clinic where it can be done safely.
About legalization, "I think the time is right but we've got to bring it forward in an unscary way," he said. Since Steves just picked up the Department of State's Citizen Diplomat of the Year Award, he ought to know what he's talking about.
The piece Steves produced with Washington ACLU, "Marijuana It's Time for a Conversation," can be viewed at: http://www.marijuanaconversation.org/
September 1, 2009 - KFC Finally Sells Something Worth Munching
It's a sign of the times as the LA Times notes that despite LA City Council's threats to close 100 coops, Cannabis is moving into the mainstream.
August 27, 2009 - Marijuana Found at Michael Jackson's Home?
Reuters blog asked, "Did Michael Jackson Switch from Billie Jean to Mary Jane?" and opined, "The discovery may earn Jackson a new nickname: King of Pot." It continued:
"Of course, in California it’s easy to get marijuana through medical dispensaries. In fact, it is probably easier to get marijuana than the prescription medications court documents indicate Jackson sought through various aliases.
"And with so many security guards and other personnel circulating through Jackson’s famously well-staffed manor, it’s always possible that the pot belonged to someone else. Could Jackson be the victim of a puff-puff-pass that left him holding the baggie? Who knows, this story may just go up in smoke."
The Los Angeles Times backed away from its report that black tar heroin was also found, leading one blogger to wonder, When Is Heroin Not Really Heroin? When It's at Michael Jackson's House
Later reports said the suspected heroin was actually moldy pot.
Where is the War on Obesity?
August 14, 2009 - Pitt on Pot (Again)Brad Pitt, who founded the Make it Right organization in 2007 to build homes for Katrina victims, was asked on The Today Show this morning about the "Brad Pitt for Mayor" T-shirts many New Orleans residents are sporting these days. He joked, "I'm running on the gay marriage, no religion, legalization and taxation of marijuana platform." Tonight, he chatted with Bill Maher about the topic.
Last week, Pitt was quoted in Parade magazine saying he used to be a major stoner, but gave it up. At least he says he's for legalization, whether he still smokes it or not. He's got our endorsement! Get Your Brad Pitt for Mayor T-Shirt ($20; supports Make It Right).
Les Paul: Angel with Guitar
Somewhere there's music
August 6, 2009 - Medical Marijuana Helping Swayze
July 31 - Phelps (Mostly) Victorious Again
Phelps recently swam away with with five 2009 ESPY Awards - for Best Male Athlete (ending Tiger Woods' 8-year reign), Male Olympic Athlete, Record-Breaking Performance, Championship Moment (for which he got an "oh yeah!" from Marisa Miller) and Moment (shared with his relay team).
Host Samuel L. Jackson joked about Phelps, "You must be glad to be back in the pool, huh? Nobody gives you a hard time when you smoke the competition." Driving the point home, Haitian Rastaman Wyclef Jean sang, "Smoke the competition like Mike Phelps--I got your back Aquaman."
VIP Santonio Holmes shared the Best Play award with Ben Roethlisberger and the Best Game award (Super Bowl XLIII) with his Pittsburgh Steeler teammates. Jamaican sprinter and VIP Usain Bolt won for Best International Athlete. VIP LeBron James was named Best NBA Player.
Begun by cable sports channel ESPN in 1993, the annual ESPY Awards allows sports fans worldwide to join in an online vote for their favorite sports heroes.
July 24 - LeBron James completes MVP VIP triumvirate
Punny guy Ted Green writes on his LA Times blog, "I'd like to personally thank LeBron for stirring the pot. And I'm sure the book will be a big hit. John Ryan at the San Jose Mercury News suggests LeBron can be the leading advocate in "the movement to legalize and tax the bejesus out of marijuana."
July 19 - Walter Cronkite, Truth Teller
Drug Policy Alliance's Ethan Nadelmann writes, "I once asked Walter...whether he had ever tried marijuana. As I recall, he laughed, and said not exactly, except for the 'contact high' he might have gotten around CBS's offices back in the 1960s, when smoking was still allowed, and not everything smoked was tobacco. Perhaps he said something too about some youthful experiences during WW 2 -- but I don't remember exactly."
Censored on TV: Why Are Some Stations Keeping Pot in the Closet?
This is a group of people that may well include your barber, your accountant, your lawyer, the checker at your favorite grocery store, your kid’s teacher and a respectable proportion of your friends, neighbors and relatives. But most of them don’t talk about it — just like gays and lesbians didn’t talk about their orientation back in the 1960s, when gay sex was illegal in every state.
The official mythology, of course, is that marijuana consumers are “drug abusers” who lead sad, dysfunctional lives. They’ve walked through the dreaded “gateway” to a life of addiction and despair.
Those myths are stated overtly in official propaganda and reinforced far more subtly in the stock footage you see on television news whenever there’s a marijuana story. Because all those lawyers, accountants, etc., would be committing professional suicide if they let themselves be photographed smoking marijuana, the stock images they use always show straggly-looking stoners who look like they just wandered out of a Grateful Dead concert. That such stereotypes represent a tiny and atypical minority of marijuana users is society’s dirty little secret — 2009’s equivalent of Oscar Wilde’s 'love that dare not speak its name'.”
July 16 - Kevin Spacey Is the Latest Pot-Puffing Shrink to Hit the Movie Screens -- Why Is This a Trend?
July 15 - Phelps Sets "Pretty Cool" World Record
Phelps was interviewed on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien last week. Conan joked about the "infamous photo" being released "which much have been a major buzz kill" (laughter, applause). A stoney-faced Phelps said he'd make sure those mistakes never happen again (more applause). His new children's book "How to Train With T-Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals" was promoed.
In an interview with United Hemispheres magazine, Conan co-host Andy Richter said, "I've heard Conan say that the PeeWee's Playhouse aspects of the old show are going to be lessened. For one, The Tonight Show airs earlier, which means a lot fewer stoned college students are watching. Seems Conan, the winner of the 2006 High Times Stoney award will apparently be retiring Tokey the Anti-Drug Bong too.
Phelps is up for 4 ESPY awards (Best Male Athelete, Best US Male Olympian, Best Championship Performance, and Best Record Breaking Performance (along with VIPs Phil Jackson and Usain Bolt). The 17th annual ESPY Awards ceremony will air on ESPN on July 19 at 9PM.
July 10 - Grim on CNN
July 9, 2009 - Ads Call for Legal Pot in CA (where they're not censored)
Not so brave are the "major market" media. Oakland NBC affiliate KTVU and San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO declined to air the ad, as did San Jose NBC affiliate KNTV. Three Los Angeles stations, KABC, Fox affiliate KTTV, and KTLA also just said no.
"We are astonished that major California TV stations chose to censor a discussion that Governor Schwarzenegger has said our state should have on an issue supported by 56% of voters, according to the Field poll," said Aaron Smith, MPP California policy director. "The two million Californians who use marijuana in a given month deserve to have their voices heard -- and their tax dollars should help solve the fiscal emergency that threatens our schools, police and parks." Smith scored a bigger coup when he appeared on NBC's Today show and did a fine job defending the reform position.
The ad is running on cable stations in Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco, as well as on MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN. Pony up now to keep it on the air!
July 7, 2009 - Subway Campaigns with Phelps
"With the benefit of hindsight, Kellogg execs might well be kicking themselves," for dropping Phelps, the article states. (Kellogg's first-quarter 2009 sales appear to be down.) Stoners who put down their cornflakes now have a place to munch out: www.SubwayFreshBuzz.com, where Phelps is billed as "the man behind the marinara."
This is Your Country on Drugs (Review)
Foreign Policy Magazine Exposes Folly Of Marijuana Prohibition
July 1, 2009 - Mother Jones: Totally Wasted
June 27, 2009 - Cubs Catcher Caught
''I think the world of Geo; we all do in the organization,'' said Cubs assistant general manager Randy Bush. ''He's a wonderful kid. He made a mistake, and none of us thinks any less of him.''
Cubs manager Lou Pinella told reporters he'd tried pot once and "And it didn't do a damn thing for me, and I never tried it again. I'm fortunate because of that. A lot of people do. You can even buy it in California from a pharmacy."
The Sun Times article has a photo gallery of pot-puffing athletes, including Michael Phelps, Bulls forward Joakim Noah, Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith, Washington Nationals Elijah Dukes, Former Portland Trailblazers Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace, Former Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Quincy Carter, Memphis Grizzlies forward Darius Miles, Florida receiver Percy Harvin, Former NBA star Shawn Kemp, Former Bears running back (and Heisman Trophy winner) Rashaan Salaam, Canadian snowboarding champion Ross Rebagliati, former Illinois fullback Jameel Cook, Memphis Grizzly O.J. Mayo, New England Patriots cornerback Willie Andrews, Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Howard, Adam "Pacman" Jones, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, and former Oilers center Mark Stepnoski, now a spokerman for NORML.
June 23, 2009 - Prominent Korean Actress Calls for Legalization
In the MBC interview, she protested the recent arrest of actor Oh Gwang-rok on charges of marijuana use, saying his actions caused no harm and that the drug did not affect his ability to act. "Have you ever heard of any news that I committed a crime after smoking marijuana? I have never done anything harmful, as politicians or thieves have," she said.
"Marijuana is not a narcotic; it is technically an Oriental herbal medicine which Koreans have used for 5,000 years," she said. "If smoking it doesn't do harm to others, those who do need it, such as those suffering from depression or cancer patients, should be allowed to use it. Marijuana increases appetite and improves sleep."
"Korea has the highest ratio of death by suicide among OECD members. The nation needs to take marijuana as a depression remedy and make depression patients come back to society....Whenever the government has troubles, it uses drug-taking entertainers to divert people's attention. It is the best way to make entertainers and artists obey the government,'' the astute actress told viewers on the live telecast. So far, MBC has not answered calls for an apology for the broadcast.
Oh Gwang-rok, most famous for his role as a wise man in “Taewangsasingi” (The Four Guardian Gods of the King), was arrested June 18 for smoking marijuana. Oh is suspected of having smoked marijuana on several occasions, including once in February at his house in Seoul. He allegedly smoked with the head of an unidentified information-technology company, known as Park, investigators said. Police said Park bought the pot from a local dealer and shared it with eight others, including animation film director Kim Mun-saeng. Oh has appeared in numerous films including “Seven Days” and “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” (with Kim Bu-seon.)
June 20, 2009 - Two Unexpected Pot Smugglers (with very different outcomes)
Meanwhile, former champion downhill mountain biker Missy "The Missile" Giove, 37, has been charged with marijuana distribution and faces up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine if convicted, according to The Daily News. Giove is the most successful woman in competitive mountain biking's history, grabbing a record 14 National Off-Road Bicycle Association championships and 11 World Cup wins. Known for her outrageous looks and daredevil riding style, she is openly lesbian, and was featured in a Reebok ad and interviewed by David Letterman.
June 15, 2009 - NYT Times, AP on Legalization
"A new tone on drug reform also has sounded more frequently in Congress," the article states. "At a House hearing last month, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., challenged FBI Director Robert Mueller when Mueller spoke of parents losing their lives
"Name me a couple of parents who have lost their lives to marijuana," Cohen said.
"Can't," Mueller replied.
"Exactly. You can't, because that hasn't happened," Cohen said. "Is there some time we're going to see that we ought to prioritize meth, crack, cocaine and heroin, and deal with the drugs that the American culture is really being affected by?"
In a telephone interview for the story, Dennis Kucinich noted that both Obama and former President Bill Clinton acknowledged trying marijuana. "Apparently that didn't stop them from achieving their goals in life," Kucinich said. "We need to come at this from a point of science and research and not from mythologies or fears."
And after taking public input on his Facebook page, NYT columnist Nikolas Kristof titled his Sunday NYTimes oped "Drugs Won the War."
Here's a good one:
I am a highly successful professional, as are many of my friends. Most of us use drugs ranging from marijuana to LSD, ecstasy, ayahuasca, iboga and mushrooms. Some use these for pleasure; I use them for sacramental purposes and do so only on my trips abroad to places where they are legal. I cannot afford any risk of prosecution.
We avoid heroin, meth and other truly dangerous substances. We hold down demanding positions, and only a few of our clients and business associates are aware of our "double lives".We live in a major Midwestern city. But our situation is hardly
Many of society's leading luminaries use drugs to enhance their performance....While children need to be
June 12 - NFL MVP Case Dropped over Anonymous Tip
According to the Tribune Review, courts have ruled that traffic stops may not be made because of anonymous tips. Holmes still could be punished by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy. A league spokesman said the NFL will review court documents before deciding whether it will discipline Holmes.
Brush Up Your Shakespeare
Ethan Nadelmann asks, Hey Progessives, Why Don't You Care About the Drug War?
June 8 - More Foxes for Pot
Young women seem to be at the forefront of the issue these days: Marijuana Policy Project's yearly Playboy Mansion party featured hostesses Adrienne Curry and Fairuza Balk; well known pothead Kristen Stewart just won two MTV Movie Awards (Best Kiss and Best Movie--Twilight). And singer Joss Stone(d), who's said she enjoys "the occasional spliff," was snapped smoking one in London on May 29 (left). Source: Celebslam.
June 6 - "Nice People" Campaign Released
So begins a UK Guardian blog post from the nonprofit group Release about their new ad campaign (right). "The fact is, a lot of people from all walks of life have at some point taken drugs and it's time we got real about it," the post continues. "That's why this week we have launched a new campaign called Nice People Take Drugs. Buses will be travelling across London carrying this slogan in an attempt to get people talking about drugs and kickstart a drug policy debate."
"Over one third of the adult population of England and Wales has used illegal drugs and almost 10 million people have smoked cannabis....The situation where people have to deny, hide or, if found out, regret their drug taking is simply absurd. The public is tired of the artificial representation of drugs in society, which is not truthful about the fact that all sorts of people use drugs. If we are to have a fair and effective drug policy, it must be premised on this reality."
On screen and in life, Carradine walked the path of the peaceful warrior, from TV's "Kung Fu" to his memoir, “Spirit of Shaolin” and several instructional martial arts videos. He played Woody Guthrie in VIP Hal Ashby's "Bound for Glory," and the chief assassin in the "Kill Bill" movies. As a musician he released the albums Grasshopper and As Is.
According to a review of High Times magazines from 1976/77, Carradine was busted for pot at that time (along with drummer Buddy Rich, Beatle wife/photographer Linda McCartney, and Lash Larue, a '30s cowboy movie star who had a whip in his car when arrested). Soon after that, articles appeared like "why weed is so hard to get" and "how to booby trap your garden," leading to the unkind, cocaine-laced 80s.
In a 2004 interview, Carradine reportedly talked candidly about his past "boozing and narcotics use," but said he had put all that behind him and stuck to coffee and cigarettes. “I didn’t like the way I looked, for one thing. You’re kind of out of control emotionally when you drink that much. I was quicker to anger.”
I wish we lived in kinder times now. Maybe Carradine needed a good shrink who smoked pot (or laws that allowed him to smoke pot, instead of drink or suck cancer sticks.)
June 2 - Another Censored Poster?
Smith Resigns in Shame
In 2007, Smith said in a television interview that she had tried marijuana while an undergraduate at Oxford University in the early 1980s. But that didn't keep her from pushing for recriminalization of marijuana in Britain. Over the objections of her own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Smith announced in a May 2008 speech to Parliament that her government would seek to reclassify marijuana as a Class B drug, four years after Tony Blair's government downgraded it to Class C. The NORML blog picked up on the news that Smith lied about increased potency of marijuana when she successfully pushed for harsher laws.
Some suggest Chancellor Alistair Darling may be asked to take over as Home Secretary. At the time of Smith's admission Darling was asked if he smoked pot and replied, "Occasionally in my youth."
May 22 - Woodstock: Take 2
Lee revealed that almost the entire crew for Taking Woodstock has had experiences with pot, including himself. He said he was schooling abroad when he dabbled with marijuana. "I dozed off after taking two puffs," he said. All he could remember was muttering in broken English and speaking Mandarin incessantly. He added jokingly, "I'm glad to have received positive comments. If it's not convincing, I guess I will really have to get another taste of marijuana." Though he "played with drugs" in the film, Lee is not afraid that his two sons would take reference from his film. "I'm a good role model," he said.
Taking Woodstock is based upon the book of the same name and follows the true life story of Elliot Tiber, an aspiring Greenwich Village interior designer whose parents owned a small motel in Upstate New York and, at the time, held the only musical festival permit in the entire town of Bethel, New York. Tiber offered both the Catskills motel and the permit to the Woodstock Festival’s organizers. The film also focuses on Tiber’s life as a closeted gay man hiding both his marijuana habit as well as his sexual orientation from his family, and the self-discovery that he experiences following the Stonewall Riots.
The film is among the front-runners to win the prestigious Palm d'Or after receiving a 10-minute standing ovation. And, apparently, at the end of the trailer, Mom and Dad join the fun.
And a delightful new children's book, Max Said Yes! The Woodstock Story by Abagail Yasgur and Joseph Lipner (above, right) is beautifully and appropriately illustrated by LA visionary artist Barbara Mendes.
"Although Hope never officially served in the U.S. Armed Forces, he dedicated a significant part of his life to entertaining America’s men and women in uniform, starting in 1941 and continuing through the Persian Gulf War five decades later," said the U.S.P.S. In 1997 Hope became the first person recognized by the U.S. Congress as an “honorary veteran of the United States Armed Forces.” Hope’s thousands of honors also included the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among his many friends were several U.S. presidents, with whom he often played golf for charity. Bob Hope died at his home in Toluca Lake, CA, on July 27, 2003, two months after his 100th birthday.
Eddie Gordon, the Harmonicat who wailed us the opening strains of Sesame Street and Sanford and Son's theme songs, said in an interview earlier this year he was a friend of Bob Hope’s and went on his first USO tour with the The Harmonica Rascals. "I smoked with him all the time," said Gordon. "He was a pot-head.” The reason for Hope's split with VIP Bing Crosby, Gordon told me, was that Bing turned to alcohol after gage was Bob Crosbyized. (And what was he smoking in The Road to Morocco?)
On July 20, 2007 Sirius Radio Classics station aired a 1944 Bob Hope broadcast from an air force base in Yuma, AZ. After some jokes about sneaking over the border for tequila, Hope appeared in a cowboy skit with the Andrews Sisters. When asked how his legs got bowed, "Dragalong" Hope replied, "I smoked one of them Mexican cigarettes. And I had a bad landing." In a later skit, Hope tried to interest a chum into visiting a Gypsy fortune teller played by Zsa Zsa Gabor. "Then we can eat the tea leaves," he said.
One of Hope's pot jokes while entertaining the troops in Vietnam was reportedly that "instead of taking it away from the soldiers, we ought to give it to the negotiators in Paris." Another cannabis joke which Hope used in Vietnam: "I hear you guys are interested in gardening here. Our security officer said a lot of you guys are growing your own grass." Source.
According to Bob Hope: The Road Well-Traveled by Lawrence J. Quirk, Hope admitted to trying pot during his vaudeville days, then later said he hadn't sampled it until around 1975. "To more conservative publications he'd say he knew pot wasn't good for people, but to more liberal ones, like Rolling Stone, he'd say, 'It's just like liquor; it all depends on dosage and frequency, you know.'"
May 20 - Weeds: Yes We Cannabis!
Also see the companion piece, A Brief History of Weed
May 16 - To D or not to D
In the 25 years since Nancy Reagan advocated just saying no, Mr. Nadelmann has seen a progression through four public stages out of the five he believes are needed to achieve legalization.
Stage 1. Bill Clinton: I smoked but I did not inhale.
Stage 2. Al Gore: I smoked, it was wrong, I regret it, shame on me.
Stage 3. Michael Bloomberg (asked if he'd tried pot): "You bet I did and I enjoyed it."
Stage 4. Barack Obama: "I inhaled frequently - that was the point!"
Stage 5. Public Figure to Come: Yes, I smoke the occasional joint.
"We need to drop the 'd' from 'smoked,' " Mr. Nadelmann said, "and move from past to present."
Agreed. So let's grade recent admissions for the "D" factor.
Michael Phelps: D- (back to stage 2, but at least he admitted it)
Maybe what we need is for former pot smokers to try it again and remind themselves what it was like. Winerip, and many others who stopped smoking pot in their 20s, now fret about their kids turning to heroin and meth, while admitting very few use marijuana as a gateway. As Selectman James A. Barry said at the recent Belchertown, MA town meeting, "If marijuana was a gateway drug, I think all of us in this room would be on heroin now. Well, at least half of us."
BTW, Columnist Bill Steigerwald gets an A for asking Nadelmann the obvious question no one else did: what will Schwarzenegger find out when he asks about drug legalization models in other countries?
"Smokey" Robinson Picks Up Honorary Doctorate
Obama Loses His "Cool"
20th Hijacker Revealed (But He Was Too Strung Out on Oxycontin to Get on the Plane)
Barbie Goes Wild
May 12 - If You Can't Make Good Movies, Become a Pundit
May 10 - Get High with Your Mother Day
Geraldo Smokes Again
May 9, 2009 - Schwarzenegger Calls for Studying Legalization
The following day, Zogby released a poll it conducted for the conservative O'Leary Report, which polled 3,937 voters and found 52% support for legalization nationwide, with only 37% opposed.
May 5, 2009 - Cinco de Mayo-juana
The bill, proposed by conservative President Felipe Calderon, would make it legal to carry up to 5 grams (0.18 ounces) of marijuana, 500 milligrams (0.018 ounces) of cocaine and tiny quantities of other drugs such as heroin and methamphetamines. Mexico's Congress passed a similar proposal in 2006 but the bill was vetoed by Calderon's predecessor Vicente Fox, under pressure from the United States.
An excellent account of Hollywood's depiction of marijuana and Mexicans in the movies is found in USC Prof. Curtis Marez's book Drug Wars: The Political Economy of Narcotics. As proof of the inequities of the drug wars, we post VIP Freddy Fender (pictured above), who served 2 1/2 years in prison for a minor marijuana possession charge in 1960.
According to the Southwest Writers Collection: "In November 1528, a shipwreck brought Spanish conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, ashore at present day Galveston Island. Cabeza de Vaca spent the next eight years living among the Native Americans, becoming the first European to explore what is now Texas and the Southwest [including many parts of Mexico]. He endured slavery, served as a trader, and eventually became recognized as a great healer and spiritual leader. By the end of his long journey, Cabeza de Vaca became transformed. The once-arrogant conquistador became a passionate defender of Indian human rights." His story is immortalized in the language of the hip by VIP Lord Buckley.
In Chapter 26 of his book La Relaction, de Vaca wrote of the native people he encountered, "Throughout this land they get drunk on a certain smoke and give all they have to obtain it."
Farewell, Dom Deluise
May 2, 2009 - Michael Douglas Looks At Legalization
Douglas appears in the new film "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" with VIP Matthew McConoughey and will reunite with VIP Oliver Stone for a sequel to "Wall Street." He just received the first-ever standing ovation at the 8th annual Movieline Young Hollywood awards when he picked up the Role Model Award. (2005's winner was VIP Pierce Brosnan and 2003's was Harrison Ford, widely thought to be a marijuana smoker who has never publicly admitted it. Perhaps he should take Brosnan's advice about being a role model: "Keep it true. Have some soul.")
Drug Policy Alliance's Nadelmann Outs Himself as
April 29 - Estrogen Could Protect Adult Females from THC
The protection did not seem to apply, however, if the female rats were exposed to cannabis during the time period equivalent to human adolescence. The study involved only female rats so any implication for adolescent males remains untested. The findings were to be presented April 19 in New Orleans at the Experimental Biology meeting sponsored by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Anne Hathaway in Havoc
Teens Using Marijuana to Treat Health Problems
Rather than rely on ineffective prescriptions with unwanted side effects, the teens said they used marijuana, not to get high, but to treat their health problems. The authors write, "Youth who reported they had been prescribed drugs such as Ritalin, Prozac or sleeping pills, stopped using them because they did not like how these drugs made them feel or found them ineffective."
Also, Straight Talk for Teens Paints a Portrait of Marijuana Use, and Alternative Medicine reports that Medical Marijuana Requests Are Higher Since Obama Term Began
Webb: Drug Legalization "On the Table"
Oaksterdam is the Talk of the Nation
April 27 - Patriots Take Tate, Vikings Draft Hardin
Another Do-Nothing Pot Smoker (Not)
And The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life & Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts confirms that, as in the movie, Milk swore off marijuana as he took the public stage, but remained allied with marijuana activist Dennis Peron while Republicans were hammering away against the three G's: gays, grass and Godlessness. The book ends with a speech by Milk in 1978 with these inspiring words, "GAY BROTHERS AND SISTERS...YOU MUST COME OUT. COME OUT...TO YOUR PARENTS...I KNOW THAT IT IS HARD AND WILL HURT THEM BUT THINK ABOUT HOW THEY WILL HURT YOU IN THE VOTING BOOTH....COME OUT TO YOUR FRIENDS...IF INDEED THEY ARE YOUR FRIENDS. COME OUT TO YOUR NEIGHBORS...TO YOUR FELLOW WORKERS...ONCE AND FOR ALL, BREAK DOWN THE MYTHS, DESTROY THE LIES AND DISTORTIONS." Pot smokers who want to take his advice can visit The Cannabis Consumers Campaign.
April 26 - Bea Arthur, Groundbreaking Commedienne
April 25 - USA Weekend on Pothead Rogen
April 20 (4/20) - A Bag of Weed is Nice Indeed
April 19 - Miss 4/20
As a child her asthma was so severe that it left her bedridden, forcing her to be homeschooled, says an article in PressofAtlanticCity.com:
"When DiMaria learned that her uncle in South Carolina had used marijuana as part of his treatment for cancer, DiMaria investigated it herself. It helped her immensely, she said. Because of law enforcement taken against people that have used marijuana for medicinal purposes, DiMaria would not say when she used marijuana or how she obtained it, but she did say it was medically beneficial to her."
For Marijuana Advocates, Not-So-Secret Holiday Hints at Change
April 16 - Republican Congressman Calls Marijuana "A Personal Matter"
In a 2007 interview with the Athens Banner-Herald, the elder Broun said he had tried marijuana but did not enjoy it. "I did as a student, years ago in college," he said. "I tried it a time or two and hated it, and I don't see why anyone wants to do that."
Luckily Broun probably isn't dependent on federal college loans, or University housing, both of which can be jeopardized by a pot charge. And he's lucky he wasn't shot at his bust, like a Michigan student was recently. Find out more at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy West Coast Regional Conference, April 24-26 at U. Cal Berkeley.
Latin American News
April 15 - Taxing Times
The check total is an estimate of what American taxpayers spend every year to maintain marijuana prohibition. According to the report "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States," Americans spend some $6 billion on law enforcement costs related to enforcing marijuana laws. Taxing and regulating the production and sale of cannabis like alcohol products would reduce these costs while raising an estimated $8 billion in new tax revenue. That's according to Nobel Prize Winner Milton Friedman and over 500 other accredited economists.
"On a day when so many Americans lament having to pay state and federal income taxes, we're representing America's millions of otherwise law-abiding cannabis consumers-as well as supportive non-consumers-who're ready, willing, vocal and able to contribute this huge sum to our struggling economy, while providing truly 'green' jobs and allowing police to focus on more important priorities," says Allen St. Pierre, NORML's Executive Director. "All we ask in exchange for our $14 billion is the right to smoke our pot responsibly and in peace-just in the same way as the millions of daily consumers of alcohol products in our country."
Meanwhile, Mexico's Congress has begun a debate on legalization and students at at least six of the 15 largest colleges in the nation including The University of Arkansas, Ohio State University, Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Maryland, the University of Texas-Austin, and the University of Washington have adopted guidelines endorsed by NORML and SAFER to lessen penalties for marijuana use on campus.
What Happened to the Whizzinator?
April 12 - Another Gold Medal Pothead
Diaz KO's Shamrock
April 10 - Spears Smokes Out (Not)
According to the Hindustan Times, Spears, 27, was caught with marijuana and cocaine on a private plane when she was 16. Another 27-year-old, VP/drug warrior Joe Biden's youngest daughter Ashley also reportedly has used pot and cocaine.
If you want to see a really entertaining show, skip Spears and catch San Francisco's always topical show Beach Blanket Babylon, featuring Michael Phelps, who appears to be taking only some of Spears's advice (above, left). Now in its 34th year of sold-out performances, Beach Blanket Babylon is the longest running musical revue in theatre history.
April 9 - Another Fighter on Pot
"I'm more consistent about everything being a cannabis user," said Diaz, who contends it helps with his attention deficit disorder, for which he was prescribed psychotropic drugs as a child. With pot, "I'm happy to get loaded, hear some good music" said the 25-year-old fighter from Stockton, California, whose record is 18-7 with 10 knockouts, five submissions and a no-contest.
Diaz will fight Frank Shamrock on Saturday night in San Jose on Showtime in a key fight. Said Shamrock of Diaz: "He definitely smokes marijuana. That's his own business, but it's not the greatest thing for the sport. We're fighting a stigma. Still, there's something refreshing about his honesty."
Diaz tested positive for the cannabis after his "impressive" win over Japan's Takanori Gomi in early 2007. "A state athletic commissioner in Nevada argued Diaz was numb to pain because of excessive marijuana in his system," wrote Pugmire. "Diaz's victory was vacated; he was fined and suspended for six months."
Of fighters who use steroids instead of pot, Diaz said "Let 'em do it, they'll have a shorter career than me. ...I feel like these guys are hurting themselves. You can't consistently fight on steroids." The California State Athletic Commission said Diaz would undergo drug testing before and after Saturday's fight.
April 8 - Harry Potter Actor Arrested for Hydroponic Pot
Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the title character in the Harry Potter films, said last year that in the sixth installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, due out this July, "There is a fair amount of sexual energy and there are some drug parallels. We have a couple of Trainspotting moments [referring to the 1996 Scottish film about a heroin addict.]" Maybe the next installment will be filmed at Oaksterdam University.
April 7 - New Book, Exhibit of Marley Photographs
Burnett was invited to join Bob Marley and The Wailers on tour in Europe in the spring of 1977. Burnett has now published his photographs in a new book Soul Rebel: An Intimate Portrait of Bob Marley and has a photo exhibit at the Govinda Gallery in Washington DC, on view through April 11.
Videos of Marley speaking about the herb have received more than a million hits on You Tube.
Another Beauty Queen on Pot
Last year, sitting Miss Teen Louisiana Lindsey Evans was arrested when she left a purse containing a baggie of pot on the table of a restaurant after she and her friends walked their check.
Hempy Birthday to the La Guardia Commission
April 4 - Wait, Wait Comes to Northern California
Guesting on the show was VIP Michael Pollan, the “most well-known authority on food.” Also in the Listener Limmerick challenge, mentioned was Rupert Till, a musicologist at Huddersfield University, who theorizes that ancient Brits danced all night to rhythmic tones in old-style Raves. Sagal joked that the origins of Ecstasy can be traced back to ancient times, when it was called "Tolerable Misery." And on Lightning Fill in the Blank under the the medical science topic, "Mother's Little Helper" (Valium) and Bayer’s erstwhile cure for morphine addiction (Heroin) were mentioned. Panelist and "clean teen" Mo Rocca answered that a beer bong that could cure cancer was being developed by Rice University scientists. "That could be great," said Sagal before saying the answer was a cancer-curing beer. But Mo was closer to the truth.
April 3 - Carlos Santana wishes Obama would legalize pot
Santana, whose performance at Woodstock in 1969 put him permanently on the charts, made the comments as he was promoting his upcoming rock residency in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The show debuts May 27 and runs through 2010. He said he is also working on two upcoming albums.
On the Net:
April 1, 2009 - No Fooling - Marijuana issue suddenly smoking hot
Studies Say Alcohol is More Harmful to Teens' Brains than Marijuana
Have more April Fools fun with our VIP of the Month: Shel Silverstein
March 26, 2009 - No Hope for Dope?
As the U.S. placed troops at the Mexican border, our Secretary of State declared the US “insatiable” when it comes to drugs (probably a term she’s used to describe Bill’s sex habits). She didn’t use the term to describe gun peddlers, but did, admirably, lament the flow of guns from the US into Mexico. Too bad she doesn’t seem to remember her daze at Cozy Beach.
Hillary’s trip to Mexico reminds me of another former first lady, VIP Margaret Trudeau and her 1976 trip to Mexico. “It was like coming home—magic and drugs, all my old stomping grounds,” she wrote. In Palenque, some old friends slipped her “a little plastic sack of peyote mushrooms. That night at Cancun I allowed myself a secret taste. It made me look forward to more.” It was the beginning of her finding her way out of the stifling life she was leading. Trudeau is now speaking for hire on mental health issues, and repudiating her marijuana use.
Both of these goddesses should be schooled about the fact that our purported progenetress Eve and her snake-guarded Tree of Knowledge was modeled on earlier Goddess stories, like the Gorgons who lived in the Gardens of the Hesperides who had a snake that guarded their golden apples (most likely, psychotropic Amanita muscara mushrooms). When Apollo cut off the head of the once-goddess Medusa, the men took over and kept the Forbidden Fruit to themselves: the Greek general Alchibiades stole the sacrament from Demeter’s temple at Eleusis and started partying with it instead, a lamentable situation that continues until this day. But we’ve got to get back to the Garden, and the Goddess. (Read The Apples of Apollo: Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist by Carl A.P. Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples and Clark Heinrich, 2001 Carolina Academic Press.)
In The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell had this exchange:
MOYERS: Do you ever think that it is this absence of the religious experience of ecstasy, of joy, this denial of transcendence in our society, that has turned so many young people to the use of drugs?
Yes, Hillary, we have an insatiable desire for a religious experience, and will get it from a drug dealer if necessary. It’s time to end this religious persecution once and for all. Campbell is strong on being prepared for a religious experience, otherwise it won’t be assimilated into your life. And “Just Say No” doesn’t prepare anyone for anything.
P.S. If the administration needs a real crime to prosecute, how about usury?
March 24, 2008 - Tori Amos Seranades SXSW with Mary Jane
Word is, the song is on Amos's Universal Republic debut album, ABNORMALLY ATTRACTED TO SIN, to be released on May 19.
March 23, 2009 - Just Say Dough
When Attorney General Eric Holder announced that his office would uphold Obama’s campaign promises towards medical marijuana clubs legal in states, the best part of the news was that we had a president with integrity again. His appointment of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy was also greeted with cautious optimism by reformers. Kerlikowske inherited and oversaw some of the country’s most liberal policies towards marijuana, thanks to a successful ballot initiative deprioritizing petty pot offenses.
It was strange, then, that on the eve of his first Presidential trip to California, Obama resurrected Nancy Reagan’s 1984 “Just Say No” campaign when he stretched to make an analogy about the banking industry. "'Just say no' is the right advice to give your teenagers about drugs. It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policies are proposed by the other party," Obama said. (There can be no doubt that this was a calculated move. Obama’s shrewd moves of late have included sending Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney to Dublin as ambassador to Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day.)
A polite Jay Leno didn’t raise the Jolly Green Giant in the room, although Leno knows well the excesses of federal drug policy: he interviewed Tommy Chong (“He took the red eye”) on his release from nine months in prison for selling bongs on the internet (caught in a DEA sting operation).
What is it about the War on Drugs that makes someone as powerful and righteous as Obama hide behind Nancy Reagan’s skirts? Do we really think we can keep our kids from destructive behavior by making a Forbidden Fruit out of even the mildest kick? Where is our sense of fairness on this issue?
In a bizarre twist that has become all too characteristic of our War on Certain Drugs, Sen. Chuck Grassley slammed Holder's announcement, days after Grassley had suggested that our robber barons commit hari kari. Barack meanwhile called for the return of decency on Leno, and I for one wholeheartedly hope for that.
Meanwhile, Marijuana, Inc. is getting two times as much viewship as any CNBC documentary in its history (the station ran it three times in a row last Friday night). In it, Richard the Lionhearted Lee, the unofficial Mayor of Oaksterdam, bravely tells the viewers what he is paying in taxes: $250,000 to the state and nearly double that to the feds. Not only that, but his depressed area of Oakland is seeing a revitalization, with Amsterdam-style coffee houses like Lee's bringing patrons to neighborhood restaurants and theatres. The choice to fill the marijuana market was clearly presented in the program: a swarmy smuggler, an environmentally unconscious pirate grower, or a tax-paying citizen.
Other states are falling over themselves to pass medical marijuana laws, with tax dollar signs in their eyes. Michigan's voters just brought it to the midwest. Even Pennsylvania, a state so conservative it still has state-run liquor stores, is jumping on the bandwagon, with State Rep. Mark Cohen planning to introduce a bill based on New Jersey's. Metro.us reported, "Cohen said he decided to have the measure drafted after he was interviewed for a story in Wednesday's Metro about legalizing marijuana to help the city and state overcome budget problems and getting almost all positive responses on Facebook, PhillyBlog and elsewhere."
As usual, California is a step ahead. On February 23, Representative Tom Ammiano, the former chair of SF City Council, introduced a bill that would flat-out legalize pot for adults 21 and over. Striking all existing California laws except those governing juveniles, it would set up a tax scheme that could cough over $1 billion to state coffers, before adding in ancillary industries like tourism. An early attempt to nip the bill in the bud through the Public Safety Committee has failed, and it will be on a two-year track, with a full year to debate before it has a hearing.
In Contact, his 1985 novel about interplanetary communication set around the year 2000, VIP Carl Sagan wrote about an imagined afternoon in Paris: "Outside a tobacconist's there was a long, orderly, and polyglot line of people attracted by the first week of legalized sale of cured cannabis cigarettes from the United States. ....Especially potent varieties of cannabis were grown, mainly in California and Oregon, for the export trade." Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Penn Says: Legalize It (Teller Not Talking)
March 12, 2009 - Donated Phelps Kellogg's Boxes Selling on Ebay? Morales Chews Coca Leaf at UN Summit "We hope for support from President Obama for the decriminalization of coca," Morales said. "The new U.S. president has similarities to me. Before, nobody believed that an Indian could be president and nobody thought that a black man could be president of the United States." In 2006, Morales held up a coca leaf at the UN in New York and gave Condeleeza Rice a guitar emblazoned with coca leaves when she visited Bolivia. March 2, 2009 - CNN's D.L. Hughley In Favor of Legalization And as well as upholding his boss's campaign promises to end DEA raids in medical marijuana states, our new Attorney General Eric Holder is taking the sensible move of calling for an assault rifle ban to quell violence in Mexico. The New York Times has now run front-page story on the "River of Iron" story first broken by the LA Times documenting the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico. February 28, 2009 - Hempy Days Are Here Again The topic came up on Real Time with Bill Maher which booked not the bill's sponsor Tom Ammiano, but the man who beat Ammiano for Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom. "My back taxes on that," mused panelist P.J. O'Rourke, taking an imaginary toke at one point. "That's a huge amount of revenue, just from my house," chimed in Bill. The proposal is coming at a time of unprecedented support for legalizing the weed. According to a new Zogby poll a growing number of Americans, and a majority in the West and under 30, support legalizing marijuana. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey reports 40% of Americans say it should be legal, while 46% disagree and 14% are undecided. The Daily Koz pointed out that marijuana legalization is now more popular than Republicans, Rush Limbaugh and a whole lot of issues. As with the Mark Phelps incident, reaction has been promisingly positive to Ammiano's proposal. The LA Times wrote, "Today's culture warriors have better things to argue about than pot-smoking hippies, yet federal marijuana laws are still stuck in the Nixon-era days when conservatives feared that reefer madness was destroying the minds of America's youth." (The Times dismissed the bill and its economic advantages, while reporting that economic considerations are driving TV networks to broaden their acceptance of advertising for alcohol products. Local CBS affiliates in Los Angeles and 14 other cities aired ads for Absolut Vodka during the Grammy Awards broadcast earlier this month, the first time in years that hard-liquor ads have been aired on network television.) February 22, 2009 - What You Can Do for Reform According to NORML's director Allen St. Pierre, this is A Propitious Moment For Pot:
Morales Chews Coca Leaf at UN Summit
"We hope for support from President Obama for the decriminalization of coca," Morales said. "The new U.S. president has similarities to me. Before, nobody believed that an Indian could be president and nobody thought that a black man could be president of the United States."
In 2006, Morales held up a coca leaf at the UN in New York and gave Condeleeza Rice a guitar emblazoned with coca leaves when she visited Bolivia.
March 2, 2009 - CNN's D.L. Hughley In Favor of Legalization
And as well as upholding his boss's campaign promises to end DEA raids in medical marijuana states, our new Attorney General Eric Holder is taking the sensible move of calling for an assault rifle ban to quell violence in Mexico. The New York Times has now run front-page story on the "River of Iron" story first broken by the LA Times documenting the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico.
February 28, 2009 - Hempy Days Are Here Again
The topic came up on Real Time with Bill Maher which booked not the bill's sponsor Tom Ammiano, but the man who beat Ammiano for Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom. "My back taxes on that," mused panelist P.J. O'Rourke, taking an imaginary toke at one point. "That's a huge amount of revenue, just from my house," chimed in Bill.
The proposal is coming at a time of unprecedented support for legalizing the weed. According to a new Zogby poll a growing number of Americans, and a majority in the West and under 30, support legalizing marijuana. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey reports 40% of Americans say it should be legal, while 46% disagree and 14% are undecided. The Daily Koz pointed out that marijuana legalization is now more popular than Republicans, Rush Limbaugh and a whole lot of issues.
As with the Mark Phelps incident, reaction has been promisingly positive to Ammiano's proposal. The LA Times wrote, "Today's culture warriors have better things to argue about than pot-smoking hippies, yet federal marijuana laws are still stuck in the Nixon-era days when conservatives feared that reefer madness was destroying the minds of America's youth." (The Times dismissed the bill and its economic advantages, while reporting that economic considerations are driving TV networks to broaden their acceptance of advertising for alcohol products. Local CBS affiliates in Los Angeles and 14 other cities aired ads for Absolut Vodka during the Grammy Awards broadcast earlier this month, the first time in years that hard-liquor ads have been aired on network television.)
February 22, 2009 - What You Can Do for Reform
According to NORML's director Allen St. Pierre, this is A Propitious Moment For Pot:NORML's membership and donor base historically do not donate enough annually for the organization to purchase print, radio, Internet or TV advertisements. This has been the case with the organization since its inception, and vexes 99% of America's 50,000 non-profit organizations that also don't have the donated funds to purchase ad space.
NORML has researched the cost of placing ads in numerous cable TV markets across the country, and some of these ad packages (with minimum purchase prices from $1,200-$5,000) now offer 30 second TV spots for as little as .8 cents per ad. That is right, 8 cents per TV ad! (Read more.)
Valley of the Dollhouse?
February 21, 2009 - Maher: "In This Country, People Like Pot"
Stewie Smokes, But Does Seth?
"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane gives voice to Stewie, one of the most inventive characters on TV, who when being potty trained asked Peter, "Why don't we just light up a doobie and watch porn?" MacFarlane appeared at Stanford University on April 16, 2006, and said, "Your administrators are going to hate me for what I'm about to tell you, but it is the truth. I smoke some pot." A female student immediately asked, "Would you like to hang out with me and my friends?" MacFarlane responded that someone in every crowd asked him that. He added, "I'm not ashamed to say I am for the legalization of marijuana," and had obviously read Jack Herer's book The Emperor Wears No Clothes because he then went into the William Randolph Hearst/Reefer Madness propaganda campaign and the fact that George Bush Sr.'s paratrooper riggings were made from hemp. "My personal opinion: booze, cigarettes are a lot worse," MacFarlane said, noting with irony that he was swigging from a small bottle of Jack Daniels during his speech. "From time to time, I don't overdo it, like anything else, but I enjoy my doobage."
On July 3, 2008, MacFarlane signed a $100 million deal with 20th Century Fox, making him the highest-paid writer-producer in television. He then said, "I don't smoke much pot anymore. One of the last times I was stoned, I was convinced that I would die unless I kept moving my body. So I sat there, baked, waving my arms around like a crazy person." That's what all that money will do to you.
And an update to Mrs. Garret from TV's "The Facts of Life" who last year brough pot brownies to the cast of ER. You Tube now posts parts 1, 2, and 3 of Episode 13 of the first year of the series, which has a young Helen Hunt smoking a bong (and a report about Moby Dick.)
CelebStoner asks of the new Friday the 13th flick: Is Jason a Stoner?
And apparently Twilight star Kristin Stewart (right) didn't get enough press when she was caught smoking pot on her porch by TMZ, so now the 18-year-old actress appeared on a boat in a bikini with some strategically placed pot leaves.
Limbaugh: Puff and Pay
"But the state doesn't receive any revenue from its cash cow. Instead, it spends billions of dollars enforcing laws pegged at shutting down the industry and inhibiting marijuana's adherents. Of course, there's a reason for that. Marijuana's social costs may include addiction and rehabilitation treatment and lost productivity. Yet these are minute compared with the extensive social costs of alcohol or tobacco. Of course, just legalizing pot wouldn't automatically harvest revenues for the state. An organized system of regulating sales and collecting taxes would need implementing. And it's possible that general drug use could rise, though the debate that pot is a gateway drug to harder substances is inconclusive. Put it all together, and California could potentially wipe some $3 billion off its budget deficit by letting its people 'puff and pay,' on the largest crop in the state of California. Whoa. As I say, this is how it happens. Economic disasters, bad economic decisions, lead to a cultural rot, as all of this devolves."
According to the Chronicle:
February 16, 2009 - Another Famous Pothead List on the Web
I would lead my female Suyccessful Pothead list with Hillary Clinton (who hasn't admitted herself, but Sarah Palin and former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala have), plus Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Republican speechwriter Peggy Noonan, musicians Melissa Etheridge, Norah Jones, Barbra Streisand and Pink, actresses Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Kirsten Dunst, and Susan Sarandon, and Scientist Susan Blackmore. (OK, that's 17 but who's counting.)
The good news is that lists of VIPs are becoming a daily occurrence, often along with arguments for legalization. Among his many records, Michael Phelps could end up being the celeb that broke the back of pot prohibition.
February 15, 2009 - VIPs makes MSNBC
"You can’t find a profession that doesn’t have its share of people who have smoked dope. Heck, Barack Obama is the third straight president who has admitted to experimenting with drugs. Sarah Palin admitted to smoking weed when she was young. So did Newt Gingrich, Bill Bradley, Al Gore (Yeah, I know, no surprise there.), N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Pierce Bronson, William F. Buckley, Bing Crosby, Errol Flynn, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, Margaret Mead, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes and Queen Victoria – and that’s just the short list. Check it out, complete with references, here."
And Keith Thomson of the Huffington Post links to several VIP pages in his post, Michael Phelps in Good Company.
Dale Gieringer of California NORML points out, "Michael Phelps does have severe ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), a common indication for medical cannabis. There are probably thousands of Californians receiving MMJ for ADHD. The utility of MMJ for ADHD has been documented by knowledgeable physicians such as Dr. Tom O'Connell and the late Dr. Claudia Jensen, and was the subject of the book "Jeffreys Journey."
Fan letters can be sent to Phelps at:
February 13, 2008 - Marijuana Milkman
Prosecutor Sarah Statham told the court a cooperative Holding "said customers would leave notes saying, 'Can I have an ounce, or an eighth?' He only sold to existing customers who were old and had aches and pains."
The Guardian reported Holding "began dealing in cannabis after being horrified to hear how much one of his elderly customers was paying for it."
"She had arthritis and her husband had MS and was in a wheelchair," he said. "They wanted it for the pain relief but it was costing them a fortune. I would sell them an eighth of an ounce for £4.10." The street value is £9.
Holding said his oldest customer had been 92 but was "no longer with us," adding, "I had an old woman who I used to give a bit of cannabis to and she would put it under her tongue for the pain." He said he had never been tempted to try it himself.
Acting on tip-offs from concerned residents, Lancashire police launched a discreet surveillance operation, tailing Holding as he completed his round in his "milk float." A subsequent search of his home yielded 167g of cannabis.
Latin American Leaders Call for End to U.S.-led Drug War
Phelps Apologizes to China, Evades Arrest
In an article that began, "Weed, the Breakfast of Champions," San Francisco Chronicle writer Gwen Knapp called for sports to "go green, allow pot smoking." She wrote, "Just as the economy has tanked, strangling sponsorships all over the athletic map, a Super Bowl MVP and the most decorated Olympian of all time have emerged as partakers. Advocates for drug reform have long said that legalizing marijuana would increase tax revenue, not to mention reduce violence in the dealer population."
A remarkable O'Reilly Factor had Bill-O interviewing marketing expert Peter Shankman and Diane Brady of Business Week about the decision by Kellogg's to drop Phelps. Responding to Brady's opinion that Kellogg's did the right thing, O'Reilly replied, "I'm not sure because they tell me after you smoke pot, you want to eat a lot of stuff." He told Brady he'd never smoked pot, but "Nobody believes that, because [of] the way I behave."
Shankman called Kellogg's actions "stupid" and an overreaction, and predicted some other cereal company would
pick up Phelps. This exchange followed:
SHANKMAN "He was off season. This is not - it wasn't a performing enhanced, performance-enhancing drug. This wasn't A-Rod. I don't remember the last time someone smoked pot to, you know, to hit a long ball even longer."
The Washington Post also noted this inconsistency in their article Phelps gets suspended, A-Rod gets ... nothing:
"Rodriguez, 33, the highest paid player in baseball, admitted to ESPN television on Monday that he took a banned substance from 2001 to 2003 after Sports Illustrated reported he tested positive for testosterone and the anabolic steroid Primobolan in 2003. He escapes sanctions from Major League baseball because it did not punish players at that time for using steroids."
Meanwhile, five-time All-Star Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to lying to Congress about his knowledge of other players using steroids. Tejada, 34, admitted that during a 2005 congressional hearing he made the misrepresentations to congressional staff members when he said he never knew of any other player using steroids. And seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has abandoned his much trumpeted proposal for an independent drug-testing program because of logistical problems and high costs.
Grinspoon Enters Blogosphere
February 9 - Lil Wayne Comes Clean to Couric, Grabs Grammys
"I will stand up for marijuana any day... I'm a rapper. That’s who I am, Miss Katie, and I am a gangster and I do what I want. And I love to smoke. And I smoke."
Wayne has been arrested several times in recent years for possessing pot, guns and other drugs (MDMA and cocaine).
He picked up Grammys for best rap song (“Lollipop) and rap solo performance (“A Milli”) today in Los Angeles. Wayne was up for eight awards, the most of any artist, including album of the year for “Tha Carter III."
In addition, All Summer Long from Kid Rock was nominated, as was 4 Minutes from VIPs Madonna and Justin Timberlake, and a song interestingly called "Waiting In The Weeds" from the Eagles CD Long Road Out Of Eden.More on Kelloggs and Munching Out
You can email and call Kellogg's:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-962-1413
They have set up option#1 on their voice mail for Michael Phelps calls, over questions about the peanut paste poisoning.
The Huffington Post had an amusing Lee Stranahan column about the Kellogg's boycott, and Andrew Sullivan mentioned it in The Atlantic's Daily Dish (noting that Kellogg was kind of a weirdo, who knew?)
And what can you do when you've got the munchies and can no longer stomach Rice Krispies treats due to Kellogg's dumping of Michael Phelps? Well, you could switch to the deliciously and nutritiously filling Nature's Path Hemp Plus Organic Granola Cereal topped with Hemp Dream milk. Or grab a Dr. Bronners Alpsnack bar, delicious with hemp seeds.
February 6 - Kelloggs and USA Swimming Drop Phelps
Kellogg Company contacts: Consumer complaints
Fruit Flavored Snacks
Keebler(R) Graham Crackers Crumbs
February 5 - More Support for Phelps
"Add decorated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to the growing list of successful Americans who happens to indulge in marijuana during his down time. The tabloid news story is making international headlines, though it’s difficult to understand why."
Today's Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed by Stanton Peele (author, "The Diseasing of America" and "Addiction-Proof Your Child" (Crown, 2007) blowing the lid off who is getting busted for drugs in this country. Washington Post reporter Sally Jenkins mock-denied smoking pot in a couple of columns and wrote "But frankly, it's better than drinking and driving, which is what Phelps did last time. And it's organic!"
Though the National Review Online shouted, Arrest Michael Phelps Now!, Canada.com said, Fewer people can muster the energy for marijuana outrage and the Newsday said, Michael Phelps Doesn't Need to Apologize.
CBS News had something you don't see every day: a debate between snowboarder Ross Rebagliati and doddering old Joe Califano, a paid anti-drug blowhard. After Califano said more teens are in treatment for today's super-strong marijuana (without mentioning that's because pot is still illegal and they're forced into those programs), Rebagliati said he thought marijuana was the safer choice than alcohol or tobacco, that it was fat free and didn't make you feel bad the next day. (Something the SAFER organization has been saying very effectively.)
The fallout? As FINA, the international governing body of swimming reiterated "its confidence and admiration" for Phelps, he told his hometown newspaper the Baltimore Sun he's considering sitting out the 2012 Olympics now. And already some entreprenurial hempster is offering "Phelps Finest" t-shirts.
Cross Balls -- the Marijuana Debate
According to Mikki from the Cannabis Consumers campaign, a pretty hilarious parody of Crossfire can be found at the URLs below.
Please write to these people or call them thanking them for keeping Michael Phelps! (Also, buy their products.)
Ellen Gonda, Senior Vice President - Global Communications & Public Relations
And write to these asking them to keep Phelps.
James M. Jenness
I am writing to ask that you NOT cancel Michael Phelps's endorsement contract simply because, at the age of 23, he smoked pot at a party. He is still a hero in my book, in fact even more so for honestly admitting to his actions. More and more people are accepting of marijuana in this country and the world, in fact 41% of college freshmen are for legalization, one quarter of the US lives in a state with legal medical marijuana, and voters just passed a decriminalization law in Massachusetts. Marijuana use is common in the NBA, the NFL, and college sports. Ross Rebagliatti got to keep his gold after he tested positive for pot after he won the first Snowboarding gold. You will say more about your belief in the American way, in our freedoms, by keeping Phelps on. If you don't, I will never eat a Kellogg's cornflake again.
A Twitter Over Kutcher
USA Today, MSNBC and others picked up the story, while the right wing outlets ran stories about the local sheriff seeking to charge Phelps with a misdemeanor and a fine amounting to a paltry percentage of his still-alive endorsement deals: VISA joined Hilton Hotels, Omega watches and Speedo who stood by their champion. (Still no word from Kellogg's or anyone else announcing they will drop Phelps.)
Kutcher wrote, "God forbid he hit a bong. Go ask your 20-year-old kid what they did last weekend....I'm not saying it was a smart move. But he doesn't need to be publicly outed for it." Kutcher said he hasn't smoked pot "in quite some time" but added, "I'm not immune to a lapse in good judgment from time to time."
Kutcher played another Michael, the jock who gets stoned (presumably) in That 70s Show, where the characters regularly sit in a smoke-filled circle and get goofy. That the bong was never shown on TV adds further irony to Kutcher's pronouncements.
Kutcher was the person who "outed" the Bush twins in a Rolling Stone interview, saying they smoked a bong at his house in 2002. Understandably Kutcher may feel the twins were fair game since their daddy was arguably the biggest drug war hypocrite ever. But unless people like Phelps and Kutcher will come out and say they smoke pot and don't regret it, this tired old politics will continue indefinitely.
The top athlete in the world and the man who caught the winning superbowl touchdown pass are admitted pot smokers! If now is not the time to stand up for our rights, then when?
What Michael Phelps has to lose is nothing compared to the loss of jobs, homes, family, and liberty that the 800,000 pot "crimnals" arrested yearly suffer. It's getting so desperate that some would seek to "out" celebrities in the way that the gay movement did. We have a secret society that gets high regularly, enjoys themselves, and I daresay finds the experience enlightening in moderation. One of the only things that changes people's minds about pot is finding out that someone they admire, whether a celebrity, a family member or a friend, smokes pot and still functions.
Imagine this scenario: The first gay president is elected in the U.S. But s/he repudiates her gayness as a youthful indescretion s/he regrets. Once in office, her administration enforces strict laws against homosexuality. How betrayed would the gay community feel? About as betrayed as the pro-pot-freedom lobby are starting to feel with Barack Obama, who said "When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently" but has yet to appoint a reformist to his administration, despite the fact that voter input on his website www.change.gov made marijuana legalization the top priority.
It's time to stand up and say, "Yes, We Cannabis!" and be heard!
February 4 - Phelps, Day 4
While the local sheriff explores bringing charges against Phelps, and VISA has announced they will stand behind their champion endorser, the Washington Post editorialized against him, Paul Armentano of NORML asks Why Are We Condemning Michael Phelps' Pot Use? and Maiz Szalavitz notes, If All Americans Had Phelps' Press Experience, The Drug War Would Be Over.
Tommy Chong chimed in with the comment, He's Got Great Lung Capacity, and the San Jose Mercury News lamented that Phelps is to be the keynote speaker at a "Get Motivated" seminar coming next month to HP Pavilion and other Bay Area venues. Uptight bitch Elizabeth Hasselbeck whined on The View, "If he wasn't Michael Phelps, wouldn't he be in jail?" "No," shot back Whoopi Goldberg, "because his picture wouldn't have been in the newspapers!"
Finally, similarly besmirched VIP Ross Rebagliati told Reuters UK, "I think marijuana is less taboo than it was back in 1998 when my incident occurred. It definitely is not a performance enhancing substance. I personally think it is safer than alcohol and cigarettes...I guarantee, even with that one bong hit, Phelps is 100 percent healthier than the average human being."
But our letter of the week is from William McDermott of Cedar Falls, who wrote to the Des Moines Register,
After reading the Feb. 3 front-page article about Michael Phelps smoking pot, I remembered seeing a video clip of Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking a joint of marijuana.
We spend billions of dollars arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people for possessing and ingesting “weed.” Why not legalize marijuana, and place the substance along with tobacco. Possessing it is OK. Smoking it at home is OK. Smoking it in public is not OK.
Taxing it is great. Spending billions of dollars to make criminals out of good people makes no sense. Imagine what the savings would be for taxpayers if we stopped spending money to stop people from smoking what they want in the privacy of their homes.
Just imagine the revenue if we started to tax the sale of marijuana.
The article begins, "Ten years ago, a photo that showed an athlete like Michael Phelps apparently getting high at a party probably would have resulted in considerable fallout. That might still happen to the athlete who has won the most gold medals in Olympic history, who has millions of dollars in endorsements riding on the outcome. But his admission that he used 'bad judgment' has been greeted mostly with forgiveness, humor or a shrug of the shoulders."
No sponsor has publicly tried to drop Phelps, the article states, and Phelps's Facebook page "was bombarded with messages of support, with many of his younger fans expressing frustration than he even felt compelled to apologize."
"For probably the most accomplished athlete in the history of the Olympics to be doing that, I found it very disheartening," said Dr. Gary Wadler, a professor of medicine at New York University and a key adviser to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). But Wadler is "swimming against public opinion" the article states. It mentions U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and perhaps George Bush as past post smokers, along with athletes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Santonio Holmes, and says marijuana lover Lil' Wayne is Phelps's musical favorite.
Allen St. Pierre, director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), called the Phelps story "bittersweet." "The bitter part is the immediate denial and refutation of an activity that he probably enjoyed doing," St. Pierre said. At the same time, the NORML director is thrilled to see images of high achievers smoking marijuana.
"It mainstreams the issue and highlights the fact that incredibly successful people, whether athletically or intellectually, are cannabis consumers," he said. "Had this happened 10 years ago, Mr. Phelps would have been in trouble with his commercial interests. Today, it's almost a badge of honor among people 25 years old or younger. Michael is by no means aberrational." Reporting on the story, one DJ came up with what should be NORML's new tagline: Marijuana: A Gateway Drug to Great Success and Fine Performance.
February 2 - POT SMOKER WINS SUPERBOWL
Holmes's historic catch came with 35 seconds left in the Superbowl, to give the Pittsburgh Steelers their record sixth Super Bowl title, a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lofted the ball over the hands of three Arizona defenders, and Holmes leaped to get it - and somehow managed to drag both feet in bounds for the touchdown. Holmes was named MVP for the game, and he's a VIP too.
(As I write this, VIP Hillary Clinton is being sworn in as Secretary of State. Herstoric times indeed.)
Omega, Speedo and Mazda Cool With Phelps Photo
"In light of Michael Phelps' statement yesterday, Speedo would like to make it clear that it does not condone such behavior and we know that Michael truly regrets his actions," Speedo said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Michael Phelps is a valued member of the Speedo team and a great champion. We will do all that we can to support him and his family."
Omega said it was "strongly committed" to its relationship with Phelps, calling his Beijing accomplishments "among the defining sporting achievements in the history of sport. "The current story in the press involves Michael Phelps' private life and is, as far as Omega is concerned, a nonissue," the company said.
According to Fox News, two of Phelps' endorsement deals — with AT&T and Rosetta Stone — ended on Dec. 31, 2008. AT&T officials declined to comment Monday on any plans to re-sign Phelps; a Rosetta Stone spokeswoman said Phelps is not being considered for future promotions, but that decision was made before the photo surfaced. Kellogg's declined to comment.
Mazda, which signed Phelps to a $1-million-plus deal last month, will also continue to use Phelps to promote its Mazda 6 car in television and print ads, Dynamic Marketing Group's DMG Entertainment said Monday. "We definitely stand by him," DMG CEO Dan Mintz told FOXNews.com. "We're not jumping to any knee-jerk reactions. He's never failed a drug test, he's not a cheat. Not that we condone this, but that's the reality of it."
According to the Baltimore Sun, Phelps didn't lose any endorsements, which also include Visa, PowerBar, Subway, and several others.
"I would not expect him to lose a single endorsement, or any potential endorsements," said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp., a Chicago-based sports business consulting firm. "He has handled himself so well to date that he has earned the benefit of the doubt. Especially at this age, experimentation with things like marijuana for young people in their late teens and early 20s is an understandable action."
John Antil, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware's Lerner College of Business and Economics who studies celebrity endorsements, also praised Phelps's actions. "He didn't deny it. He gave a plausible reason: Young people do this. ... He didn't say, 'I didn't inhale.'"
Marijuana, though not considered performance-enhancing, was added to the International Olympic Committee's list of banned substances after the 1998 Olympics. Its use among Olympic athletes became a matter of public debate after Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati tested positive after winning the first snowboarding gold medal in Nagano, Japan, in 1998. Rebagliati was initially stripped of his medal but in the end kept it because marijuana was, at the time, not on the list. In 1998, Olympic swimmer and VIP Gary Hall Jr. was suspended for three months after he tested positive for marijuana during competition.
Meanwhile, Fox News adds a page on Sports' Top 10 Tokers linking Phelps with Ricky Williams, Josh Howard, Damon Stoudamire,Randy Moss, Mario Chalmers, and Rebagliati. Thomas Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton and Barack Obama are pictured on the "Presidents in Need of Pardons?" page with the caption, "Throughout our history, some of the nation's greatest thinkers have taken solace in herbal delight. Raise your hand if you inhaled..." Just for kicks, they add Cheech and Chong and Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High with the caption, "A little wacky tobacky never hurt Spicoli's endorsement opportunities."
February 1 - NORML's Super Ad Contest
Marijuana, Inc. A Hit
Phelps Finds Another Use for Water
NOTW's source said: "You could tell Michael had smoked before. He grabbed the
Since the Olympics has a four-year zero-tolerance policy, the revelation could end Phelps' competitive status at the 2012 games. Unless we come to our senses before then. (See above for follow up stories.)
Another Obama Smokes Pot
"At moments of suburban relaxation, in our circle of semi-bohemian homes, we smoked pot, wore dashikis and love beads, and frugged ourselves into a lather while the Beatles and Janis Joplin sang away on the hi-fi set. I was happy enough to lick the sugar of the counterculture; it was the pill of antiwar, anti-administration, 'anti-imperialist' protest that I found oddly bitter. I was, perhaps, the most Vietnam-minded person I knew."
It's a bit like the "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows" Family Guy episode where Brian (the dog) sings of the 60s, "we lost the values, but we kept the weed" (in the Emmy Award-winning song "You've Got a Lot to See").
Updike's novel The Witches of Eastwick (which ends very differently than the movie) depicts pot smoking; Updike published a sequel, The Widows of Eastwick, last year.
Caroline Kennedy Shows "Hookah Heroics"
Caroline once took the blame when a police officer found marijuana growing in Jackie's backyard at Hyannis Port, according to the book. "Although David Kennedy had harvested the plants," explains Heymann, "Caroline, attempting to protect her cousin, took the blame."
While Caroline's hookah heroism earned her an angry letter from her grandmother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jackie's temper wouldn't flare until Caroline's interest turned from grass to grazing. "She had given her daughter a credit card for individual purchases under $100," writes Heymann. "One day, she saw a charge for two pounds of barbecued spareribs at Mr. Chow. After lecturing her daughter on the perils of excessive poundage, she canceled the credit card, but reactivated it when Caroline agreed to join her mother on jogs around the Central Park Reservoir.
"It's strange," a family pal, the late George Plimpton, allegedly told Heymann. "Jackie didn't like it when John [Jr.] drank or did drugs, but she didn't seem to care if Caroline got smashed on beer or stoned on grass. It was only when Caroline gained a pound or two that Jackie reacted."
Kennedy bowed out of the New York Senate race (where she could have been appointed by admitted pot smoker and NY Gov. David Patterson), but her support of VIP Barack Obama helped get an admitted pot smoker in the White House too.
Kerry to Hillary: Study VIP Gertrude Bell
Swiss Marijuana field spotted through Google Earth
One commentor said: "Google Earth is now the worst invention ever. Its responsible for removing 1.2 tons of love, peace and happiness from the world." Another wrote, "They could have shared."
More Sumo Arrestlers
January 24, 2009 - Look For Videogame Ads in High Times
January 23, 2009 - Spacey at Sundance
Kevin Spacey, who played a middle-aged man who redicovers pot in American Beauty (1999), was interviewed at Sundance film festival about his new film, Shrink. In that film, Spacey plays a pot-smoking Hollywood psychiatrist.
"How tired did you get of smoking fake weed?" asked James Rocchi of Cinematical, who also wondered if doing so many scenes revolving on just two people talking is an actor's dream, or an actor's nightmare. "As compared to? Explosions, and cars flying through the air?" replied Spacey. "I think it's an actor's dream, and I also think it's an audience's dream; there's noting quite like being able to go to to a play or the cinema and watch people exchange as human beings." Spacey said he was pleased at the audience reaction to the the ensemble-style film, which was compared to those of VIP Robert Altman. Spacey agreed that his character's most therapeutic relationship is with his pot dealer, played by Jesse Plemons.
Spacey had a second film at sundance, Moon, but was off to London to play Hollywood's most major substance abuser, washed-up actor Norman Maines of A Star is Born in a workshop in London next month. The original 1937 film version aired last night on TCM, and Robert Osborne said the final moment where Janet Gaynor gives her name to the world as Mrs. Norman Maines was based on a similar moment when Dorothy Davenport called herself Mrs. Wallace Reid. Reid, star of Birth of a Nation, died in 1923 after battling morphine and alcohol addiction.
Medical Marijuana Raids Continue
January 20, 2009 - Inhale to the Chief Day
Addendum: Midler Puffs Again
The Women is a re-make of the Clare Booth Luce play. Luce admittedly tried LSD, and thought it was great, but wasn't for the masses. In the 1939 movie based on her play, one character, played by Marjorie Main, often exclaims, "Smokin' Oakum!" Oakum is made of the small fibers of the hemp plant and used to plug holes in the planks of ships.
VIPs of the Month for January 2009: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
January 19, 2009 - Seymour Hoffman to Direct Pothead Love Story
"You're likely to leave the theatre with a contact high from the ripe pleasure that Mr Hoffman and his cast mates derive from portraying everyday eccentrics," wrote the newspaper's Ben Brantley, adding, "Most particularly, though, 'Jack' is about its title character’s pursuit of perfection, of talismanic, Zen-like moments to hold against life’s chaos." The play featured a "stoned dinner party from hell" and "the most eloquent sex scene on any stage in New York."
Variety reports, "Assuming the movie follows the play, Hoffman will sport blonde dreadlocks and spend a lot of time smoking a bong and pretending to be a Rastafarian. The love affair between Connie and Jack manages to explore cooking classes, swimming lessons, and … well, illegal drugs. This will definitely not be your usual romantic comedy, but who hasn’t wanted to see that tired genre shaken up a bit?" The website is taking comments.
January 18, 2009 - Betty Boop Banned for Drug Theme
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