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December 28 - More Potheads Are Kennedy Center Honorees
Once again, this year's Kennedy Center Honorees include potheads, this time VIPs Paul McCartney (pictured above, center) and Merle Haggard.

VIP Caroline Kennedy opened the program, which included pot lovers Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones (who nailed "Baby I'm Amazed") and Gwen Stefani reunited with No Doubt. In the audience: Mary Louise Parker of Weeds and Forrest Whitaker, who will play VIP Louis Armstrong in an upcoming film.

(Also catch Elaine Stritch singing about reefers at the White House this summer.)

A Banner Year for Bhang
CANNABIS CULTURE - 2010 was a huge media year for the herb, but some of this year's pot news was left in a haze. Here's a round up of the Top Ten Underreported Marijuana Stories from 2010.

Did 'Shrooms Send Santa and His Reindeer Flying?
By Richard Harris, NPR - Monday, December 27 2010
Long ago, shamans -- and reindeer -- in the Far East were known to eat red and white mushrooms. And then hallucinate. A Harvard biologist asks, is it possible this is the source of the "jolly" man in the red and white suit and his "flying" reindeer?

Dyan Cannon (Sort of) Says She Gets the LA Lakers Baked
TMZ, the outlet behind the Miley Cyrus salvia video, is making much of Dyan Cannon's brownie deliveries to the Lakers, calling it "Brownie Gate."

Outside the Staples Center in L.A. on December 25, Cannon told TMZ that the type of brownies she was bringing were: "The good kind. The kind that'll help the Lakers win today." [The Lakers lost 98 - 80. They were reportedly favored to win.]

Cannon seems to be known for her "baked" goods: posted a photo of Cannon carrying pom-poms and brownies on her way to a Lakers game in May. And this post appeared in 2005 on a blog about a teen arrested for selling pot brownies at school:
"I seem to recall hearing that Dyan Cannon used to bake brownies for people sitting in the front row at L.A. Lakers NBA games. And that those brownies had some special ingredient in them . These days she must be baking them for the Lakers themselves, cause they sure play like they're on something !!!"

Cannon smoked pot, I believe, in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969). During her ugly divorce from Cary Grant, she accused him in court papers of being hooked on LSD. "I was addicted to marijuana," Cannon told Larry King in an April 2001 interview, where she said she'd quit and found Jesus. She was born in 1937, the year marijuana was defacto made illegal in the US.

Today on TMZ there'll be news about "something in the pipe family" related to Jamaica...

December 22 - Pat Robertson Speaks Against Locking Up Small-Time Marijuana Criminals
Papá Noel no se olvida de nadie.


December 21 - Sal Mineo's Pot Garden
A new biography of actor Sal Mineo reveals he was introduced to marijuana while filming Rebel Without a Cause (1955), when he grew his own plants in his backyard to save money. Sal Mineo: A Biography by Michael Gregg Michaud recounts tales of Mineo having philosophical discussions on pot with one friend, and taking mushrooms with another. Later, the openly gay actor used "poppers" and his 1976 murder in West Hollywood may have had a drug connection.

The Sicilian boy from the Bronx appeared as a Mexican in Giant (1956) and as a Jewish emigrant in Exodus (1960). He starred as VIP Gene Krupa in The Gene Krupa Story, a 1959 film that also featured VIP Anita O'Day.

The Michaud book has been optioned by VIP James Franco, who played James Dean in a breakthrough role. Franco will reportedly not appear in the film, but will have a hand in its writing. He and co-Golden Globe nominee Natalie Portman will appear in the fantasy "Your Highness" in 2011.

Christmas Viewing
Jesus Was a Mushroom, by Darryl Cherney
Also see: Strange Fruit: Alchemy, Religion and Magical Foods, A Speculative History by Clark Heinrich

December 14 - VIPs and Drug Themes at Golden Globes
VIPs Natalie Portman and James Franco have been nominated for Golden Globe awards, she as a ballerina in Black Swawn and he as an amputee in 127 Hours. Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenthal are nominated for Love and Other Drugs, and VIP Aaron Sorkin is nominated for Best Screenplay for Social Network, about Facebook founders and Prop. 19 donors Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz.

Johnny Depp (pictured right) is nominated for Alice in Wonderland, which is up for Best Comedy or Musical. Professor Sherry L. Ackerman in Alice and the Hero’s Journey writes, “Alice's being repeatedly instructed to eat or drink various intoxicating substances, after having descended into the underworld, was reminiscent of the function of kykeon in the Eleusian mystery schools. The Wonderland mushroom, suggestive of the Amanita muscaria, takes a central position in this context, as the caterpillar instructs Alice to eat it in order to change sizes. Interestingly, the caterpillar is a principal symbol for transformation…the foreshadow of the chrysalis. Thus, the symbol for transformation sits atop the transformational agent, the psychoactive mushroom.”  Of course, the caterpillar smokes a hookah.

NBC will telecast the 68th annual Golden Globes on Sunday, January 16.

December 13 - Oh Cannenbaum!
A six-foot marijuana plant decorated as a Christmas tree was confiscated from the home of "an old hippie", who is now facing a drug possession charge, German police said last week.

In a tongue-in-cheek press release titled "All you need is love or how a hippie celebrates Christmas," police in the western city of Koblenz said they discovered the giant plant in the living room of the suspect.

"The two-metre-tall marijuana plant had been put in a Christmas tree stand and decorated with a string of lights," the police said.

"When asked, the hashish fan told the perplexed officers that he had intended to add more decorations to the 'tree' and place the presents under it, according to tradition."

Police seized the plant and another 150 grams (5.3 ounces) of marijuana found in the apartment.

German authorities the previous day said that a 21-year-old man in the southern city of Munich had been detained with a homemade Advent calendar with cannabis behind each little door instead of chocolate.

Artwork: Jean Hanamoto
(There's still time to order her wonderful, cannabis-inspired Christmas cards and wrapping papers.)

Miley Cyrus Smokes Salvia on YouTube
Disney TV's Hannah Montana has been caught on video smoking what's said to be Salvia divinorium, a still-legal (for adults) hallucinogenic plant. After her toke, 18-year-old Miley Cyrus seems to relax in reverie until her filming "friend" prods her to describe her experience. "Is it me tripping?" she says. "I want more of that shit, I swear."

One site reported salvia sales increased threefold at LA shops after the video's release. It has also led to renewed calls for salvia to be banned. Anthony Adams, a former State Assemblyman for California who attempted to get the substance banned in 2007, said: "It's time for state and federal governments to renew their push toward an outright ban." Because, that's worked so well for pot.

How surprized should we be from an artist whose latest video is "Party in the USA" where she extolls a Jay-Z song? According to a 2007 U.S. survey on drug use and health, about one million people had used salvia that year. Several clinical research trials on the substance are actively recruiting subjects. Read more here and here.

PDFA Admits a Drug-Free America Isn't Possible
Partnership for a Drug Free America, the group that produced the infamous "this is Your Brain on Drugs" fried-egg ads, has changed its name to The Partnership at In an interview with MediaPost, the org's president, said of the change, "We became increasingly aware that our name was a problem. As soon as you said 'Partnership for a Drug-free America,' people would say something like 'Do you really think there will ever be a drug-free America?' So you were back on your heels right away."

Cynthia Cott's 1992 expose on PDFA in The Nation revealed that pharmaceuticals and their beneficiaries alone donated 54 percent of the $5.8 million the Partnership took from its top twenty-five contributors from 1988 to 1991. It also took $150,000 each from Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch and RJR Reynolds, plus $100,000 from American Brands (Jim Beam. Lucky Strike). The Partnership later announced it would quit its alcohol and tobacco habit but will continue to mainline pharmaceutical checks (Village Voice, 3/12/97).

(Thanks to Harry Shearer's Le Show for this tip.)

Prospective Republican Presidential Candidate Smoked Marijuana from 2005 to 2008
According to The Weekly Standard, Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and a likely 2012 Republican
presidential candidate, smoked marijuana from 2005 to 2008 for medicinal purposes. Johnson, who was New Mexico's governor from 1994-2002, has been a vocal supporter of legalization and has admitted to drug use in his youth. But now he has come forward with the admission that he used it later in life for pain after a paragliding accident.

December 4 - That's the Breaks:
Kurtis Blow Popped for Pot at LAX
According to the LA Times, rapper-producer Kurtis Blow [ne Kurtis Walker Combs] was cited this week at Los Angeles International Airport for possession of marijuana.

Authorities would not say whether the marijuana was found during a body scan or pat-down Thursday at 5:45 a.m. as Blow was undergoing a TSA security screening at Terminal 7, said Los Angeles airport police. Walker was cited for misdemeanor possession of less than 29 grams of marijuana and released, according to Police Department spokesman Albert Rodriguez.

Blow tweeted Thursday on Twitter: “What is this bout me being busted for weed at the airport? Not true. Isn't weed legal in California?"

Blow became the first major rapper to be signed by a big label in 1979 at age 20. His album "Christmas Rappin" sold more than 400,000 copies. "Breaks" sold 600,000 copies and was the first rap song to go gold. Blow was also behind rap hits by The Fat Boys and Run DMC. He is set to host the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards in April 2011.

According to Wikipedia:

Blow has served as a spokesperson for The National Ad Council. "He is an integral part of its youth campaign and can be seen and heard in print, radio and television nationwide in the 'Say No To Drugs' campaign. He has been involved with Phoenix House of California, a substance abuse organization with black community emphasis."

In 2002, he traveled to the Middle East to tour the Armed Forces bases performing seventeen shows for the troops. The tour consisted of shows in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Krgystan, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. Blow said, “It was a tour I will never forget,” and “I did the Bob Hope thing.”

Blow's acting performances and music coordination in several films includes Leon Kennedy’s Cry of the City and the hip hop film Krush Groove. The New York Daily News called his cinematic works, “Noteworthy, a dynamic presence.” As host and co-producer for Das Leben Amerikanischer Gangs, an international film production's focus on the West Coast gang scene, Blow crossed international waters for inner city justice (1995).

Deeply committed to Christianity, Blow attended ministry classes at Nyack College. As Founder of The Hip Hop Church, Blow serves as rapper, DJ, worship leader and licensed minister.

Older Adults Increasingly Use Medical Marijuana for Nausea, Pain
by: Peter Jaret | from: AARP Bulletin | October 29, 2010
(The AARP censored an article about marijuana use by the elderly in 2005.)

December 3 - Willie Walks
According to Rolling Stone,VIP Willie Nelson, who was arrested last week in Texas for having pot on his bus, has been charged with misdemeanor possession, which means that he'll just be fined. Nelson was originally charged with carrying six ounces, a felony with a minimum sentence of 180 days in jail and a maximum sentence of two years plus a $10,000 fine, but the amount was knocked down to four ounces.

Mickey Raphael, Nelson's longtime harmonica player, told Rolling Stone on Saturday that the singer, who was released after posting a $2,500 bond, was doing fine after the bust: "He said he feels great - he lost six ounces."

Texas attorney Dick DeGuerin, a criminal defense lawyer who recently represented Tom Delay and country singer Billy Joe Shaver, questioned the lawfulness of the search, which as he pointed out, occurred 100 miles from the Mexican border. "It's supposed to be a checkpoint only for aliens, and [agents] overstep their authority all the time," he told Rolling Stone. "I've had several cases from that checkpoint and they just use the opportunity to check out anybody they want to. If you have long hair, if you're driving a van or it looks like you're from California or you look like a hippie, they do profiling."

UPDATE: Nelson has founded the Teapot Party in the wake of his arrest, which has 45,000 friends on Facebook (and counting.)

WikiLeaks cables show US has lost faith in Mexico's ability to win drug war
According to UK's The Guardian, the US has lost confidence in the Mexican army's ability to win the country's drugs war, branding it slow, clumsy and no match for "sophisticated" narco-traffickers.

Classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks also reveal a growing sense of alarm within Mexico's government that time is running out in the battle against organised crime and that it could "lose" entire regions. The memos detail blunders in the fight against drug cartels and a desperate search for a new strategy to save President Felipe Calderon's administration from a bloodsoaked fiasco.

The assessments, made in a cable to Washington earlier this year, are bleak contrast to Mexican insistence that the state is prevailing in a war declared by Calderon in 2006. Four years later drug-related violence has killed more than 28,000 people and brought cities such as Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana to the brink of anarchy, with mayors, police chiefs and ordinary people gunned down with impunity and beheadings shockingly common.

Last month, in an interview with the BBC, Calderon insisted that as long as the US remained the biggest consumer of drugs in the world, the terror wrought by the drug cartels in Mexico would continue. "They [the Americans] have a clear responsibility in this because they are providing the market for the drug dealers and the criminals," President Caldeon said.

4th Amendment Wear
An enterprising company has some up with T-shirts and underwear printed with metallic inks, so that airport screeners will get a chance to read the 4th Amendment (against unreasonable searches) when the wearer goes through a body scanner (see right). The hot items are already sold out, but orders are being taken here.

More Potheads To Be Seen in Movies, on TV
"Sometimes in the shadows the view [from his window] would light up, usually when he was smoking weed, as if the contrast knob of Creation had been messed with just enough to give everything an underglow, a luminous edge, and promise that the night was about to turn epic somehow." -Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice  (p. 6)

New York magazine reports that Paul Thomas Anderson wants to adapt Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel Inherent Vice — about Larry "Doc" Sportello, a pothead private eye wandering through the Summer (and winter) of Love in 1969 Los Angeles — into his sixth feature film. One source familiar with the project said that Anderson’s agency, Creative Artists, has been pondering the idea of trying to attach Robert Downey Jr. as Doc Sportello, but another source cautions there’s no official Downey involvement yet and, in any event, Downey’s schedule is so full he wouldn’t available to shoot anything until November 2011 at the earliest.

In late September, Anderson was forced to shelve indefinitely plans to make a long-gestating film based loosely on the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Originally set up at Universal, which balked at its $35 million budget, The Master (as it would've presumably been called) would have starred Philip Seymour Hoffman. New York writes, "If Downey can't do Vice, we could just as easily imagine Hoffman as the amiably stoned private investigator. (Then again, we can easily imagine Hoffman as an an amiably stoned anything.)"

- Daydream Nation, a debut feature from Toronto filmmaker Michael Goldbach that opened the Whistler Film Festival Wednesday night, is slated for wide release next year. According to the Vancover Sun, it's a "surreal take on the coming-of-age experience, featuring Josh Lucas (American Psycho) as a befuddled teacher and third point in a love triangle that also involves Kat Dennings (40-Year-Old Virgin), the sexually self-possessed force of seduction, and Reece Thompson (pictured right, Dreamcatcher), the outsider pothead who completes the 180-degree enclosure."

- NBC's Friday Night Lights, based in a fictional high school in Texas, has "tattooed potheads" in a recent episode. The show hasn't gained much of an audience, but is critically acclaimed: it was awarded a Peabody Award, a Humanitas Prize, and a Television Critics Association Award, as well as several technical Primetime Emmy Awards. At the 2010 Emmy Awards, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were nominated for the Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress awards for a drama series. In August, a DirecTV press release officially confirmed that the show's upcoming fifth season - scheduled to begin on the 101 Network on October 27, 2010 - would be its final one. Maybe the tatooed potheads can save it.

Tip of the Week: Pierre Berton
A VIP reader alerts us to the fact that prolific Canadian historian Pierre Berton appeared on CBC's Rick Mercer show in November 2004 and demonstrated how to roll a joint. Before the interview, Berton told Mercer, "Bring the pot." When the interview ended, the iconic Canadian told Mercer, "Leave the pot." It was shortly before Berton's death at 84.

Berton had been using marijuana since the 1960s. He admitted that he had been a "recreational marijuana user" since then. "I enjoy the odd joint but I never go overboard," he told the Toronto Star. "I smoke about once a month to help me relax." Read more.

November 12 - Schwarzenegger:
"No One Cares If You Smoke A Joint or Not"
Outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California said on The Tonight Show on Nov. 8, "Proposition 19 went a little bit too far, I think. Propositions don't die because the idea is bad, it just dies because it is written wrong." Voters defeated Prop. 19 by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin.

Schwarzenegger said his decision to sign a bill last month that reduces the charge for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction "absolutely" hurt Prop. 19's chances.

"It makes [possession] from a misdemeanor to an infraction, which is like a speeding ticket. And no one cares if you smoke a joint or not," he told Leno to some twitters from the audience.

Berlusconi and Bhang
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been accused by (who else) a former call girl who said that his private jet was used to supply marijuana to sex parties at his villa in Sardinia. Nadia Macri, 28, an aspiring model and television showgirl who dreamed of appearing on the Italian equivalent of Big Brother, said marijuana joints
were provided for about 25 young women who had been invited to Villa Certosa, where Mr Berlusconi has entertained Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin.

"There was grass available in all the rooms, it had been brought in on the prime minister's private jet," she told investigators, according to transcripts published by several Italian newspapers. "I saw a number of guests smoking, but never the prime minister." The claims surfaced in an unrelated investigation into a cocaine trafficking ring involving Perla Genovesi, a former official in Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party who is now a police whistle-blower.

A Bit of Bull From Lincecum
VIP Tim Lincecum appeared at the SF Giants victory party sporting not a marijuana leaf but a Red Bull ball cap. Lincecum joined the Red Bull roster in July, just before his dismal August when he lost 5 games in a row.

At the post-parade event, it was up to Lincecum's closer, Brian "Fear The Beard" Wilson, to make the statement: "I think I'm having a mini-heart attack...maybe it's the smell of Prop. 19." (The crowd cheered.)

More likely, it would be the caffeine-heavy Red Bull that could cause heart palpitations. The EU upheld France's ban on the drink in 2004, and Denmark and Norway have also banned it. In 2001, Irishman Ross Cooney, 18, died after he shared four cans of Red Bull and played basketball.

The most popular energy drink in the world, Red Bull contains taurine, glucuronolactone (a carbohydrate), B vitamins, sucrose and glucose and 80 mg of caffeine. A Brazilian study found that those who mix Red Bull with alcohol may be drunker than they think they are - the energy drink may mask the alcohol effect. The Marin Institute is fighting against a new wave of energy drinks that contain alcohol.

In 2009, Red Bull brought out Red Bull Coca, which contains an extract of coca leaf it claims is "de-cocainized" and added only for flavor. But Germany found traces of cocaine in the product (0.13 micrograms per can) and banned it in six states. Read more. Red Bull Coca is available in the US, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, Russia and the UK.

Back to the party: Wilson was jokingly nominated for San Francisco Mayor by Gavin Newsom, who's
just been elected Lieutenant Governor. Newsom remarked on the Grateful Dead/Giants T-shirt sported by catcher Eli Whiteside at the rally, quoting Jerry Garcia when he said, "You don't want to be the best of the best. You want to be the only one who does what you do."

Also speaking at the event was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is depicted smoking marijuana in the documentary film "Pumping Iron." The original film had Schwarzenegger smoking pot while he trained for Mr. Universe, saying, "It helps with the reps." Schwarzenegger has appeared in Japanese energy drink ads, spoofed by
HBO's Entourage with the tag line, "Drink it till your heart pops."

Of the parade itself, this blogger noted:

"In case you were wondering, and I know you were, Tim Lincecum said he didn't vote Tuesday. But I think we all can guess where he would've stood on Prop 19....[Pitcher] Jeremy Affeldt remarked on the sights. He also remarked on the smells."There was some of that Prop 19 or whatever," Affeldt said. "They had that working."

On the endorsement front, Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert with San Francisco's Baker Street Advertising told the SF Chron he thinks Lincecum "is poised for a national marketing breakout" that could command $1 million to $3 million in new endorsement deals.

"He's an incredible pitcher and you know he parties, and that makes him a little bit more like an everyman," he said. "He just doesn't look like a ballplayer. He looks like a skate punk from Seattle."

The article continues, "Indeed, during Wednesday's World Series celebration, some of the loudest cheers for Lincecum came from people who were also taking a few hits of the illegal substance. One of the more popular underground T-shirts around town reads 'Let Timmy Smoke'."

"For more of the edgier products that appeal to teenagers and twentysomethings who are very familiar with marijuana and aren't alarmed by it all, I think it just makes him one of the guys," Dorfman said.

November 2 - Lincecum Wins One For the Freaks
After a franchise record of 14 strikeouts in his first playoff appearance, VIP Tim Lincecum lead the SF Giants to win the World Series with George W. Bush in attendance, watching his Texas Rangers go down. It was two days after the anniversary of Lincecum's bust for pot last year, and the night before Californians vote on Prop. 19 to legalize marijuana.

"This is ultimate high... in baseball," was the first utterance aired by a Giant in the person of Lincecum's catcher Buster Posey, 23, after the game.

"I'm calling in sick tomorrow - everyone is calling in sick," Patrick Steber, 31, told the SF Chronicle as he celebrated on Castro Street. "And then I'll vote around noon," he said. "We have to honor Timmy Lincecum by passing Proposition 19." Read more.

Already the press is squaking about Lincecum's endorsement deals.

Stars Come Out for Legalization
Hollywood turned out for Prop. 19, when Danny Glover and Melissa Etheridge spoke at a news conference on its behalf. Actor Zach Galifianakis lit a doob on Real Time with Bill Maher in support of 19 (conservative reporter Margaret Hoover confirmed it was the real thing). Snoop Dog reminded us where he stands and Doonesbury got into the act. Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz, the Facebook founders who are the subjects of the new film Social Media, ponied up $170,000 for the campaign. And at the last minute, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner kicked in $2500.

What Conservatives Think About Legalization
Glenn Beck - We need to legalize - we need to make a choice.
Palin - Need to prioritize law enforcement efforts - making minimal problems
Paul- We should legalize fdm of choice

Here's what most people think:


October 7 - VIPs Tony Curtis, Eddie Fisher Depart
With sadness, we note the passing of a Bronx boy named Bernard Schwartz who became a movie star as Tony Curtis.

Curtis first won recognition in "The Sweet Smell of Success" (1957), where he plays a swarmy PR hack who tries to smear a jazz guitarist as a pot-smoking commie. He was also notable as a slave/bard in "Spartacus," by VIP Dalton Trumbo. Curtis was busted for marijuana possession at Heathrow airport in 1971, when he flew to London for an anti-tobacco appearance. (Michael Caine and Roger Moore credited him with helping them quit smoking cigarettes in the early 1970s.) Later, he had problems with alcohol and cocaine. Among his mourners was VIP Arnold Schwarzenegger, fresh from signing a bill to reduce marijuana possession to an infraction in California.

Carrie Fisher's 2008 book Wishful Drinking outed her father, singer Eddie Fisher, who died on September 22. "My father is beyond likeable. I mean you would just love him. My father also smokes four joints a day. Not for medical reasons. So I call him Puff Daddy."

Spoken Like a Stoner
Asked if he'd like a champagne shower upon making the MLB playoffs, SF Giants pitcher and VIP Tim Lincecum replied, "Fuck yeah!" On camera. Apparently, this is a Giants tradition.

Tom Newman's song "Coffee and Whiskey" Tells It Like It Is

Jim Hightower on Marijuana Industry Unionization
Ironically, federal law still outlaws marijuana, but common-sense state and local laws are showing that, by literally going to pot, such legalized grassroots enterprises can give people and communities a new high.

Paris Hilton Barred from Japan
Paris Hilton canceled her Asian tour when she was denied entry at Tokyo's Narita airport on September 22 following pleading guilty to a drug violation in Las Vegas. Hilton also abruptly canceled planned appearances in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 29-year-old celeb was to appear at a news conference in Tokyo to promote her fashion and fragrance lines. It was two days after pleading guilty to a cocaine possession in Las Vegas. The Aug. 27 incident began when a police officer stopped her boyfriend's Escalade and smelled a "vapor trail" of marijuana smoke.

Japan has strict immigration laws that bar entry to those convicted of drug offenses, although exceptions are occasionally granted. A Japanese immigration official said Hilton was denied entry after a total of about six hours of questioning over the two days.

Soccer icon Diego Maradona was initially banned from entering Japan during the 2002 World Cup finals for past drug offenses, but was eventually given a 30-day visa as a "special delegate." The Rolling Stones struggled
for years to gain entry to Japan and were eventually allowed in despite its members' drug convictions. In January 1980, Paul McCartney was arrested for marijuana possession at Narita airport. He was deported without carrying out a planned concert tour by his rock group Wings.

'The Big High,' 1967 Episode Of 'Dragnet,' Warned That Pot Would Be Legal in Future
Dennis Romero of the LA Weekly revisits a 1967 episode of "Dragnet" that predicts pot will one day be legal.

HBO's Boardwalk Empire Helps Us Understand Drug Prohibition
The California initiative, the growing drug policy reform movement, and shows like Boardwalk Empire are helping us reach a tipping point.
By Tony Newman for Alternet

September 9 - GrowGirl on Pot Wives

Heather Donahue of The Blair Witch Project announces she's gone to pot -- literally.
Can't wait for her book GROWGIRL: The Blosoming of an Unlikely Outlaw.

Boxer Aide Resigns Over Pot Flap; "Ongoing Issue" at Capitol
There are 400 comments and counting at the Politico page with the article, "Barbara Boxer aide charged with possession of pot." Seems Marcus Stanley, 43, a senior aide for California Senator Barbara Boxer, was caught on Tuesday trying to bring a bag of pot into the Hart Senate Office Building.

Stanley, who served as a senior economic adviser and worked on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Joint (ha ha) Economic Committee, has resigned from his six-figure job over the incident. Boxer spokesman Zachary Coile told POLITICO, “He submitted his resignation, and Sen. Boxer accepted it because his actions yesterday were wrong and unacceptable.”

Politico reports, "Marijuana possession has been an ongoing issue on the Capitol grounds, especially since the Capitol Visitor Center opened with additional screening facilities. In the past year and a half, more than a dozen people have been stopped for bringing marijuana into the Capitol complex."

This is another case of a qualified person losing his job over a petty prohibition. Stanley was a professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Managment. Boxer opposes Prop. 19 and Sen. Dianne Feinstein is co-chairing the No on 19 campaign. Boxer and Prop. 19 have one common enemy: The Chamber of Commerce.

Deadheads Get Their Bobble On
When I saw "Fraggle Rock" I thought it looked like a Grateful Dead concert, with everyone bobbing their heads to the music. It's fitting then, that the SF Giants celebrated Jerry Garcia's birthday (August 9th) as Jerry Garcia Bobblehead Day. But apparently Rolling Stone was joking when it said that Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Jeff Pehrson sang, “and the bong hits’ red blare” during the National Anthem that day. This video says otherwise.

Vince Wellnick looks like he's smoking, but was probably hitting a pitch pipe, before he sang it (beautifully) with Garcia and Weir on Opening Day in 1993. If there’s any doubt that the Grateful Dead are fine musicians, these videos should dispel it.

September 8 - Jay Leno Gets Frank with Barney About Legalization
By Ellen Komp, Cannabis Culture - Tuesday, September 7 2010
Thanks to Drug Policy's Grand Dame Michelle Aldrich for cluing me into this video.

SPORTS NEWS: Lincecum Smokin' Again; Noah Enjoying Offseason; Phelps Doing Phine
By any standards this is a stunning turn-around. SF Giants pitcher and VIP Tim Lincecum has emerged from a dismal August to win two in a row. Last night he struck out 11 Arizona Diamondbacks, retired his first 13 batters and allowed only one runner in the first 6 innings before faultering in the 7th and allowing 3 runs.

On September 1, the young pitcher threw eight strong innings and outdueled Ubaldo Jimenez, one of the best pitchers in the league, in a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Now if Tim would put some of his $23 million into marijuana legalization, he'd really be a hero.

Sportswriter Kelly Dwyer just lost a lot of fans in Chicago for dissin the Bulls' Joakim Noah after intercepting him at a charity golf event. Dubbing the 6-11 center too laid back and squinty, Dwyer concluded, "please don't be a pothead and ruin Chicago's season." Commenter Steve replied, "I heard he's working incredibly hard this offseason...If he want to be a pothead, that's fine with me, just don't do it during the season when he can get caught." atikiN wrote, "Dwyer's a NARC. Quit hating Dwyer, quit hating. Nothing wrong with a little 420." And Kibbitz chimed in, "He's just getting ready for his role to spark the team." If Noah is half as successful as the NBA's all-time leading scorer and the player who had most games played, he'll do fine.

And according to CelebStoner, VIP Michael Phelps won two more titles in August, with twin victories at the U.S. Championships on Aug. 4 in Irvine, California. Phelps now holds the record for individual titles with 49.

Dubious Anniversary from a Dubious Dude
On September 6, 1990 LA Police Chief Darryl Gates said casual drug users "ought to be taken out and shot" at a hearing in the U.S. Senate. Years later on Gates's KFI radio show, guest Timothy Leary asked him about the statement. "Oh, my mother used to say that," Gates backhanded. "If you don't like something, take it out and shoot it."

"Your mother, that's a good one," Leary shot back. "Of course, your mother wasn't chief of police of the most militaristic police force to ever inhabit the globe." Gates later founded the D.A.R.E. program and The Chief was partying at a black-tie event during the Rodney King rebellion. He died on April 16, one day after Jack Herer.

According to his Wiki page: By the time of the Watts riots in 1965 Gates was an inspector (overseeing the investigation of, among other crimes, the Manson Family murders and the Hillside Strangler case). Gates is considered the father of SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics), and made substantial use of the LAPD's Public Disorder and Intelligence Division (PDID) squad, even developing an international spying operation.

The lawsuit CAPA v. Gates, with the Coalition Against Police Abuse (CAPA) as one of two dozen or so plaintiffs, later sued the LAPD on First Amendment grounds that exposed the unlawful harassment, surveillance, and infiltration of the progressive movement in Los Angeles by LAPD agents. The lawsuit against Gates and the LAPD proved successful. The PDID was ordered to disband (and did so in January 1983). In February 1984, an out-of-court settlement awarded $1.8 million dollars to the named plaintiffs, individuals, and organizations who had sued the City of L.A. After his retirement, Gates was President/CEO of Global ePoint, a security and homeland defense company dealing primarily in digital surveillance and security technology.

In another hate speech incident during his career, Gates attributed several deaths of people held in choke holds to the theory that "blacks might be more likely to die from chokeholds because their arteries do not open as fast as they do on 'normal people.'"

August 28 - Let Timmy and Percy Smoke!
Those wearing Let Tim Smoke! T-shirts sold outside the SF Giants' stadium may have had the right idea. Two-time, defending Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum is in a terrible slump, just after signing a $23-million dollar contract (another thing that tends to put undue pressure on athletes) on the heels of a marijuana bust in the off season.

Attorney Tony Serra (the True Believer) propounds an interesting theory in Leah Garchik's SF Chronicle gossip column: "It's obvious...what has happened to impair his pitching brilliance. His decline occurred after his marijuana conviction in Oregon [actually, Washington]. He obviously has not 'medicated' since then. Baseball pitchers, like trial lawyers, have a 'high stress' vocation. Marijuana ably moderates stress. Lincecum suffers from 'cannabis deprivation'."

The pitcher, who may just be throwing his arm out of the action, at least has fared better than Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, who was hospitalized for severe migraine headaches after league policy disallowed his medical marijuana use for the ailment. Returning to practice, he had to be hospitalized a second time. Cindy Boren of the Washington Post describes what happened:

"Harvin, who has battled migraines since he was 10 and sought treatment last year at the Mayo Clinic, had not practiced for two weeks because of migraines, returning to the field only Monday [August 16]. Suffering another attack Thursday, he managed to return to the field and looked up to the sky to field a punt. He doubled over, vomited and seemed momentarily unresponsive and was taken to the hospital. The scene was so disturbing for players that the rest of practice was called off."

According to Mike Meno of the Marijuana Policy Project, "during last year’s NFL combine, Harvin, a promising prospect, tested positive for marijuana, and was subsequently drafted much lower than expected. The Vikings finally picked him 22nd overall, reportedly after a long talk about his marijuana use, and specifically, how it needed to stop if he wanted to keep playing."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the top NBA scorer of all time, has admitted he uses marijuana for migraines. So many sports figures are found to be using marijuana (most recently, Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem) that one wonders whether Serra is on to something and it's time to end drug testing for all.

Pro-Prop 19 T
Here's another T-shirt for the season: a nicely done, understated shirt of cushy, comfy bamboo fiber (right) that reads, "FREE MARIJUANA FROM THE CHAINS OF IGNORANCE. YES ON PROP 19 - NOVEMBER 2, 2010." Get mens' (coffee colored) and ladies' (gray) Ts and wear 'em with price.

Hilton 0 for 3
Paris Hilton has finally been arrested for drug use, this time after Las Vegas police found cocaine on her after stopping her car, from which marijuana smoke was alledgly spewing. And Lady Gaga says cocaine inspired her music, which explains why hers (and Hilton's) is so truly terrible and why musicians, and the rest of us, ar better off sticking with the mind-expanding drugs.

Cary and Crick Liked Lucy
The new Vanity Fair has a story titled Cary in the Sky with Diamonds about the days when Hollywood stars like Grant, Esther Williams and Polly Bergen were experimenting with then-legal LSD under a doctor's care.

A reader reminds me that Francis Crick was on LSD when he discovered DNA's double-helix configuration (much aided by unsung heroine Rosalind Franklin's research). Crick was a co-founder of Soma, a group that advocated for cannabis law reform. Thanks to the efforts of MAPS, scientists at Harvard and the University of California at San Francisco have received permission from the F.D.A. to experiment with LSD once again.

Ask the Pothead App
If you've got Android or Palm (or soon, iPhone) you can get the app "Ask the Pothead" from cellBall, the makers of Ask the Eight Ball, Ask a Democrat, Ask a Republican, Ask a Trekkie and Ask the Movie Buff. Created by Potheads for Potheads, the site says, "Ever need that little extra something to make a decision about whether to roll it or bake it? If you’re looking for a fun clairvoyant that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, then you are ready for the awesome oracle, the pupernatural prognosticator, the foxy fortune-teller, the classy crystal Ball, you are in fact ready for…. cellBall. Powered by fact-less prognostication technology."

iPhoners who want a meatier app can chose the NORML Blog App from the iTunes webpage.

August 22 - Famous Coroner Says Marijuana Doesn't Cause Death
The country's most famous coroner, Cyril Wecht, stood up at a meeting in Pittsburgh in support of a medical marijuana law there.

Wecht, 90, was the coroner who examined John F. Kennedy; other high-profile cases were Robert F. Kennedy, Sharon Tate, Elvis Presley, JonBenét Ramsey, Vincent Foster, Laci Peterson and Anna Nicole Smith, as well as the The Legionnaires' Disease victims. He is a clinical professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an adjunct professor of law at Duquesne University.

In more than 36,000 autopsies, Wecht told the committee he had never seen a death attributed to marijuana use. "Let's get down to what kills people," he said in support of the bill. "Restricting a drug which can have therapeutic medicinal purposes in specific instances, which does not lead to morbidity and mortality, just makes no sense. Let's help ease physical and emotional pain and suffering."

August 21 - VIP Gets "Top Blog" Award
I've been informed by that the VIP blog has been "determined to be one of the top resources about your topic, and has received our Top 40 Marijuana Blogs award!" Winners were chosen through a scoring system led by internet nominations.

Roberts Siblings -- Seriously Smoky?
First the more talented and sexy Roberts sibling, that would be Eric, announced he was in rehab, Tweeting about an addiciton to medical marijuana. The strange event took place two weeks after he'd debuted on "The Young and the Restless" (enough to send anyone over the edge).
Eric was a star before Julia, and has been bitter in recent years about her relative success. He was memorable as a hippie in Rude Awakening with Cheech Marin and also appeared as Miss Lonelyhearts in a TV adaptation of VIP Nathanael West's novel.

Now comes news from the National Enquirer, claiming that "way back in the day," Julia Herself "used to smoke a lot of pot" when she and husband Danny Moder liked to get high and play "Halo". La Roberts was also reportedly spotted in Amsterdam coffee shops while shooting Oceans 12.

Sac Bee: Weed Goes Mainstream
Golfers! Housewives! Computer programmers! Yes, they're all smoking pot!

Then What Happened to Paris Hilton, Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron?
has come pretty interesting responses to Seventeen Magazine's headline: "The Party Drug that Will Make You Fat and Ugly." (Yes, they mean marijuana.) Check out the upcoming West Coast Leaf magazine for my rebuttal.

Randy Paul and the Aqua Buddha
U.S. Senate candidate, teabagger and dubious doctor Rand Paul has been outed as a strange and perverse pothead by GQ Magazine.

The magazine quotes a woman who was one of Paul's teammates on the Baylor swim team (she requested anonymity because she is now a clinical psychologist). According to this woman, Paul and a friend "came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They'd been smoking pot."

"They told me their god was 'Aqua Buddha' and that I needed to bow down and worship him," the woman recalls. "They blindfolded me and made me bow down to 'Aqua Buddha' in the creek. I had to say, 'I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.'"

Paul told Faux News that he "categorically" denies the kidnapping allegation. GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson said the magazine stands by the story.

July 20 - The Hempen Hilton Detained Again
Though she denied the news on Twitter, newspapers report that Paris Hilton, 29, was once more detained for having marijuana in her purse upon landing on the French island of Corsica.

Arriving on a private jet from her namesake city, Paris, on July 16, Hilton's handbag contained less than a gram of cannabis, police said, and she was detained then released soon afterwards without charge.

According to the Corse-Matin newspaper, Hilton was traveling with "people close to power in Malaysia", and was due to travel by yacht to the luxury resort of Porto Cervo in Sardinia, Italy. Poor kid.

Hilton's been photographed smoking pot so many times, she's almost as exposed as her 2003 sex tape left her. It's time for her to speak out about the injustice of the marijuana laws and open a chain of pot-friendly Hempen Hilton Hotels.

Hagman to Behar: Mandatory Minimum LSD Trips for Politicians
VIP Larry Hagman
was interviewed by Joy Behar who said she'd read that VIP David Crosby turned him on to LSD. Hagman responded that LSD "took the fear of death away...I went into this place that was the white light where everything's OK. And I think it ought to be mandatory that all our politicians should do it at least once." Behar noted that Cary Grant also took LSD and commented that it was popular among Hollywood people. "Yes, and college students and high school students and doctors and lawyers and dentists..." said Hagman.

Retired U.S. Surgeon General Endorses California Initiative to Control and Tax Marijuana
Highlighting the broad and growing coalition supporting Proposition 19’s commonsense solution to control and tax marijuana, former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders joined the President of the California NAACP, a retired LAPD narcotics detective, the former Police Chief of San Jose, a retired Orange County Judge, and a retired LAPD Deputy Chief in signing the Initiative’s ballot statements.

Following is the rebuttal filed by Proposition 19 for the voter guide:


Let’s be honest. Our marijuana laws have failed. Rather than accepting things as they are, we can control marijuana.

Like the prohibition of alcohol in the past, outlawing marijuana hasn’t worked. It’s created a criminal market run by violent drug cartels, wasted police resources, and drained our state and local budgets. Proposition 19 is a more honest policy, and a common sense solution to these problems. Proposition 19 will control marijuana like alcohol, making it available only to adults, enforce strong driving and workplace safety laws, put police priorities where they belong, and generate billions in needed revenue.


We can make it harder for kids to get marijuana, or we can accept the status quo, where marijuana is easier for kids to get than alcohol.

We can let police prevent violent crime, or we can accept the status quo, and keep wasting resources sending tens of thousands of non-violent marijuana consumers -- a disproportionate number who are minorities -- to jail.

We can control marijuana to weaken the drug cartels, or we can accept the status quo, and continue to fund violent gangs with illegal marijuana sales in California.

We can tax marijuana to generate billions for vital services, or we can accept the status quo, and turn our backs on this needed revenue.


Vote Yes on 19.

JOYCELYN ELDERS, United States Surgeon General (Ret.)
ALICE A. HUFFMAN, President, California NAACP
DAVID DODDRIDGE, Los Angeles Police Department Narcotics Detective (Ret.)

Study: Marijuana Can Make Bipolar Patients Smarter (Not So with Schizophrenics)
A recent study suggests that some patients with bipolar disorder who use marijuana actually performed better on certain neurocognitive tests. However, marijuana appeared to have the opposite effect on schizophrenic patients.

July 10 - Experienced Marijuana Consumers Exhibit Virtually No Change In Cognitive Task Performance After Smoking, Study Says
Experienced marijuana consumers exhibit nominal changes in cognitive performance after inhaling cannabis, according to clinical trial data published online this week in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior.

Investigators at Columbia University in New York and the San Francisco Brain Research Institute assessed acute marijuana-related effects on cognitive functioning in 24 volunteers who reported consuming the drug at least 24 times per week.

Researchers determined that participants' overall performance accuracy on episodic memory and working memory tasks "was not significantly altered by marijuana."

Authors concluded: "The present findings show that smoked marijuana produced minimal effects on episodic and spatial working memory of near-daily smokers. The overall response accuracy on the word recognition and working memory tasks was unaffected by marijuana, although smoked marijuana did increase the amount of time participants needed to complete these tasks.

"This pattern of effects is consistent with results previously reported by other researchers studying the acute effects of marijuana on cognitive performance of regular users. ... The finding ... stands in contrast to previous findings in occasional smokers who showed reduced accuracy on these same tasks after marijuana. ... The observation that frequent users' response accuracy is not altered after marijuana smoking to the same extent it is for infrequent users ... suggests that near-daily marijuana smokers may have developed tolerance to some marijuana-related behavioral effects."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at

July 6 - World Cup Party More Fun If You're an Heiress
Sounds like it's quite a party in South Africa at the World Cup, with Paris Hilton and her model friend popped for smoking a joint outside the stadium. Now it turns out some Peruvian women found a new, less obnoxious use for their vuvuzelas.

Hilton was later released without charge, and proclaimed her innocence, to the disappointment of new friends like Adam who wrote on the Toke of the Town blog: "I'm speechless. I NEVER thought I'd have a reason to support Paris Hilton for anything."

Paris's friend and co-arestee, former Playboy Playmate Jennifer Rovero, 31, didn't fare so well: she pleaded guilty to possession of a single joint and was ordered by a judge to pay a fine or spend 30 days in jail. Rovero was sentenced to a R1000 fine or 30 days in prison. She was given 14 days to leave the country or face deportation, and her name will be placed on a visa and entry stop list. (Source) Ever the sports fan, Rovero is shown (right) on her October 1999 Playboy cover, Girls of the Pac 10. She was the July 1988 centerfold.

Portugal, which successfully decriminalized all drugs in 2001, found out that allowing marijuana use actually lessened violence around international soccer matches, as people turned from alcohol to a mellower inebriant (see the book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?)

California NAACP Endorses Prop 19 Legalization Initiative

Charlize, Milla, now Natalie The Face of Dior
Dior perfume seems to have a penchant for potheads when picking their public face. VIP Charlize Theron and Milla Jovovich, who appeared on the cover of High Times in 1994, have been Dior models, now VIP Natalie Portman is their latest beauty.

Ailing Hitchens Cuts Short Book Tour
Christopher Hitchens is undergoing treatment for esophogeal cancer, and has cancelled the remainder of his book tour. (Source.) The author did appear on The Daily Show where his Bill Clinton-pot brownie claim was mentioned (to nothing but a chuckle by Jon Stewart). It's also mentioned in the current New Yorker.

June 22 - VIP Palin Says US Should Chill Out on Pot
At a June 16 Fox Business Network appearance with Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, VIP Sarah Palin said that although she wasn't for full legalization, she thinks law enforcement should not focus its energy on the “minimal problem” of marijuana.

Paul said enforcing marijuana restrictions specifically and war on drugs more generally is a “useless battle,” and Palin chimed in, "If we're talking about pot, I'm not for the legalization of pot. I think that would just encourage our young people to think that it was OK to go ahead and use it [like she did]. ”

“However I think we need to prioritize our law enforcement efforts,” Palin added. “If somebody's gonna to smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems we have in society.” Palin then urged law enforcement to “not concentrate on such a, relatively speaking, minimal problem we have in the country.”

The group SAFER invited Palin to speak at one of their conventions, offering a $25,000 fee if she will acknowledge that marijuana is a reasonable choice of inebriant. The group notes that VIP Sarah Silverman talks about marijuana vs. alcohol in her new book, Bedwetter.

Egyptian Activist Killed in Alleged Police Beating
Democracy Now reported: "Egypt is facing growing calls for an independent probe into the police killing of a young man who was reportedly preparing to expose police corruption. According to family members, the alleged victim, twenty-eight-year-old Khaled Mohammed Said, was about to release a video showing officers dividing up narcotics and cash seized in a drug bust. The Egyptian police claims Said died after choking on a marijuana cigarette he had swallowed when policemen tried to arrest him. But eyewitnesses say he was dragged into the street and beaten to death. Pictures have also emerged of Said's shattered face. On Sunday [June 13], Egyptian security forces beat and arrested dozens of protesters in downtown Cairo at a rally calling for justice in Said's case and the resignation of Egypt's interior minister, who controls the police force. On Tuesday, Egyptian prosecutors said they've ordered a second autopsy to determine the cause of Said's death.

Elsewhere, it's been reported that Said allegedly swallowed a bag of narcotics or died of a drug overdose. Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International have expressed outrage at the incident and are calling for an independent inquiry, as has the U.S. State Department.

Historical Items
The Independent (U.K.) asks, America's Prohibition Laws Were Meant to Cut Crime and Boost Morality -- They Failed on Both Fronts. So How Can the 'War on Drugs' Ever Succeed? It Can't. And the New York Times printed an Op-Ed by Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition titled "No Closing Time for Income Taxes" that discusses a marijuana tax in historical context.

From the San Francisco Chronicle blog: Mention of the "Collie" or "Colley" in print first appeared toward the end of the 19th century. It is believed that many Border Collies today can be traced back to a single dog known as Old Hemp. He was described as a "quiet, powerful dog that sheep responded to easily." Many shepherds used him as stud and Hemp's hard-working style soon became synonymous with the Collie breed. Read more.

Do Looser Laws Make Pot More Popular? Not So Far
Martin Kaste and Sayre Quevedo, Youth Radio
June 11, 2010 - All Things Considered
Listen to the Story

June 8 - Betty White Debuts as Pothead on TV Land
Betty White's new sitcom, "Hot in Cleveland" debuts on TV Land on June 16. In it, White plays a caretaker who smells of pot.

White, 88, has had a career resurgence since the brilliant "You're playing like Betty White" Snickers ads debuted during the Superbowl. She's appeared in a series of skits on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson," as a Salvation Army bellringer chortling about her exorbitant medical marijuana bills, as an accountant with a briefcase full of cocaine, as a prison guard and as a Girl Scout.

White is TV royalty, with experience back to her days with Alan Ludden on "Password." She's our pick for a contestant on the new Name that Pothead game.

NORML director salutes Wynkoop for advertising beer like weed

May 24, 2010 - New York Times on Stoner Cuisine
“Everybody smokes dope after work. People you would never imagine,” Travel Channel chef Anthony Bourdain told the New York Times in its 5/18 story Marijuana Fuels a New Kitchen Culture.

The article continues, "Today, a small but influential band of cooks says both their chin-dripping, carbohydrate-heavy food and the accessible, feel-good mood in their dining rooms are influenced by the kind of herb that can get people arrested.

Call it haute stoner cuisine (defined as the kind of food that tastes good in the altered state marijuana brings). “It’s that thing where you’re trying to hit all the senses,” said one chef.

“There has been an entire strata of restaurants created by chefs to feed other chefs,” Mr. Bourdain said, citing several examples around NYC. “These are restaurants created specially for the tastes of the slightly stoned, slightly drunk chef after work."

Chefs and restaurateurs Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo said most of their projects — going to Sicily to import olive oil to sell at their two Frankies Spuntino restaurants; the concept for their Brooklyn restaurant Prime Meats; even a new restaurant planned for Portland, Ore. — were conceived with the creative help of marijuana.

Roy Choi, who owns the fleet of Kogi Korean taco trucks in Los Angeles, likens the culinary culture that has grown up around marijuana to the one that rose up around the Grateful Dead years ago. Then, people who attended the band’s shows got high and shared live music. Now, people get high and share delicious, inventive and accessible food.

“It’s good music, maybe a little weed and really good times and great food that makes you feel good,” he said.

Choi, who recently opened his first restaurant, Chego!, said he uses marijuana to keep his creativity up and to squeeze in quick breaks in the midst of 17-hour workdays. “In the middle of a busy day, I’ll smoke,” he said. “Then I’ll go to the record store and hang out and clear my mind or pop into a matinee movie and then come back to the streets.”

A Web-based show called “Munchies” follows chefs as they party and eat late into the night, then head back to their kitchens to cook.

“It’s like getting the best cheese,” Falcinelli said. “I have like four or five different types of marijuana in my refrigerator right now.” He added, “We smoke quote-unquote the working man’s weed." Castronovo added: “I’m not spacey at all. It gives me energy.”

Ron Siegel of the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, said he’s grown past his partying days. But even he is having a little fun with haute stoner cuisine.

To serve slow-cooked quail eggs and caviar, he places them atop plastic film that tightly covers a white porcelain serving bowl. Then he fills the vessel with smoke from grated Japanese cedar packed into the bowl of a fan-driven bong he buys in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. The smoke escapes when the diner lifts a small spoon covering a hole in the plastic. He calls it the Lincecum, after Giants pitcher and VIP Tim Lincecum.

Photo illustration by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

May 22, 2010 - Third Day of Emery Protests Alter Vancouver Bus Routes
Buses in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside were rerouted for over an hour late Saturday afternoon due to a protest over the extradition of 'Prince of Pot,' Marc Emery.

Sullum on Souder
The Reason columnist reminds us why marijuana law reformers are happy to see Souder sink. (And catch Amy Goodman playing a tape of an interview with Souder and fellow drug war thug Bill McCollum.)

20 Years Ago Today
A round-up of events that took place in 1990.

February - President George Bush and Columbia's president Virgilio Barco hold a drug summit in Colombia. Bush asks Barco for help in curbing Colombia's cocaine production and export to the U.S., to which Barco replies, "You're down here asking us to clean up. What about the marijuana that's being grown on the North Coast of California?"

Bush asks drug "czar" William Bennett to devise a plan to respond to Barco's concerns. Bennett gives a speech to the conservative American Legislative Exchange's meeting in Monterey calling for California to re-criminalize marijuana. "It's a national embarrassment that we are the third-largest exporter in the world of marijuana," he says. Bennett says he wants to go after casual users, advocating seizing drivers' licenses of drug users and setting civil fines of up to $10,000 for selling small amounts of drugs. Pledging more federal enforcement money, he calls on states to build more prisons and enact "boot camps," mandatory minimum sentences, and property forfeiture.

May 14 - UC Berkeley researcher Jonathan Shedler and Jack Block release results of a 15-year study that show teenagers who experimented casually with drugs appeared to be better adjusted than adolescents who either abstained or regularly abused drugs. (Block died on February 6, 2010.)

July 4 - A letter to a lawyer for Brett Kimberlin disclosed in federal court confirms Kimberlin was twice placed in special detention on orders from BOP director J. Michael Quinlan four days before the 1988 presidential election. Kimberlin called several news organizations during the previous weeks to allege he had smoked marijuana with vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle at a fraternity party in Bloomington, Indiana in 1971, and had sold Quayle pot more than a dozen times over the next few years. (Kimberlin is now an influential, internet-based activist for voting rights.)

July 29 - More than 200 troops from the Bureau of Land Management, the Army and the California National Guard begin a three-week invasion of Chemise Mountain in Humboldt county, calling themselves Operation Green Sweep. The action, sealing off 640 acres of federal land, was said by U.S. Congressman Douglas Bosco to be the result of Bush's conversation with Barco in February. The operation nets 1400 plants and a class-action lawsuit alleging civil-liberties violations.

August 18 - The California Research Advisory Panel, convened in 1969, concludes California should legalize cultivation and possession of marijuana for personal use. Attorney General Van de Kamp blocks the report's publication. The San Francisco Examiner calls for drug legalization.

September 6 - LA Police Chief Darryl Gates says casual drug users "ought to be taken out and shot" at a hearing in the U.S. Senate.

Late 1990 - US Customs Services seizes a shipment of nearly 1000 pounds of cocaine at Miami's international airport and discovers it had been shipped by members of the Venezuelan National Guard with approval of a Central Intelligence Agency anti-drug program in Venezuela.

30 years ago - 1980

Operation Sinsemilla, a combined local, state and federal air and ground attack on California's marijuana crop, is expanded from four to 27 counties. A call-in poll of over 20,000 SF Chronicle readers denounces the raids by a 73-27% margin.

May 21 - Princes of Pot, Flowers Both in U.S.
As Canadian Marc Emery, known as the Prince of Pot, is extradited to the US for a 5-year prison sentence after selling marijuana seeds online, the Mexican Prince of Flowers has made an appearance in the US.

Celebrating the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, the national museum of Mexico has loaned the famous Xochipilli "Flower Prince" statue to the Getty Villa in Malibu where it is on view. Emery's extradition is the latest example of the demonization of our ancient, sacramental plant teachers, celebrated in Xochipilli.

Protests will be held in cities across Canada and the U.S. on Saturday May 22. Read more on Emery and the protests. Emery's prosecution may be the most mean-spirited since Tommy Chong served 9 months in prision for selling bongs on the internet.

"The contributions made to life on this planet in the past 40 years by people who smoke marijuana is unparalleled," Emery said in a recent article."There is no other sub-culture that has given so much to the world as have the potheads, yet we're hunted down like dogs."

As the Knicks chased LeBron, the cops nabbed LeBong
New York Knicks forward Wilson Chandler arrested for marijuana possession in Queens
May 19th 2010

Greener Fest Was
“If you don't know about hemp, you're not green,” shouted Vivian McPeak from the stage. “You need to get Greener.” Thus began Greener Fest, held at LA's Venice Beach on May 15, where scores of colorful tent-covered kiosks greeted a steady stream of hemp enthusiasts in what is becoming a monthly series of huge cannabis confabs.

The festival was billed as returning to hemp rather than medical marijuana, partly in honor of Jack Herer, who petitioned for years at Venice Beach and died one month before the event. Although many of the booths at Greener Fest offered medical services, there was a greater diversity than at recent shows, including hemp clothing and body care products.

The breezy outdoor venue was a nice change from stuffy convention centers, with the added benefit of some groovy music: Mitch Margo of The Tokens performed their hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and it seemed Jimi Hendrix had magically appeared when his brother Leon performed with Anthony Aquarius Mystery.

McPeak, an organizer for the huge Seattle Hempfest, which annually stretches seemingly for miles along the Seattle shoreline, predicted similar things for Greener Fest. He brought Seattle-style weather with him, with clouds covering the hint of sunshine the morning saw for most of the afternoon (which must have made the OG Girls awfully chilly, but they never complained). A good time was, apparently, had by all.

Guest of honor George Clayton Johnson, author of Logan's Run and Oceans 11, plus several Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes, reminded the crowd that “Hemp Can STILL Save the Planet,” but warned that “the window is closing, unless we reorder our priorities.” Hemp's only problem is that it's too perfect, said Johnson. On top of all its benefits to mankind, it also serves as a “mild euphoriant,” causing it to be vilified as marijuana. Extolling hemp's virtues as a source of food and shelter, he added, “And it reconciles us with the universe.”

Johnson, who ought to know, called Herer a science-fiction character. Asked about the comment afterwards, Johnson said, “It's really a sci fi story about the plant. It's the Tree of Life that mankind has discovered again and again, all the way up until Jack found it. That's why he called his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes; he really saw himself as that boy in the story.”

On hand was Herer's son Dan, who printed up memorial T-shirts for the occasion, one depicting Jack as Forrest Gump, sitting on a bench with a hemp stalk sticking out of the box on his lap. “Saving the earth, one plant at a time,” it said. Another, captioned, “Let My People Grow,” had Jack facing his beloved Pacific Ocean. All proceeds went to The Jack Herer Medical and Memorial Fund.

Jack's work will live on in The California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative 2012, an effort starting this November, aiming for the Nov. 2012 ballot. Even if TaxCannabis 2010 passes this year, CHI as currently written would greatly expand on that law.

As I left, I noticed the flags at the beach Police Station were flying at half mast. The officer inside said the tribute was for William Elkins Jr., an aide to former LA Mayor Tom Bradley. But it served double duty that day.

Info at

May 11 - Xochipilli Lives
Celebrating the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, the national museum of Mexico has loaned the famous Xochipilli "Flower Prince" statue to the Getty Villa in Malibu. Dating from 1450-1521, the basalt figure sits cross-legged in an estactic pose and is adorned with psychoactive plants (tobacco, morning glory, and mushrooms have been identified.) Part of The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire exhibit, the statue is on exhibit now through June 30 (or July 5).

One of the interactive screens at the exhibit says the statue's headdress has 4 sets of a five-bar pattern, making 20, the basis of Aztec numerology and the final day (called "flower") of their calendar. The statue is also called "five flower" (Macuilxochitl). He is the fifth diety in a series of 5 gods of excess, linked to agriculture, music, dance, lust and honorable death.

Read more

Ex-Pres Inhaled...Brownies?
Author Christopher Hitchens, who was at Oxford at the same time as Bill Clinton, purports to explain in his forthcoming memoir Hitch-22 why Clinton said he didn’t inhale.

"When I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two -- and didn't like it -- and didn't inhale and never tried inhaling again," Clinton said while campaigning for the presidency in 1992.

Hitchens writes, "He preferred, like many another marijuana enthusiast, to take his dope in the form of large handfuls of cookies and brownies.”

This information bolsters that in Edward Klein's book The Truth About Hillary,  which says our Secretary of State met her future husband at a commune called Cozy Beach, where her Yale Journal of Law and Social Action co-editor Kris Olson lived. According to Klein, Cozy Beach was affiliated with Ken Kesey's Oregon Hog Farm, and the Magic Bus riders were said to be regular visitors. "Bill and Hillary often grooved the night away at Cozy Beach, spinning the latest Jefferson Airplane platters and eating Kris Olson's hashish brownies,” wrote Miriam Horn in Rebels in White Gloves.

Sports News: Baseball Still the Gentler Sport
“There’s Cy in Here,” shouts an enormous banner currently flying from the top of AT&T Park in San Francisco. Pictured is a lanky, stony-looking pitcher named Tim Lincecum,  who earned his second consecutive Cy Young award last year. The 25-year-old Washington native has signed a $23 million dollar contract, which many speculated wouldn’t happen because of his bust last fall for marijuana. Lincecum paid a $513 fine in January after being caught with 3.3 grams of pot and a pipe while driving in his home state. Will money ruin what marijuana couldn’t? Catch the Giants this year to find out.

Meanwhile, Santonio Holmes, the MVP of last year's Superbowl, has been traded by the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth-round draft pick from the New York Jets. Holmes is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, following a pre-Superbowl incident when he was caught with marijuana in his car. Apparently Holmes has turned to a harder drug (liquor), leading to an incident last month when he allegedly threw a drink at a woman in a Florida bar. He could be suspended for an entire season if he violates league policy again.

Acknowledging to Sports Illustrated that as many as one third of potential draft picks have tried marijuana, the NFL is no longer disqualifying players who test positive for pot, but rather is evaluating them on a case-by-case basis. "If you knocked everyone off your [draft] board who has experimented with weed, you'd lose about 20 percent of your board, not to mention disqualify a few recent presidents," one NFL head coach said.

Dr. Frank Lucido, a medical marijuana specialist practicing in Berkeley, told the Wall Street Journal that two former NFL players with chronic orthopedic pain are his patients. "I say marijuana should not be a banned substance [in the NFL]. It has too many medical benefits," Lucido stated.

Smithsonian Article Details Alcohol Prohibition and Taxes
Before 1913 an impressive 40 percent of all national tax revenues came from an excise tax on liquor.

Celebrating Mother's Day ... With Marijuana

"In a perfect world, my kids will never experiment with marijuana or alcohol, but as a realist, I also fear the pain
alcohol could cause in their later lives far more than I fear any detrimental consequences of marijuana use." (Jessica Corry, founder of Women's Marijuana Movement coalition)

Scripps Research study suggests marijuana can combat alcoholism
A team at The Scripps Research Institute has found decisive evidence that the endocannabinoid system is active in a brain region known to play a key role in the processing of memory, emotional reactions, and addiction formation. The new study also shows that this system can dampen the effects of alcohol, suggesting an avenue for the development of drugs to combat alcohol addiction.

April 30 - Schwarzenegger on Leno on MJ Legalization
The Governator tells Jay Leno he "has a little experience" with marijuana, and the two joke about "higher" courts.

also see: Maher to Leno: Shut Up, Grandpa

What's Missing from Lois Wilson's Hallmark Biography (and Our Culture)
Marijuana and psychedelics have played a more significant role in helping alcoholics beat addiction than Hallmark History allows.

Pot Inspires Author
Writer Jill Ciment (right) said at a recent forum that her goal is making our times as relevant as any in great literature.

Wrote an LA Times reporter:
"Someone in the audience asked where the authors write. Landis said she writes at Starbucks; Crane works at home, as does Ciment, starting off each morning with a hit of marijuana. (Being in California, she felt comfortable sharing.) The crowd loved it, and Salter Reynolds told her children in the front row to plug their ears."

U.K. Lib Dems' secret plan for high street cannabis cafes
A leaked policy document calls for the decriminalisation of the drug in an approach even more radical than Amsterdamâs.

April 17 - The Hemperor Departs
The LA Times blog ran this photo of hemp activist Jack Herer at his Venice Beach booth (when it was still a free speech zone). Herer has died at the age of 70 after suffering a heart attack last year at a rally in Oregon where he spoke.

This booth is how we turned people onto hemp, one by one (we couldn't even get the word "hemp" into the newspaper at the time; they would always change it to "marijuana"). Only one person in 10 knew anything but "rope and dope" when I joined the hemp movement in 1991; after a few years, only 1 in 10 didn't know all about hemp. It was all done by the grassroots, and Jack was the leader.

Fittingly, the LA Times has just reported that Stella McCartney, Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein are among the designers incorporating hemp textiles into their fashions.

Jeopardy! had a category last night, "I'd Rather Pay Taxes" whose answers were people who, like Jack, died on April 15. Among them were Abraham Lincoln, Greta Garbo, and Jean-Paul Sartre. More on the date.

SF Weekly's blog has his High Times cover as Santa Claus.

An obituary en Espanol

I always said about Jack, he had a heart as big as all outdoors...and a voice to match. Once I heard him speak at the Oregon venue where he suffered his earlier stroke. Standing at the far end of the football-field sized venue, all the other speakers sounded like gobbeldygook until Jack took the stage and came through clear as a bell. The only comparable experience I've had was hearing Ella Fitzgerald sing at a stadium.

Jack used his voice well, stumping for hemp across the country and making The Emperor Wears No Clothes a million seller. I traveled with him to Colorado in 1992 to work on a petition campaign, and worked with him to edit the 9th edition of The Emperor, where I wrote about how I watched Jack ponder over every line. We did this late at night at a Sunset Blvd. copyshop where renting computers from midnight until 6 am was cheaper. One day he looked around and said, "Everything here could be made of hemp. The carpets, the computer terminals, the drapes..." While driving around he envisioned hemp fields everywhere.

Jack was forever recruiting petitioners and activists as he reawakened the cannabis reform movement. He always said that registering someone to vote was the highest work one could do. That his heart attack happened last year just after Oregon became the 7th state to pass a hemp legalization bill is a fitting testament to his work. Without Jack's tireless research (and his self-admitted ability to get others to help him) we would quite likely have lost the USDA's Hemp for Victory film, which as The Emperor tells, Jack had to go to D.C. to secure.

Jack was self educated, but he would surprise you by speaking Korean in restaurants (he served in Korea during the war). He held his own in forums, like the Milennium Madness celebration I saw him at in LA with Tim Leary and others. Someone asked what role homosexuals would play in the future and he simply replied, "That of a citizen." It's a role we must all now play as the Emperor's mantle is, sadly, put onto hempsters everywhere.

Willie Nelson Smokes Larry King
Here he admits to smoking before the show.
Here he talks legalization and vaporization.

Quote of the Day: Partner Pothead

I have been a lifelong cannabis user, on an almost daily basis since I was in high school. I am now the managing partner of a very successful law firm in the Washington, D.C. area.

I have been in a professional law practice for almost 27 years. I work 60+ hours a week, and all of that hard work has translated into high levels of annual income.

I still get high after work, almost every day….

- A marijuana-using managing partner (and parent of pot-smoking daughters), in an email to Andrew Sullivan.

April 4 - Happy Easter: Can Mankind Resurrect?
After reading Rolling Stone's awful conclusion that psychedelic art is a reason NOT to legalize pot, it's heartening to read about a new film from Daniel Pinchbeck, featuring Sting and other luminaries. Most will know Pinchbeck as the author of the wonderful Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism.

The SF Chronicle writes,
The movie "2012" made $770 million last winter by imagining a global apocalypse predicted, some believe, by the ancient Mayan calendar. Working from the same point of departure, "2012: Time for Change" steers the focus away from dramatic catastrophes and toward people who are using technology and psychedelic drugs to repair man's relationship with nature.

2012: Time for Change will be shown at the Lumiere-Landmark on April 9, 10 an 11 at 7pm. Pinchbeck writes of the film, I am featured as interviewer and narrator, in dialogues with Sting, David Lynch, Paul Stamets, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Ellen Page (star of Juno), VIP Gilberto Gil, and many others. We will be holding a panel discussion on the film during Greenfest (April 10/11).

Tickets for the Greenfest screenings can be bought at these links:
Friday April 9th tickets
Saturday April 10th tickets
Sunday April 11th tickets

Movie tickets available here

April 1 - No fooling: Junk food 'as addictive as heroin and smoking'
As South Park's season debut salutes the return of contraband Kentucky Fried Chicken, a study finds that binging on junk food is as addictive as smoking or taking drugs and could cause compulsive eating and obesity, leading to other health problems.

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida found laboratory rats became addicted on a bad diet just like people who became dependent on cocaine and heroin. The study, published online in Nature Neuroscience, suggests for the first time that our brains may react in the same way to junk food as it does to drugs.

In the study, which took nearly three years to complete, rats that ate as much junk food as they wanted quickly became very fat and started bingeing.When researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, they found the rats on unlimited junk food needed even more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets. The very same changes occur in the brains of rats that over consume cocaine or heroin, and are thought to play an important role in the development of compulsive drug use.

"They always went for the worst types of food and as a result, they took in twice the calories as the control rats," said Dr Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist who led the research. "When we removed the junk food and tried to put them on a nutritious diet - what we called the 'salad bar option' - they simply refused to eat. The change in their diet preference was so great that they basically starved themselves for two weeks after they were cut off from junk food."

Entertainment News
A March 31 New York Times blog item quotes 24-year-old actor/comic Louis Centanni saying, "There's one thing that helps my Tourette's more than anything, and it's marijuana," from their site Patient Voices: Tourette's Syndrome where he says he balloned to 300 pounds in high school from prescription medication. "As soon as I smoked, my tics started to dissipate," says Centanni, who smokes marijuana daily for his disorder, despite its illegality in his home state of New Jersey. According to, Centanni was given the nickname "Twitchels" by Nicole Ritchie during the filming of The Simple Life and wears a Philadelphia Phillies hat in honor of Jim Eisenrich, the Phillies right-fielder who has Tourette's. Clinical studies have found cannabis effective against the effects of Tourette's syndrome.

It's been confirmed by several sites that New Line Cinema has set a summer start date for filming a third, possibly 3-D installment of the pot-loving Harold & Kumar franchise, working from a Christmas-themed script by writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. The films are produced by Greg Shapiro, who just picked up multiple Oscars for The Hurt Locker. This site is running a poll on whether Kal Penn should leave his position of associate director of the White House Office Of Public Engagement to do the film.

- According to Tweets by Wall St. Journal reporter Michelle Kung and actor Edward Norton, the crime comedy Leaves of Grass has been acquired by a new, unnamed distributor and will be released this summer, not Friday, as was originally planned. A rep for the orginal distributor First Look confirmed the news.

Norton, who plays an Ivy League professor and his "pothead" Oklahoman twin brother in the film, tweets: "Details to come but we're all really happy because now it will likely get to many more cities than just New York and Dallas. This happened very much due to great audience response and reviews and press out of SXSW (Film Conference and Festival).'' Written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson of "O Brother Where Art Thou," Leaves co-stars Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss and Keri Russell. Roger Ebert called it "some kind of sweet, wacky masterpiece."

The New York Daily News asks Norton: Would you consider this movie a typical stoner comedy? He responds, "The movie is a lot of fun, but this is definitely not 'Pineapple Express.' It's funny and there is marijuana in it, but it's not a pot comedy. There's a lot more to it, and it's much more philosophical than political. Marijuana politics are not really involved. It's about classical ideas of balance between right brain and left brain. That being said, High Times did put my character on their cover."

- And we say goodbye to actor and civil rights activist Robert Culp, who appeared in TV's I Spy and smoked pot in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969).

NASCAR Bans Cannabis Car
According to a press release, NASCAR banned the Cannabis Planet TV car from racing in the K & N Pro Series West race this past Saturday evening, March 27 at the All-American Speedway in Roseville, CA. team owner Matt Dugan surmised the situation: "NASCAR is claiming we did not fill out the appropriate paperwork in time, which is quite interesting as there is no paperwork required for sponsors at this level. We have never filled out sponsorship paperwork nor do the other racing teams." Their car was able to race on Saturday night with with "" logo was displayed in place of the CannabisPlanet.TV logo, yet NO paperwork was ever filed with NASCAR, says the release.

This is extra ridiculous since NASCAR ushered in a new era of liquor ads on television by allowing ads on their cars in 2005, a situation deplored by the AMA. History Channel shows have revealed that NASCAR grew out of the great tradition of moonshiners outrunning the law in the deep South. One of the most celebrated was Robert Glenn "Junior" Johnson, a NASCAR champion credited with inventing the "bootleg turn," in which a whiskey hauler jammed the car into second gear and gave the steering wheel a mighty tug to the left. Johnson was arrested at his father's still in 1956 and served 11 months in prison, returning to racing and bootlegging afterwards. (See "Reflections on Automotive History" by Bill Vance.) According to a 2006 NASCAR press release, current NASCAR racer Jimmie Johnson got his first "acting" gig as an escaping rum runner in the 2004 super-flashy in-your-face film IMAX NASCAR 3-D.

NFL Decision-Makers Reconsidering How To Evaluate Players Who Have Used Marijuana
Pro athletes like to smoke weed. This isn't breaking news. But even the NFL is amazed by the prevalence of marijuana use among draft prospects this year.

Newsweek: Taking the High Road
A November ballot initiative could make California the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana. Hadn't they done that already? Not quite.

Rolling Stone: MarijuanAmerica
From California to downtown Detroit, there's a green revolution sweeping across the nation — and it's changing the weed business forever.

One Third of Police for Ending Drug War

March 20 - Colbert's Shamrock Substitute

Why Students Hold The Key To Ending Marijuana Prohibition
By Paul Armentano, Deputy Director, NORML

March 18 - Jean Simmons, A Classy Lady, Departs
>"Who's that pretty lady, mommy?" I remember asking when I first saw Jean Simmons in The Robe, a religious film that was one of the few I was permitted to watch growing up Catholic. (I had already seen The Sound of Music six times.) Simmons, I found out, was a British actress who played Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, and would have starred in A Roman Holiday had not Howard Hughes, who was obsessed with Jean, locked her in a studio contract. Audrey Hepburn is thought to have imitated Simmons for her breakthrough, Oscar-winning role in that 1953 film.

Simmons shone in films like Young Bess, Guys and Dolls and Elmer Gantry, and worked with all the greats, including VIPs Dalton Trumbo and Robert Mitchum. She was married to British actor Stewart Granger, who describes his longtime drinking problem in his autobiography Sparks Fly Upward, where he also related that Jean admired Mitchum for his laid-back style, and wished Granger could have been more like him. Granger and Simmons ultimately divorced, in no small part due to his alcohol problem.

[Photos: (Above) Simmons in The Robe (1953). (Right) Simmons inhales the scent of Black Narcissus in the 1947 film of the same name. Narcissus is a psychoactive form of daffodil.]

Lady Simmons, who became a US citizen and was knighted by her native country during her lifetime, was a surprising signatory to a 2005 petition to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair asking him to not to upgrade cannabis from a class C drug to a class B. Sting and former Spandau Ballet star Gary Kemp also signed the petition, circulated by, more famous recently for their "Nice People Take Drugs" campaign.

I wrote Simmons several letters asking if she would tell me whether her decision to sign the petition had anything to do with her experience with Mitchum, or her own experience, but I never got up the courage to send them. I hadn't heard that Simmons died on January 22, a few days before her 82nd birthday, until I saw the Academy Awards' yearly tribute to their fallen comrades. Her work, and her actions, will now have to speak for themselves.

March 17 - NORML Calls for A Safer, Greener St. Patrick's Day in Times Square
Just in time for the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City, CBS has reversed its censorship policy and allowed NORML to run it animated ad (above) in Times Square after 10,000 people signed a petition protesting CBS’s censorship of it. In a Feb. 3 rejection email, NORML was told, “If CBS changes their morals we will let you know.” By March 3, apparently they had, because CBS’s communications vice president Shannon Jacobs told that the network would accept the ad. The NORML Foundation’s ‘Money Tree’ ad (below) will appear eighteen times per day on CBS’s digital billboard, located on 42nd Street, through May 31. An estimated 1.5 million people walk by the billboard every day.

Empire State NORML announced the billboard's unveiling at a press conference where they presented marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol for New York’s many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Dr. Julie Holland noted, “Alcohol kills brain cells and liver cells. If you drink long enough, heavily enough, you will end up needing a new liver and a new brain. American hospitals are clogged with people suffering from alcohol-induced dementia and liver failure. And it is legal.” Read more. And MPP's Steve Fox wonders If the NFL Were More Lenient About Pot, Would the Players Get Involved in Less Drunken Violence?

The 39th annual national NORML conference will be held September 9-11, 2010 at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Whitaker to Play Armstrong
Forest Whitaker has announced he will play VIP Louis Armstrong in a biopic he will direct titled "It's a Wonderful World." Of Armstrong, Whitaker told, "He smoked weed every day and it's in the movie where he wrote to the president to try and make it legal. We will have that in the film." (The President was Eisenhower.) Fans will remember Whitaker as the football-playing idol in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and he won an Oscar in 2008 for his portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. "I'm taking a year to prepare and practice the trumpet," he said. Whitaker is our pick to play Alexandre Dumas in a pic about Le Club des Hashishins, seems that project will have to wait.

American Sprinter Disqualified for Drug Test
(Reuters) - American world indoor sprint favorite Ivory Williams has
tested positive for marijuana and ruled ineligible for the world
championships, costing the event one of its key match-ups, officials

What's a 'typical stoner?' In ad campaign, they look like yuppies
March 15, 2010
Peter Hecht, Sacramento Bee

Preteens More Apt To Abuse Household Products Than Marijuana
March 12, 2010
By Scott Hensley, NPR

How the DEA Scrubbed Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Poppy Garden from Public Memory
Visitors to Monticello don't learn how Jefferson cultivated poppies, and his personal opium use may as well never have happened.
March 3, 2010
By Jim Hogshire, Alternet

March 9 - VIPs Win/Lose At Oscars
Best Actor and Actress awards at the Oscars went to two from the VIP pages: Jeff "The Dude" Bridges (left) and Sandra Bullock (right), who gave an interesting interview with Jon Stewart on March 15, 2007, including the (mock?) line, "You know, when I used to smoke pot...."

Upon his win for playing a washed-up musician in Crazy Heart, Bridges exclaimed, "Whoo! Thank you, mom and dad, for turning me on to such a groovy profession." He thanked T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton for "bringing all of that great music and those wonderful musicians to the party, man."

Snubbed by the Academy was VIP James Cameron, who will have to content himself with his Golden Globes for Best Director/Picture for Avatar, the top-grossing film ever made. Instead Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman director to win an Oscar, for the war film The Hurt Locker, which also grabbed the Best Picture statue. You knew it was going to happen when VIP Barbra Streisand was the presenter (they actually played "I Am Woman" afterwards).

The Hurt Locker opens with a quotation from War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, a 2002 book by New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges: "The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug." VIP Keanu Reeves twice alluded to the narcotic properties of war when he introduced the film at the awards. (Bullock rose to fame alongside Reeves in the 1994 movie Speed, about a bus, not a drug.)

Pentagon Shooter Protested Drug War Injustice, Corruption
Much is being made in the right-wing press about Jeffrey Patrick Bedell, the Pentagon shooter who was arrested for marijuana cultivation in Irvine, California in 1996. Bedell blogged about the injustice of the drug wars, including the death of Colonel James Sabow in 1991.

According to CBS News, Col. James Sabow was found by his wife on Jan. 22, 1991 in the backyard of his quarters at the Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro, Calif., south of Los Angeles. The Orange County Coroner ruled the death a suicide. Dr. David Sabow, "a respected neurologist in South Dakota" according to the Christian Science Monitor, believes his brother was killed because he had knowledge of illegal activity on the El Toro base, since closed, in which senior officers were helping to ship drugs into the US from Central America.

Bedell wanted to “see that justice is served in the death of Colonel James Sabow, as a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions and institutions such as the coup regime of 1963 that maintains itself in power through the global drug trade, financial corruption, and murder, among other crimes,” according to a Wikipedia entry linked to Bedell under the name “JPatrickBedell,” CBS News reported.

According to ABC News, Bedell was also charged in Nevada with possessing 76 grams of marijuana. He was pulled over by Texas police for pot on his way from California to D.C. The events have bolstered claims that marijuana is linked to schizophrenia, but that's been debunked.

Reagan's Grandson Wanted on Pot Charge
A judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of former U.S. president Ronald Reagan's grandson for failing to answer a charge of marijuana possession. Cameron Reagan - the son of radio and TV personality Michael Reagan -
was pulled over for speeding in Malibu, California in November 2009, and officers allegedly found the drug while searching his car.

The 31-year-old was ordered to court to face a charge of possessing drugs on January 8, but didn't turn up at the hearing. The court date came one day after Reagan was charged with resisting arrest after allegedly hurling drunken obscenities at cops who called at his parents' California home when the burglar alarm was activated.

In 2001, Reagan was ordered to a 90-day, live-in drug and anger management program for marijuana possession while on probation for a car break-in case. During court proceedings, attorneys said he had suffered from attention-deficit disorder since childhood. Back in 1999 he was sentenced to six months in jail on charges of receiving stolen property for his role in two car burglaries.

Sports News
Former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison was arrested in Wichita, Kansas on suspicion of marijuana possession, according to The Wichita Eagle. Morrison defeated George Foreman in 1993 to win the WBO heavyweight title and co-starred in the 1990 boxing movie Rocky V. He finished his professional career with a record of 46-3-1 with 40 knockouts ; his combined professional and amateur record is 343-24-1, with 315 wins by knockout.

In 1996, Morrison was denied a license and placed on indefinite suspension by the Nevada board after repeatedly testing HIV positive. He questioned the tests, which have made him ineligible to fight, except in a few special cases. Morrison claims to be related to John Wayne, leading to his nickname, "The Duke."

Following a 1999 search of Morrison's car in which police found cocaine, he was convicted on drugs and weapons charges. He spent the next 14 months in prison and said he was innocent. ESPN wrote at the time, "Morrison considers the mandatory drug abuse classes a waste of time, saying he has used marijuana and methamphetamine but never was an addict."

Just before the Sunday start of the 38th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska, it was announced that for the first time since 1984, when the Iditarod implemented drug and alcohol testing, mushers will be tested for marijuana. The new policy is thought to be aimed at last year's reigning champ and three-time champion overall, Lance Mackey (pictured left, with team member).

Mackey, a cancer survivor, is open about his use of medical marijuana to combat pain. He's now told reporter he's switched to the prescription drug Marinol, but is laying off that for the race too. According to AP, both Mackey's knees have been injected with synthetic cartilage until he can have surgery next summer, and his right arm is still healing from a major operation to fix a staph infection. He faces a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession after being found with a small amount at the Anchorage airport in January, after his medical marijuana card had expired.

For the first time in race history, a drug-testing company, Work Safe Inc., will partner with the race. In exchange for sponsorship, Work Safe will drug-test all 71 mushers competing in this year's race, which officially started Sunday in Willow. (The dogs are also tested.)

And the ten-year ban handed down to veteran rugby league player Vince Whare makes him another casualty of injustice in our 35 year-old war on drugs, said New Zealand NORML President Phil Saxby said. "This is blatant discrimination against a man who chooses to relax with a substance that's better for his health than alcohol. That cannabis is illegal has no bearing on his ability to play rugby, nor his right to play the game."

Zsa Zsa Gabor for California's First Lady
Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the eighth husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor and self-proclaimed member of European royalty has thrown his hat into the race for California's governor. "Marijuana is a big industry already," von Anhalt said in an AP interview from his home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air, where he cares for his 93-year-old wife. "Let's legalize it, tax it, make some money and put less people in jail." Since LA is releasing inmates earlier and earlier, it's not a bad plan.

February 23 - Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who both smoke pot with Meryl Streep in the movie It’s Complicated, will host this year’s Academy Awards ceremonies on March 7 in Los Angeles. Other potheads (past and present) up for awards are James Cameron (Avatar), Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson and Matt Damon.

Portman to Produce Pothead Comedy
According to The Film Stage, actress Natalie Portman (right) is set to produce a road trip comedy "Best Buds" through her production company Handsome Charlie Films, co-produced by Vendome Pictures. The independently financed comedy is said to be in the vein of "Harold and Kumar" and "Half-Baked" and will center on two best female friends who take a road trip to their friend’s wedding to save her by bringing her weed. "It'll be nice to see the budding actress and producer flex her comedy skills and hopefully subvert the stale stoner genre with a female twist," writes Film Stage.

Portman, known for playing Senator Amidala in the "Star Wars" prequels, received an Oscar nomination in 2004 for her work in "Closer." She has made some interesting career choices before, notably 2005's political thriller "V for Vendetta." The 28-year-old actress recently told Marie Claire, "I didn't touch pot till I was in my 20s. I didn't get flat-out drunk until I went to college. But I think that's a good thing in many ways."

Silverman Parties On
Season 3 of VIP Sarah Silverman's sitcom is airing at 10:30 PM Thursdays on Comedy Central, with guest stars like VIP Bill Maher. In an episode to air March 11, Sarah's imaginary friend Troy leads her into a life of drugs. Season 2's episode High, It's Sarah actually has some interesting insights about what getting high's all about: wondering if the ideas you have while high are valid, and seeing blatant conspiracies where, it turns out, they do exist. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now on DVD.

Reform Rolls On, With Bumps in the Road
In January, not only did California's Public Safety Committee pass AB390, the first-ever marijuana legalization bill introduced anywhere, but the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee also unanimously passed Sen. Jim Webb's National Criminal Justice Commission Act, which seeks to create a commission to conduct a top-to-bottom evaluation of the country's criminal justice system and offer recommendations for reform at every level. Now Assemblyman Ammiano has reintroduced AB390 as AB2254.

On top of that, a ten-year, $8.7-million medical marijuana research program, established at the University of California in 2000, reported positive results in six different human clinical trials regarding chronic pain, spasticity and vaporization, just as Cheech and Chong, who are rolling out a new film, attended a huge Hemp Expo at the LA Convention Center. Meanwhile, cannabis collectives are seeing crackdowns in LA and Santa Barbara, and Denver man is facing a 10-year federal sentence after bragging on TV about his medical garden.

Malcolm X and Marijuana
Like many African-American men, freedom-fighter Malcolm X suffered police harassment while peddling pot as a youth in Harlem. Read more.

February 2 - Ganga Winners at the Grammy Awards
Marijuana smokers were in high numbers at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards. Read more.

January 29 - Hempy Birthday to Anton Chekhov
Today marks the 150th birthday of Russian writer Anton Chekhov, and productions of the author’s work are planned around the world. Hashish makes a surprising appearance in a dinner party conversation in Chekhov's story “A Woman's Kingdom” (1895). Read more.

January 18 - Ganga Globes
Cannabis consumers past and present contribute mightily to the global motion picture industry, as the 67th annual Golden Globe awards demonstrated. Read more.

January 1- Marijuana Reform: A Turbulent 2009 Timeline

January 20 - As President Obama takes office, he asks voters to write in with their top priorities for his administration. Poll after poll puts marijuana legalization at the top of the agenda. Esquire in "Why Obama Really Might Decriminalize Marijuana" coins the phrase, "Yes We Cannabis!")

January 31 - George Obama, the president's impoverished half-brother, has his Nairobi hovel shaken down for pot, leading to his arrest for a single joint. Charges are dropped.

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps makes tsunami-sized waves when he admits to puffing pot. Most sponsors stick with the champ, another sign the times have changed. Although eight are charged criminally in the incident, the announcement that Phelps will not be not charged comes just after he apologizes to China (and keeps the Mazda account).

February 1 - While facing a "driving-with-blunt" charge in Pittsburgh, Santonio Holmes earns the Superbowl MVP award when he catches the winning touchdown. Before the game, Holmes calls a press conference to admit he sold drugs as a teen in Florida. Later, charges are dismissed.

February 2 - The New Yorker can find only one heroic moment in erstwhile senatorial contender Carolyn Kennedy's life: when she took the rap for a cousin growing a marijuana garden at her family's Hyannis Port home.

Whoopi Goldberg admits she's smoked pot in a segment discussing Phelps on The View. Twilight's Kristen Stewart, who'd been filmed smoking pot on her doorstep, is photographed in a bikini with two strategically placed pot leaves. The new Friday the 13th Flick alludes to Jason being a stoner.

February 9 - Rapper Lil' Wayne (Phelps' favorite) tells Katie Couric he uses marijuana medicinally for migraines and picks up two Grammys. By year's end, Wayne is targeted for arrest.

As the economy tanks like the Titanic, economic arguments for marijuana legalization gain traction. CNBC's program Marijuana Inc. becomes the most popular documentary ever aired by the station. The comments page for the program, with people writing in from across the country, reads like talking points for the legalization movement.

February 23 - AB390 (Ammiano), the first-ever state bill to legalize marijuana for adult use, is introduced in the California legislature. Set on a two-year track, the bill will see hearings in the Assembly Public Safety committee on January 12, 2010.

March 11 - Bolivian president Evo Morales, a coca farmer, chews a coca leaf at a UN summit in Vienna to protest laws against the crop.

March 25 - The U.S. places troops at the Mexican border. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declares the US “insatiable” when it comes to drugs.

March 26 - Sen. Jim Webb introduces Senate Bill 714, The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009, which seeks to initiate a comprehensive re-evaluation of America's drug and prison policies. "Legalization is on the table," says Webb.

Obama finally addresses the public's call for legalization at an online town hall meeting. Acknowledging the overwhelming support, he says, "I don't know what that says about the online audience," dissing his base. He adds, "I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy" to smiles and laughter from the hall. Reason magazine blasts him for his "glib dismissal."

April 1 - No Fooling: Studies Say Alcohol is More Harmful to Teens' Brains than Marijuana

April 3 - Guitar god Carlos Santana publicly tells Obama: "Legalize marijuana and take all that money and invest it in teachers and in education. You will see a transformation in America."

April 12 - Three-time Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt tells reporters he rolled and smoked joints as a youngster in Jamaica. Bolt still makes Top Sports Moments of the decade lists for his record-breaking performances in Beijing and is named a Runner Up as Time magazine's Person of the Year.

April 20 - Cannabis's official holiday is celebrated by Family Guy extravaganja, "Nothing Is Better than a Bag of Weed"

April 25 - USA Weekend declares Pineapple Express star/writer Seth Rogen "still a pothead;" incicive interviewer wants to know if he still gets the munchies.

April 28 - Both houses of the Mexican Congress pass a bill, proposed by conservative President Felipe Calderon, to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and other drugs.

April 30 - A poll by Mervin Field, the state's premier political pollster, finds that 56% of Californians support legalizing marijuana. This confirms findings of an Evans-McDonough poll sponsored by Oaksterdam University and the Zogby poll by NORML et al.

May 5 - (Cinco de Mayo) Answering a question from a reporter about the recent Field Poll that showed 56% of Californians favor marijuana legalization, Governor Schwarzenegger says, "I think it's time for a debate."

May 6 - Zogby releases 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 22 - Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee reveals that almost the entire crew of his film Taking Woodstock has had experiences with pot, including himself. He said he was schooling abroad when he dabbled with marijuana.

June 8 - "Transformer" star Megan Fox, the hottest actress of the summer, tells reporters she smokes pot and wants it legalized, adding, "America’s war on drugs is propaganda."

June 26 - Chicago Cubs' catcher Geovany Soto, the reigning National League rookie of the year, announces he'd tested positive for pot at March's World Baseball Classic. Cubs manager Lou Pinella, who told reporter he'd once tried it, stood by Soto.

July 7 - Subway releases its Michael Phelps ad campaign, using Sly and the Family Stone's "thankyoufalletinmebemiceelfagain". Subway's float in the Rose Parade 2010 celebrates its champion sponsorships, with Phelps front and center.

July 9 - Marijuana Policy Project attempts to run ad campaign in favor of AB390; most stations censor it.

July 23 - Completing the sports triumverate of 2009 (football, baseball, and basketball), the NBA's reigning MVP LeBron James releases his autobiography, where he writes that he tried pot as a high school student in Akron. James's credibility is damaged by reports he tried to deny being dunked by a college player just prior to his revelations.

August 8 - Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in as Supreme Court justice after acknowledging in her hearings "I'm not an expert in marijuana growing" but indicating she may be open to respecting privacy rights around doing so.

August 14 - Brad Pitt jokes on The Today Show he will run for Mayor of New Orleans on a legalization platform; tells Bill Maher he doesn't smoke anymore. "I'm a dad now, you want to be alert."

September 28 - NORML holds national conference in San Francisco, minus the poster for the event, depicting a photo of young Obama smoking a joint, after the photographer threated to sue.

November 6 - SF Giants pitching ace and reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum is pulled over with a small amount of pot in his car. Lincecum subsequently wins a second Cy Young award, just after he apologizes for his actions.

December 1 - A home movie purporting to depict Marilyn Monroe smoking pot is released by a collector who paid $275,000 for the footage.

December 4 - According to a RadarOnline story, alleged Tiger Woods mistress Jamie Grubbs worked at City Organic Remedies in Studio City, dispensing medical pot.

December 15 - Tax Cannabis 2010 announces it has sufficient signatures to appear on the November ballot. "We were overwhelmed with people who wanted to sign the petition," says organizer Richard Lee.

December 20 - Hollywood is abuzz with the news that the new Meryl Streep/Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin film got slapped with an "R" rating for depicting pot smoking without negative consequences. "I forgot how much fun having fun was," says Steve.

In 2009 we said goodbye to these friends of freedom:

John Updike
Dom Deluise
Bea Arthur
David Carradine
Walter Cronkite
Patrick Swayze

Much more, sources at:


The Tokin Woman Blog 2011-2014

The Very Important Blog 2009

The Very Important Blog 2008

The Very Important Blog 2007

The Very Important Blog 2006

The Very Important Blog 2005`

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