Monday, April 26, 2010

McCaffrey Fears Stoned Eye Surgeons

In a recent interview on MSNBC, former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey was spouting more of the nonsense that he has become so famous for. On that show he was debating the upcoming initiative to legalize marijuana in California with Paul Armentano, director of NORML.

So what is most troubling to Mr. McCaffrey about the possible legalization of marijuana in California? Well, I think the answer is obvious. With a legal supply of the drug readily available, everyone will be smoking it all the time. Truck drivers, teachers, pilots, and yes, eye surgeons will undoubtedly be performing their official duties under the influence. See, I told you the answer was obvious.

Being an open-minded individual, I really want to understand Mr. McCaffery’s concerns. So I will try to see the world through his eyes: Right now, under prohibition, the law prevents responsible people from using marijuana. Only hippies and addicted pot heads smoke marijuana now. Respectable people respect the law and abstain. In other words, it’s prohibition that is keeping our country from falling apart. The fact that another very potent mind-altering drug, alcohol, is currently legal is completely irrelevant. Responsible people understand that, even though alcohol is legal, they should not consume it under certain circumstances, like while driving a truck or performing surgery. But I guess those respectable people aren’t really all that respectable. They’ve been sitting around, abstaining from alcohol while on the job, waiting for the day that marijuana becomes legal. Once the floodgates are open, however, they will rush out and start smoking pot. All the time. Chaos will ensue.

So if I understand Mr. McCaffery’s reasoning, legal alcohol and legal marijuana are two completely different things. Drinkers understand that alcohol can impair them and use their own judgment as to when they should and should not drink. But marijuana is different. Responsible people using their own judgment does not apply to marijuana. I guess that’s because only irresponsible hippies use it. But wait, he’s not concerned about more hippies smoking pot if it were to be legalized. He’s concerned about truck drivers and teachers using it. The responsible ones.

I think I’m starting to get it. Unlike alcohol, marijuana makes people irresponsible. Trying it once in a legal environment would destroy their sense of responsibility. They would become hopelessly addicted and never be able to stop smoking it. They’ll use it constantly, making them unable to carry out their official duties. A rash of airline crashes and botched eye surgeries will necessarily follow.

Thank goodness Mr. McCaffery is looking out for our welfare. I feel so much safer knowing that my doctor or airline pilot does not smoke marijuana. How do I know they don’t smoke marijuana? That’s easy. Because it’s illegal. I shudder to think what might have become of me, for example, if my teachers had smoked marijuana. Like those long-haired, jeans-wearing professors I had in college back in the 70s. Here I thought they were pot smokers. I guess smoking with a few of them was what really fooled me. But now I know, they couldn’t have been marijuana smokers because marijuana was, and is, illegal. I guess they were just liberals. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. McCaffery.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Simple Solution for Oregon Medical Marijuana Users

If you are a medical marijuana user in Oregon, you’ve probably already heard about the recent Supreme Court decision. I’m talking about the ruling in the case of Emerald Steel Fabricators Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries of the state of Oregon. In their infinite wisdom, the Oregon Supreme Court decided that the state’s medical marijuana law does not protect an individual from being fired for failing a drug test. It’s the same old story, federal law trumps state law. In effect, this ruling could potentially scuttle Oregon’s medical marijuana program. Only the unemployed, and those not receiving federal aid or living in federal housing, will be able to take their medicine without fear of reprisal. Could be devastating to a lot of seriously ill people.

But it doesn’t have to be. The solution is simple, and unfortunately I can’t take credit for it. I’m just posting here in hopes more people will be made aware of it. You see, while the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the FDA has approved Marinol. In case you don’t know, Marinol is synthetic THC (one of the active ingredients in marijuana) that can be legally prescribed by doctors in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Even better, Marinol is classified as a Schedule 3 controlled substance. (If anyone can explain that discrepancy, I’m all ears.) What this means is that employers in Oregon can fire you for taking doctor-recommended marijuana, but they cannot fire you for taking doctor-prescribed Marinol. So the solution is really quite simple: when your doctor gives you a recommendation for medical marijuana, also ask for a prescription for Marinol. No need to ever fill that prescription. Just keep it around in case you ever fail a drug test. Since drug tests can’t distinguish between synthetic and natural THC, just show them your prescription and you will be fine. Problem solved. No one need ever be fired for taking their medicine in Oregon again.

Of course then it will be up to the feds to sort things out. If drug tests can’t distinguish between a prescribed and a recommended drug, then maybe the classification system needs to be reconsidered. Or maybe they need better drug tests. But who really cares. As long as the federal government wants to play these games, people will always find loopholes. Not that they are so hard to find. When you have the same drug classified under two different schedules, there’s bound to be some confusion. But that’s their problem. And that problem is in turn a solution for medical marijuana users in Oregon and across the country. I have a feeling that the number of Marinol prescriptions being written is going to go way up in the near future. Too bad for the pharmaceutical companies the vast majority of those will go unfilled.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Response to Denny Chapin

Last week, Mr. Chapin wrote a guest article for my blog about the decriminalization and/or legalization of marijuana. Now it’s my turn to respectfully disagree.

Denny, you ignorant slut. How can you live in the good ol’ U.S. of A. and still not have a clue about the American way of life? It sounds like you just don’t understand how we do things around here.

You talk about our president’s apparently contradictory views on the marijuana issue. But it makes perfect sense to me. Before being elected, our president was in favor of decriminalization and medical marijuana. Now that he’s president, he’s not. But he’s an admitted (former?) marijuana user, you might say. OK. And????? It’s just presidential privilege, and it’s as American as apple pie. In fact, it goes all the way back to the days of our Founding Fathers. For example, take John Adams, an outspoken critic of King George and the British government when he was a member of the Second Continental Congress. Yet after being elected president, he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made criticizing our government against the law. See? Putting others in jail for something you yourself once did is just a part of being president. I think it might even be in the Constitution (I’ll have to check).

And I think you are being a little harsh on Mr. Kerlikowske. Remember, he’s just a civil servant doing his job. Surely you are aware that a Congressional mandate forces him to say the things he does. And you can’t blame the guy for taking the job in the first place. It’s easy money in these uncertain economic times, especially for a cop. So what if he has to lie and say things no self-respecting person would? So what if he had a completely different opinion before becoming Drug Czar? Do you really expect someone with a cushy government job to rock the boat? Again, I have to ask, what country do you live in? The guy’s just doing the job he’s paid to do and being a good American at the same time.

I also have to agree with Mr. Kerlikowske’s statement that science should determine what medicine is, not popular vote. Surely you know that while an individual person may be smart, “people” are most definitely not. Science is the one and only thing our drug laws should be based on. And not the kind of science that’s been done in the last 40 years, the hundreds, if not thousands, of papers published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals. I mean, most of that research was done by foreigners! When it comes to marijuana, that kind of “scientific” science is totally irrelevant. Our Drug Czar is talking about “real” science. You know, the kind that supports what the government wants you to believe. Until that kind of science is done, and done here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., I fully support Mr. Kerlikowske in his position that there is no evidence of any medical use for marijuana.

And finally, I have to come out in support of Mr. Kerlikowske’s fears regarding the dangers of widespread marijuana use. (I think his examples of the physical and psychological effects were taken from a pamphlet on alcohol abuse, but that’s neither here nor there.) Surely you’re aware of the horrible consequence of marijuana use. Haven’t you ever seen that classic documentary “Reefer Madness”? Watch it some time — you just might learn something. All these decriminalization and legalization advocates want is for everybody to be “high” all the time. Teachers, truck drivers, airline pilots, and yes, even eye surgeons. They want the streets to be filled with crazed hippies and jazz musicians. I’m not sure why they would want such a thing, but they do. So they must have a plan. And I’m sure it’s an evil plan. So I applaud Mr. Kerlikowske for not wanting our country to be overrun with marijuana addicts. As he so eloquently pointed out, marijuana use causes nuisance and crime. I don’t know about you, but hearing loud, overly-long Grateful Dead or Phish songs (or even worse, jazz music) blaring at all hours is a nuisance I can certainly live without.

So, Mr. Chapin, I’m afraid you are delusional, at best. Or perhaps you’re a marijuana addict, preaching your doctrine of immorality and lawlessness. Either way, the American people aren’t interested in the goods you’re selling. Or should I say “pushing”? We are a nation of law-abiding citizens (except of course for the 7.3 million of us currently serving time in jail or prison, on probation, or on parole). We believe in and trust our elected officials, and we know they would never lie to us. Maybe you should tell your story to someone who cares. Like all those hippies in the Netherlands or Portugal or Argentina. And thank your president and drug czar for looking out for your best interests.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Obama: Pro-Decriminalization and Anti-Legalization?

This week we have a very special guest post by none other than Denny Chapin. Mr. Chapin is the Managing Editor of, a directory of drug rehab centers and resource for substance abuse information. He has written for other blogs like Drug WarRant and Morning Donut.

Marijuana is Harmful

Recently-appointed ‘Drug Czar’ Gil Kerlikowske gave a speech on March 4th, 2010 entitled “Why Marijuana Legalization Would Compromise Public Health and Public Safety” in which Kerlikowske, speaking for the Obama Administration, strongly opposes the legalization and continued distribution of medical and potentially-legal marijuana. In his speech, Kerlikowske states that “science should determine what a medicine [referring to medical marijuana] is, not popular vote.” Citing instances where communities are using zoning, creating nuisance laws, and planning regulations, as well as the decrease in marijuana outlets in the Netherlands, the argument seems simple: legalizing marijuana causes nuisance and crime.

Beyond this point, Kerlikowske argues that the issue with marijuana is not about a culture war, but about what recent science has told us about the effects of the drug. “And the science, though still evolving, is clear: marijuana use is harmful. It is associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and cognitive impairment, among other negative effects.” Kerlikowske also cites decreased attention, negative effects on short-term memory, and decreased ability to learn and process information as other major negative side effects of marijuana use.

Kerlikowske, speaking for the Obama Administration, makes it clear that they are fighting legalization and the growth of medical marijuana dispensaries. The issue with all this is not whether or not it’s accurate, but rather what is motivating this loud reaction to medical marijuana, marijuana decriminalization, and marijuana legalization.

Background on the Drug Czar

Before Kerlikowske became the U.S. Drug Czar he was the Seattle Police Department’s Police Chief from 2001 until his appointment to the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2009. In 2003 there was a local ballot initiative in Seattle that would make marijuana possession for personal use a low priority. Kerlikowske opposed the initiative, but in a response he stated, “arresting people for possessing marijuana for personal use... is not a priority now,” going on to say that the SPD was focusing more on cocaine and heroin traffickers.

Change in Position?

What changed from 2003 to 2009 that brought Kerlikowske to deliver a vehement speech touting the ills of marijuana? Perhaps these videos will shed some light on the subject:

Barrack Obama – “I inhaled frequently”

Barrack Obama and Medical Marijuana

Barrack Obama on Marijuana Decriminalization

Political Reaction

Barack Obama, too often it seems, has supported liberal views about marijuana decriminalization, medical marijuana, and his own personal use of marijuana, all before he was elected President of the United States.

First, can we not applaud this man for at least being honest about his past drug use, treating it with a bit of humor? At least we can see that Obama willingly goes past politics in certain cases.

However, it seems like the backlash against Obama’s liberal views have prompted a far more conservative, ‘scare-based’ approach at the federal level. Kerlikowske’s statements paint marijuana legalization as the disastrous path that the United States seems to be treading.


Is there contradiction within these views? Obama is explicitly against, and with Kerlikowske’s help, has removed the fiery language of the “drug war,” favoring legislation for marijuana decriminalization, also admitting he smoked marijuana in his youth with the intention of getting high. Kerlikowske stated that police enforcement of marijuana possession was a low priority for the SPD in 2003. So the question remains: are these views compatible with the notion that marijuana legalization is a sure-fire path to a dumber youth population, increase in crime, and decrease in productivity in our citizens?

I believe the answer to this question is simply that there is no contradiction in holding a pro-decriminalization and anti-legalization stance. Being against legalization does not prohibit or necessarily prevent one from being for decriminalization. While this position is uncommon (usually someone who is against legalization is also against decriminalization), there are no inherent logical faults in stating that marijuana possession should not be a criminal offense, while also stating that marijuana should not be legalized. As such, legislating in favor of decriminalization is compatible with legislating against legalization.

One simply wonders: Is this speech a product of millions of YouTube views, or real sentiment our government is willing to spend time, energy, and money on? And that, I’m afraid, remains up in the air.

Be sure to tune in next week for my rebuttal—T.A.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Congress Amends Controlled Substance Act

Washington, DC — In a move many are saying is long over due, President Obama today signed into law the most sweeping changes to the Controlled Substances Act since its passing in 1970. In addition to recreational drugs, the newly-expanded law outlaws a variety of other activities that have been deemed harmful to individuals and to society. Accordingly, the law has been renamed the Controlled Pleasures Act of 2010, or CPA for short.

As expected, prostitution and gambling were immediately classified as Schedule II controlled pleasures under the CPA. Both will now be federal crimes, but because of their Schedule II status, will still be allowed in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Outside of those two locations though, raids are expected to shut down any operations that don’t comply with the new law. Indian reservations are not exempt. To accommodate the anticipated need for more law enforcement personnel, the DEA’s role has been greatly expanded. The agency has been renamed the Pleasure Enforcement Administration (PEA), and former DEA director Michele Leonhart was named as interim PEA director until a formal appointment can be made. “There’s no one better at denying people pleasure,” said Leonhart, “just ask my husband.”

In a surprise move, masturbation was classified as a Schedule I controlled pleasure, meaning it will now be illegal under any and all circumstances. Former Drug Czar, now interim Pleasure Czar, Gil Kerlikowske, was supportive of the decision. “What kind of message would we be sending our children if their government allowed such behavior,” said Mr. Kerlikowske. “We’ve known for years that masturbation is a gateway activity, leading to other forbidden pleasures, such as gambling, drugs, and prostitution. It has no medical benefit, is highly addictive, and undermines the moral integrity of our society.”

Law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and the private prison industry have also unanimously praised the new legislation. Mr. Kerlikowske, a former police officer, pointed out that masturbation is a major contributor to violent crime. “Most violent criminals at the time of their arrest had either recently masturbated or were planning to do so later that night. No other single activity has been associated with such a wide array of antisocial behavior.”

The newly-redesigned PEA web site provides plenty of data to support these and other claims. According to evidence provided by the PEA, masturbation has been linked to a variety of physical and emotional problems, especially in adolescent boys. Poor grades, short attention span, decreased cognitive ability, carpal tunnel syndrome, and blindness have all been reportedly caused by excessive masturbation. “We even have studies that show that masturbation causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others,” said PEA director Leonhart. “Statistics don’t lie,” she added.

Commenting on this far-reaching new legislation, the president admitted it could potentially affect a large number of people, as over 50 percent of the population have admitted to engaging in one or more of the forbidden activities at least once. But in the long run, our nation as a whole will benefit. Especially those in law enforcement and the private prison industry. When asked if he personally had ever engaged in any of these activities, the president admitted, “Yes, I tried masturbation a few times when I was in college. But it was the 70s, and all the kids were doing it. I realize now that no one should be allowed this unhealthy, immoral pleasure. “Choking the chicken” is no longer in my vocabulary.”

But reactions outside of Washington were not as consistently positive about the new law. Susan Herman, president of the ACLU, denounced the legislation as not only an invasion of privacy, but discriminatory to minorities and the poor. “The poor will be unfairly targeted by this law. Because of crowded living conditions, those of lower socioeconomic status will be far more likely to be caught pleasuring themselves than middle-class kids who don’t have to share a bedroom.” Many medical experts also oppose the new law. “Masturbation is a completely normal activity that people have been doing for thousands of years,” said Dr. I.M. Wood of the Stanford Masturbation Institute. “The government’s claims of its potential harm are greatly exaggerated. There has never been a death attributed to masturbation, except of course those that have been linked to DWM (driving while masturbating).”

Nevertheless, the new law will go into effect today, April 1, 2010. If you wanted to “rub one out,” as the kids say, one last time, you are already too late. And if you still must, be sure to be quiet about it. Under the new law, “sounds of pleasure” are now grounds for a search warrant. But remember, it’s for your own good.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and events portrayed herein and any actual people or events is purely coincidental. Happy April 1st!