Re: Also we should call it "grass" again, because that makes me laugh.

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Because that way the hippies would win!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 6:50 PM
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That article is interesting. I had no idea the Mexican cartels were so involved in this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 6:55 PM
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I think you want legalization, not decriminalization, if what you want is regulation and taxation a la alcohol.

Unrelatedly: Could swear I saw Becks and M. LeBlanc by my office today. DC really is a small town.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 6:59 PM
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Damn straight. Those Mexicans should be tending the grass in California, not Mexico.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:11 PM
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4: You should read the second linked article. They are.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:11 PM
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I thought it was pretty well established that opposition is emotional and/or reflexive; all policy arguments are surrogates without substance.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:13 PM
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OT: I am regretting my decision to invest my entire emotional energy in a team that starts a sub-mediocre grouchy Nicauraguan in the season's most important game. Holy Christ, Joe Torre is not a good manager.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:15 PM
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I'm genuinely curious as to what, if any, are the sound arguments against making pot a taxable, regulated substance, on par with alcohol and tobacco.

That we have enough problems with tobacco and alcohol and are effectively trying to get rid of those - if we legalized pot as well, all the kids would stay home, get high and comment on unfogged.

That's the argument, man. I do not smoke dope, nor do I agree with the argument.

max
['So.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:17 PM
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Not, I suppose, that plenty of people didn't genuinely believe the policy arguments (exhibit A: DARE), but the emotion kept the arguments' adequacy from being properly sounded.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:18 PM
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I've been interested lately in the ideas about decriminalizing but deliberately trying to keep it from becoming an industry with the means to get at consumers collectively - no corporate involvement, no advertising, etc. - since as we've seen with tobacco, that can make something a worse public health problem than it should be.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:21 PM
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But the medical marijuana argument comes of as disingenuous.

Perhaps that's because you've never heard the argument made in person by someone puking after chemotherapy. In that circumstance I found it persuasive, from two different people with cancer (one terminal, one not).


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:26 PM
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I don't quite understand: I thought the Justice Dept's moves involved backing off pursuit of medical marijuana *growers* (and movers) in those states in which medical marijuana use was legal. Not users (patients). I imagine I should read the link and bring myself up to date.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:29 PM
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11: Egads, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to dismiss any possible ameliorative effect of cannabis for people, and I take your point with the humility of someone who hasn't had to go through that sort of thing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:35 PM
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I'm genuinely curious as to what, if any, are the sound arguments against making pot a taxable, regulated substance, on par with alcohol and tobacco. Does anyone make such arguments? I'd love to hear about them.

Mark Kleinman is skeptical about full legalization. See for instance this :

Of course not all cannabis users are chronic zonkers, any more than all drinkers are drunks. But the chronic zonkers and the drunks account for most of the volume; in the case of alcohol, half the consumption is accounted for people people who average at least four drinks a day, year-round. One person smoking eight joints a day is worth more to the industry than fifty people each smoking a joint a week. If the cannabis industry were to expand greatly it couldn't do so by increasing the number of casual users, it would have to create and maintain more chronic zonkers.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:36 PM
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14

Um, Kleinman should be Kleiman.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:37 PM
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Mark Kleiman argues that we ought to allow people to grow their own which would mean that non-gardening types could get some locally. He doesn't want Philip Morris to be able to sell it, since he knows how succesful they were at marketing tobacco.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:37 PM
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Heard an interesting bit of statehouse gossip recently: Apparently the local affiliate of M??A//D>>D blocked the passage of a law which would have increased penalties against underage people who use a fake ID because one of the main proponents of that bill had been against their drive to bump the legal limit down to .08.

So that's the level of probity and judiciousness we can expect from the guardians of our children's sobriety.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:39 PM
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pwned by Minivet in 10.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:39 PM
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I began to compose a further comment in my head, and see that Michael H. Schneider has beat me to it:

But the medical marijuana argument comes of as disingenuous.

If you think that medical marijuana proponents have some sort of agenda involving eventual decriminalization altogether, you're buying into the hype. Medical marijuana use is legal in quite a few states, end of story.

Right, it gets complicated: federal vs. state authority, and so on. Can the feds override state law. Obviously the ability to grow pot for medical use can be abused. Fine, then. Regulate it. Require medical pot growers to be accredited. Big fucking deal.

Seriously, the boogie-man is not out there with respect to medical marijuana use. If some states' provisions are being abused in the interest of illicit trafficking, regulate accordingly. This should not be hard. Painkillers are legal in all sorts of circumstances, and we've managed to handle it as an organized society without freaking out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:44 PM
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14, 16: Right, and McDonald's makes the largest plurality of their revenue from people who consume more than 8 fast food meals per week. 80/20 rule, nothing outre about that. The sex industry doesn't depend for it's existence on nervous 18 year old virgins as a customer base, either. I don't really see how that argument gets at the root of the legalization question. Yes, it might very well be the case that legalizing cannabis would provide some people the excuse they needed to become chronic and habitual heavy users. But where's the harm in that? If we accept that smoking or eating or drinking (bhang lassi FTW!) cannabis products is in general less harmful that consuming alcohol or tobacco products, then we have to show that there is something terribly awful about the effect of some number of new stoners that mitigates all the harm reduction potential of legalization. No one's really making that argument, at least not in good faith.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I know several people who self-medicate with cannabis to a degree that they can be very high-functioning. When they aren't using cannabis, they tend to drink WAY more than is good for them, and then they are not high-functioning at all.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:49 PM
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With respect to Stanley's 13: Sorry, Stanley, I didn't mean to beat it into the ground just now. I do think the two questions should be kept separate: medical marijuana use is entirely distinct from the question of decriminalization. It's not a good idea to merge the two.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:51 PM
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Up here, friends don't let friends buy pot from Mexican cartels. Burning fossil fuels to truck it all over the place means that that green's not so green, you know what I mean? I'll leave it to the Latinists to come up with the smoking equivalent of "locavore".


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:53 PM
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22: Smokavore?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:55 PM
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pace 23: "The casual consumer in the U.S. -- the kid or adult that smokes a joint -- will never in their mind associate smoking that joint with the severing of people's heads in Mexico," he said.

Could just as truthfully be:
"The casual consumer in the U.S. -- the kid or adult that fills up the tank -- will never in their mind associate driving their car with the severing of people's heads in Nigeria," he said.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:58 PM
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Humboldt County's not that far from Portland.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 7:59 PM
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I meant 22. 23 wins the thread.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:00 PM
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If you think that medical marijuana proponents have some sort of agenda involving eventual decriminalization altogether, you're buying into the hype.

In California, I would say that the way in which medical marijuana is being used in practice does in fact support Stanley's first impression, as useful as it is for many genuinely ill people, in theory (and hopefully in practice as well). I'm pretty sure that most in my friend circle have met at least one person with an entirely fraudulent medical marijuana prescription.

I do agree that they are separate issues, but I don't believe you're going to be able to easily disentangle the two in people's minds, particularly in this state. Especially not when it is the same guy soliciting my signature now to legalize marijuana as solicited my signature for medical marijuana 5 (or whatever) years ago. (Seriously, same dude!)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:02 PM
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22: You sure you really miss New England, jesus?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:02 PM
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Smokavore?

I don't think that's a Latin root, Stanley.

22: You sure you really miss New England, jesus?

I'm bicoastal.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:05 PM
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I do agree that they are separate issues, but I don't believe you're going to be able to easily disentangle the two in people's minds, particularly in this state.

We should conclude what, then? That since people can't disentangle them especially in California, they might as well be the same?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:06 PM
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Especially not when it is the same guy soliciting my signature now to legalize marijuana as solicited my signature for medical marijuana 5 (or whatever) years ago. (Seriously, same dude!)

Maybe he's just hitting on you.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:06 PM
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30: That simply saying they're different is going to do much.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:07 PM
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And that, contra your statement, they are in fact tangled up in practice, as separate as they are in theory.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:08 PM
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Impressionisticallyfrom driving around town, it looks to me like there are now as many medical marijuana "clinics" in LA as there are bars. I'm sure that's not probably not true, but it sure looks that way. In any event, () is right that in practice the CA medical marijuana law has created a situation pretty close to total decriminilization.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:09 PM
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32: Grr, typing too fast. That simply saying they're different is not going to do much.

Alright, back to the grading. I'm clearly procrastinating at this point!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:10 PM
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Further to 30: Sigh. Sorry, man, it's just that the only thing I can take from that is that medical marijuana proponents should not at the same time proselytize for legalization altogether, because it's bad PR.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:10 PM
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I just got done with a HUGE pile of grading. It feels lovely. I wonder what syllabus-planning self was thinking when she set things up this way. "Fuck you, future me!" perhaps.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:13 PM
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27: Maybe he spent the past five years doing some serious soul-searching about his previous advocacy of medical-use-only cannabis and, after sufficient reflection, determined that he was previously in error, and that full legalization is both practically and ethically consistent with his core values. He has the courage to admit that he was too ready to advocate for medical marijuana in preference to legalized marijuana, Paranthetical, won't you learn from his humble example?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:13 PM
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37: I just got done with a HUGE pile of grading chillum of ganja. It feels lovely. I wonder what syllabus-planning self was thinking when she set things up this way. "Fuck you, future me!" perhaps.

Ahh, much better.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:15 PM
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Also I bought a doohicky that is supposed to fit over the overflow drain in the tub (it has its own overflow opening at the top, so you don't actually flood your house), making it possible to take an extra-deep bath. I think I may try it out very soon.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:16 PM
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Sorry, Stanley,

Me too. I didn't mean to jump quite so hard, but it's a bit of a tender point personally.

This country is just crazy around drugs. For decades we've had a problem with under medicating terminal patients because we worry about them becoming addicts. At the same time, people like Limbaugh seem to have no trouble getting addicted, maintaining a supply, and avoiding penalties. I don't really know the reason (puritanism, and the moral imperative to suffer that seems to come out of some forms of christianity??) nor do I know the fix.

On preview: perhasps "fix" wasn't the right word


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:17 PM
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Ahh, much better.

Reminding me of the time when, debating whether to take some assortment of drugs or other, I mused, "Do I want to sacrifice my tomorrow on the altar of tonight?" (I did.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:18 PM
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34: () is right that in practice the CA medical marijuana law has created a situation pretty close to total decriminilization.

This really surprises me. You guys who live in California can get pot any time you want? Just go down the street to the local dispensary?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:22 PM
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42: Yes, I can't decide whether it is better to have been the person who entertained that thought, or whether it would be better to be one of the two types of people who never thinks thus.
Moderation in all things, including moderation is the life lesson here.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:24 PM
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I don't know firsthand, but my understanding is that all you need to do is to get a "prescription" from a doctor that is incredibly easy to obtain. Doctors who specialize in providing bogus prescriptions advertise all over; symptoms like "mild anxiety" or "lack of concentration" are sufficient. Then, prescription in hand, you can go to one of over 700 clinics in town to buy pot as you want whenever you want. It's basically decriminilization for anyone who (via the prescription) is willing to publicly identify as a pot smoker.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:30 PM
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"lack of concentration"

Marijuana ain't gonna help much with that problem.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:36 PM
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ITEM: there are more medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco than there are McDonalds franchises.

ITEM: Massachusetts does not have a medical marijuana law -- it's decriminalized. Disaster has thus far failed to ensue. That's still a long way from taxing it, of course. And frankly, I'm a bit surprised MA was willing to take this step.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:38 PM
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46: lack of concentration on guitar soloes. Specificity is important here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:39 PM
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"soloes"? Yes, Han.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:39 PM
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45: Okay. Interesting. I have an acquaintance in a state which is not California who's been suffering mightily in her struggle to get approved for medical marijuana use; she had been approved in her previous state of residence, but there's a great deal of hoop-jumping and paperwork and doctor's visits now, starting all over again.

Maybe people should try to shut down the bogus doctors in California, rather than wanting to shut down medical marijuana use altogether. That seems like a sensible proposal. Is anybody in California who's worried about this proposing that?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:41 PM
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I'm a bit surprised MA was willing to take this step.

Wait, the decriminalizing or the not taxing?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:42 PM
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Maybe people should try to shut down the bogus doctors in California, rather than wanting to shut down medical marijuana use altogether. That seems like a sensible proposal. Is anybody in California who's worried about this proposing that?

The LAPD, but they just got shot down in court.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:42 PM
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Wait, who's trying to shut down medical marijuana use?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:42 PM
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51: the decriminalizing. Buncha puritans around here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:42 PM
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52 to 53, I guess. Figures.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:43 PM
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53: whoever parsimon's talking to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:43 PM
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47.2: NO WAY. DUDE. Seriously? I had no idea. I'm ... a bit surprised, yes.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:43 PM
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My general impression is that these laws just keep marching on. Colorado has one now. Rocky mountain high, you know.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:45 PM
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57: Hold your dismay, parsimon. I'm sure President Romney's going to fix all this in 2013, when he's inaugurated.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:45 PM
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Rocky mountain high, you know.

Oh and that worked out so well for Mr. Denver.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:45 PM
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If you tax it, you can regulate it. If you can regulate it, you can control the producers to some extent. Like with Prohibition. When alcohol was illegal, the gangsters ran it. With the repeal of Prohibition, gangsters no longer ran the alcohol biz.


Posted by: Fletcher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:48 PM
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Can the feds override state law

I've settled this question, thanks.


Posted by: Article VI, Paragraph II | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:49 PM
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Is it really true that I can get pot easily? How weird.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:50 PM
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Looking for the recent pot-in-CA article on the NYT website to link here, I saw that "A Case of Chronic Denial" is one of the most emailed articles. Don't think that's the one I was looking for, though.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:51 PM
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63: probably the medical route isn't the easiest way; just write "Who has nugz?" on the board next lecture.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:52 PM
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ITEM: Massachusetts does not have a medical marijuana law -- it's decriminalized. Disaster has thus far failed to ensue. That's still a long way from taxing it, of course. And frankly, I'm a bit surprised MA was willing to take this step.

Massachusetts? The place where selling alcohol has not yet been decriminalized?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:52 PM
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I know, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:53 PM
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You can't buy pot before 11am on Sundays.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:53 PM
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Is it really true that I can get pot easily?

You should probably watch this (kinda long but interesting) video first, just to be sure you're safe.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:54 PM
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Actually, it's only possession (of up to an ounce, I think) that's been decriminalized. Selling is still illegal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:54 PM
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We already went all through this in the Sixties, man. If you smoke pot you'll take LSD and then stare at the sun until you go blind. Lots of people did that back then. And now they're driving on the L.A. freeways.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 8:59 PM
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If you smoke pot you'll take LSD

It certainly worked that way for me. The idea that pot is a gateway drug isn't completely without merit, it just doesn't work the way that people who talk about things like 'gateway drugs' think it does.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:02 PM
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I've been totally unclear how growing fits into the new regime here. The tomato-sprouting lamp is doing nothing all winter...


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:03 PM
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71: it's worse than that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:03 PM
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63: probably the medical route isn't the easiest way

It all depends on who you know. Some people know quack doctors. Some people know other people.

In any event, there seemed to be a suggestion upthread that medical marijuana use led to a pot dispensary on every corner (like Amsterdam!), because that's how it is in California. That just seems silly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:04 PM
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73: The tomato-sprouting lamp is doing nothing all winter...

Now that is a crime.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:04 PM
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it's only possession (of up to an ounce, I think) that's been decriminalized

I'm still marveling at this! Holy crap! Up to an OUNCE? I spent junior high and high school in Mass. How could they do this to me now?

Totally great, making me laugh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:07 PM
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I've heard the current health-care bill under consideration includes a public-option marijuana-mandate panel that has the authority to require people to smoke grass. No joke.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:11 PM
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Obamacare will make your grandma honk a fatty.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:13 PM
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Apo, you're weird. Honk a fatty. Huh. Where are you from again?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:16 PM
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And then there are really sick people that smoking it might help in their maintaining a somewhat normal life. I'm caring for a friend who would probably benefit from smoking urm, the California remedy. One of the major things we are dealing with is he has a poor appetite. Plus it may help boost the pain meds to do a better job.

Disclaimer: I am unfortunately allergic to the stuff, and can't even be around second-hand dope smoke because it makes my face itch. And they're pretty safe from me taking his codone meds because I'm allergic to codeine too. We are preparing his daily meds for him because he is getting confused and we want to make sure he''s getting regular doses to reduce pain.


Posted by: dragonet2 | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:16 PM
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80: if everything you haven't heard of is weird, we are living in one crazy-weird world right now.

Actually, huh, yeah. Put a checkmark on that one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:19 PM
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47.1: ITEM: there are more medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco than there are McDonalds franchises.

I look forward to the day when the map of marijuana dispensaries in the US outshines this map of McDonald's franchises.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:24 PM
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82.last: I'd just never heard that, "honk a fatty". It was to smile. Sounds like puffing on a cigar. I think we'd have called that smoking a doobie, a big fat doobie. It's just regional differences.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:30 PM
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81: dragonet, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. You and your friends are helping. Since your friend is getting confused, he needs you absolutely of course, and if it doesn't sound presumptuous for me to say it: you have courage. Bless you. It's tough.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:49 PM
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As regards the federal/state conflict, I was actually rather impressed recently to learn that 7 out of 9 Justices stuck to their guns on state's rights (pro or con) even when it led to an outcome contrary to their likely political preferences (Raich). Granted, the two that flipped swung the majority, but still, having read Bush v. Gore, I had expected more cravenness.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 9:59 PM
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I've been interested lately in the ideas about decriminalizing but deliberately trying to keep it from becoming an industry with the means to get at consumers collectively - no corporate involvement, no advertising, etc. - since as we've seen with tobacco, that can make something a worse public health problem than it should be.
well, ok - but it seems like 'ban the corporations' would be a plausable good policy for all kinds of things, like software and food and etc. i'm all for the extreme social democracy where we still use price to allocate resources, but w/o the marketing and corporate hierarchy and stuff, but is that really relevent to this?

it seems like 'tax it so there are generous rehab and health services' makes a lot of sense, still, even if you are taxing licenced hippie collectives.

re: 'chronic zonkers' - 90/10 rule thing could probably be said of most activities. part of the advantage of legality is you can have a bong hit occasionally. it brings in people who might smoke, but don't have a dealer, or who sorta like it but don't want the legal risk, etc.

and, "chronic zonkers" - does chronic or zonk refer to the sticky icky?

i'm also skeptical of the drawing of lines between when its ok to medicate to 'normal' health, and when you're making your life just too good. things like 'anxiety' dont' have distinct y/n aspects, even if you can DSM your way into one.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:30 PM
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Some day I should try this "pot" all the kids are talking about. I spent a week in Amsterdam this spring and never did.
When I gave a graduation speech in high school, I had a reference about "grass"- the front lawn of the school was well known for people "taking breaks" during the day. The cliche of my speech was how what you'll remember is the people you went to school with, not the buildings or classes, and I said, "No one will remember the grass on the front lawn." So clever to slip it by the principal when she read my speech for approval!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:37 PM
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Grass is a really interesting documentary, but completely off-topic.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:54 PM
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My mom generally refers to marijuana as "grass."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:57 PM
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Spoke last weekend with a friend living in CO who told me he went to a doctor there about his migraines. Doc said "What do you do to treat them?" Friend replied: "I take 3 extra-strength ibuprofen, smoke a joint, lay down in a dark room and hope I don't throw up." Doc: Let's make this legal, shall we?"

Friend says he can have 2 oz. in his possession, and 6 plants growing in his house. Makes the cold and altitude issues allmost worth it.


Posted by: Dr Paisley | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:57 PM
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Also, the takeaway from California seems to be that you can more or less fail to keep the medicinal and the legalization/decriminalization arguments and advocacy groups apart and still get medicinal laws passed.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 10:59 PM
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91: 6 plants? Huh. No restrictions on size?

I'm kidding. 6 plants must be about right for personal use.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:08 PM
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72: I guess, if the idea of a gateway drug is the first one tried, then pot is probably common but I don't see where it necessarily leads to others unless one's head is fucked up to start with. No one ever said LSD is just like pot only stronger/better.

For me, the gateway was ether liberated from the high school chem lab somewhere around 1958. Or maybe a glass or two of wine years earlier. Then about 12 years passed before I opened the gate wider.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:19 PM
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I like 16 (legal to possess and grow but not sell) because hey, we might need a wider understanding of gardening. Or, at least, peaceful citizens. This is the Sharon Astyk 'Theory of Anyway', although I don't think she's applied it to marijuana.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:26 PM
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I don't know about Sharon Astyk, but sure, people don't know how to grow things, they just want to buy it, sure. It's an amazing turnaround to our culture to make it okay to grow but not to sell.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-21-09 11:40 PM
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Los Angeles is having a bit of a problem now with the dispensaries. When I was in City Hall, the dispensaries had started popping up; some of the more advanced dispensaries, with strong ties to the activists, were instrumental in passing planning regulations that included things like operation licenses, distance permitted from schools, etc. The regulations included a hardship exemption, and the hardship exemption became a huge loophole. In a very short period of time, the number of dispensaries went from under 200 to over 700. While the council struggles with new legislation, the new, nutball city attorney has proposed a prohibition on sales ofany kind. (There's a growing consensus in CA that dispensaries should be nonprofits, but sales should be permitted.)

And yeah, a prescription costs $100, you have to renew it every year, and it is very easy to get one. And the dispensaries can be quite lovely.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 12:24 AM
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Any solution where part of the pot trade is decriminalised but part isn't, won't work, as our experience here shows. In Holland it's "legal" to own and grow for your own consumption, "legal" to sell it in a coffeeshop, but not to grow it in industrial quantities or sell it to the coffeeshop. The upshots is that potgrowing is still controlled by criminals and many coffeeshops have ties to them out of necessity.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 12:42 AM
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On the subject of the OP, I think it's important to distinguish between revenue and profit. I'm pulling stuff out of my ass now, but I'd be pretty amazed if profit margins on weed were anything like as high as those on cocaine or heroin, let alone meth. It's harder to transport in bulk, the street price is low by weight, there are far more dealers/pseudo-dealers involved, and there's a large amount of home-grown supply. So the cartels are going to have to produce a lot more to make the same profit.

The article tries to claim otherwise, but it seems to me from what it says that the Mexican cartels are struggling to compete with US domestic production, even when they grow on US soil.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 12:54 AM
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also with bud vs. hard drugs, if the dealer tries to increase the price 400%, its a lot easier to say 'oh hm, i guess i'll just do without for this week'

although i don't really know how those drug economics work


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 2:29 AM
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Oh, and there's also the question of international markets. Virtually all weed/skunk in Europe is grown domestically (and hydroponically), whereas for obvious reasons that's not true for cocaine, say.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 3:14 AM
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re: 101

I presume 'solids' are imported from elsewhere, though? Hence the various 'tradenames'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 3:48 AM
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Legalization could be a good idea in the US if you managed to get public financing of elections.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 6:24 AM
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An enjoyable read on the history of marijuana in the US up to the '70s is by Larry Sloman. It seems to have been republished in 1998 so there may be some updates.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 6:38 AM
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My dad defended in the first marijuana possession case in our county. Won by arguing illegal search.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 6:45 AM
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104: The link is right but the title got eated. S/b Reefer Madness: The History of Marijuana in America.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 7:40 AM
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103- Because then candidates would have more free time to get stoned instead of making calls for campaign contributions?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 7:42 AM
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A cob-logger wrote about his experience with medical marijuana yesterday. He likes it a lot.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 7:55 AM
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My homey Dr. Dre came through with a gang of Tanqueray
And a fat ass J,
of some bubonic chronic that made me choke
Shit, this ain't no joke I had to back up off it
and sit my cup of gin down
Tanqueray and chronic, yeah I'm fucked up now!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SNOOP DOG | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 7:59 AM
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108: That was an interesting read. Thanks, Bave.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:03 AM
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I'm pretty sure that most in my friend circle have met at least one person with an entirely fraudulent medical marijuana prescription.

Hell, I've run into those, and that's just in dealing with people visiting from CA. You'll smell it on guys on a traffic stop or something, and they'll tell you how they have a 'scrip for it in Cali. Some of those are for totally fucking bogus things like insomnia.

Not that I care. No one seems to get violent on weed, and people seem to be able to grow that stuff without having any noticeable effect on the neighborhood. Drunks and crackhouses, on the other hand...


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:08 AM
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totally fucking bogus things like insomnia

Weed helps a lot of people sleep.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:09 AM
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Legalization can easily be done without the development of a Big Bud situation (as with tobacco) by selling through state licensed stores like Virginias ABC stores. If the stores purchase only from small growers (limit grow ops to say ~100 plants) and advertizing is banned (including things like freebies, two for one offers and the like) you avoid the development of an industry with big political muscle.

Pot is so absurdly benign compared to other drugs that legalization is the only sensible route. The fact that it is illegal is the major contributing factor to gateway effects. For me the discovery that I'd been egregiously lied to about pot lead directly to the assumption that similar lies had been told about other, more dangerous drugs. That's true, but the lies about cocaine, for example, are rooted in real hazards. The worst that pot will do to you is facilitate uselessness, but the folks for whom it does that are already headed towards chemically enhanced uselessness anyway, and the alternatives to pot all have much nastier long term effects.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:11 AM
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Weed helps a lot of people sleep.

So does booze, but come on, medicinal?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:14 AM
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If a couple fingers of whiskey help you get to sleep, you can buy some whiskey and keep it on your dresser. If weed is what works for you, the only legal way to obtain it is to get a prescription. In both cases, the use is medicinal.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:17 AM
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Booze hardly helps people have restful sleep. Weed can. Most prescription sleep aids have more abuse potential than weed does. Just think if Michael Jackson's doctor had built a gravity bong instead of giving him Proponol!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:17 AM
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I'd also much rather have somebody driving after smoking weed (somewhat decreased motor coordination; no change in reaction time) than, say, Ambien (makes you insane, makes you lose memory, makes you pass out).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:19 AM
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er than after ingesting Ambien, that is. If they smoked Ambien they should probably have their license replaced with a court-ordered helmet and mittens.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:21 AM
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113: See 103.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:38 AM
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Booze hardly helps people have restful sleep.

I seem to sleep pretty well after a couple drinks. Anecdata, bitches.

Hell, I don't know if it's even possible to have any kind of meaningful talk about medicine in a country that has chiropractor ever hundred yards.

Everyone do what they want! Just lay off stuff like operating heavy machinery while you do it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:47 AM
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119: Actually, could you spell out 103 a bit? I gathered you to be making a pithy comment that the forces against legalization have undue influence under the current campaign-finance regime, but I wasn't 100% clear if that's what you were saying. And if that is what you're saying, it's an interesting point. But maybe you were making a different interesting point? I need more coffee.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:47 AM
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72: The gateway drug stuff is bogus. They ask heroin addicts, if theey tried marijuana first. They never do follow up studies on a random sample of pot users to see how many of them go on to use other drugs.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:49 AM
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With campaign finance, a solution like 113 is both viable and sustainable in the long run. Otherwise Big Tobacco takes over within 20 years if not immediately.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:53 AM
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"a chiropractor every"

Jesus, time for some sleep.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:54 AM
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I sleep much better after a glass or two of wine. Further anecdata!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 8:57 AM
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Lately, I've been getting 'growlers' of beer. I'd never heard of it before Pittsburgh, but basically they sell you a 1/2 of beer in a refillable bottle. They go flat pretty quickly, so you have a reason to drink it all in a day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:00 AM
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I fall asleep better after a bit of alcohol, but the sleep seems lest restful, like Sifu said. Weed, if it's the right kind, helps me zonk right out and gives me a really refreshing sleep with interesting dreams.

We have growlers in Brooklyn. Nice for taking over to a friend's house for the evening.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:02 AM
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126: I think growlers are increasingly standard for microbrew places. The one I used to work at had 'em. Most of the breweries around here have 'em. The ones I'm familiar with hold four (16-oz.) pints, and if you're drinking directly out of one (as I was, one fateful New Year's Eve in college), you should not clink it with someone else's growler (think: breakage).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:04 AM
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I've never tried pot. I think that my brain chemistry wouldn't allow it. Seriously, it seems to be a risk factor for schizophrenia in people with a genetic vulnerability.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:05 AM
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My mom used to tell me that all heroin users started out on milk.

Kind of a weird thing for a mother to say.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:09 AM
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129: Yes. As I recall, those studies seem to have been about as well-conducted as could be done on the subject.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:10 AM
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Kind of a weird thing for a mother to say while nursing.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:10 AM
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A "1/2" what of beer?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:12 AM
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127, 128: It's possible that I never heard of them because I don't get out much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:12 AM
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Gallon, I think.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:12 AM
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133: Sorry. 1/2 gallon (regular gallon). As Stanely said, 4 short pints.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:13 AM
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Ah, a bit more than 3 pints, then.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:14 AM
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Bave should feel free to send me a growler of any of Six Points' offerings at any time. O, how I miss them and long for their greater availability.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:14 AM
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Is 'short pint' an actual way to refer to a 16 oz. pint? If not, I think I'll try to spread the term.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:16 AM
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Next time you're in town let me take you to a bar that often has cask-conditioned Six Points, Stanley. Bengali Tiger cask-conditioned is soooo nice.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:16 AM
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123: Big Tobacco did some serious looking at selling pot in the late 1960s/early 1970s. I don't like those assholes, but frankly having them sell pot is less bad than criminalization. The worst plausible case legalization scenario is still better than the current situation. Even if Big Bud was pitching freebies at high school football matches we'd be better off than we are now. Good public policy can ensure that does not happen, though. There is enough pushback from the anti-pot crowd that a situation like that with hard liquor in VA (only sold at state licensed stores) is much more likely than having pot marketed like candy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:16 AM
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140: I will absolutely take you up on that offer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:19 AM
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126: yeah, my dad used to buy those about once a week or more often when we lived just a couple miles from a microbrewery. Good stuff. And it's yet another example of how we as a society manage fine (or at least, some people within society fine, and there's no meaningful obstacle pushing back against it) with market forces or corporate marketing decisions that push towards unhealthy decisions or lifestyles with respect to most things, but not with respect to drugs other than alcohol and tobacco. Hemp is heavily restricted if not completely illegal. Growlers? Sure, go ahead, pick one up after going to the gym!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:22 AM
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143: I drink beer instead of going to the gym. I drink wine instead of eating fruit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:26 AM
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I don't feel very strongly about this myself, but I think Kleiman's argument is that we don't manage the corporate marketing decisions that push alcohol very well, with tens of thousands of annual deaths mainly within or caused by the high intensity users.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:30 AM
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re: 144

Perhaps I can interest you in some additional deep-fried foodstuffs, that will incorporate nicely with your lifestyle?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:32 AM
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146: I'm thinking of trying a beer and potatoes (with butter and salt) only diet. As long as I eat the skins, I should be fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 9:35 AM
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||

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida sucks. They're only offering their employees high-deductible health insurance. If you could pair that with a subscription-based primary care practice like the one at Qliance in Seattle it might be okay.

They'll give you money towards your HSA. $1,000 in fact, but you have to fill out a questionnaire about your health vulnerabilities. If you don't, you'll only get $500. Ugh.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 10:02 AM
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98: That sounds like an especially dumb hamstringing, though; is there anywhere legal for the coffeeshops to buy their wares? Sort of like expecting train lines in different regions of the UK to compete with each other.

Sex seems to work pretty well as something you can legally give away, or enjoy privately, but not sell.

148: catch-22.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 10:59 AM
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You'll smell it on guys on a traffic stop or something, and they'll tell you how they have a 'scrip for it in Cali.

Do cops treat this as DWI on the same level as smelling alcohol or encountering a drunk driver?

I'd love to see a guest post from gswift on how his police experience has changed / is changing his attitude toward people and stuff in general. You know, if it has.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 4:52 PM
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148 is how all employer-based insurance will be in a few years. HSAs are pushing everything else out. Its a cost thing.

Or so its been whispered between the cubicles at the health insurance company I work for....


Posted by: Grover Cleavland | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 10:20 PM
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Yeah, if we smell it on a traffic stop we're going to take a hard look at the driver for impairment. If it turns out it's just residual from a hit or two, or it's your passenger that's baked, no biggie.

I was on a "reckless driver" call the other day that turned out to be a guy who was high as hell on Oxy. A citizen called in that the vehicle weaving all over the place and followed it so we could intercept. He was obviously on a narc high (bloodshot eyes, the body movements, pinprick pupils, etc.) Adamant that he didn't want to be searched. Unfortunately for him he was too high to pass field sobriety tests. Search incident to arrest found a plastic bag full of assorted pills in his right front hip pocket, and a couple grand in small bills in the left.

I'm not sure my outlook on people is much different than it was.(probably due to already being jaded from doing years of fraud investigations in the private sector) But the job has been enormously interesting.

Metro areas are great for doing little experiments in enforcement like being on the downtown beat and targeting a problem area of Main Street with foot patrol. Projects like that have really made me a believer in the idea that aggressive targeted order maintenance can be a valuable tool.

There's also all kinds of other things that are great to see firsthand. The interactions with chronic offenders and homeless and/or mentally ill subjects, for instance. Who has a code of some sort and who doesn't? Who can be cajoled, and who is only kept in line by the knowledge that getting aggressive is on the path that leads to an ass kicking?

People who don't have regular contact with the police are often still crazy, just in different ways. " I have a right to call my lawyer right now" (this is while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car). "I know that you can only ask me three questions." "I need you to call me a taxi. You know, protect and serve." (the kind of stuff generally answered with "no, "hell no", and "get the fuck out of here")

Loads of fun, all of it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-22-09 11:35 PM
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"I know that you can only ask me three questions."

"John Doe, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent, except that you have to answer three questions. You have to tell the truth in one answer and lie in another, and you can either lie or tell the truth in the remaining answer - not necessarily in that order. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, we will provide you with two identical twin attorneys. One will always tell the truth, and the other one will always lie. You have the right to make one phone call, as long as the number you dial contains at least two pairs of digits whose value is equal to the distance between them: therefore, 534-1304 would be a permitted number, because it contains two 3s that are 3 places apart and two 4s that are 4 places apart. Now, get into the paddy wagon. I suggest that you change places with the goat, because if you leave him sitting next to the bag of grain he'll eat it."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 2:33 AM
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The interactions with chronic offenders and homeless and/or mentally ill subjects, for instance.

It is clear that either experience (or the uniform) help with some of the homeless. There is a guy near campus who very plainly has a severe mental illness. I've tried to talk to him, to give him a shirt or a pair of shoes (he has neither and wears only pants and a sport coat). He just yells at me. But, he had what looked like, from a distance, a friendly conversation with one of the campus officers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 5:14 AM
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"get the fuck out of here"

"I would, officer, but the doors are locked from the outside."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 5:54 AM
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153 is great.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 6:52 AM
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Wow, gswift totally sounds like a cop now. But a good cop!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 9:24 AM
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Which makes his partner the bad cop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 9:37 AM
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157: Totally. The cop stories are great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 9:52 AM
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I just got a growler filled with Six Point Bengali Tiger on Wednesday night, to enjoy while watching the Phillies beat the Dodgers. Had never tried it before - delicious. Not cask-conditioned, though. Very happy that my local pub has ten craft brews on tap at all times!


Posted by: honigessig | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 6:43 PM
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160: The jealousy! It burns!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-23-09 7:05 PM
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