Square to Be Hip
CANNABIS MEANS BUSINESS I D E A S T H A T M A T T E R E D I T E D B Y P . J . O ’ R O U R K E AMERICAN CONSEQUENCES
MARCH 2 0 1 9
This Socialist Scheme Should Worry You ADVERTORIAL
W e are witnessing a raging Socialist movement in America today. Just for starters…I’m sure I don’t have to tell you… Three U.S. Senators have proposed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pushing for free medical care, free college, and 70% tax rates. And a recent Gallup poll says more Democrats now have a “positive view” of Socialism (57%) than Capitalism (47%). But what no one’s really talking about in the mainstream press is WHY this is happening… and WHERE it’s all headed. Well, one wealthy businessman says there’s a secret reason behind this trend… and it’s all leading to a political event unlike anything we’ve seen in our country in more than 50 years. If you care about your health… your wealth… your family… and your future… it’s critical for you to understand what’s really happening a new plan to guarantee every American a government job. America’s new political star,
and what is most likely coming next. I guarantee you, this written analysis , by my friend and business partner, Porter Stansberry, will help you see these events in a different light. I strongly encourage you to check out his short written analysis here … Porter says what is about to happen will “reset” the financial system in a way most of us can’t even imagine. If he’s even half right… it’s going to have a huge impact on you and your money. See Porter’s write-up here … Top: America’s new political star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pushing for free medical care, free college, and 70% tax rates. Above: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is part of a growing socialist movement brewing in America.
MARCH 2019 : ISSUE 20
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Editor in Chief: P.J. O’Rourke Editorial Director: Carli Flippen Publisher: Steven Longenecker Assistant Managing Editors: Chris Gaarde, Laura Greaver Creative Director: Erica Wood Contributing Editors: AMERICAN CONSEQUENCES
56 Square To Be Hip
4 Inside This Issue
BY CHRISTINE ROSEN
BY STEVEN LONGENECKER
61 High-Def TV
6 Letter From the Editor BY P.J. O'ROURKE
BY LAURA GREAVER
62 The Budding Industry BY COMMODITY MARKET SENIOR EXECUTIVE X 68 Reefer Madness Is Back BY DR. DAVID EIFRIG 72 Righting the FDA’s Wrong BY NICK GIAMBRUNO
12 What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
14 From Our Inbox
18 Cannabis? Can'tabis? BY TOM BODETT
24 Doggone It
Tom Bodett, Trevor Burrus, Thomas Carroll, Dr. David Eifrig, Nick Giambruno, Alice Lloyd, Shefali Luthra, Alyse Horn Pyatt, Christine Rosen, Buck Sexton Newswire Editors: C. Scott Garliss, John Gillin, Greg Diamond Cartoon Director: Frank Stansberry General Manager: Jamison Miller Advertising: Jared Kelly, Jill Peterson
BY ALICE LLOYD
30 Greener Grass?
76 Too High to Drive?
BY THOMAS CARROLL
BY SHEFALI LUTHRA
36 A Libertarian Looks at Legalization BY P.J. O'ROURKE
82 Book Grump
84 Read This
42 Locked Up and Loaded BY TREVOR BURRUS
COMPILED BY STEVEN LONGENECKER AND P.J. O'ROURKE
50 Pennsylvania's Medical Cannabis BY ALYSE HORN PYATT
86 The Final Word
Cover llustration: Mario Zucca Editorial feedback: feedback@ americanconsequences.com
BY BUCK SEXTON
American Consequences 3
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
G overnments and major corporations around the world are waking up to the big business – and resulting big taxes – of cannabis. Here at American Consequences , we’ve been watching with equal parts skepticism and interest. So this month, we’re asking the hard questions... What does legal marijuana mean culturally? Can you make money if you invest in producers or growers today? What are the consequences for the U.S., its jails, and its politicians (remember, he didn’t inhale)? What will happen to the hard-working drug dogs? And is pot bad for you? After all, the last time a plant got this much attention, it was the 1600s and tulip bulbs were in favor. Will this time be different? Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke shares what today’s cannabis-heads can learn from 1960s pot culture... and weighs the pros and cons of legalization from the perspective of a hippie- turned-Libertarian parent of three... Health care analyst Tom Carroll tells us why it’s time to rethink everything you know about cannabis and cannabis investments...
Featured contributor Alice B. Lloyd reports on an overlooked casualty of cannabis legalization... Drug-sniffing dogs. Motel 6’s and NPR’s Tom Bodett returns to share his experience living clean in pot- friendly Vermont... and why he thinks legalization might not be so bad after all... Writer and journalist Christine Rosen looks at the commercialization of cannabis subculture... is THC-infused Polydent just around the corner? The Cato Institute’s Trevor Burus examines the hidden costs of drug prohibition... Analyst Nick Giambruno explains how recent legislation has opened the floodgates for legal hemp and the CBD market... Former CIA analyst Buck Sexton makes the case for using mass legalization to battle drug cartels... And our resident anonymous Book Grump reviews and rips some best-selling cannabis business books. We’ve uploaded a PDF suitable for printing to our archive page. And tell us what you think at feedback@ americanconsequences.com. Regards, Steven Longenecker Publisher, American Consequences
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From Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
WHAT THE 21st-CENTURY DRUG CULTURE CAN LEARN FROM THE DRUG CULTURE OF THE 1960s
“If you can remember the ‘60s, you weren’t there” is a quote variously attributed to Grace Slick, Dennis Hopper, RobinWilliams, and a bunch of other people because – you guessed it – nobody from back then can remember anything.
half a century ago, when I was thinking, “Wow! This is great f***ing s**t!” (Notice that my thoughts were so fuzzy that I was thinking in asterisks.) Recreational marijuana is now legal in 10 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territory of the Northern Marianas Islands (talk about “far-out”). Two countries – Canada and Uruguay (the Canada of Latin America) – have fully legalized consumption and sale of marijuana. Two other countries (with absolutely nothing else in common) – South Africa and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia – have declared all personal possession legal. Marijuana is legally tolerated in licensed cafes in the Netherlands. At least 32 other nations, as diverse as Croatia and Jamaica and Luxembourg and Ukraine, have decriminalized the drug.
I’m a veteran of the ‘60s drug culture. At least I suppose so. I was there – a 19-year-old college kid during the Summer of Love. And I wasn’t some Student Senate, frat boy, ROTC, squaresville college kid. I was fully onboard the Magical Mystery Tour. It’s just that I don’t recall much about it. Where were we going in the “bong bus”? What did we do when we got there? Who else was along for the ride? And why, when I try to think of their names, do they all seem to have been called “Groovy” and “Sunshine”? Oh my gosh, I hope I wasn’t driving... Fifty-two years later, everything is a purple haze – so to speak. But today there’s another “drug culture” in progress. In an attempt to learn from the past, we should be thinking about this new drug culture... Although maybe not the way I was
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American Consequences 7
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Medical marijuana is legal in 48 countries and in 33 U.S. states and all U.S. overseas territories. We know how it goes with medical marijuana... I have a great bumper sticker idea, yours free for the taking: MEDICAL MARIJUANA MAKES ME SICK! Health care provider: “What are your symptoms?” Patient: “I’m not getting high.” Marijuana has become... well, maybe not exactly “respectable,” but no more worthy of rebuke than walking down Bourbon Street with a Hurricane in a Solo cup. (Although, if you’ve got a doobie in your other hand you can still get ticketed in New Orleans – $40 for a first offense. But to put the social odium in perspective, it’s a $50 fine if you smoke a Marlboro in a Bourbon Street bar.) Marijuana is an accepted fact. And it’s almost a fact that other mind-altering drugs will be accepted. (I love that phrase, “mind-altering drugs.” As if there are no changes in brain function after you drink six cups of coffee before doing your taxes or after you drink four martinis before putting the nut dish on your head, mounting the back of the sofa, and reciting “Charge of the Light Brigade” to the cocktail party. But I digress... which I find I’m doing a lot while writing about the drug culture... It may have something to do with the drugs... I’ll have to go ask Alice when she’s 10 feet tall...)
Wow! This is great f***ing s**t! (Notice that my thoughts were so fuzzy that I was thinking in asterisks.)
In 2014, Scientific American ran an editorial, “End the Ban on Psychoactive Drug Research.” In 2017, the National Institutes of Health publication Neuropsychopharmacology (take a big toke and say that without exhaling) presented a peer-reviewed paper, “Modern Clinical Research on LSD,” supportive of the position taken in the Scientific American editorial. The paper noted, “Clinical research on LSD came to a halt in the early 1970s because of political pressure,” and, “The first modern research findings from studies of LSD... have only very recently been published,” and concluded in its abstract, “These data should contribute to further investigations of the therapeutic potential of LSD in psychiatry.” In 2018, the Journal of Palliative Medicine published an article, “Taking Psychedelics Seriously,” saying that “recent published studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of psilocybin [‘shrooms], MDMA [ecstasy], and ketamine [rave drug favorite Special K] when administered in a medically supervised and monitored approach.” Of course, “Palliative Medicine” is the treatment of terminally ill patients, so no
jokes, please, about people “dying to get a hold of these drugs.” But the path to legalization does seem to go through the doctor’s office before it gets to The Doors of Perception , as Aldous Huxley called his serious, thoughtful, scholarly book about getting stoned out of his gourd. Which, really, is the point of drugs... Not that we ‘60s “heads” weren’t “like, really into” serious, thoughtful, scholarly excuses for drug-taking. Back in 1902, William James, philosopher, physician, and “the father of American psychology,” wrote in The Varieties of Religious Experience : ... our normal waking consciousness... is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different... No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these forms of consciousness quite disregarded. This was James’ excuse for getting stoned out of his gourd on nitrous oxide. None of us had sat down and read The Varieties of Religious Experience . But we all knew about the laughing gas. More contemporaneously, psychology PhD and former Harvard professor Timothy Leary was on the college lecture circuit advocating that we blow our minds: “... these wondrous plants and drugs could free man’s consciousness and bring a new conception of man, his psychology and philosophy.”
I went to hear Leary speak when he came to my school and... I refer the reader back to the first sentence of this Letter From the Editor. I got the Leary quote from an anthology of 1960s Esquire articles that was sitting on my bookshelf. In 1968, Leary wrote a piece for the magazine that starts out as an account of a 1960 psychedelic drug experiment supposedly for clinical research purposes supposedly conducted under controlled circumstances. It ends with two naked beatnik poets – Alan Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky – wandering around Leary’s house while his teenage daughter is trying to do her homework. Leary also spoke at my friend Dave Barry’s school. Dave has a better recollection of the experience, which he recounts in his book Dave Barry Turns 50 : Naturally, being college students, we did not rush out and take a powerful, potentially harmful drug that we knew virtually nothing about just because some guy told us to. No sir. First we asked some hard questions, such as: “Where can we get some?” Then we rushed out and took it. We participants in the ‘60s drug culture did want to open “the doors of perception.” There is indeed a lot about life, the world, and the universe that we don’t perceive in our ordinary day-to-day consciousness. And we could have perceived a lot more of it if we’d taken courses in biology, botany, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and the other hard sciences instead of getting wasted and spacing out on the slideshow in Art Appreciation 101. (“Darkness at Noon” – easy A. The doddering professor had been
American Consequences 9
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
giving the same multiple-choice exam for 45 years.) We were searching for “cosmic truths.” Although we weren’t searching very hard, judging by the cosmic truths we found... I am he as you are he as you are me And we are all together We were seeking “cosmic unity.” One of the times when I took LSD, I had just become one with the entire universe when the landlord knocked on the door of my off- campus apartment. The rent on the entire universe was two months overdue. And we were looking for personal insights. For all I know, I had some. But I don’t believe they were any more profound than the lyrics in the previously quoted Beatles song “I Am the Walrus” – which many years of drug-free adult experience indicate I am not. (Although I am tending more toward the 4,400-pound weight of a mature male Odobenus rosmarus than I was when I was 19, plus whiskers and thanks to a partial plate and orthopedic shoes, tusks and flippers.) Anyway, when it comes to self-analysis, drugs are a one-man birthday party. You don’t get any presents you didn’t bring. Goo goo g’joob But the ‘60s drug culture did produce some great music. Unless you make the mistake of asking Alexa to actually play some of it. What did the Grateful Dead fan say when he ran out of pot? What a shitty band!
When it comes to self-analysis, drugs are a one-man birthday party. You don't get any presents you didn't bring.
And turning on, tuning in, and dropping out unleashed a great wave of personal creativity – macramé plant hangers, posters for rock concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium with psychedelic lettering that was illegible unless you were too stoned to read, the cover art for the White Album, and hippie chick embroidery on jean jackets. These are comparable to the sculpture of Donatello, the illuminated manuscript of the Book of Kells, the painting of Caravaggio, and the couture of Coco Channel... if you’re on PCP. So what can the 21st-century drug culture learn from the drug culture of the 1960s? Again... I refer the reader to the first sentence. However, while doing some background reading, I did come across one helpful hint. In 2015, Cambridge University Press published a volume in its “Cambridge Essential Histories” series called American Hippies , by W.J. Rorabaugh. Rorabaugh quotes Yale law professor and counter- culture advocate Charles Reich, author of the 1970 best-selling panegyric to the ‘60s, The Greening of America . Says Reich, “No one can take himself seriously in bell bottoms.”
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WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
Financial follies and disaster in the making
economy will continue to grow until they reach a tipping point... a point when people say “enough is enough” and turn back the power of the government before it’s too late. But that hasn’t happened... Instead many Americans have been moving in the other direction. A new socialist movement has suddenly taken hold in this country. And there is no better “face” of this movement than freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or “AOC” as she’s known to her supporters. The 29-year-old former Bernie Sanders activist trounced 10-term Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley to win New York’s 14th district last year. She did so on a radical platform that included just about every socialist scheme imaginable, including free health care and college for all... and a guaranteed federal job for every American. And her proposed “Green New Deal” aims to reduce America’s carbon emissions to net-zero by “getting rid of farting cows and airplanes,” among other measures.
A ‘new’ America?
The collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – or the Soviet Union, as it was commonly known – in the early 1990s proved it beyond a doubt: Socialism, as an economic model, was an unmitigated failure. Of course, that doesn’t mean it suddenly disappeared. Despite its “Cold War” opposition to the Soviet Union, even the U.S. had adopted many socialist principles decades earlier. And this strange blend of capitalism and socialism has grown even stronger in the decades since. This “New American Socialism” is fueled by paper money and the constant expansion of debt. It also features a kind of corruption that’s hard to police because it occurs within the boundaries of the law. The power to produce private profits is a key characteristic of this system... It’s a huge incentive for entrepreneurs and politicians to work together on behalf of the system. It’s also why the imbalances in the world
The scheme also initially promised “economic security” – aka free money – for all Americans who are “unable or unwilling to work,” but this particular bullet point was later removed after a public backlash. Unfortunately, a number of other politicians are proposing similar policies. Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) recently introduced “Medicare for all” legislation that would replace private health insurance and move nearly all Americans, regardless of age, into Medicare. It would cover most health services and limit private insurance to supplemental benefits not covered under Medicare. Of course, Jayapal didn’t explicitly say how much the program would cost or how it would be funded... But some options include a wealth tax and higher marginal income tax rates. The reality is these measures alone wouldn’t come close to paying for even the most conservative cost estimates of this program, let alone free college, job guarantees, or any of these other proposed schemes. What these politicians won’t admit is that these programs would require significantly higher tax rates for all American taxpayers, as well as a complete “reset” of our entire financial system. History has proven again and again that the heaviest burden would fall not on the rich, but rather on hardworking, middle-class Americans. It’s unlikely these programs will become a reality under the current Congress and administration. But it looks increasingly likely these ideas will become a deciding factor in the 2020 elections... and a large and growing number of Americans are now in favor of them.
If you’re not concerned, you’re simply not paying attention.
Biden versus Beto versus Bernie...
Although neither have officially announced their candidacy, it appears that former vice president Joe Biden and former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke will be running for president in 2020. Last week, Biden teased the idea to the International Association of Fire Fighters... and Beto will be in Iowa – a key swing state – by the time we go to press. There are even rumors that he’s recruited a top political consultant in the state. As of March 10 this year, over 200 individuals have filed with the FEC to run for president in the 2020 Democratic primary. Of that 200, roughly 20 are either current or former members of congress. Despite his popularity, it seems unlikely that Beto has enough support to make it to the 2020 general election. And better-known candidates, like Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, are running on a similar if not identical platform. But then there’s Biden... In nearly every poll of the 2020 Democratic primary to date, Biden has come out on top... even in polls where Sanders once held the lead. This early in the campaign, these polls track little more than name recognition, but if it’s any indication of what lies ahead we could be in for one of the most contentious general elections yet... and in the age of Hillary, Trump, and Robert Mueller, we can only wonder, what could possibly go wrong ?
American Consequences 13
FROM OUR INBOX
Re: Our Newest Readers Weigh In
Re: ‘Big business in cannabis...’
As a father of two young children, my main concern is that marijuana is sold in edibles, which include “gummy bear” candies, chocolates, and “soda” THC drinks, etc. These are inherently attractive to children. In my view such forms of marijuana should be outlawed as they market directly, though covertly, to children. Whether or not this is intentional or not is irrelevant. – James M. P.J. O’Rourke comment: James, your concern is legitimate and serious, but difficult to put into law because the legislation would have to define what sort of cannabis products are and are not “attractive” to children. In my experience young children will put almost anything in their mouths – Brillo pads, cigar butts, kitty litter, you name it. But I have an idea…What if marijuana edibles could be legally sold only in the shape and flavor of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach? Would have worked at my house. I have few concerns about the legalization of pot. I am concerned that some people are and will react emotionally instead of logically. Over-investment will occur, leading to soft markets and financial problems for many... Legally, morally? It’s a naturally occurring plant. It belongs to all of us. I don’t believe that the government has the right to declare anything like that as illegal. That’s wrong.
As a person formed by reading the Lampoon in the ‘70s I look forward to your take on our current state of affairs. – ClayW. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Clay, I’m glad to hear you were “formed” rather than “deformed” by the old National Lampoon. We could really say what we wanted in those days. Which brings me to the “current state of affairs.” That state is not good in a First Amendment way. When I look at NatLamp back issues from 40 years ago I think, “If we published that stuff today the whole staff would be serving life without parole in a “Political Correctional Institution.” Love reading your emails. So glad y’all think like US!! – Theresa M. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Thanks, Theresa. The reason we think like you because we are you. The whole point of American Consequences is to produce a magazine for smart people rather than for smarty-pants. The difference between smart and smarty-pants is that a smarty-pants thinks he knows everything while a smart person is smart enough to know that there is always more to be learned. America – especially certain urban and college town parts of America – is overrun by smarty- pants. We don’t need more people who think they are an intellectual elite. We need more people who think. Period.
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Personally, I tried it years ago and didn’t like it. Prefer beer or liquor. But many like it and should not be interfered with obtaining it. Yes, the system and politicians will make it difficult to fully legalize, but it will happen. – John B. P.J. O’Rourke comment: John, legalization may indeed lead to over-investment. Perhaps the solution for that is to require prospective cannabis investors to sample large quantities of the products they intend to invest in. By the time they get finished eating eight bags of Doritos they will have forgotten what they meant to do with their investment portfolios. Legal marijuana is the height of stupid. Alcohol problems are bad enough. People have always used hemp so that’s not a problem. – B.H. P.J. O’Rourke comment: B.H., by “hemp” I assume you mean the THC-free varieties of cannabis used to make clothing. But, believe me, some idiot will try to smoke his pair of hemp fiber tube socks. No matter which stupidity-inducing substance we ban, people will always find ways to get stupid. And we can’t make stupidity itself illegal or – at one time or another in our lives – we’d all be in jail. I think drug abuse, prostitution and not wearing your seat belt are all dangerous life choices but are essentially victimless. I only say that because I am in favor of LESS government. God put us here on this Earth with the responsibility of free will. Although I am not a drug/prostitution/ non-seatbelt
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American Consequences 15
FROM OUR INBOX
true, this is the strongest argument against legalization that I have heard yet. A vastly expanded government would be a “bad trip” no matter what drugs were legalized. Meanwhile my advice is “make hay while the sun shines.” I am concerned about the consequences of marijuana users driving while under its influence. Marijuana changes perception of distance and depth, increases reaction time and the propensity to be distracted. I ammost concerned that peoplewill feel soberwhile still under its influence. Will police have equipment to test drivers as they do for alcohol? Does anyone even try to tell the public how to determine when it is safe to drive after smoking marijuana? I already try to avoid driving Friday and Saturday nights, because there are so many impaired drivers. – Joe S. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Joe, we address many of your concerns in this issue, and I wish I could tell you that we found easy answers to your questions. We didn’t. But I did talk to a friend of mine who is a State Trooper in a state that has legalized marijuana. He told me that all the State Troopers he’s talked to agree that they’d much rather deal with drivers stoned on pot than drunk drivers – more likely to be driving 5 mph in the fast lane and tell you how pretty your flashing blue lights are and less likely to pull a gun on you. Good for you to explore this topic. You need to differentiate between HEMP & MJ. They are cousins, and often confused in the public’s mind. – Duane C.
advocate, I don’t believe it is any of the government’s business what we do with our bodies AS LONG AS we aren’t hurting others. Parents need to instill these morals, not have govt. raise them. – Bryan D. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Bryan, you’re preaching to the choir. Amen. My husband and I have enough land that we could growmarijuana and make a heck of a lot more money than we do producing hay. I could see doing this if we were producing it solely for CBD oil. I would not feel comfortable producing marijuana for the purpose of making people high... I do not believe any mind-altering drug is harmless and legalizing marijuana could have serious consequences. However, you can argue if people are going to buy it anyway, then it should be regulated. Certainly anyone in jail for marijuana possession, or any other drug, should be released and provided with treatment (when necessary). If we legalize marijuana we need to change the whole of our society. We need universal Medicare so everyone has health care and access to treatment if they ever need it. We need to make college tuition free so everyone has an opportunity to succeed in life, no matter what neighborhood they are born in. When people have hope, they have a future, and they are much less likely to overuse substances that steal their drive to succeed. – B. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Dear B., I’m not sure I quite follow your “If we legalize marijuana we need to change the whole of our society” reasoning. However, if what you say is
P.J. O’Rourke comment: Duane, point taken. See the article in this issue by “Senior Commodity Market Executive X.”
John went to work at the Louisiana-Pacific lumber Mille in Oroville, California. LP had great pay and benefits and John bought lots of LP stock and got matching stock. Unfortunately, when Bill Clinton took office in 1993 he immediately held meetings with the environmental lobbyists in Seattle, Portland, and Frisco. He then shut down logging in the national forests of the west, putting about 100,000 folks out of work... LP stock was worthless and the company folded. Unfortunately, my elder brother had all of his retirement in LP stock. He eventually got a part time job in a check cashing outfit. The sad, painful point of this story and that of the guy up in Corning is this: Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in One Basket! – DonaldW. Steven Longenecker comment: Donald, your brother's story makes my stomach twist. Asset allocation is a hundred times more important than finding the next "hot" stock or market. All it means is balancing your wealth between stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, commodities, and other investments. The right mix for you is personal... But putting everything into a single asset or type of asset is a huge blunder. Every business can crash and burn, no matter how safe it seems. Just look at General Electric (GE)... once known as a "widows and orphans" stock because its dividend was considered a safe way to provide income for family survivors. We've been warning about since we started publishing American Consequences. It's plunged 75% in the past two years .
The correct term is “cannabis,” not “marijuana.” Thank you. – Mark S. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Mark, you’re
reminding me of my high school freshman son when he was getting the obligatory “just say no” lecture from his mother. He said, “Mom, nobody calls it ‘grass’ anymore!” Re: Do Dirty Socks Make You a Liberal? Having grown up in Berkeley, I can identify a serious flaw in the article captioned above. True Berkeley liberals do not wear socks. Yes, yes, I know there was that chant from the 60’s that Berkeley was all about “Socks and drugs and rock-n-roll” but I have it on pretty good authority that a reporter had hearing impairment from the previous nights’ concert at Winterland and mis-heard the first word in the phrase. Present a sock to a Berkeley liberal and you will receive a sincere thanks for the fuzzy condom along with equally sincere amazement that you knew his size. – Paul W. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Paul, see my earlier answer to B.H.. We never said the Berkeley liberals were wearing the socks. Re: Investor Psychology Reading the article about the quick rise in Corning stock in the late ‘90s reminds me of the story of my older brother, John. After getting out of the service in the early ‘70s,
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American Consequences 17
By Tom Bodett
WHY IT'S SO HARD TO RELAX ABOUT POT
While I could have, at one time, credibly written The Popular Pharmacology of America: 1970 – 1990 , I have not indulged in any of it for going on 30 years. The only mood-altering substance I’ve allowed in my life in the intervening decades is children, and they have not improved it.
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American Consequences 19
citizens in pot-legal states have not yet appeared on our screens, but if you smoke enough weed, it is widely known you will begin to think you see them. I live in Vermont, where laws governing marijuana have lagged behind other states. It’s hard to understand why a true-blue state like ours would not have been out in front of this issue. My personal opinion is that marijuana legalization provoked a kind of political paralyses in a state that has never met a tax it couldn’t support or a business that it could. Legal weed means, on the one hand, a taxable popular commodity that will generate millions of dollars to support progressive causes in the state. On the other hand, it will create a new and lucrative industry that will be filling empty storefronts, cultivating now- barren fields and greenhouses, and making money for a lot of enterprising entrepreneurs. The Vermont Agency for the Preservation of Empty Storefronts and Barren Fields (not its real name) is not entirely comfortable with the idea of people making money willy-nilly, no matter how much it could tax them. And everyday Vermonters are divided on the issue. Many fear the message it might send to young people, and the lack of a testing criterion for impairment while driving. The rest have been finding sitters and driving across the line to Massachusetts to buy highly taxed, killer, legal weed that is making people rich less than 20 miles from where I sit. That said, in 2018, Governor Phil Scott did sign into law a bill that substantially decriminalized recreational marijuana use. Medical marijuana use has been legal in
Even when I was what was politely called “experimenting” with drugs, I didn’t like weed. My carefully transcribed lab notes of those experiments indicate “Cannabis sativa when repeatedly inhaled tends to aggravate feelings of hunger, promote cognitive difficulties, and produce an overall soporific effect.” At least that’s what I would have written were any of us writing anything other than derivative poetry inspired by Jim Morrison. Pot, in other words, made me stupid, tired, and hungry. Since those traits perfectly describe my natural resting state, marijuana never produced in me a high so much as a feeling of way too much me . I preferred the substances that inspired me to believe there could never be enough of me... That the room wanted to hear more, girls wanted to see more, and other men could not handle more. That substance was alcohol, of course, which is at the center of more shame, regret, illness, decadence, death, and suffering in the world than black market plutonium. And it is legal for adults to buy in vast quantities in all 50 states and most of the world beyond. It is not, however, legal to buy and sell marijuana anywhere in the United States, though 11 states now say it is, and another 24 allow it for medical purposes and have decriminalized recreational use. The fact that these state laws and existing federal law disagree is at the heart of a deep, national debate no one seems to be having. Images of jack-booted DEA agents repelling from black helicopters to bust unsuspecting
Vermont for several years. And quite recently, the state senate has finally passed a bill that outlines the regulations and licensing requirements of marijuana production and sales and proscribes a tax of 10% on retail sales. It also changes “marijuana” to “cannabis” in state statutes and creates a new independent commission to oversee the whole thing. These last two items, I believe, were the fault of a committee chair who allowed a meeting to run past the point of productivity. I’m sure she regrets not passing around granola snacks before the Senator from Somewhere County said, “Do we really want to be saying ‘marijuana’? And, “Aren’t we missing an opportunity to fund a new agency to govern this rather than realize the full benefit of the tax revenue?” To its credit, Vermont is the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislative process rather than through popular ballot initiative. What this says about Vermont is we have a representative government not afraid to go on record with the difficult issues. Or, too many Vermont voters were stoned in Massachusetts to round up the signatures for a ballot proposition. I am agnostic on the issue. I have not noticed much change in the world around me as mariju... um... cannabis emerged from the shadows. I might notice people becoming gradually more stupid and more tired, but I don’t mind because I feel perkier by comparison at a time in my life when that helps. I have plenty of friends who indulge. Many have long had medical marijuana cards for diseases they may or may not have. All have
I might notice people becoming gradually more stupid and more tired, but I don’t mind because I feel perkier by comparison at a time in my life when that helps.
informed me that the pot today is not the pot of my youth. Unless they are buying baggies of oregano from slick upperclassmen, I’m sure that’s true. In fact, they say the weed today has a variety of different highs to choose from. You can get a “thoughtful and calm” variety... Or maybe an “energetic and focused” buzz. I’m sure “stupid and tired” is still available, but I’m not really curious about it. I don’t judge people’s need for an “emotional support” high. And their marijuana use has never been a danger or aggravation to me in the way a drinker’s can be. Having someone lose their train of thought and drift back into the party is preferable to the beer-soaked guy who won’t stop talking about the breed of his dog you made the mistake of asking about. And the worst domestic abuse to come from a pothead might be eating the last Oreo and then starting in on the kids’ Lucky Charms. As for driving while stoned – I’ll take indecision and eternal left blinkers over treatment some years back, her oncologist suggested she try marijuana for the nausea. She’d never smoked pot before in her life and runs with a clean, book-group oriented, helicopter-mom kind of crowd. I was surprised when we sent the word out for weed that all the moms who had been coming by tailgating (and worse) every time. When my wife went through cancer
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with casseroles and sympathy were suddenly showing up at the kitchen door with well- thumbed Altoid boxes spilling moist bud. Someone brought her a little water pipe to soothe the bite and hide the smell. She snuck off to the spare room to try it while I kept the kids occupied elsewhere. After a while I went up to check on her. She had on a bag-of-chips smile and said, “I can’t tell if I’m high or not.” I kissed her forehead and put Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on her iPod. “You’re going to be just fine,” I said. Of course, cannabis is about more than getting high these days. It’s been proven to help with things like low appetite (duh), nausea (as in my wife’s case), glaucoma, nerve pain, chronic pain, tremors from Parkinson’s Disease, and PTSD in combat veterans. It would take a cruel scold indeed to deny access to a drug so kind as that. And then there are all these CBD products lining shelves from pot dispensaries to food co-ops. CBD is cannabidiol, extracted from the flowers and buds of hemp plants. It does not get you high because the THC, which does, has been removed. CBD oils, drops, and balms are thought to help with a wide spectrum of problems from epileptic seizures to anxiety. It is reported
to have particular success as a treatment for muscle soreness, arthritis, and other inflammatory ailments. As with almost anything you find in your natural foods store’s health department, there hasn’t been much study to support the claims. I did try some CBD cream on my aching arthritic finger joints, and it seems to work. I’ve been using it whenever my arthritis flares up from the weather or too much time in the woodshop. It continues to help, and I’m getting used to smelling like someone spilled their bong water on me. The new panacea (Latin for “snake oil”), CBD has a cult following of supporters you don’t want to argue with. The jar for my arthritis actually says “Nature’s Panacea” on it. How does it work? Magic. And I must repeat – It is working for me. But over the years, so had sugar abstinence, a low-fat diet, veganism, arnica, witch hazel, tiger balm, turmeric, and Bengay... Until they didn’t. You will not find CBD in any search history of mine. (Placebo is a powerful drug.) If you know anything damning about CBD oil, I’d appreciate you keeping it to yourself. Now that I’ve broached the subject of magical thinking, it’s time to talk about the children. No serious person would advocate kids smoking weed. Even if there weren’t hard evidence that it has a negative effect on brain development into a person’s 20s, kids don’t need another reality-distorting force in their lives. That’s what social media is for. At the same time, I don’t believe pot is the gateway drug so many opponents of legal
There are not very many things you could subject to the scrutiny marijuana has endured for decades that would come out the other side looking like a great idea.
cannabis claim it is. The drug itself is not very addictive, or for that matter, universally inviting. What leads young people to further substance abuse and bad behavior isn’t the pot... It’s the transaction that got them the pot – handing cash to the creepy kid with the backpack. For a lot of young people, buying weed is their first contact with an actual criminal. They learn criminals can be nice, and they’ll sell them things they want. And there are no IDs required, or rewards programs, or even receipts. What is learned here is more the problem than what is bought here. Put it in stores where their friend’s older brother can buy it for them, just like the beer and peppermint schnapps they threw up last weekend. Let the creepy kid with the backpack get a real job at Burger King. The worst that can happen is kids who might never have smoked pot will try it. Maybe, like me, they won’t like it and, unlike me, go happily and soberly through their lives. Or, they do like it, and they start reading fantasy novels and name their first dogs after Tolkien characters and grow up and have kids of their own and put the bud away in an Altoid box until a friend starts chemo and needs some help... It could be worse. There are not very many things you could subject to the scrutiny marijuana has endured for decades that would come out the other side looking like a great idea. What if chocolate croissants were illegal but easily acquired on the black market, and there was a movement to take them mainstream? But the fat! The carbs! The obesity epidemic! They’re French! Is this what you want your children eating?
Apply this to chainsaws, snow machines, handyman jacks, guns, and bacon. None of these things would make it through the What About the Children gauntlet of today. Alcohol was famously made illegal for a stretch of time in this country. The glamour of drinking increased under Prohibition while creating a new class of wealthy criminals because honest business people were cut from the deal. I’d rather see the next cannabis tycoons on the cover of Forbes than being frog-walked like El Chapo from a Federal courthouse trailing a wake of corpses and ruined lives. In truth, I think the resistance to legal weed is all cultural surface tension, not politics. When aging progressives think about pot, too many of them are reminded of their idiotic youths – listening to Yes , campaigning for McGovern. That stupid dog, Bilbo. When conservatives think about it, they are also reminded of the progressives’ idiotic youths and how insufferable they were. Neither side wants to go there again. It’s a young person’s world. Let them make the most of it. Besides, the stupider they act, the smarter I’ll feel. Tom Bodett is an author and broadcast personality heard regularly on NPR’s satirical weekend news quiz Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me . He has been the national brand spokesman for Motel 6 since 1986, which allows him to live in the middle of a hayfield in Windham County, Vermont, rather than near an actual job.
Headshot of Tom courtesy of Beowulf Sheehan
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ONE I YOU CAN'T TEACH AN OLD DRUG-SNIFFING DOG NEW LAWS
There’s no easy way to tell a drug-sniffing dog he’s fired.
Amid the quickening march of marijuana legalization at the state and – hey, who knows – maybe soon even federal levels, dogs trained to detect cannabis aren’t useful to police departments the way they once were.
By Alice Lloyd
Retraining an expensively bred, expertly educated German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, or Belgian Malinois to sniff out everything but the smelliest drug on the market is both costly and imprecise. It’s also not worth the legal headache now that defense attorneys can successfully argue for the illegality of a car search spurred by a cannabis-trained dog in any jurisdiction where carrying weed is no longer a crime. Culture changes. And the law changes with it. But when you’re a dog, a smell stays the same.
And to expertly trained drug-sniffing dogs – still the best smellers in the business, better than robots and mini-pigs imported from Vietnam – marijuana still smells like a Schedule I controlled substance. Even in Colorado. Tulo Topples the Trash Cans Consider Rifle, Colorado’s favorite working dog – a yellow Labrador Retriever named Tulo. He retired in January after a productive seven years on the police force. “The fact is, he was trained to alert on marijuana,” says Tulo’s handler and trainer
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Corporal Garrett Duncan. “And so, with the state of Colorado legalizing marijuana, Tulo was no longer very useful.” The day we discussed Tulo’s adjustment to retirement, Tulo’s three-year-old replacement – a dog named Macai, whom Duncan trained to detect every drug but cannabis – passed his certification test to take Tulo’s place. Any day now Tulo will start seeing Duncan leave for work every morning with Macai, who was until recently, the rookie. And Duncan honestly doesn’t know how Tulo’s going to handle it. For now, he’s making the best of their downtime. A working canine doesn’t get to play much. “As a puppy in his younger days, we’d try to conserve a lot of his energy,” Duncan explains. So there’s one obvious upside to Tulo’s funemployment. “He can go hiking, he can go fishing.” As we’re talking, however, Tulo is at peace: Stretched out on the floor, drooling, thumping his tail every time he hears his name. “He seems to really like his life.” Often, working dogs with obsolete skills will simply retire, as Tulo has, to lives of ease in their handlers’ warm and happy homes. They tend to adjust reasonably well, Duncan tells me. But he wasn’t thrilled to find himself weaning off the force at first. When Tulo started to notice the chief was tossing him fewer shifts, he staged a protest. Word spread quickly around the police department when, on one
With so many cannabis- trained canines retiring in the coming years, police departments can’t always be counted on to retire their dogs the right way. of the first days that Duncan went to work without him, Tulo launched a protest. “He kind of did get into the trash that day and tear through it,” Duncan recalls. If Tulo misses work, work misses him too... “These dogs just love going to work,” said police chief Tommy Klein, Duncan and, formerly, Tulo’s boss at the Rifle Police Department – where Tulo was “sort of a mascot.” “I think he’s having a hard time staying home with his owner,” says Klein, who seems to be speaking for the guys at the station as much as for their canine friend. Coming to Ringo’s Rescue In the absence of uniform regulation or aggregate data, police departments and dog trainers across the country do what they can to keep track of canine retirements. But with so many cannabis-trained canines retiring in the coming years, police departments can’t always be counted on to retire their dogs the right way. Eleven-year-old Ringo and his trainer, Randy Hare, learned that the hard way last fall. Hare has been training and selling drug- sniffing dogs to police departments in his
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