Marijuana legalization in Texas

A committee in the Texas Legislature just took a remarkable step toward the legalization of marijuana in Texas. Procedural obstacles unique to the Texas Legislature mean that a bill allowing full legalization will not likely make it to a vote in both Houses in this session. Nonetheless their action is an unprecedented landmark, a sort of Reagan-in-Reykjavik moment for conservatives in the debate over the drug war. Here’s why.

Two Republicans joined three Democrats on the House’s Criminal Jurisprudence Committee to approve the sweeping proposal and send it to the House’s calendar committee. One of them is David Simpson, a Tea Party star who introduced the measure.

Having Simpson back an unusual piece of legislation is perhaps not all that interesting. He’s the guy who led the State House’s idiotic fight against the Homeland Security Department’s airport screening rules two sessions ago. To put it succinctly, he’s an odd duck.

There are two other factors that make this scenario worth watching. First is Simpson’s reasoning. He introduces a rare touch of ideological consistency to a so-called “libertarian” movement that seems mostly interested in imposing Christian fundamentalist sharia. In an argument laced with more scriptural reference than the average Sunday sermon, Simpson makes this unusually insightful observation in a blog post at the Texas Tribune:

You would think that our country’s history with alcohol prohibition — an era marked by bootlegging, organized crime, government corruption and a rise in crime in general — would have prevented us from making the same mistake again.

But our current “war on drugs” policies, though well intended, have accomplished the exact opposite, spurring a proliferation of ever-changing exotic designer drugs and a disregard for constitutional protections in the name of eliminating drugs at any cost. Just think of no-knock warrants, stop-and-frisk, civil asset forfeiture and billionaire drug lords.

In other words, a far right Tea Party fundamentalist examined a complex issue of national importance and reached a nuanced, intelligent conclusion that could form the basis of bipartisan policy-making. This does not happen every day. It deserves appreciation.

But for a serious political watcher this is still not the most interesting thing about the committee’s vote this week. What’s truly groundbreaking is that Simpson was joined in his yes vote on HB 2165 by Republican Rep. Todd Hunter from Corpus Christi.

Who is Rep. Hunter, you ask? He is no one in particular and that’s what makes his vote interesting. Hunter is a solid member of the state’s shrinking bloc of relatively rational Republicans. He’s not a cartoon character or oddball, but someone who sits squarely in the party’s dull gray business base. He does his job and goes home. If Todd Hunter is willing to attach his name to a yes vote on HB 2165, then it really isn’t very controversial anymore.

Simpson’s office says that the early feedback from back home is very positive. If that’s true and that pattern holds up, it will represent a powerful shift. Simpson represents an East Texas base that is wildly religious and reflexively conservative. If his constituents don’t hate this bill, then come the next legislative session you can expect a serious, bipartisan push to end marijuana prohibition in Texas.

Here’s a breakdown of the committee vote on HB 2165:

Supporting Legalization:

Abel Herrero (D) Corpus Christi
Joe Moody (D) El Paso
Terry Canales (D) Edinburg
Todd Hunter (R) Corpus Christi
David Simpson (R) Longview

Opposed:

Jeff Leach (R) Plano
Matt Shaheen (R) Plano

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Drug War, Texas
124 comments on “Marijuana legalization in Texas
  1. RobA says:

    There’s actually a significant percentage of Americans today who would make sure this happens if only they get the chance. I think the biggest proof that God doesn’t exist is the actions of those that purport to follow him throughout all of human history.

    https://news.vice.com/article/10-year-old-girl-raped-by-stepfather-is-refused-an-abortion-in-paraguay

    • 1mime says:

      I seem to use the word “incredible” a lot on this blog. So terribly sad. You do realize that the TX Legislature is considering (not sure of bill’s status) not allowing abortion to girls who are sex slaves and become pregnant? Supposedly, there is an “out” to allow the abortion if the girl’s life is endangered, otherwise, she’s s.o.l. Many of these girls are very young just like the one from Paruguay. Houston has a major problem in this area especially prevalent during major sporting events. Isn’t that telling…

      What is this world coming to, Rob?

  2. flypusher says:

    Check it out/ the TX lege is in danger of actually passing something relevant and useful:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/5/11/8586137/texas-body-cavity-search

    Damn straight they should have probable cause and a warrant!

    • 1mime says:

      And, amazing that laws need to be passed to prohibit practices like this….But, give the Legislature its due for taking action where it’s needed.

    • Doug says:

      1964 was half a century ago. The players of that era are dead. Nixon is dead. Democrat Klansman Robert Byrd is dead. Lee Atwater has been dead for twenty five years, but his quote probably will be repeated by wanna be “journalists” for another hundred, as if it were something new they just discovered and somehow relevant today. It isn’t.

      Yes, there are racists. All over the world, in every color imaginable. No single group or political party has a lock on racism, and the constant harping on it is getting old. Claiming that criticism against Obama has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with race is intellectually dishonest. I criticize him because he’s a shitty president whose views I disagree with, not because he’s (half) black.

      Believe it or not, there are many people who believe in a smaller Federal government for philosophical reasons that have nothing to do with race. It’s true. But you’ll never believe it if you keep reading crap like that.

      • texan5142 says:

        Doug said,
        “I criticize him because he’s a shitty president whose views I disagree with, not because he’s (half) black.”

        Me thinks you got it backwards, you disagree with his views and to you that makes him a shitty president.

      • 1mime says:

        You are entitled to your opinion, Doug. But, the thrust of the article was educational more than racially provocative, from my reading. Do people abuse the term racism? Yes. Do people lie about being racist? Yes. And, yes, many people do support smaller federal government as long as their specific needs are not trampled. I found the article interesting from an historical perspective more so than from a racial expose. We all need to get past blame and work on solutions. That’s what Lifer is doing with The Civil Rights Institute. I hope you are supporting his efforts. Even though 1964 was a long time ago, racial injustice and inequality persists. That’s a fact you cannot deny. I accept the fact that your animus against President Obama is policy driven and not because he is half Black. I wish that was true of the majority who have insulted a sitting, duly elected and re-elected President of the united States in too many ways to restate.

      • Turtles Run says:

        So thinks Doug qualifies as a “shitty” President but I am sure he wholeheartedly supported President Bush and the GOP agenda. Well Doug

        I guess I will take shitty anyday of the week.

      • RobA says:

        Doug, if people didn’t “harp” on this issue, the civil rights act in the 60’s would never have passed. It’s easy for the class NOT being oppressed on a daily basis to get annoyed with the incessant “harping”.

        As for the Obama thing; Obama has faced u precedent ed criticism from all levels of ci servatism, that go far beyond what amy preside t has EVER been subjected too. Bush was universally hated by the end of his term and Clinton was impeached while in office, and none of them was subjected to the intense disrespect that Obama has been. You’ll forgive those of us on the outside for thinking that, just maybe, his race has something to do with it.

        I can see not liking his policies, and not liking him as preside t (although I disagree, I think when all is said and done he could be among the top 7 or 8). But i would be very interested to hear what you think he’s done specifically that warrant the intense vitriol hurled at him from the right.

        Every president has policies that aren’t liked by a large amount of peoplE. But the office of the presidency hs never been more disrespected towards a sitting president in recent memory. Its not at all intellectually dishonest to imagine that much of his fiercest critics have a racial tinge. Especially when the criticism is coming from a group of people with a well established history of racism

      • flypusher says:

        “No single group or political party has a lock on racism, and the constant harping on it is getting old.”

        http://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8520305/systemic-racism-video

        Cry us a river Doug, cry us a freaking river over all that annoying “harping”.

      • Creigh says:

        Doug, you say “there are many people who believe in a smaller Federal government for philosophical reasons”

        I’m trying to think what philosophical reasons those might be, and coming up blank. I just can’t think of any reason why the size of government as such is a legitimate issue.

        Any particular action by a government either improves one’s life, degrades it, or has no significant effect, and can be judged on those merits. Is there some point where the sum of particular actions becomes more than just the sum of particular actions, and therefore constitutes a legitimate “size of government” issue, as opposed to a “they’re doing particular things I don’t like” issue? “Because Freedom” doesn’t seem like it answers that question.

        This would seem to indicate that the belief referred to above is an ideological belief, not a philosophical one.

      • johngalt says:

        The Daily Show was advertising an upcoming documentary entitled “Southern Rites” tonight, updating a story I first read five years ago about a small Georgia town in which an integrated high school had two proms – a black prom and a white one. The article linked below is six years old, and they have subsequently held integrated proms. This tradition exists in other parts of the rural south – Morgan Freeman offered to pay for an integrated prom in his Mississippi home town and it was rejected by the white parents.

        Doug – this wasn’t 50 years ago. It was 5 years ago. I know you’d like to wash your hands of any unpleasantness, but there remains work to be done, and a lot of it. You can say you hate Obama’s policies rather than his race, but the absolute vitriol with which some of the supporters of the losing side of the 2008 election immediately (and I mean immediately) set upon him with all sorts of ridiculous nonsense suggests that there is more at play than just a set of policies that had not at that point been fully articulated. Or, to put it another way, had an older white conservative for whom there was some question about the circumstance of his birth been elected, is there any chance that people would still have been talking about it four years later?

        http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/magazine/24prom-t.html?pagewanted=all

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, John, I have read about the segregated prom situation. Lot of heads in the sand thinking bigotry is so “yesterday”. I’ll grant that the subject comes up a lot, and that is fatiguing, but the reason is it’s still such a problem. As Fifty said above, ” Freedom for everyone entails certain inherent risks. Unless and until we recognize that simple fact, we’ll neither have it, nor deserve it.” Getting to Freedom for all is a slog.

        While we’re on book recommendations, a favorite Southern author of mine is Greg Iles, who grew up in Natchez, MS, right down the street from my hubby. His first two books were his best – in my opinion (Spandau Phoenix & Black Cross), but his latest effort in a trilogy about the South is remarkable. The first in the series is “Natchez Burning” and focuses on KKK activities in LA/MS. The second, “The Bone Tree” is as gripping. Iles opted (despite great Hollywood interest for a movie version), to produce it through Amazon as a TV series. I prefer to read a great story before seeing the movie, but your call. It might be educational for those who are not either familiar with or convinced of the extent of racism practiced in the South to read/view this story. His books arealways well researched, very well written and always long (800 pp+) but you won’t be able to put them down. All have been NYT best sellers. Check him out on his website. The Natchez novels parallel the southern history Lifer has been teaching us about. http://www.gregiles.com/#!novels/cjg9

      • goplifer says:

        Though I disagree with all of Doug’s ludicrous conclusions on race, he is right in his claim about smaller government. I share that conclusion.

        http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2012/04/complexity-demands-smaller-government/

        That doesn’t mean we are going to experience a new birth of liberty with every chunk of government we slice away. It means that a massive bureaucratic government of the 20th century variety is no longer adaptive. We have to find ways to accomplish the things we want government to do with a smaller, more responsive central organization.

      • 1mime says:

        And, agree which things are most important. Smaller government that perpetuates income divide is not fairer government. Even the most staunch Dems who post here want government to be effective. If that can be achieved by smaller government, I’m fine with that. Let’s start with the military effort. Get that behemoth under control (as it chews up over half the entire federal budget). From what I’ve read, federal employee count has never been this low, so, I’m assuming you’re more about consolidation of function wherever possible. You may have written more specifically on this subject. I’d appreciate a link if you have. Part of the value of your blog is exposure to other ideas. I continue to learn and want the best for America – ALL of America. That’s the challenge. Put ’em out there, Lifer!

        BTW, it was reported in today’s Chronicle that the promising legislation to kill the “pick a pal” jury system has been pulled. Seems a TX judge objected before the committee. Surprise, surprise. Why risk a jury of one’s peers when you can pick the jury that you know?

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for the link, Lifer. (I blew right past that!) Here’s a fun piece of trivia on longest bills produced by Congress. Appears both parties can be “wordy”: (Good thing I’m not in C. as I am equally long-winded!)

        https://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/1375-For-Bills-in-Congress-How-Long-is-Long-?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OpenCongressCongressGossipBlog+%28Open+Congress+Blog%29

        Hayek posits: “It is only when government attempts to solve the most complex, individual human problems through expert planning that democracy sputters.” Dumb it down for me, Lifer, which specific government areas would you eliminate? (I’m serious here.)

      • Creigh says:

        Chris, your column “complexity demands smaller government” makes the perfectly valid point that there’s an awful lot of sausage-making going on. That absolutely argues for a good deal of legislative humility. And I don’t think that anyone would disagree that government should be as small as it can possibly be to to achieve its objectives. But I don’t think that either of those things add up to a conclusion that government is too big or should be smaller.

        We’re no longer the agrarian, preindustrial society we were when the Constitution was written. Modern life is becoming more complex and more interrelated, and government is at heart about regulating societal relationships. Given the increasing complexity and interrelatedness, I don’t see government getting smaller anytime soon. You or I may not like it, and yes, the number of unintended consequences will rise, but there’s no alternative I can see.

      • johngalt says:

        Complexity may demand a smaller government, but you have to define what that means, Chris. You’ve made admirable attempts to address this question, but it still looms large. 60% of government expenditures are essentially transfer payments (health care, welfare spending, social security). Could this be delivered more efficiently? Probably, particularly on the welfare side, as you’ve written before, but social security distributes $840 billion in payments on $12 billion in admin costs. Find me an insurance company with a 1% expense ratio. Non-defense discretionary spending is at a five decade low.

        To significantly shrink government requires a fundamental re-engineering of how it works. I know you’re down with that and even have ideas toward that end but do you think those ideas have any chance of being implemented by the kind of politician that appeals to the Dougs of the world?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Lifer sez – “That doesn’t mean we are going to experience a new birth of liberty with every chunk of government we slice away. It means that a massive bureaucratic government of the 20th century variety is no longer adaptive. We have to find ways to accomplish the things we want government to do with a smaller, more responsive central organization.”

        It seems to me we may be looking for less efficient ways to do things as productivity increases. As jobs disappear to silicon and algorithms, we may look back on the days of government employees pushing papers back and forth in triplicate as the good old days.

        As Johngalt says, the number of government employees are falling rapidly, in part because we have a contrarian congress but mainly because the government processes are becoming more efficient. This I know firsthand because my son works for the federal court system. Centralization of functions have allowed departments to do more with less.

        I could accept a world as Chris imagines it. I accept we do have to adapt to rapid changes.

        But some of the changes may be a redefinition of work and how we redistribute wealth. Which may include inefficient (according to a pure market approach) and “wasteful” makework.

        For even when we were with you, this we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat. Thessalonians 3:10

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes there are racists Doug. And they came out of the wood work and closet in droves with Obama’s Presidency. So you think the constant and never ending haranguing over Obama’s birth certificate or “Nigerian roots” or his “seekret Mooslim” faith (despite criticizing him over his “radical Christian pastor” out of the other side of their mouths) has nothing to do with Obama’s race?

        And just because one doesn’t advocate open lynching of Blacks (anymore) absolves one of being a racist. And is intellectually dishonest. Nuance Doug, nuance.

        “The truth is that the people who accuse others — without a shred of evidence — of ‘playing the race card,’ claiming that the accusations of racism are so exaggerated as to dull the meaning of the term, are themselves playing a card. It is a privileged attempt at dismissal.

        They seek to do the very thing they condemn: shut down the debate with a scalding-hot charge.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/19/opinion/charles-blow-stop-playing-the-race-card-card.html?hpw&rref=opinion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

      • 1mime says:

        Doug has caught a lot of grief for his comments, including some from me (I posted the article), but here’s the thing. We DO need to get past the past. The problem is we haven’t been willing to really work on solving the problems of the past. I don’t buy for a second that racism doesn’t exist, but I do agree with Lifer that we have to find solutions or we will keep having the same debate. I say we get busy, be honest, and work on equality – meaningfully. We can’t change the past but we can shape a different future.

      • Doug says:

        “I am sure he wholeheartedly supported President Bush and the GOP agenda.”

        I am sure you would be wrong. For only one thing, I was adamantly opposed to the Iraqi war before we ever went, back when people like Hillary were for it.

        I believe that Bush is fundamentally a good person, though not very strong and not a deep thinker. Then again, Carter is a good person, and he is in the top five worst presidents ever.

        I believe that Obama in an angry, spiteful, dishonest, racist person. This country had a great opportunity to step toward becoming color blind when he was elected. How has that turned out?

      • 1mime says:

        If you’re blaming Obama for America’s racial discord, you are missing the real point. Obama came in with high hopes to bring our nation together. Yes, his election did offer an opportunity for our nation to come together as did the coming of Jesus Christ, and he was crucified, as I recall. Seems it’s real hard to please people, even with perfection. O’s election brought out very publicly how people really feel about race, and it has been ugly. Centuries of racial hate preceded this President’s election. From day one, there was a concerted effort to sabotage Obama’s presidency. That is not opinion, that is fact. It has only gotten worse as an orchestrated GOP public denigration has encouraged rank and file Americans to do the same.

        Does Obama share some of the blame for this? He should have told Republicans to go f..k themselves from the get go and immediately implement the agenda that got him elected while he had a majority in both houses of Congress. His naivety and hope to bring the two parties together wasted a lot of precious political opportunity. He has made mistakes but to call him a shitty president exemplifies exactly why our nation has so much work to do for equality – in all areas. No matter who is President of the United States, remarks like these are wrong and disrespect the office. They should be personal and are unfit for public display.

        You obviously don’t like or respect Pres. Obama. That is your right. But to hang the failure of racial accord on his back is flat out wrong.

      • moslerfan says:

        Unarmed, I don’t think we need to resort to “make work” to solve the structural underemployment problem that you point out. There are plenty of societally useful things that need to be done but are not recognized as “profitable” by our current economic system, as any mother could tell you. (Happy belated Mother’s Day, y’all!) These could certainly include environmental remediation and improved services for the elderly, as well as improvements in things the public sector is already doing in education and cultural areas.

        We just need to expand our idea of what is economically useful and productive beyond that which is merely profitable for corporations.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Very eloquent and diplomatic rebuttal 1mime.

        And let me add MY dos pesos.

        Let’s see, George W. Bush tanked the economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression, started 2 simultaneous wars, one totally unnecessary predicated on lies that you were OPPOSED to and botched the execution of both wars and unnecessarily killed over 6,000 American military when one should have been over with a cornered bin Laden killed or captured within a month and they other should never have started (by YOUR words) yet YOU “believe that Bush is fundamentally a good person”.

        And then Obama fulfilled the will of the people and ended one war and focused resources on the only war that was justified, pulled the economy out of the tank that YOUR “fundamentally good person” willfully destroyed, and this despite Republican obstruction every step of the way. Obama provided universal health insurance for the poor people you don’t care about, killed bin Laden, signed the Lilly Ledbetter law for pay equality, and numerous other actions that made this country better and better for its citizens.

        And Obama stayed classy and never responded in kind to the overtly racist and hateful attacks that continue nonstop to this day and somehow, to YOU, “Obama in [sic] an angry, spiteful, dishonest, racist person.”

        Yup, it’s not about race at all Doug.

        If it quacks like a racist…

      • 1mime says:

        Wow, Bubba!

  3. flypusher says:

    This is preaching to the choir regarding obscenely harsh sentences handed out for possessing drugs, but there’s a nice little booze vs pot compare and contrast at the bottom:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/5/8/8574047/marijuana-20-years-prison

    • 1mime says:

      Oh, common sense, where forth art thou?

    • RobA says:

      Actually read a few of the comments, and they were along the lines of “well, the huge warned him what would happen! No one to blame but himself!”

      What a morally bankrupt position. As if warning someone of a draconian and unjust consequence somehow magically makes it just?

      So as long as I warn my neighbour beforehand that if she wears anymore skirts above mid thigh, I’m going to rape her, that’s ok? Because, hey, she was warned.

      • RobA says:

        “Huge” = judge

        goddamm autocorrect lol

      • 1mime says:

        “If she wears skirts above mid-thigh, I’m gonna rape her………….

        Rob, might I suggest that you give that one a leetle more thought….(-: Your biggest problem may not be getting away with the “um” deed, but ‘splainin to the little Missus who shares your balcony…..

  4. way2gosassy says:

    By the way I want to wish all the Mother’s that post here a Happy Mothers Day!

  5. BigWilly says:

    There shall be a new demand for Pimento Cheese Sandwiches, and I shall be ahead of the curve.

    Eat my sandwiches, eat them now!

    You supply the marijuana, I supply the Pimento Cheese Sandwiches.

    • johngalt says:

      Willy, sometimes I wonder what drugs you’re on currently.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Jesus, Big! That looks like multi-grain bread. How disgusting. Just as well eat saw dust. “Well, saw dust is an excellent source of fiber, don’t you know!”. Listen to your colon. Mrs. Ohm says she doesn’t understand what mine is talking about.

      • RobA says:

        I trust you’ve never had gluten free bread.

        Literally, the worst thing you’ve ever put in your mouth.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – I did once at a happy hour at our neighbor’s entirely by mistake. The horror! And well OT, but the entire “gluten sensitivity” myth has been entirely discredited by none other than the Aussie who published the original paper suggesting its existence to begin with. But hey – it’s a multibillion dollar industry now!

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, I totally agree on Gluten free bread, etc! Stats indicate that a very small percentage of people are genuinely gluten intolerant. Why would anyone choose to eat something that tastes like cardboard! Life Is TOO short! Live a little!

      • fiftyohm says:

        The late, great, and personal hero of mine, Julia Child, once said, “Don’t be afraid of your food!” It’s become stylish these days. Good grief!

      • johngalt says:

        I’m also a white bread guy and, coincidentally, I made for the first time last night the meal that – legend has it – converted Julia Child into a foodie. Filets of sole muniere. Basically dover sole filets lightly dredged in flour and sauteed in butter, with a bit of lemon and capers. Totally simple and delicious; can’t believe I hadn’t tried it before.

        There are people with legitimate gluten sensitivity (celiac disease). That would explain about 1% (probably less) of those who claim gluten intolerance. The Aussie study by Gibson and colleagues is a great example of the self-correcting mechanism of science: he ran a study in which people self-reported diets (not uncommon in the nutrition field) that showed a big effect of gluten. Gibson himself realized that this was subject to a number of biases and reran the study to eliminate these. One could argue that he should have gotten it right the first time, but better late than never.

      • 1mime says:

        There aren’t many scientists who will admit they were wrong. Kudos for one who did.

        Congrats on the sole meuniere success. At the restaurant I was describing to Fifty, they fixed this dish and in their presentation, de-boned it table side. Magnifique! Sounds like there are a number of “foodies” in this group who enjoy cooking/eating! BTW, you can split a chicken breast (so it is thin) and prepare it the same way as the sole.

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG – Bravo on the sole! It’s great with snapper and redfish too.

        And y’know, I almost commented about the self-correction aspect of science when I wrote about the gluten study, but I forgot. Thanks! And I don’t blame Gibson, for sure. I applaud him for showing the best side of the method, without ego or concern about being “wrong”.

    • way2gosassy says:

      Only if you make them with white bread……….

      • RobA says:

        Hey now. Brown bread matters!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Well, I’m a white bread guy – I may have an unintelligible colon – but a white bread guy nevertheless.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, your onion has a lot of interesting layers (-; Gotta say I agree with Mrs. Ohm, tho.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty – a White Bread guy.

        I knew there was something strange about you Fifty!

      • flypusher says:

        I’m down with all varieties of bread. There’s tasty multigrains out there, and I also love the type of French bread 1mime describes (drool!). But white wonder bread has all the flavor of paste (bleah!). Also do not want any gluten free stuff.

        I do a lot of cookie baking. A few years back I switched from using all white flour to a 1:1 ratio of white/ white whole wheat. Nobody noticed (and a whole lot of people have eaten my cookies).

  6. unarmedandunafraid says:

    I agree with legalization/decriminalization/regulating all drugs. I’m sure our friends in Mexico, Central and South America would benefit. And we, here in the states, would be so much better off also.

    But the question, is what does a non criminal market look like? Do we have to go to the pharmacy? Or are there various drugs on the shelves like cold medicines? Do we allow companies to make large profits from drugs that ruin lives?

    I know these questions are farfetched since we are still working to get Cannabidiol legalized for seizure control in my state. (Cannabidiol is not psychoactive) Still interesting to imagine a saner world.

    • Doug says:

      “Do we allow companies to make large profits from drugs that ruin lives?”

      Yes, we do. A small sample:

      http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=BUD
      http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=BF-A
      http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=STZ

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Doug – Yes, you are correct.

        Wonder if we will see a sexy chick nodding off in a heroin advertisement?

    • RobA says:

      It’s an interesting thought experiment. what DOES a legalized market look like?

      Ive got a few opinions. For one, I don’t think it’s desirable or morally defensible for gov’t to regulate a product that can kill you right away (I. E. An overdose). I realize this is somewhat arbitrary, as cigs and booze and prescription drugs can kill you. But the line has to be drawn somewhere. Afyer all, so can obesity, and yet were not going to outlaw McDobalds. and so anything that CAN kill you, but would typically take a long time, should be regulated, taxed, and sold at licensed locations.

      So like booze, marijuana, hash oil, shoukd be regulated and sold.

      As for hard drugs, it’s a little more tricky. I don’t think gov getting in the business of selling heroin is a good idea. In fact, I’m actually in favor of keeping the laws aginst the production, importation, and distribution if drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, heroine, meth etc. Just think that possession for personal use should be decriminalized. That would solve much of the incarceration problem, while still keeping a modicum of sanity.

      Cops and border guards will still go after dealers. But anybody who gets caught for simple possession (defined as anything under a reasonable personal amount, such as 5 grams of blow, or thereabouts )

      This system would keep a lot of the irrational fears at bay (“but they’ll be selling drugs to our kids in the cafeteria!!”) While still keeping things much more sane overall, and ensure that people’s lives aren’t ruined for trying to get a little buzz to escape the drudgery of a broken system with no realistic chance of upward mobility within society.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, I’m confused about your message on legalizing drugs. I get your statement in support of personal use of small amounts of the drug of choice without legal penalty and assume you would extend that choice to include ‘hard drugs’.

        But, I don’t understand your statement that “it’s (not) desirable or morally defensible for gov’t to regulate a product that can kill you right away”> Are you talking about “quantity” here or specific product(s)? i don’t see how you can separate the two beliefs.

      • RobA says:

        I admit, it’s pretty arbitrary, but I just figure you need to draw the line somewhere.

        The complexity of legalizing drugs kind of requires somewhat of an unusual compromise. In my scenario, I would draw the line at government regulation/sales of any drug that could literally kill you immediately (i.e. not after a lifetime of abuse).

        One cannot die of an overdose of marijuana or cigarettes, so even though those CAN kill you eventually, they would be permitted. Cocaine, heroin, crystal meth all the drugs that can kill you tonight, would still be legalized, but the gov’t would NOT be in the business of selling it. I.e. it wouldn’t tax and regulate it as it would marijuana.

        It’s an unusual solution I guess, but any solution that results in across the board legalization would likely be “weird”.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s clearer Rob, thanks. Still, given the choices and experience of those countries who have gone down the road already of legalized drugs, and still elect to keep “hard” drugs off limits, that should tell us something. Unbridled legalization of all drugs will probably never happen in my lifetime but I do hope for changes that would make medical use legal, that would be more tolerant for recreational use with small amounts, and would reform the adjudication process. These changes alone would be significant.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        RobA – This drug thing has so many facets that it makes my brain hurt.

        I am not an expert on any of the following, just my observations.

        My hope would be that government would crash markets for very dangerous drugs like heroin.

        This is where I may be talking out my… I have only known one person that held a job and was a current heroin user. And he didn’t last long at the job. It seems that a heroin user will not be able to hold a job to maintain his/her habit for very long. There are no weekend relaxation binges. So unless there is independent wealth or maybe the person is a rock star, bottom comes up very quick.

        This is where I envision a disruption in the market. Imagine a organization that sells the product in a safe place, maybe a safe place to use, in single use needles if needed. With a reminder of programs available for addiction everywhere. And the price is much less than the street price. Whatever the street price.

        The above is important for highly addictive drugs rather that the ones that kill you slowly.

        Why would the street vendor sell the first or second hit if he knew that there would be no repeat business. The illegal supply chain would dry up when the demand goes away. This puts the legal organization (government?) in the business of selling a dangerous drug in a subsidized way.

        I just heard some conservative heads exploding.

        Of course Lifer is talking about cannabis, which clears the body in a few days and is not nearly as addictive as heroin or other drugs.

        http://www.thefix.com/content/10-hardest-addictive-drugs-to-kick7055

      • johngalt says:

        RobA, one (of many) problems with the prohibition on drugs, especially opiates like heroin and amphetamines like ecstasy, is chemistry. We do not ban “ecstasy”; rather, we ban methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Change a carbon atom here or there and you have an intoxicant that is not methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Synthetic drugs are popping up everywhere as a response to prohibition and the race between the chemists and the cops is being won by Walter White. As bad as heroin is, we have several centuries of data on what it does to people, which is to kill people slowly. The newer drugs can kill people quickly, as happened to a couple of teenagers in suburban Houston a couple of months ago. Remove the ban on heroin and there is no reason for the “better living through chemistry.” But this has to extend to dealers as well, because they are the ones facing serious time if caught.

  7. Griffin says:

    My Uncle’s favorite right-wing radio host (Dennis Prager) has been ranting about how terrible to is to be legalizing pot so now that entire side of the family is treating it as it’s a decline of our national morality. I don’t feel like I can have a sane conversation with someone when they turn virtually every issue into a two dimensional battle for America’s soul, and then when their apocolyptic predictions don’t come to pass it makes it even harder to take them seriously. The only thing I don’t get is how they aren’t embarrassed in the least when their predictions don’t come true, you’d think they’d be at least slightly embarrassed and try to get new sources but it doesn’t dissuade them at all, they move onto the next “battle” with as much ferocity as they did on the last one.

    • 1mime says:

      I feel your pain, Griffin. But if you think about how shallow right wacko beliefs are, they don’t have enough invested to cause them either guilt or responsibility for correction before they move on to the next “hot” issue. And, don’t bother with trying to have a rational discussion. It will be futile.

  8. fiftyohm says:

    Yes. As JG opined, legalize it. All of it. But not because prohibition has failed. Not because prohibition has devastated large swaths of our society. Not because it’s racist at its core. Not because enforcement and incarceration is fantastically expensive. Not because there may be some medical benefits. And not because the tradeoffs lean (clearly) on the side of legalization.

    Legalize it because it never should have been illegal in the first place. Legalize it because it is not the place of government to make those types of personal decisions for its citizens. Legalize it because this prohibition is just flat smooth wrong, and the antithesis of the philosophy of the republic.

    That’s why.

    • flypusher says:

      I’m equally fine with every reason you gave, whether you expressed support for it as the right reason or not.

      The war on drugs is stupid, the war on drugs is wrong, the war on drugs is wasteful on multiple levels. End it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        FP – I was making a somewhat broader point, though perhaps clumsily.

        Laws restricting personal freedom should never be enacted in the interests of social convenience, or social engineering, or vague arm-waving about ‘the common good’, or saving people from themselves. We have a solemn pact with government to tread with the utmost caution on matters of personal liberty.

        The monumental mistake of the drug war is not economic, nor practical. It’s fundamental.

      • 1mime says:

        Just curious, Fifty, what laws/areas do you believe government should limit personal liberties?

      • fiftyohm says:

        mome – Fair question.

        Taxation, speed limits, fire codes, environmental restrictions, fish and game laws, laws directly protecting me from you, and on and on. The list is long – but not endless.

      • 1mime says:

        And, if the opposing list is not too long, those areas you prefer no government regulatory involvment?

      • flypusher says:

        “FP – I was making a somewhat broader point, though perhaps clumsily.”

        No it wasn’t clumsy, it was crystal clear to me, and I agree that trying to save adults from themselves is not a job for governmental bodies.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – You are now asking an extremely general question regarding my core principles. The list you seek is indeed very long, and a full explanation and justification of each in detail is well beyond the scope of this blog’s central topic. Maybe, someday, you can order that tome on Amazon. For now it will have to remain piecemeal.

      • 1mime says:

        It would be worthy reading, Fifty. Even when we disagree, I find your positions interesting and well supported. We’ll just let the onion layers peel off issue by issue.

    • johngalt says:

      I’m not, despite my nickname here (chosen for an entirely different reason), nearly the personal libertarian that 50 is. Given the restrictions that he can support, which are those in which your irresponsibility could cause me significant injury (speed limits, DUI, fire codes), there is certainly an argument that your right to use intoxicants like illegal drugs might impinge on my personal or property rights. People on drug binges are not known for their respect of their neighbors. But our 40 years of drug war experience prove conclusively that government intervention in this personal decision has far worse ramifications than actually using the drugs. This, to me, is a public health question. Legalize the drugs and give the public health authorities the resources needed to detect and treat pathological addiction. It will be vastly cheaper, more equitable, and more efficient than what we’re doing now.

      • 1mime says:

        It will be interesting to research the experience of other countries who have legalized drugs (for a long time ideally). This would be an incredible paradigm change – pharmaceutical companies would be impacted, pharmacies, physicians, health insurance, and the populace at large. What a grand experiment it would be to see how crime, law enforcement/criminal justice system, prison needs, health care, cost, bureaucracy would be impacted. Unarmed is correct. Lots of challenges even as it would be worth doing.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Through some lens, just about everything you can think of can be construed as a ‘public health issue’. Alcohol, automobiles, firearms, fireworks, porn, puberty, pot, potatos, fructose, fornication, and daytime TV all carry with them the potential for affecting the vaunted “public health”. It doesn’t matter. Screw that. What ‘might have the potential to affect public health’, as a general concept in legislation, is a piss poor ideal when compared to the inherent significance of personal liberty in these United States.

        Nobody ever said that personal freedom is free, and comes without a price. That price may be the risk that your neighbor is a nut case, or an addict, or a pedophile, or a firebug, or whatever pathology you can name. It would be a sorry-assed society that would ban lighter fluid for my grill due to the public health menace that my arsonist neighbor might pose were he to set my fence on fire. For crissake, lock everybody up. Then we’re all safe, right? Except, who are the jailors?

        Freedom for everyone entails certain inherent risks. Unless and until we recognize that simple fact, we’ll neither have it, nor deserve it.

        Rant off.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        As I told my son, I make the decision to take the first two drinks. Then they get together and say to me, “We’ll take it from here, unarmed”. Yes, there will be room for the public to protect itself. At the very least users of dangerous drugs should be warned of the consequences. Whether we are talking about addiction or other dangers. Dangers to themselves and to society. Hell, the state policeman that issued my motorcycle license tried to talk me out of it.

        We limit speed of autos and rightfully jail chronic offenders of speeding laws to protect ourselves. We don’t care if you get on a closed track and put your life in danger driving as fast as you can. But on public roads, speed kills.

        I don’t see why we shouldn’t defend ourselves from the harm of drugs that have taken charge and are making decisions for the user.

        All this may by indubitably obvious to the most casual observer, but we are on a slippery slope here. We will look at other countries as mime says, and we will compare outcomes from state to state regarding cannabis.

        Then, what’s next? Is there a next? Cocaine?

      • way2gosassy says:

        Mime, “It will be interesting to research the experience of other countries who have legalized drugs (for a long time ideally). This would be an incredible paradigm change – pharmaceutical companies would be impacted, pharmacies, physicians, health insurance, and the populace at large.”

        You start by looking at what Amsterdam has done about the use of “illicit” drugs.

      • johngalt says:

        Sure, 50. But that it is a slippery slope the other direction too. Why should the government put an arbitrary limit on how many drinks I can have before driving home? Why is that not “personal liberty?” We gauge the likelihood that risky behavior will affect innocent bystanders and draw a line somewhere: knocking back half a case of beer and getting on I-45 is not permitted; knocking back that same half a case in your backyard is. In Unarmed’s example, driving 120 on I-45 is illegal (and, generally, impossible on that parking lot); doing so on a private track is not. At some level, deciding on where that line should be is a risk-benefit assessment.

        That line has been drawn in the wrong place for pot. It is somewhat more debatable whether it is also wrong for cocaine, heroin, etc. I’ve already posted my opinion about that.

      • flypusher says:

        The damage to addicts’ families happens whether drugs are legal or not. The one upside of legalizing the stuff is that all the $ spent on incarceration could go towards rehab and making sure minor children of incorrigible addicts don’t get taken down with them.

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG – On DWFU laws, setting an arbitrary limit on consumption is unfortunately about the only measure that can be taken. I’d add that it is extremely imperfect, and can say with 100% confidence that I have never in my life been so intoxicated as to pose half the hazard to others as my mother-in-law cold sober. (Or my business partner, for that matter.) Recent hysteria aside, fatal accidents by drunks, as a rule, are not caused by people with 0.085% BAC. They’re caused by idiots with 0.2% and on up – mostly discovered either post facto, or postmortem. But I digress…

        First, and as a confession, my sole intoxicant is etOH. I find stoners boring, whereas a few homebrews make me more interesting. 😉 I am not advocating the use of any drug.

        But here’s the thing: It is currently well beyond our technology to assess how stoned a person is. Quite unlike the demonstrably imperfect, but at least semi-quantitative measure BAC, there exists no analogue for THC – at least on the roadside – let alone its extremely idiopathic effects. I hope no one will pipe up here and suggest that driving whilst stoned out of your gourd is safe, yet we have no way to enforce any rational law regarding its prohibition. This poses an undeniable hazard to public safety.

        We do, as a society make trade-offs regarding absolute personal liberty. I’ve listed several. But this is not some sort of game to produce a society “most orderly”, nor “fairest”, nor “safest”, nor “most efficient”, or any of these things. Liberty is messy. It’s inefficient. It’s risky. And its sometimes unfair. We can do only so much to ameliorate these. Attempts to do more throw the baby out with the bath.

        I’ll take my chances with boring stoners behind the wheel. And with crackpot radio personalities. And with religious nutballs. And all the rest that the Constitution enjoins the government from restricting. I fear the Nannies most of all. We all should.

      • flypusher says:

        “But here’s the thing: It is currently well beyond our technology to assess how stoned a person is. Quite unlike the demonstrably imperfect, but at least semi-quantitative measure BAC, there exists no analogue for THC – at least on the roadside – let alone its extremely idiopathic effects. ”

        Until then, the dashboard cams will come in handy. If you’ve got the video of someone driving like they are impaired, you should be able to charge them. Perhaps an adjustment of laws is needed- you could have a charge of “unsafe driving” to start with. If you can verify the cause (drinking, texting, etc.), it strengthens the case.

      • 1mime says:

        Probable cause will be a thorny issue, Fly. I participated in planning an educational demonstration of driving under the influence in the 80s when there was a push nationwide to lower legal BAC levels. We had a very credible demo: pathologist who drew blood samples at specific intervals, state troopers and local law enforcement who monitored volunteer drinking drivers, defined obstacle course, and interested public (including high school teens and media). What was most interesting was the experience of one of our volunteer drinking drivers who also happened to be the District Attorney. His BAC climbed into the teens (we stopped his alcohol consumption when doc said to), but his driving ability was terrific. This was held in a huge parking lot with cones delineating the driving path laid out by safety professionals, not a public roadway, and it was carefully monitored. The D.A. was surprised he could function so well despite being intoxicated well beyond the maximum legal BAC limit of .08 and said it taught him to be more thoughtful about the adjudication process. (whatever that meant (-:….I didn’t ask questions about that!)

        As you would expect, wealthy parties will engage legal counsel whereas others will simply plead, lacking resources for other options.

      • johngalt says:

        “Officer, what evidence do you have that my client was under the influence of marijuana when you stopped him.”
        “Well, he was driving 8 miles an hour and there was a bag of 30 Taco Bell tacos on the passenger seat.”

      • fiftyohm says:

        LOL. Bloomberg would like to see possession of that quantity of junk food made illegal!

      • flypusher says:

        “Probable cause will be a thorny issue, Fly. ”

        That’s how they’re doing it now. You can’t know the BAC of people driving by, and the DUI checkpoint thing has Constitutional issues. Someone driving drunk has to actually do something that looks suspicious, be it driving too fast, swerving a lot, or unfortunately hitting someone/something.

      • 1mime says:

        or, driving while black…….as “probable cause”… I am in favor of stopping anyone who is weaving in traffic. I am in favor of banning texting while driving. But I do want law enforcement to proceed properly as well and we all know that doesn’t always happen. Designated drivers are critical and calling a cab for an inebriated patron is smart as well, if you can get them to climb in. Yes to dash cameras w/audio; yes to body cameras, too.

    • way2gosassy says:

      50, on this we agree 100%.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Mime this should get you started and 50 you might be interested as well.

        “Dutch drug policy is unique in the whole world. It is directed by an idea that every human being may decide about the matters of its own health. The Dutch consider this rule as fundamental, accepting for example as the only country in the world, the possibility of the controlled suicide (voluntary euthanasia), for terminally ill patients. Another idea which guides Dutch laws in their drug policy is a conviction that hiding social negative phenomena does not make them to disappear – on the contrary makes them worse, because when concealed, they become far more difficult to influence and control.

        Applying these ideas to their drug laws the Dutch try as much as possible to decriminalize the use of drugs, making it a private matter of each individual, and not a matter for the enforcement apparatus. Production, trading and stocking drugs remain a criminal offence, as in any other country.” http://www.amsterdam.info/drugs/

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        sassy – thanks for the link.

        Seems confusing, what can and can’t be done, but a step in the right direction.

        The last paragraph is encouraging – “Then again, through their tolerant policies towards soft drugs, they hope to be able to better control the social phenomena of drug abuse. For example, the statistical data certifies that among young people of medium age 28 in the Netherlands, only 16% ever smoked marijuana. Soft drugs when widely accessible seem to lose much of their appeal.”

      • fiftyohm says:

        Interesting link, Way2. Many times I’ve strolled by the “coffee shops” in Amsterdam, and wondered how the Dutch tolerate the horrific carnage on the streets they cause!

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, gotta watch those bike riders, they’ll mow you down!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Motorcycles too! I just returned from a ride into town to buy a bottle of Scotch. *gasp* And I exceeded substantially the speed limit. (Though I was fully armored and wearing a full-face helmet.) And yes – of course, the Scotch is for later!

        BTW mime – the anecdote you related regarding BAC above was quite interesting, and supports my point regarding BAC as an extremely imperfect metric.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, the pathologist said that blood (alcohol) samples are quite accurate as a driving predictor but in his medical opinion, the D.A. had a liver of unparalleled quality. (The breath analyzers then, not as much.) Most people having consumed what he had would have been out for the count (hopefully not in a ditch, tree, or upside down). All of the other participants BAC levels caused them to drive erratically. He was a medical anomaly. Sadly, this D.A., who was a friend, experienced a massive heart attack a couple of years later. Great liver, bad heart. A real loss to our community.

        I forgot to say that we also conducted field sobriety tests (law enforcement) after each blood draw. The D.A. failed that test even though he didn’t knock down cones with his driving. Go figure! It was an interesting experience….for all of us. It led to a grant proposal which we won that funded a program that worked within the traffic division of City Court (couldn’t get the district judges on board, those louts) and mandated pre-sentence evaluations and referrals to either rehab or defensive driving. I am gratified that the program is still in effect and funded by local government. Having lasted this long, it has proven itself worthy of continuation. Another outcome were 2am bar closing hours which the smart bar owners supported and that is still in effect as well. As one bar owner/friend told me, he was happy to close up earlier and get some sleep!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – Either the ME didn’t know what he was talking about, or perhaps after all the intervening years, you misremember. BAC is BAC. It has nothing to do with liver function. To some extent, your liver function will determine how your BAC decays with time. But the statement that the guy’s liver had anything to do with his driving ability at a specific BAC is simply incorrect.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, the liver metabolizes alcohol. Evidently some people’s livers handle alcohol more efficiently than others. The pathologist (board certified pathologist- knew what he was doing and talking about, good sir!) stipulated that this was the logical reason the D.A. was able to function as well as he did despite his BAC level.

        Going with the doc on this one, Fifty.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Nope. Your liver determines how fast your BAC decays. At a given BAC, as you have described the trial, it makes no difference. Go with him or don’t – it’s incorrect. *Tolerance* for alcohol, (i.e. a high BAC) is very complex, and is not primarily associated with liver function to first order.

        Don’t just believe me though – I invite you to look it up!

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I am not a doctor. I can only relate what I was told by an experienced pathologist who may have been “dumbing it down” for me. You say his comment was wrong. I wish I had the medical knowledge to refute your point but I don’t, but neither do I accept on face value that you are correct. (I am a woman, after all, of Scottish descent (-: Possibly this is more a matter of semantics. Your term “decay” is unusual. I have always seen the term “metabolize” used in reference to liver function. Whatever the difference, it’s not worth a lot of either of our time, however, I offer one professional journal link that may offer a better explanation than I am doing, given that I am one stubborn woman who is often wrong, but never in doubt (-:

        http://www.alcohol.org.nz/alcohol-you/your-body-alcohol/alcohol-body

        This is an excerpt, the whole article is worth reading if you’re so inclined.

        “The liver can only break down a certain amount of alcohol per hour, which for an average person is around one standard drink (the current limit for over 20-year-old drivers in New Zealand is 250 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per litre of breath and a blood alcohol limit 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood).

        The BAC rises, and the feeling of drunkenness occurs, when alcohol is drunk faster than the liver can break it down. The table below shows the relationship between BAC and symptoms of drunkenness – the higher the BAC, the greater the effects on the body. However, BAC does not correlate exactly with symptoms of drunkenness and different people have different symptoms even after drinking the same amount of alcohol. The BAC level, and every individual’s reaction to alcohol, is influenced by: [1, 2, 7]

        the ability of the liver to metabolise alcohol (which varies due to genetic differences in the liver enzymes that break down alcohol)[7]

      • fiftyohm says:

        Actually, I didn’t say he was wrong in other than the context of the assumption that your recollections were right. One or the other is wrong. But to the point:

        “Decay” is a concept in biology and physics, and rooted in mathematics that describes, in this discussion, the rate of reduction of concentration of something. There are many types of decay from a mathematical standpoint, but not to stray from the point, in the case of alcohol in the human system, it is reduced by *approximately* one ounce per hour. Obviously, my BAC, (blood alcohol concentration) after one drink is going to be lower than yours after ingesting the same amount. (Unless you are a larger woman than I suspect…) Also, your liver, being a female liver like it is, is probably slower at metabolizing alcohol than mine. But – on the average – we all metabolize alcohol at about the same rate. How efficient our livers are at doing that depends on a number of factors, (like sex), and will determine how much alcohol is left in your systems an hour from now.

        Now let’s say that you weigh 140 pounds. (Please, please, do not take this for anything but a thought experiment!) I weigh 200 pounds. You drink 1 ounce, and I drink 200/140’s of an ounce. (A bit more.) We’ll end up with about the same BAC in the next few minutes. At that moment, we measure our BACs and verify this to be true. Then we do a driving test. How we perform on that test has absolutely nothing to do with how efficient our livers are at metabolizing alcohol. How well we do in an hour may, but not right after the measurement. That was the experiment as you described it. (Otherwise the experiment itself was invalid.)

        The experiment that you described involved direct BAC measurements *immediately prior* to the driving test. We can therefore assume that during the course of the test, the BAC did not change all that much. This DA dude apparently did quite well with BAC levels well above 0.1%. That was not a test of result of robust liver function. That was a result of alcohol *tolerance* that is, as I said, a far more complex issue, and in fact, outside of a few things that we know about some population groups, not well understood at all.

        Is this getting clearer?

      • 1mime says:

        Chuckle…..you are working at this way too hard, Fifty, but I appreciate it! And, I am a giant of a woman in all the ways that count. Actually, the event went on for a couple of hours, and I do not recall how frequently the blood samples were drawn and they were done within a trailer which is not where I was located. I understand the differences as you’ve described them, the explanation in the link I attached, and at this point, am ready to move on. Decay may be a technically correct term but it isn’t one I’ve heard in medical circles, but I’ll defer to the engineer cum doctor. Doesn’t matter enough to argue the point. It was an interesting and valuable experience under professionally controlled settings and it led to some very positive community action as I already described. I thought the group would enjoy its relevance to the topic of drug legalization….a stretch, I know, but, I’ll leave it there. I give up, Fifty!

        BTW, to be very honest with you, growing up in the French section of LA introduced me to something I continue to love – REAL French bread…white, of course. A couple was brought in from France to be the pastry chefs at a local fine French restaurant. They later opened their bakery, “Pouparts” and their breads would make you weep. Light as a feather, crisp crust, airy on the inside…man, do I miss that bakery. Haven’t found anything like it here in TX. Their pastries were/are very special as well. Ah, moving has its downside )-: I also enjoy whole grain bread very much….but if I ever had to choose between the best whole grain bread and a baguette of Poupart’s French bread, I’d have to give the nod to the white stuff!

      • flypusher says:

        I’ve taken the TABC bartender training a few times (I tended bar at Valhalla during my grad school/postdoc years). Part of the course covered the signs that some one had had too much and needed to be cut off. It did mention the toughest call- a person who was the “experienced drunk”. People with a lot of practice drinking alcohol can get accustomed to the effects and learn to compensate when their BACs are in the lower end of the legally impaired range. My quip was -great, THIS bar is chock full of THOSE types!

        (Yeah, I practice too)

      • fiftyohm says:

        Hah! I’m a wannabe chef, thought not a baker, that has been practicing at the art daily for 45 years! Child was my muse on PBS. I now have 2 Kitchenaid stand mixers, and this is the year I attempt bread. It’s a !long road, but I’ll do my best.

        I’m certain I’ll never achieve the result of the etherial baguette you describe, but I can say, without reservation, I would love to break one with you.

      • 1mime says:

        Julia Child was a phenomenal woman. Amazing that she came to the WH at Jackie Kennedy’s request…the menu must have been amazing. From what Madame Poupart tells me, having the “right” oven is important. Good luck to ya, and bon appetit!

      • fiftyohm says:

        When I return to Houston, we all need to convene to the G-Man. It would be more than just a hoot. Much more.

  9. vikinghou says:

    I’m all for legalization. We have a home in Colorado and, as far as we can tell, it has been a positive thing. Some friends of ours have a condo unit with a deck that sits above a bar in Manitou Springs. For years it was noisy. Now that patrons there can smoke weed, the place has calmed down considerably! There are mean drunks but I’m not aware of any mean potheads.

    I am allergic to the smoked weed but have become rather fond of the edibles, particularly the infused hard candy. Each drop contains 10 mg of THC and one of them is enough to affect me. Everyone tells me I’m a wimp!

    • 1mime says:

      What’s really unconscionable, Viking, is the refusal to legalize marijuana nation-wide for medical purposes. My husband has Parkinson’s Disease and there is a growing body of research that supports real benefits to people with this disease and other chronic conditions. Additionally, there are those who have painful health conditions for which marijuana use would offer some relief.

      Besides the pleasure aspect of consumption of small amounts of marijuana (which I have no problem with BTW), there is the very sad fact that far too many people have been jailed for minimal possession of marijuana – lives ruined and incarceration costs which could be more usefully employed for the benefit of all.

      • vikinghou says:

        I’m really sorry to hear about your husband. I hope you didn’t think I was making light of the situation.

        I’m very supportive of the medicinal use of marijuana nationwide. In fact, the friends I mentioned in my previous message fall into that category. “Ben” is a Vietnam vet who is suffering the after effects from overexposure to Agent Orange. As he’s gotten older he has experienced major cardiopulmonary and renal difficulties. He’s on dialysis and has to breathe supplemental oxygen 24/7. He discovered that taking THC candy helps ease the pain (or at least his perception of it) and helps him sleep. It has made a big difference in his quality of life.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Doug. I understood your point. There are lots of people who could benefit from legalized marijuana. Sorry about your friend. I know he joins too many other soldiers whose health and lives were severely impacted by war.

      • flypusher says:

        Coffee break at the science retreat- the last talk was about research into treatments of Dravet’s syndrome, a really nasty firm of childhood epilepsy. While it was not the treatment that was the subject of the talk, the discussion did include how some of the compounds in MJ (like THC) can really help control the seizures.

      • Doug says:

        “What’s really unconscionable, Viking, is the refusal to legalize marijuana nation-wide for medical purposes.”

        True. Possibly as bad are all the laws, rules, and procedures around legal painkillers. It’s obscene that a terminal cancer patient must suffer horribly for fear that he may become “addicted.”

      • vikinghou says:

        “It’s obscene that a terminal cancer patient must suffer horribly for fear that he may become “addicted.””

        Exactly. In my view terminal cancer patients should have legal access to heroin if that’s what it takes to ease the pain. From what I’ve read, heroin is about the best painkiller there is.

  10. johngalt says:

    Legalize it. Everything. All of it. There is no way the collateral damage from legal drugs can be worse than the damage done and costs incurred by this inane war on drugs.

    • Doug says:

      Yes. Screw the medical marijuana angle. Just legalize it all.

    • 1mime says:

      JG, the link Sassy posted on Amsterdam’s drug policy surprised me. I expected a more “wide open” policy than exists. The Netherlands delineation between “soft and hard” drugs and the very clear control of all aspects of supply, importation, growth, and distribution demonstrates a more narrowly, legally contained approach. They have made a deliberate decision to not legalize hard drugs which conflicts with the views of many here who have expressed support for broad legalization of all drugs. It would be prudent to consider why the Netherlands decided upon this path and study how it’s working out for them over time. I disagree that broad drug legalization can be justified simply as a personal liberty issue. It’s more complicated than that and I think we all know this is true. “No man is an island” is still a pretty sane approach to making decisions on issues that impact civilized societies.

      There seems to be more agreement that marijuana (and possibly other drugs) used for medical purposes should be allowed, and that small amounts of marijuana for recreational use should be permitted. This is a good place to start. More sweeping change will take time and a great deal of thought from rational leaders (???!!!). As GG pointed out in his family, we don’t want religious fanatics driving the decision on this. Remember the vaccination debacle? At the very least, we need to resolve the somewhat “squishy” law between our federal and state laws regarding legalization of marijuana. We also need to reform the legal process that controls the drug issue from our laws to arrest, sentencing, and incarceration. Hopefully, pre-sentence evaluation and rehabilitation will become a standard part of the adjudication process. I’ve seen this work effectively on a municipal level. Model what’s good; change or eliminate what’s not.

  11. 1mime says:

    Ian, the “new reality” is now. We are there.

  12. texan5142 says:

    Partaking as we speak good to hear.

  13. 1mime says:

    Plano….near Garland, Tx….need I say more? I support legalization of small amounts of some drugs. I emphatically support approval of marijuana for medical purposes.

    The benefits of marijuana for such serious health conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, and cancer patients should be a given.

    • Doug says:

      “Plano….near Garland, Tx….need I say more?”

      Yes, please.

      • 1mime says:

        Plano….Opposed: (marijuana legalization bill)

        Jeff Leach (R) Plano
        Matt Shaheen (R) Plano

      • goplifer says:

        I think Doug may be making a point about the ‘real’ distance between Plano and Garland. That difference is keenly understood by people who know Dallas.

        They are right next to each other on a map, but a million miles apart. I would wager that there were a lot of people from Richardson or Plano attending that stupid bigotry convention in Garland. There may not have been anyone from Garland there besides the security personnel and the janitors who cleaned up the blood.

        Yet that terror magnet was dropped in Garland, not Plano. Garland ISD needed the money. Bad. In a million years no public school facility in Plano would be used for that freak show. They don’t need the money, their community wouldn’t tolerate the risk, and they have the political and economic heft to keep it out.

        Small distances, Texas-sized ironies.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for the clarification, Lifer. My point was directed at the two Plano legislators who voted against the drug legalization bill but my remarks were cryptic, at best, and I apologize for that. I’m sure if the powers that be in Garland could reverse their decision that allowed the incendiary contest, they would.

        As an aside, the TX Legislature has put tremendous pressure on local county school boards and governments through mandated cuts that it’s even more sad that money played a role in the decision. This results in stealth property tax increases at the local level to fund these programs. County officials are up in arms and rightfully so. Right now the Legislature is still jockeying to find funds to cover promised tax cuts for business and residential property owners which will make the job of county government that much more difficult. Yet TX touts its “fiscal prowess” and “balanced budgets”.

        The newly elected comptroller sent this warning out as legislators scramble to find tax cut agreement: “Congested roads, unfunded pension liabilities and state debt were among the problems highlighted by State Comptroller Glenn Hegar.” He cautions against short term gain that could jeopardize long term obligations and needs.

        http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Comptroller-warns-about-the-state-s-financial-6252394.php

      • flypusher says:

        “Yet that terror magnet was dropped in Garland, not Plano. Garland ISD needed the money.”

        I heard that she wants to troll some more. I wonder how much the price goes up?

        I also wonder which cartoon won last time. Pulitzer Prize material, I’m sure.

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, you might enjoy this edition of The Weekly Sift. “Craziness Color-Coded”

        http://weeklysift.com/2015/05/11/rating-this-weeks-craziness/

  14. It is well past time rational discussion took place about anything having to do with personal liberties, but I fear this may simply be a ploy to further dumb the citizenry. This of course may be just what those who actually seek to rule rather than govern want. When serfdom becomes the new reality the overwhelming majority of citizens will need to get high to tolerate the increasingly self imposed misery.

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