Posts Tagged ‘colorado’

The Thinking Viking was mildly surprised to hear that Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana.   Really?  In the United freaking States of D.A.R.E.  America? Damn, times have changed. Thank the gods.  It’s insane how many people we have in jail who did nothing more than get involved with the black market of weed.  I won’t go into numbers – just google it.  I am just surprised that the long-term tactics and pushes toward legalization have actually worked in the face of the fact that so many in this country have been life-long  “Drug Warriors” of one kind or another. The light of reason is shining through the lies.

I mean, I have known most of my adult life that what the federal government said about weed was simply not true, and that people who smoke it, by and large, were pretty normal.  I had seen “Reefer Madness” – hilarious, but also unsettling.  A lot of people believed that.  Some of you reading this may be under the influence of the same ideas about weed – that it makes you crazy, or more the more modern stereotype would be the lazy, indolent stoner living in his parent’s basement.   I’ll tell you this – more than likely some of the people you know or work with everyday also smoke weed, legally or not.  And they are fine.  Successful, smart, kind, healthy people. Caveat – I am NOT saying we should all light up, or that the lazy stoned basement dweller does not exist – they do, and we should not all start getting high on the Chronic.  But using that as your model for a pot smoker, and justifying prohibition because of it  would be like using your alcoholic uncle who lives off disability from a “back injury” as your model for people who have a couple of beers after work and banning booze.  It’s just not like that.  And, just like with booze, there are certainly people out there who do no not tolerate  the ganja very well, just as there are those who do not tolerate alcohol.  Pretty similar in that regard, (except that ODing on booze / alcoholism can  – kill you – oh, that again -)and I think that’s what voters in CO and WA decided.  Weed aint for everyone, but it really aint that bad.

But the federal government says it is a  “class one narcotic“?  Do they even know what the term “narcotic” means?  The DEA has been pulling the wool over the collective eyes of the nation by using this term for weed.

This is what a “narcotic” really is:

“nar·cot·ic (när-ktk)


A drug derived from opium or opiumlike compounds, with potent analgesic effects associated with significant alteration of mood and behavior, and with the potential for dependence and tolerance following repeated administration.”
This is why heroin and opium are illegal, and morphine and codeine et al are carefully restriction by prescription.  They are actually damn careful about these drugs because…   In addition to the potential for dependence and tolerance (with corresponding increased dosages) – over dosing on actual narcotics can fucking kill you. They target specific receptors in our nervous system, and we are ill prepared to handle it in large doses. Chris, Liz, you are missed.  I had no idea or I would have tried to help.  Fun fact – technically, cocaine isn’t a “narcotic” either.  But it is potentially fatal and definitely addictive, so the distinction is not so important.  (For my thoughts on legal drugs and death, please see  Stop the Insanity of a Pill for Every Ill – it will alarm you and has nice references and data and stuff)
There  has never been a single case of someone fatally overdosing from weed or it’s active ingredient, THC.  It’s just not toxic.  You’d be more likely to suffocate from the smoke.  And there is pretty much no withdrawal, other than the fact that an activity you enjoyed is no longer happening, and those who claim it is addictive are confusing “habit-forming” with addictive.  Enjoyable activities are repeated because…. they’re fun. It’s not addiction.  Caveat – anyone can develop unhealthy  psychological affections for things that affect your mind, and I will again repeat that I am not one of those preaching that “if everyone smoked some weed we would have world peace” – eh, not so much.  Pot is actually a mild hallucinogen and some people, well, react poorly to it.  So… just like with booze, some people should stay away.  But jailing pot dealers?  People just enjoying a harmless plant, in many ways you could compare it to coffee or tobacco….hmmm
Ah, yes, that one. Tobacco.  Legal in all 50 states.  Poisonous, addictive.  Taxed like hell most places, and some good revenue comes in from …addicts.  Hows it feel getting tax dollars for a harmful  product that people have great difficulty quitting?   What if there was a $1.50 tax per 16 ounce  of…. coffee?  Another basically harmless plant – but also addictive, just ask any serious coffee drinker who tries to quit. (Trust me here, it sucks, it was only being hospitalized and bedridden that I kicked it, and I’ve long since relapsed).
So lets recap.  Weed is mis-categorized as a narcotic, and is therefore illegal at the federal level. Most people have now realized, or are coming to realize, that weed is not the dangerous drug it has been portrayed as, and that the War on Drugs,  in this and in ost if not all regards was misguided, has failed, and has had negative impacts on our society that are hard to measure.  Many states have recognized the medicinal benefits, and in some cases the “prescription” for medical weed is essentially a tax that pretty much anyone can buy (Yes, I live in California) – while it’s not “legal” here  in CA as it is now in Colorado and Washington , Governor Schwarzenegger signed a law a little while back making possession the equivalent of a minor traffic ticket.  A REPUBLICAN Governor, mind you.
I am not even going to touch on the actually true conspiracies around the criminalization of pot in the first place.
Anyhow,  you might have noticed I don’t cite sources – don’t need to.  I aced neurobiology and physiology and did pretty well in biopsychology.  And I’m transplanted from Colorado….  🙂  Just sayin.
Think about it.
(Yes, I am aware of the irony of using the initials “MJ” on a post about weed. I find it amusing.)

Warning, this is going to be a bit of a rant.

I was at my credit union the other day (move your money!) and as I was signing the receipt I noticed something a little odd that bothers me still. Beneath the signature line was a line labeled “Driver’s License Number”.  Innocent enough, you say.  But those three words speak volumes about our American society.

Why? It does NOT say “Identification Number”.  It says “Drivers License Number”.   Who ever wrote the text for those receipts assumed everyone doing business with the credit union would have a driver’s license. You can’t get one without a driving test, so you must have access to a car.  Ever heard of someone renting a car for someone else to use for their driving test (you can’t rent a car without a license) ?  Didn’t think so. (note: I checked, and they have no problems accepting non-driver’s-license valid government issued ID, state ID cards, passports, military ID etc) There are more people than you realize who don’t have licenses.  The very poor, the mentally ill,  the disabled or very elderly – by and large they get around by begging rides.  And, of course, people convicted of DUI or who have lost licenses for other reasons. I’ll get to public transportation in a bit.

The city where I live is not pedestrian-friendly.  Many streets simply don’t have sidewalks.  I’ve been out running and seen several places where the sidewalk simply dead ends at a patch of dirt. Wonder where the sidewalk ends? Ask me, I’ll show you.  I wondered about this, and I did some research; the city was chartered in 1956 – the era of the interstate,  of American domination of the world auto industry.  The suburbs were exploding, and it was rapidly becoming impossible to get to work or visit friends without driving.   Every family had a car (well, almost) and it was a  status symbol to have the “two car garage”.

Before I moved to California, I was an avid bicyclist in Boulder, CO.  Boulder has an extensive bike/foot path system, and it’s usually faster to bike than to drive because of this.  When I showed up at work out here on my bike, after a ride of less than a mile on quiet side streets the first thing everyone said to me wasn’t “good job for going green!” Or “good job, get some exercise”. No, what they said, every one of them, was “What’s wrong with your car?” I’ve since moved several miles closer to the hills.  But I don’t ride my bike much out here. Why? I was nearly killed on my motorcycle a couple of years ago.  Bicycles are even more vulnerable. During my recovery I got back on the bike to work my leg.  I noticed a couple odd things.  First, the city lets people park their cars in the bike lanes, forcing cyclists into traffic and second, the bikes lanes on the large streets are also turning lanes for cars. It just isn’t very safe to ride your bike on the streets. I’ve tried taking the local buses. A trip that would take me fifteen minutes or so in my car took  over an hour, and I still had to walk about a mile to reach my destination.  Round trip? Over THREE HOURS.  I really began to pity people who didn’t own a car.

I’m not making this up.

And people are worried that Iran will build a nuclear weapon, start a war, and OH NO! Gas prices will rise! It will cost more to drive my precious car!  What about all the death that a war would bring?  The destruction and misery?

Wake up, people. We are responsible for much of the strife in the middle east. We still practically drink gasoline.  I’m not sure how we can change, but the problem isn’t a lack of oil.

Think about it.

Whew. Rant done. For now.


Please see “Gasoline Perfume” for more on my thoughts about a war with Iran.

Please see “Your Vote Doesn’t Count – Because You Can’t Place It”  for my take on requiring photo ID for access to the voting booth.