Friday, February 06, 2009

The Simmering Pot

Thank you, Michael Phelps, for pointing out the most glaring hypocrisy in American life that we have now lived with for over forty years; the foolish and childish demonization of marijuana, existing cheek by jowl with the romantic and seductive image of alcohol, created and sold to us since birth by the liquor industry. The Olympic star is 23 years old. Old enough to be responsible for his decisions. But the only misjudgement I see here, is that he trusted his rat bastard friends to not take cell phone pics of him, thus proving Cindy Lauper's warning, "Money Changes Everything." Sure, pot is still against the law, another sign of the failure of my generation, but suddenly Phelps' photo is all over the world, as if he were caught in a Chinese opium den, and he is being forced to grovel before the cameras to save his sponsorships. Kellogg has already announced they are dumping him. If I wasn't hooked on Raisin Bran, I'd consider boycotting the company.

And all this was simply over a photo. I thought it was only illegal to possess marijuana, but Phelps is being persecuted for a picture of him smoking sometime in the past. The reactionary governing body of some obtuse organization called U.S. Swimming has suspended Phelps for three months, cancelling several meet appearances and cutting off all financial support, "effective immediately." The board's statement could have come right out of 1968:
"This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael (Burt Bachrach take note) because he disappointed so many people, particularly the...kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero."

Spoken like a true member of the 50% of American society that still denies trying pot. Are those hard-won gold medals less worthy because of a bong hit? Fools! Your children already know more about it than you do. I understand that still developing brains have no business trying any mind-altering substance whatever. That's why we don't sell whiskey to children. But it's easier for your children to get pot than alcohol, especially with the profit motive and the outlaw mystique that comes along with the procurement and use of the illegal herb. And the smoking of anything is not healthy for the body, but a lung full of pot is far less harmful than a gut full of whiskey. Had Mr. Phelps been photographed at the same party with a large tumbler of scotch, no one would have raised an eyebrow, and that's just asinine.

Eric Schlosser has written the book, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, where marijuana is claimed to be the largest cash crop in the country. At the same time, Schlosser claimed in 2003, that "there are more people in prison today for violating marijuana laws than at any other time in American history." First outlawed by the states in the 30s to threaten illegal migrant workers not yet sufficiently exploited by their employers, with arrest as well, a government sponsored misinformation campaign of marijuana hysteria continued unabated until the Beatniks and Hippies exposed it as lies and propaganda. According to Schlosser, "The war on drugs launched by President Ronald Reagan in 1982 began largely as a campaign against marijuana, organized by conservative parents' groups." When Reagan secretly supplied the Contras in Nicaragua with weapons, we now know those supposedly empty CIA planes came back to this country filled with cocaine which, depending on who you ask, created the nationwide crack epidemic. Yet, the know-less-than-nothing Reagan began his War on Drugs on a weed that grows wild in almost every continent. He may as well have declared war on Kudzu.

The cultivation of marijuana is now an American industry. In the mid-60s, they once estimated that three million people had smoked marijuana, now it is estimated that three million people grow it. Entire counties in Northern California have been given over to pot farming and the legalization of medical marijuana has not just brought relief to sufferers of a variety of maladies, from Glaucoma to symptoms of AIDS, it has made pot as easy to obtain as a pizza. Still, the federal laws clash with the state laws and the DEA goes in periodically like the bull in the china shop to bust everything up on principle. And marijuana laws in other states, particularly in the South, are as draconian as ever, despite the ever-rising number of pot-related arrests. With the out-of-proportion public flogging of Michael Phelps, perhaps the indignation will be sufficient enough for the public to be amenable to the reform of marijuana laws. Ohio State University scientists have recently shown marijuana has the capacity to reduce memory impairment in the aging brain and those few who still claim that pot is a "gateway" to more dangerous substances have yet to discover that the gateway leads to a bag of Fritos and a Snickers Bar. Wouldn't it be something if there were a movement underway to re-educate the public, decriminalize, regulate, and tax marijuana? Well, there is.

Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul have introduced bi-partisan bills: H.R.5842, which allows the states to decide to decriminalize or allow medical marijuana without interference from Federal authority, and H.R.5843, officially called "The Act to Reform Federal Penalties for the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults." The intrepid people from NORML helped to write the bill, which would end the criminal prosecution of Americans in possession of 100 grams, or nearly four ounces, which would be considered as personal use. Presently, the government classifies pot as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, just like heroin and PCP. The Marijuana Policy Project states marijuana arrests "outnumber arrests for all violent crimes combined," yet I never knew anyone who ever held up a liquor store because he was out of pot. Barney Frank said, "The vast amount of human activity should be none of the government's business." The Congressman added, "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time." With all the problems on the new President's shoulders, it would seem that an innocuous weed would be a low priority. But if President Obama is looking for new and profitable businesses, he need look no farther than California, where an already burgeoning marijuana trade, if properly regulated, just might take a huge bite out of the national debt. This is one project that is literally "shovel ready."

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I AGREE WITH THIS 110% FORMER DEPUTY SHERIFF AND PRO. WRESTLER BILLY WICKS

Anonymous said...

Post Raisin Bran is consistenly cheaper at the store I frequent.

Anonymous said...

Sputnik, you're "preachin to the choir" on this one! As one who suffered much for FELONY possesion of 1 joint in LA in 1968, I have very strong feelings relating to criminalization of weed. However.... If Phelps wants to be on the Wheaties box-top, and reap all the benefits of Olympic success, he needs to be mindful that it's not his opinions, or freemoms that count. It's not about fairness. It's a monetary exchange, plain and simple. Not civil disobedience. No matter the moral, or civil aspects of a law, if you're dancing to the music, you better play by the rules of the piper. More cliches to follow!

zephyrman

Anonymous said...

So now we have Sputnik the Pot Economics Czar. Go get a shovel, fire one up and Love the Job You Got.

Anonymous said...

Tax it. Let the tobacco industry grow it. Let the liquor industry sell it. Apply the same laws that apply to alcohol and tobacco (minors, driving, sales locations, etc.). Change the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) to ATM (Alcohol, Tobacco and Marijuana). Problem solved, and everyone wins but the criminals.

Anonymous said...

Finally a suggestion that truely makes sense. I for one would vote it in all the way, and I haven't "sparked " one up in years.
It only makes sense in this economy to do everything we can to give people jobs and fair wages, and farming is as American as, oh you know that pie thing.Let us all go GREEN.

Mr. Natural said...

Well spoken, Randy. The actual 'gateway' drug is whatever one first uses to alter his/her consciousness with and that drug for 99% of the people is alcohol. Pot is a political prisoner. We know that public health is not the government's primary concern. If it were, the gov would outlaw alcohol and tobacco which contributes to the deaths of hundreds of thousands each year. There has not been one death that has been directly attributable to pot unless it may be some traffic fatalities. The gov is down on pot because it may lead to subversive ideas and subversive countercultures. Also, there is the matter that the officially sanctioned drug, i.e. alcohol is more appropriate for a culture driven by the military/industrial complex. It promotes aggression and pig-headed unthinkingness. Just what the corporate world looks for in its employees. They don't want a drug that promotes passivity and introspection. This may lessen competitive drive and the aggressive qualities that the corporate world thrives upon. Legalizing pot would eliminate lots of black market related crime over night, allow the gov to regulate it to keep it out of the hands of minors, and produce lots of revenue, and it has some medical applications to boot. So, what is the draconian down-side? Like everyone who came up through the 60's knows, there is none. The situation defies any rational explanation except perhaps it would put the gov narcs out of work. Another related issue is not letting clinical psycholgists use hallucinogenics to treat alcoholism. There is plenty of hard evidence that hallucinogenics have an extremely high cure rate in the treatment of alcoholism (I for one was cured of it thru the use of LSD which I quit using in 1974). Also, the clinical use of it has shown to be a significantly positive treatment for sociopaths through its clinical use in prisons. The gov threw the baby out with the bathwater when they disallowed its use in psychiatry. Again, another political prisoner.

Anonymous said...

Just a bunch of damn fools. I can't ever remember smoking that shit. But I can't remember much anyway.
Freshman Bob

Anonymous said...

Uh, Freshman Bob who are you calling fools?

Carla said...

I saw a CNN clip of the local sheriff saying that he doesn't know how they can ignore this and not charge him criminally since it got so much publicity. Well, perhaps all the adult pot smokers in the sheriff's jurisdiction should send the local paper a photo of themselves with a misdemeanor amount of pot. If a few hundred send photos, it obviously would be picked up nationally. And then the sheriff can get busy identifying and prosecuting all of those misdemeanor violations. After all, the sheriff is not saying he would selectively prosecute, IS he?

As for all the "role model" squawk, why is it not the parents' responsibility to teach their children that sports heroes should be admired for their hard work and discipline in making the most of their natural talents -- but this NEVER means an athlete can be looked to for perfection.

Anonymous said...

All Phelps needs to do is say that he was smoking tobacco in the bong to see how a bong works. Voile!...no case.

Sputnik57 said...

Thank you Mr. Billy Wicks. When a former Germantown Deputy and champion professional wrestler from the glory years says it's time to decriminalize pot, it is coming from a voice of authority. I'm sure Mr. Wicks had his hands full of cases when he was a Deputy Sheriff, and let's not forget, this is Tennessee. We've had the red state blues here for a long time.

wrasslin' fan said...

I like the Billy Wicks/Sputnik connection here. Where's the chicken wire?
wrasslin' fan

kimk said...

The New Yorker had a really good article on this subject:

click here

It's 13 web pages long but well written so reads easily.

And as to that tired old phrase, "Marijuana leads to harder stuff," all I can say is, "Thank god they were right!"

I'd hate to think I spent all those wasted years just smoking pot.

Anonymous said...

KimK, when you said, 'Thank god they were right', I hope that you were not saying that you believe that pot leads to harder drugs. I came up through the heart of the hippie era and continued to smoke pot off and on for over 40 years. I have associated with countless pot smokers over the years, and guess what? Only two of the countless pot smokers that I have known advanced to hard drugs. I would like to hear from Randy's experience on this issue and from any of the other old timers on this blog. I don't think that my experience is that far out of line. How many folks that you old-timers have known over the years actually advanced to hard drugs? I'll bet that it has been very, very few. Most people who make statements like that have no experience and believe what folks from the government say or biased but well-meaning physicians say on the issue. They may quote a number that sounds big, but percentage-wise when you consider all of the people who have smoked pot, a very, very small percentage advance to hard drugs and those folks were just plain foolish and most likely would have advanced from alcohol to narcotics. Pot is a whipping boy.

Steve Maroc said...

I'm sure your kidding about not boycotting kellog. Organic raison bran might be a good alternative. In my opinion all these multi-national companies who are manufacturing processed poisons that are a major contributors to all the obesity, ill health, mental health problems, desease and death around the world should be boycotted anyway. As well as any other company that fires Phelps as their sponsor.

Anonymous said...

Good thinking, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Looks like no one is interested in the pot issue or they are afaid to post because of government spying. Time for a new topic, maestro.

MPP.org said...

Dear Randolph,

Thanks for your note to MPP, and for sharing this link. We've also been speaking about the Michael Phelps incident in the media, and we blogged about it here: http://blog.mpp.org/?p=292

We’re also supporting a boycott of Kelloggs products until they rescind their hypocritical decision to drop Phelps’ endorsement contract. We hope you’ll consider taking action if you haven’t already by sending a letter: http://control.mpp.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=257

Thanks for sharing this link, and if I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me. Thanks for your support!

Sincerely,

Martine Richards
Membership Coordinator
Marijuana Policy Project
P.O. Box 77492
Washington, D.C. 20013
202-462-5747, ext. 2016
mrichards@mpp.org


Please visit http://www.mpp.org/subscribe to sign up for MPP's free e-mail alerts.

Scarlett said...

I can't understand why Phelps is getting so much grief. Obama admitted to drug use and we elected him President, for pete's sake.

Anonymous said...

Check out L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement against Prohibition). This organization has been trying to educate the public about decriminalizing marijuana use for years.

And, yes, I am still smoking, have no intention of quitting and don't care who knows!

Anonymous said...

That's easy to say when you are anonymous...

Mr. Natural said...

The issue is not about reason. If it were, pot would have been at least de-criminalized a long time ago. It is about politics. For one thing, few politicians (Barney Franks is one exception) want to be seen as being soft on drugs. The other is the perception that it may increase radical/subversive, and unconventional thinking. Most politicians are not going to risk anything like the 60's phenomenon happening again. They are afraid of doing anything that may give rise to a counter-culture. On the other hand, getting shit-faced drunk and falling down in your own puke is not a threat to them. Alcohol contracts awareness and promotes stupifaction. They see this as preferable. It promotes a mindset that is more like that of the typical politician (well, maybe I should include most 'suits' under the rubric). Look at what the pimps come up with. Contracted awareness and stupifaction are the hallmarks of the thinking of most politicians. Let's include the corporate 'suits' as well.

sireen said...

Now let's just clear all this second hand smoke that is being blown up my skirt from this unusually interesting blog of Mr. Sputnik & company! Now granted Michael Phelps is an enormously gifted athelete but it doesn't take a genius to detect that ADHD of the noggen' is his second language. Be dat said! America give that boy some slack for he has sacrificed so much just to bring home 8 gold medals (& these octuplets were legit & did not feel like gas!) to a country that has had a pretty much bruised up & tattered past year!! And how hypocritical of Kellogg's... giving that boy the boot...every one knows Tony the Tiger ain't getting all giddy over flakes that are sugar frosted! Hell everything's GRRRRRREAT!!! 'cause he be toking one foot over the line!
Now I love you guys but I don't condone the refruh being that I witnessed my brown eyed handsome man's peepers turn into two shots of butter milk with a big fat busted cherry in the middle of each one..stinking like burnt wet leaves...going from relaxed & euphoric to scared shitless hiding under the television set when Law & Order or Pee Wee's Play House came on...he'd be stairing at his hand as if it was an endangered species....getting all giggly & silly & stupid...laughing at the most inapropriate times like when he be reading the obituary or getting all romantic in low places. Then he'd start having problems with memory. He'd keep asking what just happened before it was fashionable because like brother Marvin he had no damn clue of WHAT'S GOING ON! And forget about any responsible problem solving...like how he was going to pay his bills...or get his next stash! I eventually had to put the Weed Whacker to his sorry lazy ass when he got the munchies & ate everything in the whole damn refrigerator as well as the pantry! Two weeks of hard earned groceries down his selfish pie hole just because he surrenderd to the desires of his sorry ass dried up cotton mouth! As my Momma said-the Mid South Lady Wrestling Champion- The Great Black Pantheress! "No body is that good in bed!" Now I am not criticising the BAH Community. You do what you think is right. I know some folks medicate thir cancer or whatever it is that ails them & all but Rueters just published a report 2 days a go that said extended use of marijuana could lead to testicle cancer in men! Now that's playing with fire as well as some serious hard ball! Just wanted to get this off my chest! There I said it! Thank you Jesus! In His Service! Yours Truly! SIREEN

Anonymous said...

Well, Sireen, I don't think that anyone here would advocate using pot to the extent that it messes one up to the extent that your old man got messed up. I think that the idea is moderate use as an alternative to alcohol. Maybe a bowl on Friday and Saturday night and stay straight the rest of the week. Moderation is the key whether one smokes or drinks. Some personalities tend to be addictive and those folks should avoid all forms of substance abuse. Well over 90% of users are able to control their use of weed. The other 10% should get into yoga.

Father Farken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Father Farken said...

Peace be with you my Brothers & me Sisters! I have family in Chester N.J. so I spend quite a bit a time up here! One of my favorites of the locals is SNL alum ...comedian Jim Breuer. He was the outrageous goat boy, heavy metal... hard core Stoner...starred in Half Baked...frequent guest on Howard Stern...Opie & Anthony & now has his own Sirius/XM Radio Show every Friday...that is if they didn't just go belly up! The man is hilarious! Though being a stoner was part of his gig... in 2007 he secretly gave up marijuana. The weird thing is...his stand up routine no longer sounded like an "F" Bomb Tsunami! When he was wasted he didn't give a #%@*% what he was doing or what he was saying & to who he was saying it too! Now I see him @ Starbucks, Shop-rite, The Publik House, On The Run, Marilyn's Cafe...& he makes everybody happy where ever he goes. I'm telling you Jim's beautiful wife & gorgeous daughters are happier than ever! It's like he rediscovered what life is all about & The guy is funnier than hell...oops!! He found out that he didn't have to be flying high in the lowly gutter to crush a room. I hope you can catch Jim's act some time in the near future! He's cool even without the weed!
Now about the Blog...as the great Catholic Saint Dorthy Day said to a stressed out mother of many children who was complaining about not excelling in her vocation as a wife , mother & housekeeper...Dorothy Day simply said "LOWER YOUR STANDARDS!" I think Randy is just telling our stressed out Nation "It's time to lower our standards!" Quit treating Michael Phelps like he's a criminal. Heck! Its not just that 5 out of 5 Deadheads agree with Sputnik...even the late William Buckley had the very same beliefs as The Sputmeister on this Subject! America! It is time to give it a rest & legalize what's been smoken' up the chimney! Just don't expect Fr. Farken, Jim Breur and SIREEN to participate! Now I'm heading down to the Publik House & let O'Malley pour me a pint & maybe catch me a movie like Guinness Madness! As the Boss sez..It's Hard to be a Saint in the City! The Peace of the Lord Fr. Ferghus Farken PS: If you are trying to quit the weed! Try This! Spit The Stuff out & throw the rest away! Prayfully inhale all the life & love & grace of G8d that you possibly can in a loving act of sweet surrender. Treat the very oxygen that you breathe as if it is a sacrament of the Holy Spirit of G*d! Pray the Prayer of St. Francis..."Lord! Make me an instrument of your Peace...." And if your not trying to quit pray the prayer any way! BLESSINGS!FFF

Moe Digliano said...

Sputnik! Where did you get this Father Farken? What a combination!You are the Stimulus Package! Farken is the Pork! Keep on throwing yourselves at the world's problems! Somethings going to eventually stick! Hey Fr. Ferghus!Don't forget about Mr. Breuer's impersonation of Joe Pesci! That man is crazier than you are! I saw him rocking out with that wild man from AC/DC just recently! They should have been arrested! Randy! Another good blog! Moe Digliano

Anonymous said...

Ding-Dong! Anybody home? Ding-Dong!

Anonymous said...

Hello? Hello? Is anyone there? Has the captain been deposed? Have the blogees all defected? Should we call a medic? Will the stimulus bill help?

SIREEN said...

Don't you worry Ding Dong! Our man Sputnik is probably in hiding writing his masterpiece! Or scratching his brilliant head...wondering why our new president is going for blood this soon in his administration. The rest of the BAH community is probably taking the advice of Anonymous-Feb.12th 9:20pm...maybe having an extended weekend!Hm-mm! Maybe Randy has changed his mind & is boycotting Kellogg! Randy! Come back before this Ding Dong gets out of hand! Yours truly! SIREEN