weeds again

I can’t imagine people getting into trouble so frequently as they do on Weeds. I also can’t imagine people getting away so frequently and unproblematically with their behavior.

I’m probably just naïve. Somebody please let me know how it really is dealing and living in the pot world.


media campaign

I found the link for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign listening to the Scientific American podcast (sa_podcast_060216.mp3) where Bruce Merkin of the Marijuana Policy Project was interviewed. This was fascinating. He and SA staffer, Steve Mersky discussed the British classification for marijuana use. The Brits downgraded marijuana to the lowest classification (C) of illicit drug in 2004. Then worrying over reports about the dangers of marijuana, set a committee of scientists to study reports of the effects. The committee reaffirmed the government’s decision to downgrade marijuana.

Merkin, who gave the link (above), says the difference between the U.S. and British policy is that the Brits have chosen to be guided by science while the U.S. has clung to mythology. The Brits recognize that marijuana is not harmless, but that its harms are relatively limited. “In the U.S. marijuana has been stigmatized in such a way as to make U.S. policy impervious to data.”

The media campaign is serious, but flawed by this mythos. In all my research, I have never heard of any responsible pro-marijuana group suggesting marijuana is harmless, but that its harms are within the bounds of tolerance for a responsible adult user. Certainly alcohol and tobacco are both more addictive than marijuana and cause quantifiable harm to hundreds of thousands of men and women each year. And the U.S. experiment with prohibition was a dramatic failure. Marijuana just doesn’t have the long-term historical association with high western culture that alcohol does.

Mentioning the benefits of medical marijuana is nearly anathema to the campaign. They allude to the use of THC for cancer and AIDS patients, but make it sound as if this is a last resort medicine because of marijuana’s inherent dangers, warning us that this is not a medicine to be used trivially!

What should we do with the campaign? Watch the movies, understand the rhetoric, teach our kids the real story and become part of the grass roots (or should I say buds) effort to wrest control of this issue from the hands of the tyrants.


I have been watching Weeds the SHO series about a mom who turns pot dealer to maintain her lifestyle after her husband dies suddenly of a heart attack. Nancy is faced with many dilemmas that she solves or doesn’t. There is pain and trouble, and everything doesn’t work out well all the time. There is tension that carries from show to show that doesn’t really fix. In fact the tenth in the series leaves us with many dilemmas that leave me waiting for the next season which is supposed to come in June/July.

dominant culture

“The greatest evils inflicted by man on man over the face of the earth are wrought not by the self seekers, the pleasure lovers, or the merely amoral, but by the fervent devotees of ethical principles, those who are bound body and soul to some larger purpose. the nation, the ‘race,’ the ‘masses,’ the ‘brethren’ whoever they may be.”

R. M. MacIver is defending here the utility of the golden rule against ideologies that command our attention against the bohemian. I defend the bohemian, the pleasure lover, against the ideologies. As much as the ideologies command attention because they are coherent, I deplore them. But they work. It is easier to justify a rule against some behavior if you have a ready made answer against all offenses of a similar type. The trouble is that these justifications forbid the tales research tells.

I admit, I believe empiricism works. Observation is telling when we are supposed to be evaluating a decision. I believe also that the truth, as agent Mulder says, “is out there.” What we do with science is to collect data that will one day point inevitably to that truth. To preempt this natural procedure of knowledge collection because some special interest demands it is to short circuit our rational facilities in favor of some ideology.

This angers me. As much as some beliefs have the potential to connect with the “truth,” there are so many ways that those beliefs can be twisted to serve the purposes of those who would subvert it that I become pessimistic about our ability to free ourselves. Only God himself can fix this.

Unless you think this is a cop out, I challenge anyone to provide reasons for optimism about our ability to fix it ourselves. It is not that I think we can’t, but that it may have to wait for succeeding generations to actually observe the resolution to this debate.

I am under constraint. The future is coming at us all so quickly. Thinking in a linear fashion means that my opinion will be out of date tomorrow. I may yet live to see the future where we give credence to opinions that more closely match the truth than our own. I am not unhappy for this to happen. I swear I will accept the truth of the future when it occurs.

I just don’t know what that will be. I hope, however, that we vote together for freedom rather than ideology.

my purpose

My interest in undertaking this venture is to provide some outlet on a popular level for my research. The primary focus of this PodCast will be marijuana, its proponents and detractors, evidence for and against medical marijuana and lots of social issues surrounding use and abuse of the most popular illicit drug in the world.

defend the bohemian

Why is it that those who are at liberty persistently have to defend it. The moral temper of the United States defends freedom along very narrow lines, defined by some highminded sense that some models of behavior are legally defensible while others are not. I do not speak about crimes like murder or behavior like making false promises, but about enjoying pleasure that does not impinge on the liberty of others and has little consequence for the moral temper of the nation.

At the moment, the federal government, in full swing to prevent access to marijuana, resorts to lies, biased reports it has paid to author, reads any negative signal as a sign of its righteous purpose, and irrationally obstructs justice and fairness.

why this podcast?

How is it that in a sleepy midwestern town I would think of taking up the cause of marijuana users whether they be medical or recreational? Delivering talks on ethics every semester, discussing moral problems, thinking about justice I wondered how the United States with all the promise of its founders found a way to curtail freedom and place a pall of suspicion and paranoia over us.

The history of making law in our country tells me there is no straight path from reasonable arguments to legislation. This history is fraught with tempestuous behavior, pressure from without and within, greed, arrogance, highmindedness, prejudice, fear, good reasons and bad, and plenty of good intentions. What it is not is simple.

How did we arrive at the current state of affairs where we punish people for merely enjoying pleasure. Lincoln said it best, “Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”

I ask the question, “Where do we go from here?” In this podcast, I will attempt to answer this question.