August 31, 2009

"Marijuana seems to be marching mainstream at a fairly rapid pace."

Observes the possibly drug-addled Los Angeles Times:
At least in urban areas such as Los Angeles, cannabis culture is coming out of the closet.

At fashion-insider parties, joints are passed nearly as freely as hors d'oeuvres. Traces of the acrid smoke waft from restaurant patios, car windows and passing pedestrians on the city streets -- in broad daylight. Even the art of name-dropping in casual conversation -- once limited to celebrity sightings and designer shoe purchases -- now includes the occasional boast of recently discovered weed strains such as "Strawberry Cough" and "Purple Kush."...

Marijuana's presence on TV and in the movies has moved from the harbinger of bad things including murderous rage ("Reefer Madness" in 1936) to full-scale hauntings ("Poltergeist" in 1982) and burger runs gone awry ("Harold & Kumar go to White Castle" in 2001) to being just another fixture in the pop-culture firmament. Cannabis crops up on shows such as "Entourage," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "True Blood" and "Desperate Housewives," and even on animated shows such as "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."...
Well, then, legalization must be right around the corner. Remember thinking that around 1969? I do. In 20 or 30 years, people said, we'll be the ones in Congress, and — ha ha ha ha — there's no way we won't legalize marijuana! It's 40 years now, and what happened?

Back to the LA Times hallucination:
Richard Laermer, a media and pop culture trend watcher and author of several books, including "2011: Trendspotting for the Next Decade," ... points to a ... subtle shift: aging baby boomers — a generation famous for tuning in, turning on and dropping out — who are keeping their party habits going into their golden years.

"It's hard to fathom that the fifty- and sixtysomethings would be against pot after all the pot they smoked," Laermer said, "Their kids would laugh them out of the room if they started telling them not to smoke pot."
Hello? The Boomers have been in power for decades, so I guess we are hard to fathom. Hey, we're deep and complex and... just as hypocritical as every other generation that ever flowered and went to seed. You can laugh at us all you want, but you actually can't laugh us out of the room... or out of Congress.

Quit laughing. Quit whining. Here. You can watch the entire movie "Reefer Madness" (originally titled "Tell Your Children"). It's so old it's in in the public domain...

... and yet marijuana is still illegal. ADDED: Jonah Lehrer:
I recently moved to Los Angeles and I'm still adjusting to all the medical marijuana stores - there are two within a mile of my apartment. And it's not just the dispensaries, with their parking lots full of fancy cars - it's the Amsterdamesque attitude. Light up a joint and people ask for a hit; light up a cigarette and they give you a dirty look.
Speaking of hypocrisy... "medical" marijuana....

59 comments:

Rialby said...

I'm Peggy Olsen and I want to smoke some marijuana.

American Liberal Elite said...

Marijuana was decriminalized here in Massachusetts in January if this year. I have yet to see (or smell) any evidence of increased use, at least in the Boston suburb where I live.

Balfegor said...

It's kind of bizarre that marijuana hasn't been legalised. I can see keeping harder drugs, like methamphetamines, illegal -- the ratio of users to users who develop serious problems is pretty high there. But marijuana use was widespread among the elder generation, is widespread among the middle-aged, and is widespread among the young, and almost no one ever seems to think they suffered problems as a result. And if it's a gateway drug (e.g. to cocaine or meth), it doesn't seem to be much more of one than, say, cigarettes or alcohol.

Slow Joe said...

Pot isn't more mainstream than it used to be. It's popular, but it's been popular. No pace. Dead in the waterbong.

It is a hallucinogen that causes brain damage. If you're predisposed (and a lot of people are), it can lead to severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Studies can quibble about the root cause in these cases, but many people would have kept their sanity if they had stayed away form a drug that also causes many of the cancers cigarettes do.

I'm not opposed to legalizing pot, though. I think it's about personal choice. I just hope that kids are kept away from it and adults are informed. If you want to drive a motorcycle, or leave the seatbelt off, or have unprotected sex, or smoke cigars or pot or crack, that is none of my business. I just want you to make the choice in an informed way, and I have always detected a bizarre need to defend pot as harmless, when it's obviously not.

Anyone who has known a lot of cigarette smokers can pick out a smoker with a respectable level of accuracy, based on their cough and wheeze alone. And similarly, anyone who has known a lot of pot smokers can pick on out based on their forgetfulness and drained monotone voice and basic psychology. It's really easy.

So, again, not bashing your right to use your life to do what you want. You're going to die anyway. I drink soda and eat red meat, and I don't look down on people who make other unhealthy choices. I do look down on people who lie about whether it's unhealthy, though.

TosaGuy said...

If marijuana is legalized, will people be able to smoke it where cigarette smoking is banned or will it be an exception?

There are alot of pot smokers who are quite neo-puritan when it comes to cigarettes. Also, what will their attitudes be towards the Big Marijuana Corporation? Such a corporation will grow and distribute pot far cheaper than Cheech & Chong ever could.

Lem said...

They have a get-together once a year that's very big.

My last girlfriend smoked pot. I could not kiss her for days after one of her sessions.

A foul stench of horse manure received my wet one day and it took all my strength of will power not to let on that I was in distress.


wv - rapha = a shortage

traditionalguy said...

Marijuana being a gateway drug for addictive personalities to better learn the joys of self destruction, we should fournish it free of charge to all our enemies and their children, like the Jackson family fournished MJ to Michael Jackson. This LA Times writer thinks that all Boomers will lust for it as their palliatve care in place of medical care. Sorry, he is a total idiot. Boomers once liked the thrill of illegal anything and thought MJ was an aphrodisiac...but we quickly learned the truth and gave up destrutive behaviors for careers. Anyway, only a small % of Boomers engaged in that youthful stupidity, and all know that it had no glamour.

prosa123 said...

I prefer licking hallucinogenic toads.

Peter

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I hope this doesn't sound all tinfoil hat, but its illegal to give the cops a reason to conduct warrantless searches; you know to PROTECT the children. If they back off on MJ, then the nex step is legalizing something else.

You know how that slippery slope works.

WV- jhumplic- addicted to random sex (SEE: Teddy Kennedy); as in 'he's a jhumplic'.

SECOND WV- soldisi- The way most of us feel about our Congressional Representation: Sold is I

SteveR said...

As one who learned to negoitiate the obstacles back in the old days and now couldn't smoke if I wanted to, I'm going to be a hard ass.

Don't be a pansy, it's been mainstream for a long time, you just had to be discreet. Legalizing it is like putting training wheels on a Harley.

TRO said...

"Don't be a pansy, it's been mainstream for a long time, you just had to be discreet."

I'm thinking that if you have to be discreet - that is, hide your use and hope you don't get busted or never get a job that requires a drug test - then it isn't really mainstream.

knox said...

I couldn't care less about marijuana. If they legalize it, a nice bonus will be that the people who *do* smoke it can stop bragging about it like it's some super-cool activity. There's rarely anything more boring than a stoned person, or a hardcore stoner.

EDH said...

"You put your WEED in there."

WV - "hodini" = a magical prostitute

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

"There's rarely anything more boring than a stoned person, or a hardcore stoner."

Unless it's you, and then you are fascinating.

wv=queurt: A long line in Mongolia.

TRO said...

"There's rarely anything more boring than a stoned person, or a hardcore stoner."

I don't know . . . watching a stoner down a few dozen White Castle sliders while giggling manically at his buddy who is face down in his cheese fries can be quite amusing.

John Lynch said...

Cigarettes are the gateway drug. Ban them?

Marijuana is a lot like alcohol. We don't ban alcohol because it's more trouble than it's worth. Banning cannabis is also more trouble than it's worth.

SteveR said...

TRO: my point is that being discreet is (or was) mainstream in that culture, which wasn't about being accepted in the open society. That was a big part of it.

It was ok to be open at a Emerson, Lake and Palmer concert but it was also cool to get stoned and go to P Chem. You had to learn to take care of business.

John Lynch said...

Marijuana is the drug of the future-- and always will be?

garage mahal said...

I remember an awkward conversation w/ my mother [awkward because my parents were vehemently opposed to pot] at the dinner table eating soup in which she asked deadpan "say Mark, would you be able to get Dad some pot" who was going thru chemo for cancer. I said that I'm sure I could "find something", not telling her I had a half ounce of red hair in the side pocket of my cargo shorts. So I rolled up 4 joints, handed them to her later on, and she asked "how much", and I said they were free. Never did ask her if my dad tried any or not as he passed a few months thereafter. Just another example of how painfully stupid the War on Some Drugs is...

G Joubert said...

Boomers once liked the thrill of illegal anything and thought MJ was an aphrodisiac...but we quickly learned the truth and gave up destructive behaviors for careers.

Yeah, largely true, except in California and in LA particularly. Marijuana is part of the culture in LA, and has been for a long long time. My mother grew up there, and was a teenager there in the 30s and early 40s, and she told me stories of its fairly common use back then when she was in high school. One of her brothers who was older than her was a pothead his whole life, until he died in his late 70s.

LA is a special case.

holdfast said...

Legalize it or not - don't really care - but don't think that legalizing it will provide some cash cow for the governments who will then try to tax it. People don't drink bathtub gin because it sucks and may make you go blind, and a bottle of good booze can be had for relatively cheap. Weed, on the other hand, is often better when hobby farmed. In fact, the Canadian government tried growing some "official" pot up in Flin Flon (talk about coles to New Castle) Manitoba a few years back for glaucoma patients and the like. Total disaster - apparently some of the worst bud ever.

Think about that - the Canadian Federal Government, with entire ministries like Agriculture and Health at its disposal could not do something that burned out old hippies and biker gangs do on a regular basis.

raf said...

Legalization has, perhaps, been a victim of the centralization of laws. When the Feds stayed out of things, various states could set different rules, providing an environment for legal evolution. Somewhat ironically, there may be a substantial overlap between people who look to the the Feds to solve all their problems and those who wish that, somehow, society would cooperate more with their vices.

wv: disking. Or dat king; who cares.

Paddy O. said...

Our local PBS station did a recent report on marijuana stores, and how it's basically no one wanting to take responsibility for regulation or permits, so there's essentially no regulation and permits are handed out to any who want them, with the vacuum creating the appearance of a growing culture. There's no risk.

Here's the link.

AllenS said...

It's 40 years now, and what happened?

Well, the last President quit doing drugs, and the President before him didn't inhale.

TRO said...

When pot has a quality other than making one act like a drooling idiot then I can see making it legal. Until then I will stick to a nice full-bodied wine, a stout beer, or a 12 year old single malt Scotch whiskey.

Elliott A said...

Clinton didn't inhale. He told the truth. He ate a plateful of brownies

Steven said...

Weed, on the other hand, is often better when hobby farmed.

And beer is often better home-brewed than bought from Budweiser. And cookies are often better home-baked than bought from Keebler. And tomatoes are often better home-grown than bought at a supermarket.

Elliott A said...

I remember reading articles about THC causing chromosome damage and then worrying about my kids before they were born. At least alcohol only kills your own brain cells.

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

Will Whole Foods have only one scale that will be used to weigh both organic, heirloom weed and "conventional" weed?

John Stodder said...

Marijuana is a lot like alcohol. We don't ban alcohol because it's more trouble than it's worth. Banning cannabis is also more trouble than it's worth.

We ban pot because it gives law enforcement something to brag about. Since it weighs more than cocaine or heroin, at the end of every year, police agencies can put out press releases claiming to have interdicted xx,000 pounds of narcotics. If it wasn't for pot, that number would be unimpressive.

Pot and pot users pay for our government's inability to control the flow of the really dangerous drugs.

The fundamental injustice of having thousands of Americans rotting in jail for long stretches for indulging in something our current president and his two immediate predecessors enjoyed is the essence of why it should be legalized. I don't doubt it has health effects or that regular stoners are boring.

But that doesn't mean a random sampling of users with bad luck should have their lives ruined. For those who love, love, love Obama, imagine how sad you'd be if this magically gifted leader had gotten caught doing drugs back in 1980-whatever, and had spent, say, five years in prison. Where would our country be now, without his leadership? Well, extrapolate from that all the other Obamas out there (I realize there is only One, but I'm just using this as an example.) Great men and women who could have been political leaders, business leaders, religious leaders -- who knows how they would've turned out? Instead, if they're not in prison right now, they'd be trying to make it through life as an ex-felon, which for all but the hardiest or luckiest, is a path to a limited future.

daubiere said...

"Marijuana is part of the culture in LA, and has been for a long long time."

thats why la is one of the most boring places in the country...

Largo said...

I prefer dried centipedes, for my dispatches from the Interzone.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am all for legalization and regulation. We are spending billions on the War on Drugs, and the biggest effects of that have been locking up millions in prison and a militarization of our police, and their abuses in "no knock" raids. I still don't understand the rational of breaking down someone's door at 4 in the morning, with the possibility that someone may die as a result, just to keep him from clogging up his plumbing with something that the last three Presidents have smoked.

If it were legal, I probably still wouldn't smoke it. I don't have the personality for it. Unless, I had glaucoma, some sorts of cancer, etc. And I know people who have smoked it way too long for their own good. But I still think it should be legalized and regulated.

montana urban legend said...

Speaking of hypocrisy... "medical" marijuana....

Damn hypocritical oncologists. What could they possibly know that Professor Althouse doesn't!

holdfast said...

"And beer is often better home-brewed than bought from Budweiser. And cookies are often better home-baked than bought from Keebler. And tomatoes are often better home-grown than bought at a supermarket."

True I suppose - but I was not aware that the government taxed cookies or tomatoes at sin-tax levels? And people often buy those products from small farm or market stands, except of course when the tomatoes are out of season. As to hobby brewing - I think it is great, but it really is not much of a cost saver.

My point is that if governments are looking for a sin tax windfall from weed, they will be sorely disappointed. Given how socially acceptable it is in many places, I would not expect a huge spike of new users, and all of the underground production and distribution facilities are already in place.

garage mahal said...

Instead, if they're not in prison right now, they'd be trying to make it through life as an ex-felon, which for all but the hardiest or luckiest, is a path to a limited future..

But it's still illegal! Na nah nah nah nahhhh. Take THAT hippies!

knox said...

Sure, a giggling stoner can be funny. Like a silly drunk, there are laughs to be had.

I've just had a few friends who used it every day, I mean really smoked up. The results were not funny. I'm not saying POT RUINED THEIR LIVES!!! It just seemed to destroy any of their joie de vivre. Which would seem to defeat the purpose. The stereotypes about loser couch potatoes are true.

garage mahal said...

The stereotypes about loser couch potatoes are true.

If you're already a couch potato.

thesconz said...

The Boomers have NOT been in power for decades. They have shared power with the older generations. It is probably only recently that Boomers took a majority in Congress. Look at the people in power in Congress, or the guys who are just now checking out – Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd...

A loud minority in the late 60's smoked weed. But in the 80's there was a supreme court nominee that went down because of personal pot use, and in 1992 it was controversial that Bill Clinton admitted to trying it once.

Now, as boomers are nearing retirement, it was a non-issue that Obama said "I inhaled a lot, that was the point."

National legalization is nowhere near but decriminalization is gaining ground all over the country and even conservatives are reviewing the harsh drug laws passed in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

In Madison getting caught with a small amount is simply a ticket. Not even a misdemeanor.

Theo Boehm said...

I realize pot is popular and decriminalized in some places, but, really, isn't this yet another reason for Atzlán?

wv = decon. A very useful line of cleaning agents and disinfectants.

Michael McNeil said...

… if they had stayed away form a drug that also causes many of the cancers cigarettes do.

Really? Science Daily, May 26, 2006: “Study Finds No Link Between Marijuana Use And Lung Cancer”:

“People who smoke marijuana — even heavy, long-term marijuana users — do not appear to be at increased risk of developing lung cancer, according to a study to be presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference on May 23rd. Marijuana smoking also did not appear to increase the risk of head and neck cancers, such as cancer of the tongue, mouth, throat, or esophagus, the study found.”

Which isn't to say that inhaling smoke into the lungs on a chronic basis is good for the lungs, quite the contrary (as other articles in that same publication point out, particularly in combination with tobacco smoking) — which is why physicians who prescribe medical marijuana in states like California that allow it often recommend using a vaporizer rather than smoking the herb in the usual fashion.

However, for whatever reason, cancer does not appear to be a significant risk.

Big Mike said...

Before we legalize pot we'd better come up with a quick and non-invasive test that is the equivalent of a breathalyzer, and we need to develop limits for THC in the bloodstream that are the equivalent of the blood alcohol limits. My belief is that once marijuana is legal there will be a lot of stoned drivers on the road, and they will be at least as bad and possibly worse than drunks.

Big Mike said...

Make that "legalize or decriminalize"

Smilin' Jack said...

However, for whatever reason, cancer does not appear to be a significant risk.

Probably because MJ use involves a lot less actual smoking than cancer sticks do. Can you imagine chain-smoking reefers? I doubt anyone could do more than two and still be functional enough to light the next one.

cryptical said...

Big Mike - Why would it be any different than it is now? There must certainly be stoned drivers on the road today, what are they doing currently to detect and prosecute them?

It's kind of like a post I saw a while ago asserting that if marijuana was legalized all workplaces should test their workers so they wouldn't have to put up with potheads working for them.

I'll guess that after an initial spike in usage as the few people who held back because of legality overall usage would be no more prevalent than today.

Big Mike said...

@cryptical, I'm not aware of any effort targeted at marijuana or any other illegal drug. Drinking, yes. Otherwise not unless somebody died.

Chase said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chase said...

This is a perfect example for why, when I am told that same-sex marriage approval is inevitable, I tell people to look at voting trends for 2 things: First,how people change in their views as they get older and more responsible and second, if the actual rate of new young voters actually ever increases.

You hear the following: the older generation will be replaced by a nnew, more "tolerant" one, and that in itself will surely usher in same-sex marriage across the nation.

But marijuana is still illegal, and abortion - though legal for 37 years in all of America, has no more overwhelming support than it did in the 70's.


Hmmmmmmmmm . . .

Theo Boehm said...

As a follow-on to what Chase said: In addition to the declining native-born population of European ancestry who may be among what might be considered a 'liberal' demographic, lot of the new, immigrant population is socially conservative in one way or another.

If one party wants to import voters, and the other cheap labor, I believe, and certainly hope, that they will both be disappointed.

Most of the members of the new Mexican and Latino population are economic migrants, who tend to be puzzled or vaguely hostile toward much of the usual white liberal social agenda. Economic justice, certainly. But legalized drugs, abortion, and hostility towards religion, not so much.

Steven said...

My point, Holdfast, is that there currently is no case of an Archer Daniels Midland growing vast acres of hybrid high-yield marijuana for commercial sale. Five years after legalization, there would be.

That the Canadian government isn't good at growing marijuana doesn't signify. The last ninety years has amply demonstrated the difference between government-run farms and agribiz-run farms.

LutherM said...

“Nothing else in the world...not all the armies...is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” - Victor Hugo

Theo Boehm said...

You gotta watch out for ideas whose time has come—and gone.

kentuckyliz said...

More dopehead losers, less competition for the clear-minded and ambitious. On an individual and national level. America continues its race to the bottom.

WV daeri
features milque kaos

blake said...

I've lived here in L.A. all my life. I haven't seen anyone smoke a joint in 25 years or more. I haven't even heard anyone talk about smoking it since Clinton.

I mean, I hear 'em on twitter all the time. But not locally.

Chase said...

I mean, I hear 'em on twitter all the time. But not locally.

?

Blake is (pick one):

a) way too old (twitter is visual)

b) way too cool ("hearing" on twitter)

c) dipped a little too much into the P.O.T.


Me, I'm goin' with b.

blake said...

d) Too geeky to distinguish between forms of communication. It's all 0s and 1s.

ethan said...

Only Anne "Tits" Althouse would be dim enough to add that postscript and still chortle about marijuana's continued illegality.

You're not that bright.