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The Very Important Blog 2009

 

December 22 - And Was His White Horse Mescalito?
A Hedda Hopper column that ran in the L.A. Times on April 18, 1947 has this interesting tidbit about Actor Alan Ladd, perhaps best known as "Shane":

WIRES CROSSED
The telephone strike caused this amusing incident. Alan Ladd had a horse he's to ride in "Whispering Smith" ready to be sent to the studio. Unable to telephone, he wired: "Marijuana ready to be picked up. Send for it." If you don't think that had repercussions--until Western Union discovered Marijuana was the name of Alan's horse.

December 20 - More Hollywood Buzz
A clip from "It's Complicated" shows Meryl Streep and Steve Martin discussing how they hadn't "poked smot" since they had their kids 27 years earlier, which hardly makes their characters unresponsible potheads. The objection to the film seems to be that she actually enjoys smoking it in another scene "with no bad consequences." The movie opens Christmas Eve (around the time the wisemen showed up with their frank-incense.)

Reportedly Streep also smoked medicinal pot in One True Thing, a film in which she plays a cancer patient who takes her own life with an overdose of morphine (I guess that consequence was bad enough for the censors).

Meanwhile, VIP Jeff Bridges, known to many as the pot-puffing "dude" in The Big Lebowski, picked up a SAG nomination and is generating Oscar buzz for his new role in Crazy Heart, where he plays a down-and-out drunk instead. For his SAG, Bridges will be up against VIPs Morgan Freeman (playing Nelson Mandela in Invictus, with VIP Matt Damon). Also nominated is George Clooney, who was quoted in 1997 saying, "I loved acid when I was at college. It was an escape. I liked mushrooms. They were like easy acid."

VIP Woody Harrelson picked up a Supporting Actor SAG nod for his role in The Messenger. And more on Streep's roles/famous woman cooks: Julia Child mentions marijuana, and chococlate.

Rerun - Boston Legal's "Tea and Sympathy"
In a 2007 epidode of Boston Legal (Season 3, Episode 21), Judge Gloria Weldon is caught drinking Ayahuasca tea in her office when a clerk accidently imbibes some. (Or so I gathered from actress Gail O'Grady's impressive, rapid-fire recitation of its ingredients to open the episode.) She turns for help to attorney Alan Shore (James Spader), her former lover. Turns out she's also slept with the D.A., who Shore decides to convince not to press charges. But the case has been assigned to an up-and-coming attorney at the D.A.'s office, and Shore takes him on in his office.

To the statement, "It was a 20 oz. bag of hallucinogens found in her chambers," Shore shoots back, "It was tea...and who is your witness, a naked hallucinating dancing man?" Pointing out that the D.A. has prevailed in many a case decided by Judge Weldon, Shore ponders aloud, "one has to wonder, was she on the woopie tea while she decided her previous cases...imagine all the felons in jail planning to file appeals." As a final blow, he points out that the young D.A. will have to face other judges who tend to "get constipated when one of their own is targeted."

When Shore tells Judge Weldon he's prevailed, she rewards him by saying, "How about I invite you over for a cup of tea?" He replies, "I'm not a great fan of hallucinogens. That commercial with the frying egg had a profound effect on me." So they settle for sex, and happily go back to convicting lesser mortals on drug charges. No sympathy for those devils.

December 17 - Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg Bake Some Brownies
It's surprising enough that Martha Stewart has hosted pot lover Snoop Dogg on her show, but get a load of her reaction when he suggests her brownie recipe is missing something green.

While in prison in 2005, Stewart posted this holiday message on her personal website: "I beseech you all. . . to encourage the American people to ask for reforms, both in sentencing guidelines, in length of incarceration for nonviolent first-time offenders, and for those involved in drug-taking."

Streep Flick Gets "R" Rating for Pot References
A minor ruckus has erupted in Hollywood over the R rating assigned to the
Meryl Streep romantic comedy, "It's Complicated," writes Robert Abion in the L.A. Times. Those familiar with the Motion Picture Assn. of America's hearing on the
movie say a scene featuring "pot smoking with no bad consequences" was key
to the decision.

Streep smoked pot on film before, in Silkwood (1983), and brought her prodigious acting skills to Adaptation (2002) where she gets high off some plant material. In 1985 she played VIP Isak Dinesen in Out of Africa. Streep's been nominated for a SAG acting award for her protrayal of Julia Child in this year's Julie and Julia.

Meanwhile, the holiday movie fare includes The Young Victoria, with Emily Blunt playing Queen Victoria around the time she was prescribed cannabis for her menstrual cramps. On Christmas Day, Sherlock Holmes opens with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. The casting couldn't be more spot on, since the fictional Holmes took cocaine, as did his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.

In The Vital Message (1919), Doyle wrote:
When a man has taken hashish or certain other drugs, he not infrequently has the experience that he is standing or floating beside his own body, which he can see stretched senseless upon the couch. So also under anaesthetics, particularly under laughing gas, many people are conscious of a detachment from their bodies, and of experiences at a distance. I have myself seen very clearly my wife and children inside a cab while I was senseless in the dentist's chair.

What's Been In Tiger's Tank?
LA Times' Bill Plaschke writes he suspected Tiger Woods was on steroids two years ago, judging by his appearance. Woods got well wishes from VIP Michael Phelps this week.

December 12 - Malaysian Cyclist Gets Death Sentence for 10 Pounds of Pot
Hungarian Olympian Sentenced to 7 Years, Stripped of Medal

MALAYSIA'S High Court sentenced a former national cyclist and coach to death after finding him guilty of trafficking 4,477g of ganja in 2006.

Ramli Kasron, 41, from Batu Pahat was calm when Judicial Commissioner Ahmadi Asnawi passed the sentence. "There is only one punishment to be meted out and that is to be hanged till dead," Ahmadi said in his judgment. However, he said although the court had found the cyclist guilty and passed the death sentence, there were still avenues for him to appeal.

Ramli, who represented the country in the Manila SEA Games in 1991 and participated in several national cycling events, was arrested at the Air Hitam toll plaza on April 19, 2006. According to the facts of the case, he was found with 4,477gm of ganja or cannabis on back seat of his car when police stopped him at about 6.45pm. Defense counsel Allen Yu Chin Aun said his client was not aware that a pink plastic bag handed over to him by a friend known as "Man Biak Kong" actually contained cannabis.

And a Hungarian court on Thursday sentenced Olympic wrestling champion Peter Farkas in abstentia to seven years imprisonment for growing marijuana. Farkas, his brother, Karoly, and a third defendant were prosecuted last year for having grown thousands of marijuana plants at their mother's house in Budapest.

Peter Farkas won an Olympic gold for Hungary in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Hungary's parliament passed a law earlier this week which deprives Olympic winners of their medals if found guilty of doping or of a crime committed intentionally and sentenced to prison. They are also stripped of their life annuity paid by the state which Olympic medalists are normally entitled to over the age of 35.

The sentence of the Metropolitan Court is final. According to press reports, he is thought to be hiding in Thailand, using false travel documents.

"I'd rather smoke a doobie."

Several Degrees of Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher's 2008 book Wishful Drinking outs her father, singer Eddie Fisher. "My
father is beyond likeable. I mean you would just love him. My father also smokes four joints a day. Not for medical reasons. So I call him Puff Daddy."

Of herself, Fisher writes she first tried smoking pot when she was 13, after renters at her family's Palm Springs house left behind a baggie. When her mother Debbie Reynolds found it, she said, "Dear, I thought instead of you going outside and smoking pot where you might get caught and get in trouble--I thought you and I might experiment with it together." But Reynolds promptly forgot about it so Fisher and her friend May tried it on their own in their backyard treehouse.

"And you've got to figure I enjoyed it, because I ended up experimenting with marijuana for the next six years until it suddenly--and I think rather rudely--turned on me," Fisher writes. "Where at the onset it was all giggles and munchies and floating in a friendly have--it suddenly became creepy and dark and scary....This was when I was about nineteen, while I was filming Star Wars. (It ultimately turned out to be Harrison's pot that did me in.)"

According to the book Harrison Ford: Imperfect Hero by Garry Jenkins (Citadel Press, 1998), Fisher smoked openly on the Star Wars set and, according to some, Ford joined her. "They had a nice little relationship going there. Whenever anyone couldn't find Harrison, you'd say, 'Have you tried Carrie Fisher's changing room?'" recalled Dave Prowse, the bodybuilder who wore Darth Vader's suit.

One day in the 1970s, Jenkins writes, Ford was in the UK, simultaneously giving an interview with Britian's Ritz magaine while he did a photo shoot for GQ at photographer David Bailey's studio. When Litchfield asked why the now-wealthy Ford was rolling his own cigarettes, Ford responded, "You want a toke of this all-American reefer?"

"Can you work on this stuff?" Litchfield asked. "Nope. I can't even admit it exists," he replied, then went on to say he was smoking a strain of pot from Humboldt County, California. "This is not Cannabis indicta, [sic] or Cannabis sativa, this is Cannabis rutica," he said. "A real strong dope."

There is no such thing as Cannabis rutica; Nicotiana rustica is a hallucinogenic form of tobacco. A kif made with cannabis and nicotiana rustica is used by Moroccan fisherman to improve their night vision.

In college, Ford smoked a Calabash (Sherlock Holmes-style pipe) and often said he wanted to open a pipe shop. During his days doing bit parts as a "rent-a-hippie" at Universal Studios, Ford was often "seen sniffing from a small case he carried in his jeans....Turns out he was sniffing snuff." (Jenkins) Maybe his powerful mixture of pot and hallucinogenic tobacco was more than Fisher could handle.

Fisher turned to hallucinogens and painkillers (a bad combination), and Reynolds enlisted Cary Grant to speak with her. Grant famously took LSD while it was still legal, and found the experience illuminating. Grant called Fisher and chatted about nothing in particular, she writes. She has now endured electroshock therapy, having been diagnosed as bipolar.

December 7 (UPDATED 8:54 PM PST) - Monroe Pot Smoking Confirmed
Marilyn Monroe's friend Jeanne Carmen (left), has confirmed through her son and biographer that both she and Monroe smoked pot. An actress, pin-up girl, and trick-shot golfer, Carmen lived next door to Monroe in the years before she died in 1962. The apartments were owned by Frank Sinatra, as described in valet George Jacobs' book Mr. S.: My Life with Frank Sinatra.

Carmen died in 2007, but her son Brandon James writes, "My mom was not a 'pot smoker' but she did smoke pot on occasion. Marilyn was the same way." (This makes Carmen a VIP too.)

James travelled with his mother to events in the 1990s, and gathered her experiences in JEANNE CARMEN: MY WILD WILD LIFE (2006). One reviewer said, "Written by her son, Brandon James, many of the book's 550 pages recount Marilyn-and-Jeanne "I Love Lucy" hijinks in which the two women appear as softcore versions of Lucy and Ethel - fun-loving gals who'd spank a naked Jack Benny in a steam room or ogle Rock Hudson scoring a very special hole in one with a younger partner on a golf-course green."

One of the gals' experiences happened in 1961 or 1962 when they were invited to a "boat party" with B-movie actor/ladies' man Steve Cochran, who fancied himself a new Errol Flynn. Cochran pulled out some weed but when he tried to turn the party into an orgy, Marilyn and Jeanne jumped ship. (Alchibiades lives, but it's the Goddesses we still worship.)

According to an interview on CNN, Carmen met Monroe in NYC at the Actor's Studio, where they were both enrolled. She confirms Monroe's affairs with JFK and RFK, and says Peter Lawford and mobster Johnny Roselli advised her to leave town after Monroe's death -- which she did for 18 years.

You can cast a vote for the actress who you think could best play Jeanne in a movie at this link and you can send her a rose at this link.

December 4 - Alleged Tiger Woods Mistress Proffered Medical Pot
According to a RadarOnline story, alleged Tiger Woods mistress Jamie Grubbs worked at City Organic Remedies in Studio City, dispensing medical pot.

Could this mean Tiger is one more sports superstar (like Michael Phelps, Santonio Holmes, Geovany Soto, LeBron James, Usain Bolt) who puffs (or puffed) pot? Stay tuned...meanwhile, another alleged mistress, Rachel Uchitel, claims she and Tiger had "crazy Ambien sex."
marilyn monroe smoking pot?

December 2 - More on Marilyn
While CNN aired a story neglecting to mention marijuana (here's where to protest), other outlets have uncovered more about Marilyn Monroe's alleged marijuana use, uncovered in a home movie made in the late 1950s.

Turns out the filmmaker is named Gretchen, and it was the FBI who tipped off documentary maker Keya Morgan to the film's existence. Morgan told AFP, "They felt that Marilyn Monroe posed a security threat to the presidency because she was under the influence of marijuana and under the influence of alcohol, and could be a danger not only to herself but also to the presidency," he said. He added, "The reason we know for a fact it's marijuana is the lady who shot it, she's still alive. She rolled up the joint and handed it over to Marilyn."

December 1, 2009 - Film Shows Marilyn Monroe Smoking Pot
According to a Reuters report, film goddess Marilyn Monroe is shown smoking marijuana in a film purchased for $275,000 by a collector.

Blonde pot-puffing love objects with Mexican love interests play in two seminal Hollywood novels, The Day of the Locust and The Last Tycoon, see Can L.A. Solve Its Mexican Marijuana Problem? Not Until It Confronts Its Past

November 17, 2009 - Boomers see views relaxing on marijuana
By Steve Hendrix
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 16, 2009

September 28, 2009 - NORML Conference Report
The doorman at the Grand Hyatt on Union Square in San Francisco greeted us with, "Are those leaves real?" when he saw our hemp-lei adorned gift bags for the September 23rd CaNORML welcome party at NORML's 38th annual national conference. "No, but everyone asks us that," we replied. Soon, the lobby was filled with folks from Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Oregon, California, Michigan, New York, D.C., beyond and between, all ready for fellowship and information sharing on our way to victory in ending marijuana prohibition. About 600 attended the 3-day conference, up from 500 last year and the largest turnout ever.

Although the "Yes We Cannabis" poster with its photo of Obama smoking was censored by its photographer before the conference, the poster's designer Sonia Sanchez was on hand with a cut-out of the poster that made it an everyman piece.

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano spoke about AB390, the landmark legalization bill he introduced this year. The measure will see informational hearings this month in the Public Safety Committee, which Ammiano now heads. The affable Ammiano said his colleagues were privately telling him, "This is great, I smoked when I was in college," but weren't publicly supportive until they did polling on the issue in their districts and got positive numbers. As a result, the tone in Sacramento is now "more user friendly," especially in response to the Republican's "draconian war on poor people" in answer to the budget crisis. About law enforcement, he said they may not want exactly what we do, but are willing to "talk turkey" because they see the costs of the drug war and are criticized for not responding to violent and property crimes. "This is a social justice issue," he said in closing. "People's lives have been ruined by our arbitrary attitude about a beneficial and effective herb."

The man whose NORML speech inspired the VIP project in 2002, Harvard professor emeritus Lester Grinspoon, appeared by Skype from his home in Massachusetts. The author of Marijuana Reconsidered, Grinspoon, now 81, was asked whether or not he had tried the strain of cannabis newly named for him. He replied that he hadn't, but would like to. He said his son flew to Amsterdam to try it and pronounced it great. He said he's received emails from all over praising it, despite its high price ($17/gram). "If any of you have some..." he said. The Australian rock band "Grinspoon" is named for Lester and Oaksterdam University's logo is based on Harvard's in his honor.

Grinspoon spoke about what a "wonderful, safe, hangover-free recreational drug [cannabis] is." Not only can it enhance sexual and culinary experiences, it can "catalyze new ideas, insights, emotional intimacy, and spiritual depth," qualities more experienced user appreciate while younger ones go for the sociability and fun cannabis provides. Grinspoon said his friend and VIP Carl Sagan was a daily smoker.

Recalling the times when he was one of three witnesses testifying at John Lennon's deportation trial over a hashish bust in England (the others who testified were Dick Cavett and the director of MOMA testifying about Lennon's cultural importance). Grinspoon got Lennon off when he said that hashish, which was illegal in England, was different than marijuana, which was illegal in the U.s.

"Is cannabis a performance enhancing drug?" CelebStoner Steve Bloom asked a panel of athletes. "You can use it to enhance your life all day long," WWE wrestler and VIP Rob Van Dam replied, adding that when he hasn't smoked he feels physical pains more and is less focused. He also said, "I'm loud and proud. I love pot," and "Everybody knows if you smoke a lot, you can drive and smoke." (Marinol is labeled accordingly.)

Unlike VanDam, who said during his ECW days he often smoked "up until the time my ring music was played," former Dallas Cowboys center Mark Stepnowski said he didn't smoke before his games but "after the game's a different story." Stepnowski played in the NFL for 18 years and was on two Superbowl-winning teams. "Smoking marijuana never prevented me from attaining my goals in high school," he said. "You can achieve your goals if you use it properly and have your head on straight." His membership in NORML went unnoticed until he became president of Texas NORML and began successfully lobbying his state legislature.

MMA fighter Toby "Tiger Heart" Grear said he stops smoking 21 days before a fight to follow league policy. Grear is medical marijuana patient sponsored by Medicann, whose ads remark about what a "Typical Stoner" looks like. After the talk, he told VIPs that, like fellow MMAer Nick Diaz and Michael Phelps, he's been diagnosed with ADD.

Attending the conference was Rick Steves, the popular travel writer/PBS host and NORML board member. When I thanked Steves for taking his stand, he said, "There are a lot of Rick Steves still in the closet."

After being introduced at 2008's Lutheran of the Year who is the second biggest seller of the Eurail pass (after Eurail itself), Steves gave a thoughtful, heartfelt and rousing speech to cap off the conference.

Steves said much of his work is in bringing home realities into Americans' comfort zone. "Travel addresses your fears. The flip side of fear is understanding. When you travel you overcome fear." Traveling alters perspective, and "you can travel vicariously with a little marijuana and feel the altitude." When you travel and smoke a little pot "it's travel squared; supertravel," he smiled.

When he gets the occasional call from someone who is offended by his public stance on legalization and won't travel with him, "I think, 'Europe will be a lot more fun without you'," Steves said, adding, "I've [advocated for pot] as publicly as possible and it's been a plus for me across the board." Reporters are uniformly nervous about interviewing him on the topic, but as soon as the mike goes off, they say, "Wow, right on." He has talked with his mayor, his pastor, school officials and law enforcement officers about the subject.

Steves revealed that his PBS underwriters made him sign a document promising he would not promote marijuana use on his website. But he said he has found a way to mention marijuana in every one of his 20 guidebooks. A recent show from Bern has footage of two people passing a joint behind the cathedral there.

Americans and Europeans have different attitudes about drugs, Steves said, with Americans preferring incarceration and Euros opting for harm reduction measures. Scandinavians hire drivers to take their kids to graduation kegger parties, he said. In Zurich the public restrooms have blue lights so heroin users can't see their veins to shoot up inside; instead there is a public Cafe Fix heroin maintenance clinic where it can be done safely.

About legalization, "I think the time is right but we've got to bring it forward in an unscary way," he said. Since Steves just picked up the Department of State's Citizen Diplomat of the Year Award, he ought to know what he's talking about.

The piece Steves produced with Washington ACLU, "Marijuana It's Time for a Conversation," can be viewed at: http://www.marijuanaconversation.org/

September 1, 2009 - KFC Finally Sells Something Worth Munching
We seen stories about fast food drive-throughs offering pot for sale, but now according to the LA Weekly blog, an abandoned Kentucky Fried Chicken store at the corner of Exposition Blvd. and Hughes Ave. in Los Angeles has been renamed Kind For Cures and dispenses nothing else but medical marijuana. Since it's recently been found that obesity contributes to smaller brain mass, it's arguable that the site is now selling the healthier product.

It's a sign of the times as the LA Times notes that despite LA City Council's threats to close 100 coops, Cannabis is moving into the mainstream.

August 27, 2009 - Marijuana Found at Michael Jackson's Home?
According to a search warrant in the case, two bags of marijuana and cigarette papers (but no loose tobacco) were found at Michael Jackson's home after his death on June 25.

Reuters blog asked, "Did Michael Jackson Switch from Billie Jean to Mary Jane?" and opined, "The discovery may earn Jackson a new nickname: King of Pot." It continued:

"Of course, in California it’s easy to get marijuana through medical dispensaries. In fact, it is probably easier to get marijuana than the prescription medications court documents indicate Jackson sought through various aliases.

"And with so many security guards and other personnel circulating through Jackson’s famously well-staffed manor, it’s always possible that the pot belonged to someone else. Could Jackson be the victim of a puff-puff-pass that left him holding the baggie? Who knows, this story may just go up in smoke."

The Los Angeles Times backed away from its report that black tar heroin was also found, leading one blogger to wonder, When Is Heroin Not Really Heroin? When It's at Michael Jackson's House

Later reports said the suspected heroin was actually moldy pot.

Where is the War on Obesity?
A new study finds obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals, researchers said.

August 14, 2009 - Pitt on Pot (Again)

Brad Pitt, who founded the Make it Right organization in 2007 to build homes for Katrina victims, was asked on The Today Show this morning about the "Brad Pitt for Mayor" T-shirts many New Orleans residents are sporting these days. He joked, "I'm running on the gay marriage, no religion, legalization and taxation of marijuana platform." Tonight, he chatted with Bill Maher about the topic.

Last week, Pitt was quoted in Parade magazine saying he used to be a major stoner, but gave it up. At least he says he's for legalization, whether he still smokes it or not. He's got our endorsement! Get Your Brad Pitt for Mayor T-Shirt ($20; supports Make It Right).

How to Make Your Life Better (By Smoking Pot)

Les Paul: Angel with Guitar
VIPs Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong recorded it, Ella Fitzgerald and Anita O'Day sang it, and Gene Krupa put it out on the flip side of "Tea for Two," but it was Les Paul's 1951 instrumental version of "How High the Moon" that most people remember. The boy who started sticking amplifiers in his acoustic guitar at the age of 13 elevated that instrument to a point where we now speak of "Guitar Gods." He stuck around for 94 years, to see the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, an event that wouldn't have been possible without Paul's innovations. You can bet he's wailing on a heavenly harp right about now, working on that "faint" part:

Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon...

August 6, 2009 - Medical Marijuana Helping Swayze
According to the National Enquirer, actor/dancer/cancer patient Patrick Swayze has begun using medical marijuana and is gaining weight and looking healthier. Swayze has found that smoking pot helps ease his nausea, insomnia and anxiety, a family insider said. He's recently gained a little weight and feels more "normal than he has in months," said the source. A photo shows him looking much better than he did in April, when pics of a gaunt, ghostly Swayze shocked his fans. The Mirror and The Daily Mail reported the newer picture was taken outside an L.A. smoke shop.

July 31 - Phelps (Mostly) Victorious Again
According to CelebStoner, VIP Michael Phelps broke his own record in the 100-meter butterfly at the FINA World Championships in Rome one day after his first individual loss since 2005. Phelps now holds the most world records, 34, surpassing Mark Spitz.

Phelps recently swam away with with five 2009 ESPY Awards - for Best Male Athlete (ending Tiger Woods' 8-year reign), Male Olympic Athlete, Record-Breaking Performance, Championship Moment (for which he got an "oh yeah!" from Marisa Miller) and Moment (shared with his relay team).

Host Samuel L. Jackson joked about Phelps, "You must be glad to be back in the pool, huh? Nobody gives you a hard time when you smoke the competition." Driving the point home, Haitian Rastaman Wyclef Jean sang, "Smoke the competition like Mike Phelps--I got your back Aquaman."

VIP Santonio Holmes shared the Best Play award with Ben Roethlisberger and the Best Game award (Super Bowl XLIII) with his Pittsburgh Steeler teammates. Jamaican sprinter and VIP Usain Bolt won for Best International Athlete. VIP LeBron James was named Best NBA Player.

Begun by cable sports channel ESPN in 1993, the annual ESPY Awards allows sports fans worldwide to join in an online vote for their favorite sports heroes.

July 24 - LeBron James completes MVP VIP triumvirate
What a year for pot-puffing athletes. First the greatest Olympian of all time, then the MVP of the Superbowl and baseball's rookie of the year all came "out" as pot smokers. Now the NBA's reigning MVP, LeBron James, admits he smoked pot in high school in his forthcoming autobiography Shooting Stars, due out in September. "We had become big-headed jerks, me in particular," James said of his high school teammates after James, at 17, was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That same year, James reveals, he and his tea-mates smoked marijuana one night in an Akron hotel room.

Punny guy Ted Green writes on his LA Times blog, "I'd like to personally thank LeBron for stirring the pot. And I'm sure the book will be a big hit. John Ryan at the San Jose Mercury News suggests LeBron can be the leading advocate in "the movement to legalize and tax the bejesus out of marijuana."

July 19 - Walter Cronkite, Truth Teller
"If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost the county" said LBJ after the veteran newscaster known as Uncle Walter denounced the Vietnam War. The most trusted man in America also spoke against the War on Drugs in print and on video.

Drug Policy Alliance's Ethan Nadelmann writes, "I once asked Walter...whether he had ever tried marijuana. As I recall, he laughed, and said not exactly, except for the 'contact high' he might have gotten around CBS's offices back in the 1960s, when smoking was still allowed, and not everything smoked was tobacco. Perhaps he said something too about some youthful experiences during WW 2 -- but I don't remember exactly."

Censored on TV: Why Are Some Stations Keeping Pot in the Closet?
By Bruce Mirken, AlterNet. Posted July 17, 2009

Excerpt:
[The recently censored MPP ad in favor of AB390] showed in concrete terms that the millions of Americans who use marijuana (nearly 15 million in a typical month, according to government surveys that likely underestimate its true prevalence) are ordinary folks — responsible, hard-working and entirely normal.

This is a group of people that may well include your barber, your accountant, your lawyer, the checker at your favorite grocery store, your kid’s teacher and a respectable proportion of your friends, neighbors and relatives. But most of them don’t talk about it — just like gays and lesbians didn’t talk about their orientation back in the 1960s, when gay sex was illegal in every state.

The official mythology, of course, is that marijuana consumers are “drug abusers” who lead sad, dysfunctional lives. They’ve walked through the dreaded “gateway” to a life of addiction and despair.

Those myths are stated overtly in official propaganda and reinforced far more subtly in the stock footage you see on television news whenever there’s a marijuana story. Because all those lawyers, accountants, etc., would be committing professional suicide if they let themselves be photographed smoking marijuana, the stock images they use always show straggly-looking stoners who look like they just wandered out of a Grateful Dead concert. That such stereotypes represent a tiny and atypical minority of marijuana users is society’s dirty little secret — 2009’s equivalent of Oscar Wilde’s 'love that dare not speak its name'.”

July 16 - Kevin Spacey Is the Latest Pot-Puffing Shrink to Hit the Movie Screens -- Why Is This a Trend?
By Ellen Komp, AlterNet. Posted July 15, 2009
‘You know, it’s a funny thing, every one of the bstards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists.”—U.S. President Richard Nixon

July 15 - Phelps Sets "Pretty Cool" World Record
Michael Phelps is taking a big risk at this point in his career, focusing on shorter races (the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and the 200-meter freestyle) for the world swimming championships, which begin July 26 in Rome. On July 9, he set a world's record in the 100-meter butterfly and pronounced it "pretty cool".

Phelps was interviewed on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien last week. Conan joked about the "infamous photo" being released "which much have been a major buzz kill" (laughter, applause). A stoney-faced Phelps said he'd make sure those mistakes never happen again (more applause). His new children's book "How to Train With T-Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals" was promoed.

In an interview with United Hemispheres magazine, Conan co-host Andy Richter said, "I've heard Conan say that the PeeWee's Playhouse aspects of the old show are going to be lessened. For one, The Tonight Show airs earlier, which means a lot fewer stoned college students are watching. Seems Conan, the winner of the 2006 High Times Stoney award will apparently be retiring Tokey the Anti-Drug Bong too.

Phelps is up for 4 ESPY awards (Best Male Athelete, Best US Male Olympian, Best Championship Performance, and Best Record Breaking Performance (along with VIPs Phil Jackson and Usain Bolt). The 17th annual ESPY Awards ceremony will air on ESPN on July 19 at 9PM.

July 10 - Grim on CNN
Ryan Grim, the author of This is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America speaks common sense on CNN where the anchorwoman calls his a "very interesting book."

July 9, 2009 - Ads Call for Legal Pot in CA (where they're not censored)
The Marijuana Policy Project has launched a TV ad campaign in support of legalizing marijuana to help solve California's budget crisis. The ads (left) feature Sacramento housewife Nadene Herndon saying she's a marijuana consumer who'd like to pay her fair share of taxes. "I came out of the closet with this ad," said the brave Nadene. Since the ad ran, Herndon told the Drug War Chronicle, "I've gotten lots of positive messages" (and only a couple of odd phone calls).

Not so brave are the "major market" media. Oakland NBC affiliate KTVU and San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO declined to air the ad, as did San Jose NBC affiliate KNTV. Three Los Angeles stations, KABC, Fox affiliate KTTV, and KTLA also just said no.

"We are astonished that major California TV stations chose to censor a discussion that Governor Schwarzenegger has said our state should have on an issue supported by 56% of voters, according to the Field poll," said Aaron Smith, MPP California policy director. "The two million Californians who use marijuana in a given month deserve to have their voices heard -- and their tax dollars should help solve the fiscal emergency that threatens our schools, police and parks." Smith scored a bigger coup when he appeared on NBC's Today show and did a fine job defending the reform position.

The ad is running on cable stations in Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco, as well as on MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN. Pony up now to keep it on the air!

July 7, 2009 - Subway Campaigns with Phelps
Subway has launched its new TV ad featuring Michael Phelps and it's causing quite a buzz. Set to the Sly and the Family Stone funk anthem, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," the ad contrasts the active Phelps with their regular joe spokesman Jared. Wrote Adweek, "Instead of pretending the [bong incident] never happened, Subway smartly (and subtly) turns it into a nonjudgmental message of individuality -- and it works." The LA Times business page declared, "Michael Phelps ads prove a new cultural tolerance of marijuana" and stated Phelps's achievements "mock the moral hysteria that traditionally rains down on marijuana." Noting that Phelps kept most of his endorsements and in June inked a deal with H2O Audio, maker of high-end waterproof headphones, "advertisers saw little downside to being associated with bong-meister Phelps. Nor should they. Across the board, marijuana is being steadily decriminalized and de-stigmatized."

"With the benefit of hindsight, Kellogg execs might well be kicking themselves," for dropping Phelps, the article states. (Kellogg's first-quarter 2009 sales appear to be down.) Stoners who put down their cornflakes now have a place to munch out: www.SubwayFreshBuzz.com, where Phelps is billed as "the man behind the marinara."

This is Your Country on Drugs (Review)
This is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America by Ryan Grim, Huffington Post’s senior congressional correspondent, is a rollicking ride through the U.S’s relationship to drugs, right up to the present day. A graduate of the University of Maryland’s public policy school, Grim studied under drug policy researcher Peter Reuter and worked at MPP, and he brings fresh perspective as well as solid scholarship to the topic.
(Read more.)

Foreign Policy Magazine Exposes Folly Of Marijuana Prohibition
Sun, 05 Jul 2009 By: Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director
"The addiction to a failed policy has long been fueled by the self-interest of a relatively small prohibitionist community—and enabled by the distraction of the American public. But as the costs of the drug war spread from remote countries and U.S. inner cities to the rest of society, spending more to cure and prevent than to eradicate and incarcerate will become a much more obvious idea. Smarter thinking on drugs? That should be the real no-brainer."

July 1, 2009 - Mother Jones: Totally Wasted
Mother Jones magazine devotes a special issue to the War on Drugs. It's worth subscribing to this great investigative journal to see these articles.

June 27, 2009 - Cubs Catcher Caught
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto "has known since April he tested positive for marijuana during the World Baseball Classic in March, and the knowledge that this would become public had caused many sleepless nights for the reigning National League rookie of the year who got off to a horrible start this season." (Sleepless nights will do that to you.) Soto, who asked the Cubs to release the news, will be banned from international play for two years, but will suffer no ramifications here.

''I think the world of Geo; we all do in the organization,'' said Cubs assistant general manager Randy Bush. ''He's a wonderful kid. He made a mistake, and none of us thinks any less of him.''

Cubs manager Lou Pinella told reporters he'd tried pot once and "And it didn't do a damn thing for me, and I never tried it again. I'm fortunate because of that. A lot of people do. You can even buy it in California from a pharmacy."

Last night was "another big day for catcher Geovany Soto, who hit a three-run homer off Jose Contreras (2-7) --Soto's fourth homer in the last eight games and part of his 2-for-4 day --and threw out 1 of 2 runners."

The Sun Times article has a photo gallery of pot-puffing athletes, including Michael Phelps, Bulls forward Joakim Noah, Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith, Washington Nationals Elijah Dukes, Former Portland Trailblazers Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace, Former Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Quincy Carter, Memphis Grizzlies forward Darius Miles, Florida receiver Percy Harvin, Former NBA star Shawn Kemp, Former Bears running back (and Heisman Trophy winner) Rashaan Salaam, Canadian snowboarding champion Ross Rebagliati, former Illinois fullback Jameel Cook, Memphis Grizzly O.J. Mayo, New England Patriots cornerback Willie Andrews, Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Howard, Adam "Pacman" Jones, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, and former Oilers center Mark Stepnoski, now a spokerman for NORML.

June 23, 2009 - Prominent Korean Actress Calls for Legalization
According to the Korea Times, actress Kim Bu-seon, 46 (right), appeared on MBC TV in her home country on June 19 and spoke in favor of legalization. Kim launched a campaign for cannabis legalization in 2004 after she was arrested for marijuana use and sentenced to a suspended jail term. She then filed a petition with the Constitutional Court for a review of the constitutionality of the country's marijuana-related laws.

In the MBC interview, she protested the recent arrest of actor Oh Gwang-rok on charges of marijuana use, saying his actions caused no harm and that the drug did not affect his ability to act. "Have you ever heard of any news that I committed a crime after smoking marijuana? I have never done anything harmful, as politicians or thieves have," she said.

"Marijuana is not a narcotic; it is technically an Oriental herbal medicine which Koreans have used for 5,000 years," she said. "If smoking it doesn't do harm to others, those who do need it, such as those suffering from depression or cancer patients, should be allowed to use it. Marijuana increases appetite and improves sleep."

"Korea has the highest ratio of death by suicide among OECD members. The nation needs to take marijuana as a depression remedy and make depression patients come back to society....Whenever the government has troubles, it uses drug-taking entertainers to divert people's attention. It is the best way to make entertainers and artists obey the government,'' the astute actress told viewers on the live telecast. So far, MBC has not answered calls for an apology for the broadcast.

Oh Gwang-rok, most famous for his role as a wise man in “Taewangsasingi” (The Four Guardian Gods of the King), was arrested June 18 for smoking marijuana. Oh is suspected of having smoked marijuana on several occasions, including once in February at his house in Seoul. He allegedly smoked with the head of an unidentified information-technology company, known as Park, investigators said. Police said Park bought the pot from a local dealer and shared it with eight others, including animation film director Kim Mun-saeng. Oh has appeared in numerous films including “Seven Days” and “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” (with Kim Bu-seon.)

June 20, 2009 - Two Unexpected Pot Smugglers (with very different outcomes)
According to the Baltimore Sun, Navy officials say a junior at the U.S. Naval Academy has been detained in San Diego, accused of bringing 150 pounds of marijuana into the United States from Mexico. Naval Academy spokeswoman Deborah Goode declined to give the midshipman's name and hometown, saying he had not been charged. He was on summer training in San Diego. The 24-year-old midshipman is being held in the brig in San Diego, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating, said Navy Region Southwest spokesman Doug Sayers. U.S. Customs officials pulled over the midshipman June 10 at the re-entry point just north of the Mexican border, Sayers said.

Meanwhile, former champion downhill mountain biker Missy "The Missile" Giove, 37, has been charged with marijuana distribution and faces up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine if convicted, according to The Daily News. Giove is the most successful woman in competitive mountain biking's history, grabbing a record 14 National Off-Road Bicycle Association championships and 11 World Cup wins. Known for her outrageous looks and daredevil riding style, she is openly lesbian, and was featured in a Reebok ad and interviewed by David Letterman.

Investigators spied on Giove as she got off a plane at the Albany County Airport and took a cab to a hotel, where she met a confidential informant and picked up a pick-up truck and box-trailer. Approximately 400 pounts of marijuana were found in the trailer and at co-defendant Eric Canori's house. "Drug trafficking can lead you downhill fast," Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent John Gilbride quipped.

June 15, 2009 - NYT Times, AP on Legalization
Many outlets, such as MSNBC, picked up on the AP story Momentum builds for broad debate on legalizing pot where DPA's Ethan Nadlemann is quoted saying, "This is the first time I feel like the wind is at my back and not in my face."

"A new tone on drug reform also has sounded more frequently in Congress," the article states. "At a House hearing last month, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., challenged FBI Director Robert Mueller when Mueller spoke of parents losing their lives
to drugs."

"Name me a couple of parents who have lost their lives to marijuana," Cohen said.

"Can't," Mueller replied.

"Exactly. You can't, because that hasn't happened," Cohen said. "Is there some time we're going to see that we ought to prioritize meth, crack, cocaine and heroin, and deal with the drugs that the American culture is really being affected by?"

In a telephone interview for the story, Dennis Kucinich noted that both Obama and former President Bill Clinton acknowledged trying marijuana. "Apparently that didn't stop them from achieving their goals in life," Kucinich said. "We need to come at this from a point of science and research and not from mythologies or fears."

And after taking public input on his Facebook page, NYT columnist Nikolas Kristof titled his Sunday NYTimes oped "Drugs Won the War."

Read/make comments

Here's a good one:

I am a highly successful professional, as are many of my friends. Most of us use drugs ranging from marijuana to LSD, ecstasy, ayahuasca, iboga and mushrooms. Some use these for pleasure; I use them for sacramental purposes and do so only on my trips abroad to places where they are legal. I cannot afford any risk of prosecution.

We avoid heroin, meth and other truly dangerous substances. We hold down demanding positions, and only a few of our clients and business associates are aware of our "double lives".We live in a major Midwestern city. But our situation is hardly
uncommon. For example, it has been estimated that 30% of managers in Boulder, Colorado use marijuana regularly. That may be an unusual community, but it is an effective one.

Many of society's leading luminaries use drugs to enhance their performance....While children need to be
protected from drugs, including alcohol and Rx ones, adults should have discretion over their lives provided they act responsibly.The proper motto regarding drugs and government propaganda in general is, "Think for YOURSELF-and be responsible".

June 12 - NFL MVP Case Dropped over Anonymous Tip
Santonio Holmes, who caught the winning touchdown pass at the Superbowl, had charges dropped against him after a traffic stop found a small amount of marijuana last October.

According to the Tribune Review, courts have ruled that traffic stops may not be made because of anonymous tips. Holmes still could be punished by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy. A league spokesman said the NFL will review court documents before deciding whether it will discipline Holmes.

Brush Up Your Shakespeare
According to a story from the Daily Mail, prisoners are becoming fluent in thieves' cant, a dialect used by 16th-century rogues to keep their plans secret, in order to help them smuggle drugs and other contraband into prisons. The practice was uncovered at Buckley Hall Prison in Rochdale, when staff noticed that the same phrases were being used in monitored phone calls and letters between inmates and loved ones. The dialect, thought to originate from medieval gypsies, was used by all manner of villains in Shakespeare's England. (What was Shakespeare smoking?)

Ethan Nadelmann asks, Hey Progessives, Why Don't You Care About the Drug War?

June 8 - More Foxes for Pot
Megan Fox, starlet of the Transformers movies, has told Britain's GQ, "I can't tell you how much bullshit I've been through because I will openly say that I smoke weed. People look at it like it's this crazy, hippy, fucked-up thing to do. And it's not. I hope they legalize it."

Young women seem to be at the forefront of the issue these days: Marijuana Policy Project's yearly Playboy Mansion party featured hostesses Adrienne Curry and Fairuza Balk; well known pothead Kristen Stewart just won two MTV Movie Awards (Best Kiss and Best Movie--Twilight). And singer Joss Stone(d), who's said she enjoys "the occasional spliff," was snapped smoking one in London on May 29 (left). Source: Celebslam.

DOWNLOAD POSTERS OF JOSS AND MEGAN.

June 6 - "Nice People" Campaign Released
"One in three adults in the UK have taken them, as have the last three US presidents, so it's time to remove the stigma around drugs, and talk openly towards more effective, safer policy."

So begins a UK Guardian blog post from the nonprofit group Release about their new ad campaign (right). "The fact is, a lot of people from all walks of life have at some point taken drugs and it's time we got real about it," the post continues. "That's why this week we have launched a new campaign called Nice People Take Drugs. Buses will be travelling across London carrying this slogan in an attempt to get people talking about drugs and kickstart a drug policy debate."

"Over one third of the adult population of England and Wales has used illegal drugs and almost 10 million people have smoked cannabis....The situation where people have to deny, hide or, if found out, regret their drug taking is simply absurd. The public is tired of the artificial representation of drugs in society, which is not truthful about the fact that all sorts of people use drugs. If we are to have a fair and effective drug policy, it must be premised on this reality."

June 4 - Carradine Departs
Actor David Carradine has been found dead in his Bangkok hotel room at the age of 72, apparently from a suicide.

On screen and in life, Carradine walked the path of the peaceful warrior, from TV's "Kung Fu" to his memoir, “Spirit of Shaolin” and several instructional martial arts videos. He played Woody Guthrie in VIP Hal Ashby's "Bound for Glory," and the chief assassin in the "Kill Bill" movies. As a musician he released the albums Grasshopper and As Is.

According to a review of High Times magazines from 1976/77, Carradine was busted for pot at that time (along with drummer Buddy Rich, Beatle wife/photographer Linda McCartney, and Lash Larue, a '30s cowboy movie star who had a whip in his car when arrested). Soon after that, articles appeared like "why weed is so hard to get" and "how to booby trap your garden," leading to the unkind, cocaine-laced 80s.

In a 2004 interview, Carradine reportedly talked candidly about his past "boozing and narcotics use," but said he had put all that behind him and stuck to coffee and cigarettes. “I didn’t like the way I looked, for one thing. You’re kind of out of control emotionally when you drink that much. I was quicker to anger.”

I wish we lived in kinder times now. Maybe Carradine needed a good shrink who smoked pot (or laws that allowed him to smoke pot, instead of drink or suck cancer sticks.)

June 2 - Another Censored Poster?
(Because of a Tragically Censored Plant)

By Ellen Komp, VeryImportantPotheads.com

Smith Resigns in Shame
UK's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and several other cabinet ministers have resigned over scandals about misuse of public funds. "An emotional Miss Smith told friends she could not stand the pressure on her family over revelations that her husband's porn films were charged to the taxpayer," said The Daily Mail.

In 2007, Smith said in a television interview that she had tried marijuana while an undergraduate at Oxford University in the early 1980s. But that didn't keep her from pushing for recriminalization of marijuana in Britain. Over the objections of her own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Smith announced in a May 2008 speech to Parliament that her government would seek to reclassify marijuana as a Class B drug, four years after Tony Blair's government downgraded it to Class C. The NORML blog picked up on the news that Smith lied about increased potency of marijuana when she successfully pushed for harsher laws.

Some suggest Chancellor Alistair Darling may be asked to take over as Home Secretary. At the time of Smith's admission Darling was asked if he smoked pot and replied, "Occasionally in my youth."

May 22 - Woodstock: Take 2
Academy Award winning director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, 2005) has debuted his new film Taking Woodstock at Cannes, where he was asked if the realistic marijuana-smoking scenes were informed by experience.

Lee revealed that almost the entire crew for Taking Woodstock has had experiences with pot, including himself. He said he was schooling abroad when he dabbled with marijuana. "I dozed off after taking two puffs," he said. All he could remember was muttering in broken English and speaking Mandarin incessantly. He added jokingly, "I'm glad to have received positive comments. If it's not convincing, I guess I will really have to get another taste of marijuana." Though he "played with drugs" in the film, Lee is not afraid that his two sons would take reference from his film. "I'm a good role model," he said.

Taking Woodstock is based upon the book of the same name and follows the true life story of Elliot Tiber, an aspiring Greenwich Village interior designer whose parents owned a small motel in Upstate New York and, at the time, held the only musical festival permit in the entire town of Bethel, New York. Tiber offered both the Catskills motel and the permit to the Woodstock Festival’s organizers. The film also focuses on Tiber’s life as a closeted gay man hiding both his marijuana habit as well as his sexual orientation from his family, and the self-discovery that he experiences following the Stonewall Riots.

The film is among the front-runners to win the prestigious Palm d'Or after receiving a 10-minute standing ovation. And, apparently, at the end of the trailer, Mom and Dad join the fun.

And a delightful new children's book, Max Said Yes! The Woodstock Story by Abagail Yasgur and Joseph Lipner (above, right) is beautifully and appropriately illustrated by LA visionary artist Barbara Mendes.

Hope Floats
On May 29, a US Postage Stamp will be dedicated to Bob Hope (1903-2003) aboard the USS Midway in San Diego on what would have been the comedian's 106th birthday.

"Although Hope never officially served in the U.S. Armed Forces, he dedicated a significant part of his life to entertaining America’s men and women in uniform, starting in 1941 and continuing through the Persian Gulf War five decades later," said the U.S.P.S. In 1997 Hope became the first person recognized by the U.S. Congress as an “honorary veteran of the United States Armed Forces.” Hope’s thousands of honors also included the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among his many friends were several U.S. presidents, with whom he often played golf for charity. Bob Hope died at his home in Toluca Lake, CA, on July 27, 2003, two months after his 100th birthday.

Eddie Gordon, the Harmonicat who wailed us the opening strains of Sesame Street and Sanford and Son's theme songs, said in an interview earlier this year he was a friend of Bob Hope’s and went on his first USO tour with the The Harmonica Rascals. "I smoked with him all the time," said Gordon. "He was a pot-head.” The reason for Hope's split with VIP Bing Crosby, Gordon told me, was that Bing turned to alcohol after gage was Bob Crosbyized. (And what was he smoking in The Road to Morocco?)

On July 20, 2007 Sirius Radio Classics station aired a 1944 Bob Hope broadcast from an air force base in Yuma, AZ. After some jokes about sneaking over the border for tequila, Hope appeared in a cowboy skit with the Andrews Sisters. When asked how his legs got bowed, "Dragalong" Hope replied, "I smoked one of them Mexican cigarettes. And I had a bad landing." In a later skit, Hope tried to interest a chum into visiting a Gypsy fortune teller played by Zsa Zsa Gabor. "Then we can eat the tea leaves," he said.

One of Hope's pot jokes while entertaining the troops in Vietnam was reportedly that "instead of taking it away from the soldiers, we ought to give it to the negotiators in Paris." Another cannabis joke which Hope used in Vietnam: "I hear you guys are interested in gardening here. Our security officer said a lot of you guys are growing your own grass." Source.

According to Bob Hope: The Road Well-Traveled by Lawrence J. Quirk, Hope admitted to trying pot during his vaudeville days, then later said he hadn't sampled it until around 1975. "To more conservative publications he'd say he knew pot wasn't good for people, but to more liberal ones, like Rolling Stone, he'd say, 'It's just like liquor; it all depends on dosage and frequency, you know.'"

May 20 - Weeds: Yes We Cannabis!

Also see the companion piece, A Brief History of Weed

May 16 - To D or not to D
DPA's Ethan Nadelmann, who outed himself as a pot smoker on his recent Colbert Report interview (below), reluctantly does so again in Sunday's New York Times (where author Michael Winerip outs his 20's self). Nadelmann says he’s seen more progress on legalization in the last four months than in the previous two decades. “It’s starting to cascade,” he said. The story says:

In the 25 years since Nancy Reagan advocated just saying no, Mr. Nadelmann has seen a progression through four public stages out of the five he believes are needed to achieve legalization.

Stage 1. Bill Clinton: I smoked but I did not inhale.

Stage 2. Al Gore: I smoked, it was wrong, I regret it, shame on me.

Stage 3. Michael Bloomberg (asked if he'd tried pot): "You bet I did and I enjoyed it."

Stage 4. Barack Obama: "I inhaled frequently - that was the point!"

Stage 5. Public Figure to Come: Yes, I smoke the occasional joint.

"We need to drop the 'd' from 'smoked,' " Mr. Nadelmann said, "and move from past to present."

Agreed. So let's grade recent admissions for the "D" factor.

Michael Phelps: D- (back to stage 2, but at least he admitted it)
Whoopi Goldberg: D (admitted she's smoked while defending Phelps on The View)
Usain Bolt: D (past use; apology)
Santonio Holmes: A (Superbowl MVP said he'd sold drugs as a youth)
Nick Diaz: A+ (current use with no apologies)
Arnold Schwarzenegger: D (admits past use; wants to study legalization for the tax income)
D.L. Hughley: A (joked in the present tense)
CATO's Will Wilkerson: A+ ("I smoke pot, and I like it")
Lil Wayne: A (Told Katie Couric "I love to smoke")
Steven Colbert: D (I smoked, and then I didn't)
Georgine DiMaria: B+ (Former Miss NJ admits past use for asthma, spoke at 4/20 rally in Philly)
Ron White: B (admits medical use)
N.Y. Gov. David Patterson: A (straightest shooter in politics today)
Seth MacFarlane: C (admitted current use; backed off after inking Fox contract)
Seth Rogen: A (making a fortune smoking pot)
Rob Van Dam: B (admitted after bust; now an advocate)
Kid Rock: D+ ("were were smoking funny things" went to hitsville)

Maybe what we need is for former pot smokers to try it again and remind themselves what it was like. Winerip, and many others who stopped smoking pot in their 20s, now fret about their kids turning to heroin and meth, while admitting very few use marijuana as a gateway. As Selectman James A. Barry said at the recent Belchertown, MA town meeting, "If marijuana was a gateway drug, I think all of us in this room would be on heroin now. Well, at least half of us."

BTW, Columnist Bill Steigerwald gets an A for asking Nadelmann the obvious question no one else did: what will Schwarzenegger find out when he asks about drug legalization models in other countries?

"Smokey" Robinson Picks Up Honorary Doctorate
Smokey Robinson was given an honorary doctorate degree by Berklee Berklee College in Boston on May 11. His autobiography Smokey: Inside My Life (1989) reveals he smoked the weed (and should have stopped there.)

Obama Loses His "Cool"
With his glib dismissal of pot legalization, the president looks less like the man, and more like The Man.
Matt Welch | June 2009 Reason Magazine

20th Hijacker Revealed (But He Was Too Strung Out on Oxycontin to Get on the Plane)

Mexico Decriminalization Bill Passes -- One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

Barbie Goes Wild
Parents groups are up in arms about the new "Totally Stylin Tatoo Barbie," a non-living doll that comes complete with wash-off tatoos. Columnist Lloyd Garver asks, "Barbie with tattoos? I know what you're thinking: What's next? 'Hooker Barbie?' 'Pothead Barbie?' 'Premarital Sex Barbie?'" Funny the concerned-about-children crowd couldn't care less that Mattel uses child labor to make its plastic princesses.

May 12 - If You Can't Make Good Movies, Become a Pundit
Apparently 94% of Americans are potheads, because a legalization poll on a CBS news article co-authored by actor Steven Baldwin was tracking 94% in favor, despite Baldwin's assertion that only pot-heads want it that way. (Baldwin is qualified to comment, the article asserts, because he starred in "one of the more famous marijuana movies of all time" Biodome. One of the lamest, maybe.) DPA's Ethan Nadelmann had his say in his companion piece, Make Marijuana Legal.

May 10 - Get High with Your Mother Day
Singer/songwriter Adira Amram sings this tribute to her Mom. "This is how family should be." Yes indeed. (Here's her dad, composer David performing "Pull My Daisy" at VIP Lord Buckley's '07 Birthday Bash, a song originally sung by VIP Anita O'Day.)

Geraldo Smokes Again
Geraldo Rivera, who smoked pot on camera in 1974 will reportedly resume his research on Fox's Geraldo at Large tonight (10 pm EDT.) Rivera interviewed VIP Rob Van Dam for a recent story on marijuana legalization and noted in another that VIP Montel Williams lobbied New Jersey for a medical marijuana law.

Blacks Clue Whites In
The Dewey Cox Story: The reasons not to smoker reefer
Kat Williams: How weed can improve your life

May 9, 2009 - Schwarzenegger Calls for Studying Legalization
New Zogby Poll Finds 52% Favor Legalization Nationwide

Speaking at a May 5 press event where he announced cuts in California's critical fire-fighting budget, VIP Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked about last week's Field Poll showing 56% support for marijuana legalization and taxation in California (and precious little support for budget-saving measure on the upcoming May 19 ballot).

"I think it's time for a debate," the former pot-puffing Gov. replied. "I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it." He continued, "I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what effect did it have on those countries...It could very well be that everyone is happy with that decision and then we can look at that."

The following day, Zogby released a poll it conducted for the conservative O'Leary Report, which polled 3,937 voters and found 52% support for legalization nationwide, with only 37% opposed.

May 5, 2009 - Cinco de Mayo-juana
An interesting opinion piece in the LA Times, Mexico's illegal-reefer madness, argues for putting legalization on the table in Mexico, but doesn't mention that the Mexican Senate just did that, approving a bill on April 28 todecriminalize possession of small amounts of narcotics for personal use, in order to free resources to fight violent drug cartels.

The bill, proposed by conservative President Felipe Calderon, would make it legal to carry up to 5 grams (0.18 ounces) of marijuana, 500 milligrams (0.018 ounces) of cocaine and tiny quantities of other drugs such as heroin and methamphetamines. Mexico's Congress passed a similar proposal in 2006 but the bill was vetoed by Calderon's predecessor Vicente Fox, under pressure from the United States.

An excellent account of Hollywood's depiction of marijuana and Mexicans in the movies is found in USC Prof. Curtis Marez's book Drug Wars: The Political Economy of Narcotics. As proof of the inequities of the drug wars, we post VIP Freddy Fender (pictured above), who served 2 1/2 years in prison for a minor marijuana possession charge in 1960.

According to the Southwest Writers Collection: "In November 1528, a shipwreck brought Spanish conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, ashore at present day Galveston Island. Cabeza de Vaca spent the next eight years living among the Native Americans, becoming the first European to explore what is now Texas and the Southwest [including many parts of Mexico]. He endured slavery, served as a trader, and eventually became recognized as a great healer and spiritual leader. By the end of his long journey, Cabeza de Vaca became transformed. The once-arrogant conquistador became a passionate defender of Indian human rights." His story is immortalized in the language of the hip by VIP Lord Buckley.

In Chapter 26 of his book La Relaction, de Vaca wrote of the native people he encountered, "Throughout this land they get drunk on a certain smoke and give all they have to obtain it."

Farewell, Dom Deluise
Comic treasure Dom Deluise has left us at the age of 75. Here's a clip of Deluise toking up in the only film he directed, HOT STUFF (1979).

May 2, 2009 - Michael Douglas Looks At Legalization
According to StarPulse.com, Michael Douglas is urging U.S. government officials to consider legalizing the use of marijuana. "It's an interesting issue with all of these troubles that are going on... and trying to resolve things. It's an interesting thing that's being raised again. I'm questioning it. We're trying to get a lot of money for health and education and I'm wondering... you look at these gangs, and I look back at Prohibition. When we didn't allow alcohol, what did we have? We had gangs. We had big gangs. It's something that needs to be discussed a little more. It's an economic issue and a violence issue." A poll at the StarPulse site asks "Do you smoke weed?" and was running: Yes (64%); Not anymore (16%); and Nope (20%) with 541 votes in.

Douglas starred as a U.S. drug czar who resigns after his daughter develops a drug problem in the 2000 movie “Traffic” (right). In a life-imitates-art moment, the stepson of Obama's drug czar pick Gil Kerlikowske was jailed in Florida on marijuana charges.

Douglas appears in the new film "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" with VIP Matthew McConoughey and will reunite with VIP Oliver Stone for a sequel to "Wall Street." He just received the first-ever standing ovation at the 8th annual Movieline Young Hollywood awards when he picked up the Role Model Award. (2005's winner was VIP Pierce Brosnan and 2003's was Harrison Ford, widely thought to be a marijuana smoker who has never publicly admitted it. Perhaps he should take Brosnan's advice about being a role model: "Keep it true. Have some soul.")

Drug Policy Alliance's Nadelmann Outs Himself as
Another Colbert-Watching Pot Smoker:

 

April 29 - Estrogen Could Protect Adult Females from THC
According to HealthDay News (4/20), estrogen might help protect women from some of the learning and memory issues caused by the active ingredient in marijuana, Louisiana State University researchers predict based on their study on rats.

The protection did not seem to apply, however, if the female rats were exposed to cannabis during the time period equivalent to human adolescence. The study involved only female rats so any implication for adolescent males remains untested. The findings were to be presented April 19 in New Orleans at the Experimental Biology meeting sponsored by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Anne Hathaway in Havoc

Teens Using Marijuana to Treat Health Problems
A new study, published in the journal Substance Abuse, Treatment, Prevention and Policy, shows that one-third of teens use marijuana to treat health problems rather than recreationally, when conventional medicine fails, or
access to healthcare is limited. Researchers from University of British Columbia interviewed 63 adolescents who used marijuana. Twenty said they used marijuana to for treatment of behavioral health problems, pain, sleep difficulty, and problems with concentration.

Rather than rely on ineffective prescriptions with unwanted side effects, the teens said they used marijuana, not to get high, but to treat their health problems. The authors write, "Youth who reported they had been prescribed drugs such as Ritalin, Prozac or sleeping pills, stopped using them because they did not like how these drugs made them feel or found them ineffective."

Also, Straight Talk for Teens Paints a Portrait of Marijuana Use, and Alternative Medicine reports that Medical Marijuana Requests Are Higher Since Obama Term Began

Webb: Drug Legalization "On the Table"
Sen. Jim Webb says drug legalization is "on the table" for the blue ribbon commission he wants to set up for prison reform. If you haven't already done so, urge your Senators to support Sen. Webb's proposal.

Oaksterdam is the Talk of the Nation
NPR's Neal Conan of Talk of the Nation interviews Joshua Green, the reporter who wrote a story for The Atlantic about Oaksterdam University. After finding out that the magazine paid Green's tuition at the school, Conan asked, "Are they hiring there at the Atlantic?"

April 27 - Patriots Take Tate, Vikings Draft Hardin
I guess the New England Patriots were so successful with VIP Randy Moss that they've picked another pothead -- Brandon Tate -- as their new wide receiver, despite his knee injury and the fact that he and fellow wide receiver Percy Harvin both tested positive for marijuana in February at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. According to Fox News, Harvin and Tate were the only high-profile players to flunk their combine drug tests, and fewer than a dozen players tested positive for recreational drugs. Moss's other team, the Minnesota Vikings, took Hardin.

Another Do-Nothing Pot Smoker (Not)
Music Within
(2007), the story of Richard Pimentel, the disabled Vietnam Vet who fought for passage of the ADA, has a scene where he and fellow vets pass a joint around. With a great soundtrack and an extraordinary performance by Michael Sheen, who plays David Frost in Frost/Nixon and a man with cerebral palsy here.

And The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life & Times of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts confirms that, as in the movie, Milk swore off marijuana as he took the public stage, but remained allied with marijuana activist Dennis Peron while Republicans were hammering away against the three G's: gays, grass and Godlessness. The book ends with a speech by Milk in 1978 with these inspiring words, "GAY BROTHERS AND SISTERS...YOU MUST COME OUT. COME OUT...TO YOUR PARENTS...I KNOW THAT IT IS HARD AND WILL HURT THEM BUT THINK ABOUT HOW THEY WILL HURT YOU IN THE VOTING BOOTH....COME OUT TO YOUR FRIENDS...IF INDEED THEY ARE YOUR FRIENDS. COME OUT TO YOUR NEIGHBORS...TO YOUR FELLOW WORKERS...ONCE AND FOR ALL, BREAK DOWN THE MYTHS, DESTROY THE LIES AND DISTORTIONS." Pot smokers who want to take his advice can visit The Cannabis Consumers Campaign.

April 26 - Bea Arthur, Groundbreaking Commedienne
A Huffington Post tribute to Bea Arthur, who died Saturday at the age of 86, notes that her groundbreaking series Maude dealt with marijuana legalization, among other avant garde issues. (You'll have to go to Part II to see Adrienne Barbeau inhale) And the author found this clip from a 1980 Emmy-nominated special for CBS:

April 25 - USA Weekend on Pothead Rogen
USA Weekend points out that Pineapple Express star/writer Seth Rogen is "still a pothead," but the only thing the interviewer asked him about was whether he still gets the munchies.

April 20 (4/20) - A Bag of Weed is Nice Indeed
Thanks to VIP Seth MacFarlane and the Family Guy gang for this much needed celebratory moment:

Finally, a definitive article on the origins of 4/20.

April 19 - Miss 4/20
Just in time for 4/20, former Miss New Jersey Georgine DiMaria, 24, has publicly advocated for medical mariuana, saying she has tried it for her severe asthma and found it helpful.

As a child her asthma was so severe that it left her bedridden, forcing her to be homeschooled, says an article in PressofAtlanticCity.com:

"When DiMaria learned that her uncle in South Carolina had used marijuana as part of his treatment for cancer, DiMaria investigated it herself. It helped her immensely, she said. Because of law enforcement taken against people that have used marijuana for medicinal purposes, DiMaria would not say when she used marijuana or how she obtained it, but she did say it was medically beneficial to her."

DiMaria became Miss New Jersey pageant and competed in the Miss America pageant in 2006, playing the violin in the talent competition. Since then, she has served as a national spokeswoman for the American Lung Association. DiMaria emphasized that she does not condone smoking. She said she kept her usage under wraps while serving as Miss New Jersey.

In February, the New Jersey state Senate approved a bill that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. It awaits approval in the Assembly and from Gov. Jon S. Corzine. State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, said Friday in a phone interview that he voted in favor of the bill after his constituents showed an overwhelming amount of support for the bill.

“Marijuana could be a miracle drug for a lot of people,” DiMaria said. She is appearing at a NORML event in Philadelphia tomorrow to speak about legalizing medical marijuana. DOWNLOAD THE GEORGINE DIMARIA POSTER.

For Marijuana Advocates, Not-So-Secret Holiday Hints at Change
By JESSE McKINLEY, New York Times
April 19, 2009

But sadly, marijuana reformers won't be so celebratory this year, since on April 17 U.S. government lawyers said its prosecution of medical marijuana club operator Charles Lynch was consistent with DOJ policy, despite recent pronouncements to the contrary. Lynch is scheduled for sentencing on Thursday April 23 at 10:30 am in the Federal Court Building in Los Angeles.

April 16 - Republican Congressman Calls Marijuana "A Personal Matter"
Of course, the pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-imigration Republican Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia only took the matter private after his 18-year-old son, Paul Collins Broun III, was found with a pill bottle containing marijuana in his pocket on a DUI stop. Athens police arrested Broun for misdemeanor possession, but his father said, “This is a personal matter that our family will deal with privately. Our son has the love and support of his family as he takes responsibility for his actions." The flap, or lack of it, is reminiscent of the time JFK Jr. was similarly caught at his boarding school.

In a 2007 interview with the Athens Banner-Herald, the elder Broun said he had tried marijuana but did not enjoy it. "I did as a student, years ago in college," he said. "I tried it a time or two and hated it, and I don't see why anyone wants to do that."

Luckily Broun probably isn't dependent on federal college loans, or University housing, both of which can be jeopardized by a pot charge. And he's lucky he wasn't shot at his bust, like a Michigan student was recently. Find out more at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy West Coast Regional Conference, April 24-26 at U. Cal Berkeley.

Latin American News
The U.S. has named a "border czar" as Obama heads to Mexico. He'll also head to Trinidad for a regional conference, presumably attended by Bolivian President Evo Morales, who has just ended a chamomile and coca leaf hunger strike. Morales symbolically chewed a coca leaf at a UN meeting in Vienna last month.

April 15 - Taxing Times
At 8:00 AM this morning, representatives and supporters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) stood on the steps of the General Post Office in Midtown Manhattan to present a check for $14 billion to the US Treasury Department.

The check total is an estimate of what American taxpayers spend every year to maintain marijuana prohibition. According to the report "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States," Americans spend some $6 billion on law enforcement costs related to enforcing marijuana laws. Taxing and regulating the production and sale of cannabis like alcohol products would reduce these costs while raising an estimated $8 billion in new tax revenue. That's according to Nobel Prize Winner Milton Friedman and over 500 other accredited economists.

"On a day when so many Americans lament having to pay state and federal income taxes, we're representing America's millions of otherwise law-abiding cannabis consumers-as well as supportive non-consumers-who're ready, willing, vocal and able to contribute this huge sum to our struggling economy, while providing truly 'green' jobs and allowing police to focus on more important priorities," says Allen St. Pierre, NORML's Executive Director. "All we ask in exchange for our $14 billion is the right to smoke our pot responsibly and in peace-just in the same way as the millions of daily consumers of alcohol products in our country."

Meanwhile, Mexico's Congress has begun a debate on legalization and students at at least six of the 15 largest colleges in the nation including The University of Arkansas, Ohio State University, Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Maryland, the University of Texas-Austin, and the University of Washington have adopted guidelines endorsed by NORML and SAFER to lessen penalties for marijuana use on campus.

What Happened to the Whizzinator?
by Peter Gorman, Cannabis Culture April 10, 2009
The biggest urine-test assistance company in North America was recently shut down and its owners arrested after a lengthy government investigation by a well-known anti-marijuana prosecutor.

April 12 - Another Gold Medal Pothead
(AP) Three-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt tried marijuana in his youth, according to an interview in Germany's Bild newspaper. Bolt set world records in the 100 and 200 meters at the Beijing Olympics and was part of the Jamaican team that broke the world record in the 400-meter relay.

"In Jamaica, you learn as a child how to roll a joint. Everyone here has tried it. I did too -- but I was real young then," Bolt was quoted as saying. "My family and my friends don't smoke and I don't hang out any longer with people who smoke."

Bild said one of its reporters met Bolt at a disco in Kingston, Jamaica, and that the sprinter drank Guinness mixed with Red Bull. The paper added that Bolt has been assigned two bodyguards by the Jamaican government.

Diaz KO's Shamrock
Admitted marijuana smoker and mixed martial arts fighter Nick Diaz knocked out opponent Frank Shamrock in the second round on Saturday night in San Jose. Diaz reportedly showed good sportsmanship in the end, helping Shamrock up after knocking him out. "I said, 'Get up, you're a legend,'" Diaz said.

April 10 - Spears Smokes Out (Not)
A Rolling Stone page on Brittney Spears stopping her Vancouver concert due to marijuana smoke turned into a forum on legalization and has a clip of Spears walking offstage saying, “Thanks Vancouver. Have a wonderful night. Drive safe. Don’t smoke weed! Rock out with your cocks out!” (These pronouncements carried the weight of law, since Spears was wearing a police/stripper costume at the time.)

According to the Hindustan Times, Spears, 27, was caught with marijuana and cocaine on a private plane when she was 16. Another 27-year-old, VP/drug warrior Joe Biden's youngest daughter Ashley also reportedly has used pot and cocaine.

If you want to see a really entertaining show, skip Spears and catch San Francisco's always topical show Beach Blanket Babylon, featuring Michael Phelps, who appears to be taking only some of Spears's advice (above, left). Now in its 34th year of sold-out performances, Beach Blanket Babylon is the longest running musical revue in theatre history.

April 9 - Another Fighter on Pot
Like Mark Phelps, Nick Diaz Had Childhood ADD (But He's More Honest than Phelps)
First WWE's Rob Van Dam, then Japan's Sumo Wrestlers, now mixed martial arts fighter Nick Diaz, "not only speaks openly but is willing to answer follow-up questions" about his marijuana use, writes Los Angeles Times writer Lance Pugmire.

"I'm more consistent about everything being a cannabis user," said Diaz, who contends it helps with his attention deficit disorder, for which he was prescribed psychotropic drugs as a child. With pot, "I'm happy to get loaded, hear some good music" said the 25-year-old fighter from Stockton, California, whose record is 18-7 with 10 knockouts, five submissions and a no-contest.

Diaz will fight Frank Shamrock on Saturday night in San Jose on Showtime in a key fight. Said Shamrock of Diaz: "He definitely smokes marijuana. That's his own business, but it's not the greatest thing for the sport. We're fighting a stigma. Still, there's something refreshing about his honesty."

Diaz tested positive for the cannabis after his "impressive" win over Japan's Takanori Gomi in early 2007. "A state athletic commissioner in Nevada argued Diaz was numb to pain because of excessive marijuana in his system," wrote Pugmire. "Diaz's victory was vacated; he was fined and suspended for six months."

Of fighters who use steroids instead of pot, Diaz said "Let 'em do it, they'll have a shorter career than me. ...I feel like these guys are hurting themselves. You can't consistently fight on steroids." The California State Athletic Commission said Diaz would undergo drug testing before and after Saturday's fight.

April 8 - Harry Potter Actor Arrested for Hydroponic Pot
Seems more was being taught at Hogwarts than we knew. According to the New York Daily News, 'Harry Potter' actor Jamie Waylett, who plays bullying Howarts student Vincent Crabbe in the hit movies, was arrested after police seized what they believe is cannabis worth about $2,900 from the actor's London home, reports Britain's Telegraph. Cops stopped Waylett on April 2 and allegedly found eight bags of marijuana and found 10 mature plants being grown hydroponically under lights in the 19-year-old actor's home.

Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the title character in the Harry Potter films, said last year that in the sixth installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, due out this July, "There is a fair amount of sexual energy and there are some drug parallels. We have a couple of Trainspotting moments [referring to the 1996 Scottish film about a heroin addict.]" Maybe the next installment will be filmed at Oaksterdam University.

April 7 - New Book, Exhibit of Marley Photographs
Photographer David Burnett admits he had never heard of Bob Marley when TIME Magazine sent him on assignment to Jamaica in 1976 to shoot a story on reggae music. "Half an hour into our little discussion with him, I was really touched by what I understood to be a very intelligent guy sitting here talking with us."

Burnett was invited to join Bob Marley and The Wailers on tour in Europe in the spring of 1977. Burnett has now published his photographs in a new book Soul Rebel: An Intimate Portrait of Bob Marley and has a photo exhibit at the Govinda Gallery in Washington DC, on view through April 11.

Videos of Marley speaking about the herb have received more than a million hits on You Tube.

Another Beauty Queen on Pot
Former Miss Maryland Tia Shorts and her boyfriend Joey King have been arrested on charges of drug possession and distribution charges.

Washingtonpost reported, "Beginning Tuesday, police said, detectives staked out a Germantown apartment that had been linked to drug activity. They arrested three people who emerged from the apartment: two brothers and their 67-year-old mother. Inside the apartment, police said, officers found ammunition, marijuana, cash -- and Shorts. Shorts, who lives at the apartment in the unit block of Pickering Court, was charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana."

Shorts was awarded the title of "Miss Congeniality" from her fellow delegates at the 2004 pageant, when she was crowned Miss Maryland.

Last year, sitting Miss Teen Louisiana Lindsey Evans was arrested when she left a purse containing a baggie of pot on the table of a restaurant after she and her friends walked their check.

Hempy Birthday to the La Guardia Commission
Someone has posted on You Tube a clip from Ron Mann's documentary "Grass" about the La Guardia commission, which was convened 70 years ago and released its findings advocating marijuana legalization in 1944. Yes, that is VIP Woody Harrelson narrating the clip, and the film is a must-see.

April 4 - Wait, Wait Comes to Northern California
Today’s edition of NPR's Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me was recorded at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall. Host Peter Sagal said in his intro, “We are happy to be here in Northern California where 40 or so years ago everybody was stoned all the time, and that’s why they dreamed of a world in which there was only peace and love and happiness and hemp clothing. Then about 20 years ago things changed. People here started dreaming about a world in which people used the same electronic box to order pizza, make friends and listen to Portuguese Faro music on the elliptical machine. And we thought about that and we realized: It’s the same people. They never went straight, they just got venture capital.” He’s right.

Guesting on the show was VIP Michael Pollan, the “most well-known authority on food.” Also in the Listener Limmerick challenge, mentioned was Rupert Till, a musicologist at Huddersfield University, who theorizes that ancient Brits danced all night to rhythmic tones in old-style Raves. Sagal joked that the origins of Ecstasy can be traced back to ancient times, when it was called "Tolerable Misery." And on Lightning Fill in the Blank under the the medical science topic, "Mother's Little Helper" (Valium) and Bayer’s erstwhile cure for morphine addiction (Heroin) were mentioned. Panelist and "clean teen" Mo Rocca answered that a beer bong that could cure cancer was being developed by Rice University scientists. "That could be great," said Sagal before saying the answer was a cancer-curing beer. But Mo was closer to the truth.

Highly RecommendedTM
My name is Will Wilkinson. I smoke marijuana, and I like it.
Pat Buchanan Looks at Legalization

April 3 - Carlos Santana wishes Obama would legalize pot
According to the Associated Press, "guitar god" Carlos Santana, 61, wants to see legal pot. "Legalize marijuana and take all that money and invest it in teachers and in education. You will see a transformation in America," he said in an interview this week in West Hollywood.

Santana said making pot legal is "really way overdue, like the prohibition with the alcohol....I really believe that as soon as we legalize and decriminalize marijuana we can actually afford a really good governor who won't keep taking money away from education and from teachers and send him back to Hollywood where he can do 'D' movies and we can get an 'A' governor," referring to VIP Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Santana, whose performance at Woodstock in 1969 put him permanently on the charts, made the comments as he was promoting his upcoming rock residency in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The show debuts May 27 and runs through 2010. He said he is also working on two upcoming albums.

Santana busted at Houston Airport in 1991 for transporting five grams of marijuana from Mexico. I met him in January 1999 in Albuquerque and invited him to our Hemp convention; he declined due to time pressures of his tour, but blessed the venture and was delivered a packet of products and information. In December of that year, he told reporters in Mexico City, "Marijuana is not a drug and if factories are set up here to make clothes, tofu cheese, medicine and paper from marijuana, we won't have to chop down so many trees."

The musician has also opened a chain of exquisite restaurants with delicious food, named for his tune "Maria Maria" in Tempe AZ, Austin TX, and Walnut Creek and Mill Valley CA.

On the Net:
http://www.santana.com

April 1, 2009 - No Fooling - Marijuana issue suddenly smoking hot
So says politico.com, in a story that links to a March 15, 2007 appearance by Sandra Bullock on the Daily Show where she and Jon Stewart reminisce about their pot-smoking days, and Bullock tries to say the crew of her movie Premonition lit up daily before shooting.

Studies Say Alcohol is More Harmful to Teens' Brains than Marijuana
This is also no joke: two recent studies show that alcohol is more harmful to teen brain development than marijuana.

According to PhysOrg.com, one study has been published in the U.S., in the Journal of Clinical EEG & Neuroscience, and shows that alcohol has a stronger effect on teen brain development than marijuana. The other is a study published in the Lancet, offering the results of substance classification by a number of U.K. professionals, purporting that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana to individuals and to society.

Have more April Fools fun with our VIP of the Month: Shel Silverstein

March 26, 2009 - No Hope for Dope?
There’s been another showcase DEA raid at a Cannabis Club in San Francisco, despite assurances by Eric Holder that they would stop. And despite millions of Americans writing in to beg for mercy and reason in the never-ending war on marijuana, Obama slammed the idea and instead made disparaging comments about the internet community. While he was lambasted for comparing his bowling abilities to the Special Olympics, potheads are always an acceptable butt of a joke. This despite the fact that African American are much more likely to be arrested, imprisoned, or live in a crime-riddled, drug-dealing neighborhood than whites.


 

As the U.S. placed troops at the Mexican border, our Secretary of State declared the US “insatiable” when it comes to drugs (probably a term she’s used to describe Bill’s sex habits). She didn’t use the term to describe gun peddlers, but did, admirably, lament the flow of guns from the US into Mexico. Too bad she doesn’t seem to remember her daze at Cozy Beach.

Hillary’s trip to Mexico reminds me of another former first lady, VIP Margaret Trudeau and her 1976 trip to Mexico. “It was like coming home—magic and drugs, all my old stomping grounds,” she wrote. In Palenque, some old friends slipped her “a little plastic sack of peyote mushrooms. That night at Cancun I allowed myself a secret taste. It made me look forward to more.” It was the beginning of her finding her way out of the stifling life she was leading. Trudeau is now speaking for hire on mental health issues, and repudiating her marijuana use.

Both of these goddesses should be schooled about the fact that our purported progenetress Eve and her snake-guarded Tree of Knowledge was modeled on earlier Goddess stories, like the Gorgons who lived in the Gardens of the Hesperides who had a snake that guarded their golden apples (most likely, psychotropic Amanita muscara mushrooms). When Apollo cut off the head of the once-goddess Medusa, the men took over and kept the Forbidden Fruit to themselves: the Greek general Alchibiades stole the sacrament from Demeter’s temple at Eleusis and started partying with it instead, a lamentable situation that continues until this day. But we’ve got to get back to the Garden, and the Goddess. (Read The Apples of Apollo: Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist by Carl A.P. Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples and Clark Heinrich, 2001 Carolina Academic Press.)

In The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell had this exchange:

MOYERS: Do you ever think that it is this absence of the religious experience of ecstasy, of joy, this denial of transcendence in our society, that has turned so many young people to the use of drugs?
CAMPBELL: Absolutely, that is the way in.
MOYERS: The way in?
CAMPBELL: To an experience.
MOYERS: And religion can do that for you, or art can’t do it?
CAMPBELL: It could, but it is not doing it now. Religions are addressing social problems and ethics instead of the mystical experience.

Yes, Hillary, we have an insatiable desire for a religious experience, and will get it from a drug dealer if necessary. It’s time to end this religious persecution once and for all. Campbell is strong on being prepared for a religious experience, otherwise it won’t be assimilated into your life. And “Just Say No” doesn’t prepare anyone for anything.

P.S. If the administration needs a real crime to prosecute, how about usury?

Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced In Massachusetts

Connecticut Considers Decriminalization

March 24, 2008 - Tori Amos Seranades SXSW with Mary Jane

Word is, the song is on Amos's Universal Republic debut album, ABNORMALLY ATTRACTED TO SIN, to be released on May 19.

March 23, 2009 - Just Say Dough
In a presidency that so far has been as historic as his election, Barack Obama has announced the closing of Guantanamo, re-opened FOIA, and even taken a few small steps towards domestic justice while dancing on the third rail of politics: the Drug War. At the same time, the economic meltdown is being compared to the Great Depression, when alcohol prohibition was lifted by FDR partly for economic reasons.

When Attorney General Eric Holder announced that his office would uphold Obama’s campaign promises towards medical marijuana clubs legal in states, the best part of the news was that we had a president with integrity again. His appointment of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy was also greeted with cautious optimism by reformers. Kerlikowske inherited and oversaw some of the country’s most liberal policies towards marijuana, thanks to a successful ballot initiative deprioritizing petty pot offenses.

It was strange, then, that on the eve of his first Presidential trip to California, Obama  resurrected Nancy Reagan’s 1984 “Just Say No” campaign when he stretched to make an analogy about the banking industry. "'Just say no' is the right advice to give your teenagers about drugs. It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policies are proposed by the other party," Obama said. (There can be no doubt that this was a calculated move. Obama’s shrewd moves of late have included sending Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney to Dublin as ambassador to Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day.)

A polite Jay Leno didn’t raise the Jolly Green Giant in the room, although Leno knows well the excesses of federal drug policy: he interviewed Tommy Chong (“He took the red eye”) on his release from nine months in prison for selling bongs on the internet (caught in a DEA sting operation). 

What is it about the War on Drugs that makes someone as powerful and righteous as Obama hide behind Nancy Reagan’s skirts? Do we really think we can keep our kids from destructive behavior by making a Forbidden Fruit out of even the mildest kick? Where is our sense of fairness on this issue? 

In a bizarre twist that has become all too characteristic of our War on Certain Drugs, Sen. Chuck Grassley slammed Holder's announcement, days after Grassley had suggested that our robber barons commit hari kari. Barack meanwhile called for the return of decency on Leno, and I for one wholeheartedly hope for that.

Meanwhile, Marijuana, Inc. is getting two times as much viewship as any CNBC documentary in its history (the station ran it three times in a row last Friday night). In it, Richard the Lionhearted Lee, the unofficial Mayor of Oaksterdam, bravely tells the viewers what he is paying in taxes: $250,000 to the state and nearly double that to the feds. Not only that, but his depressed area of Oakland is seeing a revitalization, with Amsterdam-style coffee houses like Lee's bringing patrons to neighborhood restaurants and theatres. The choice to fill the marijuana market was clearly presented in the program: a swarmy smuggler, an environmentally unconscious pirate grower, or a tax-paying citizen.

Other states are falling over themselves to pass medical marijuana laws, with tax dollar signs in their eyes. Michigan's voters just brought it to the midwest. Even Pennsylvania, a state so conservative it still has state-run liquor stores, is jumping on the bandwagon, with State Rep. Mark Cohen planning to introduce a bill based on New Jersey's. Metro.us reported, "Cohen said he decided to have the measure drafted after he was interviewed for a story in Wednesday's Metro about legalizing marijuana to help the city and state overcome budget problems and getting almost all positive responses on Facebook, PhillyBlog and elsewhere."

As usual, California is a step ahead. On February 23, Representative Tom Ammiano, the former chair of SF City Council, introduced a bill that would flat-out legalize pot for adults 21 and over. Striking all existing California laws except those governing juveniles, it would set up a tax scheme that could cough over $1 billion to state coffers, before adding in ancillary industries like tourism. An early attempt to nip the bill in the bud through the Public Safety Committee has failed, and it will be on a two-year track, with a full year to debate before it has a hearing.

In Contact, his 1985 novel about interplanetary communication set around the year 2000, VIP Carl Sagan wrote about an imagined afternoon in Paris: "Outside a tobacconist's there was a long, orderly, and polyglot line of people attracted by the first week of legalized sale of cured cannabis cigarettes from the United States. ....Especially potent varieties of cannabis were grown, mainly in California and Oregon, for the export trade." Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Penn Says: Legalize It (Teller Not Talking)

 

March 12, 2009 - Donated Phelps Kellogg's Boxes Selling on Ebay?

Morales Chews Coca Leaf at UN Summit
Bolivian president Evo Morales chewed a coca leaf at the UN Summit in Vienna yesterday, and called for coca to be excluded from international restrictions on drugs. According to Morales, at least ten million people in the Andes region chew coca leaves, which are a part of their culture and identity.

"We hope for support from President Obama for the decriminalization of coca," Morales said. "The new U.S. president has similarities to me. Before, nobody believed that an Indian could be president and nobody thought that a black man could be president of the United States."

In 2006, Morales held up a coca leaf at the UN in New York and gave Condeleeza Rice a guitar emblazoned with coca leaves when she visited Bolivia.

March 2, 2009 - CNN's D.L. Hughley In Favor of Legalization
Speaking of AB390, California's proposal to legalize marijuana for its tax revenue, CNN's D.L. Hughley said, "I'm so in favor of this. I am so tired of pretending like I have glaucoma....people say, 'Are you high?' Yes."

And as well as upholding his boss's campaign promises to end DEA raids in medical marijuana states, our new Attorney General Eric Holder is taking the sensible move of calling for an assault rifle ban to quell violence in Mexico. The New York Times has now run front-page story on the "River of Iron" story first broken by the LA Times documenting the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico.

Fox New's Glenn Beck: I did inhale.

February 28, 2009 - Hempy Days Are Here Again
A breath of fresh, fragrant air was felt across the world on February 23. Marijuana legalization is finally on the playing field with the introduction of AB390 in California legislature. Supplied as an opening volley by California NORML, the landmark law would regulate and tax cannabis like alcohol and is being touted for its economic advantages rather than its human rights ones. Legalizing the adult market for recreational use could recoup an estimated $1.2 billion bucks for the state, before adding in ancillary businesses like tourism that could bring in something like $18 billion. And it would save millions once we stop arresting and incarcerating pot smokers, not to mention ancillary loses like the loss of jobs, student loans, and freedom.

The topic came up on Real Time with Bill Maher which booked not the bill's sponsor Tom Ammiano, but the man who beat Ammiano for Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom. "My back taxes on that," mused panelist P.J. O'Rourke, taking an imaginary toke at one point. "That's a huge amount of revenue, just from my house," chimed in Bill.

The proposal is coming at a time of unprecedented support for legalizing the weed. According to a new Zogby poll a growing number of Americans, and a majority in the West and under 30, support legalizing marijuana. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey reports 40% of Americans say it should be legal, while 46% disagree and 14% are undecided. The Daily Koz pointed out that marijuana legalization is now more popular than Republicans, Rush Limbaugh and a whole lot of issues.

As with the Mark Phelps incident, reaction has been promisingly positive to Ammiano's proposal. The LA Times wrote, "Today's culture warriors have better things to argue about than pot-smoking hippies, yet federal marijuana laws are still stuck in the Nixon-era days when conservatives feared that reefer madness was destroying the minds of America's youth." (The Times dismissed the bill and its economic advantages, while reporting that economic considerations are driving TV networks to broaden their acceptance of advertising for alcohol products. Local CBS affiliates in Los Angeles and 14 other cities aired ads for Absolut Vodka during the Grammy Awards broadcast earlier this month, the first time in years that hard-liquor ads have been aired on network television.)

February 22, 2009 - What You Can Do for Reform
People always ask what they can do to help. Here's something: help NORML buy ad space for their terrific new ad, chosen from a NORML-sponsored contest .

According to NORML's director Allen St. Pierre, this is A Propitious Moment For Pot:

NORML's membership and donor base historically do not donate enough annually for the organization to purchase print, radio, Internet or TV advertisements. This has been the case with the organization since its inception, and vexes 99% of America's 50,000 non-profit organizations that also don't have the donated funds to purchase ad space.

Bittersweetly, the confluence of a faltering economy and greater public acceptance of cannabis has recently created very attractive advertising opportunities, coupled with media companies' increasing willingness to accept pro-cannabis law reform ads presents organizations like NORML to place one or more of the winning ads from the contest on TV (or, popular Internet webpages).

NORML has researched the cost of placing ads in numerous cable TV markets across the country, and some of these ad packages (with minimum purchase prices from $1,200-$5,000) now offer 30 second TV spots for as little as .8 cents per ad. That is right, 8 cents per TV ad! (Read more.)

Valley of the Dollhouse?
"Dollhouse" (8 p.m. Fridays) is Fox's new sci-fi thriller that reunites Buffy the Vampire Slayer's writer with its co-star Eliza Dushku. Dushku stars as Echo, a government agent whose personality and memories are wiped clean at the end of every assignment. One viewer wrote: "Seeing her vibrant and engaging personality shine for 30 seconds was a treat which quickly faded when the show restarted and she went back to playing a cute pot head: 'Have I misplaced my bong? Are those my Fritos?'" The actress recently completed a 12-step program for alcohol.

February 21, 2009 - Maher: "In This Country, People Like Pot"
Bill Maher interviewed Ron Paul on his season debut tonight, and noted that when FDR took office during that decade's depression, the first thing he did was repeal alcohol prohibition. Shouldn't we now repeal pot prohibition, Maher asked to his audience's cheers. Though Paul said he himself didn't like pot, he answered, "I would repeal all the prohibitions, but I wouldn't bother taxing it," opting instead to focus on the tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars we're spending on the drug war while we subvert state law and arrest California medical marijuana users. "Amen, stoner," said Bill and went on to say, "The Republican party is about as popular as peanut butter right now." Funny cause The Daily Koz just noticed that marijuana legalization is now more popular than the GOP.

Stewie Smokes, But Does Seth?
Season 3, episode 20 "Road to Europe" of "Family Guy" has baby Stewie and Brian the Dog inhaling second-hand smoke at an Amsterdam coffeehouse, getting hungry and silly. This may be the only episode wherein Stewie says anything nice to anyone.

"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane gives voice to Stewie, one of the most inventive characters on TV, who when being potty trained asked Peter, "Why don't we just light up a doobie and watch porn?" MacFarlane appeared at Stanford University on April 16, 2006, and said, "Your administrators are going to hate me for what I'm about to tell you, but it is the truth. I smoke some pot." A female student immediately asked, "Would you like to hang out with me and my friends?" MacFarlane responded that someone in every crowd asked him that. He added, "I'm not ashamed to say I am for the legalization of marijuana," and had obviously read Jack Herer's book The Emperor Wears No Clothes because he then went into the William Randolph Hearst/Reefer Madness propaganda campaign and the fact that George Bush Sr.'s paratrooper riggings were made from hemp. "My personal opinion: booze, cigarettes are a lot worse," MacFarlane said, noting with irony that he was swigging from a small bottle of Jack Daniels during his speech. "From time to time, I don't overdo it, like anything else, but I enjoy my doobage."

On July 3, 2008, MacFarlane signed a $100 million deal with 20th Century Fox, making him the highest-paid writer-producer in television. He then said, "I don't smoke much pot anymore. One of the last times I was stoned, I was convinced that I would die unless I kept moving my body. So I sat there, baked, waving my arms around like a crazy person." That's what all that money will do to you.

And an update to Mrs. Garret from TV's "The Facts of Life" who last year brough pot brownies to the cast of ER. You Tube now posts parts 1, 2, and 3 of Episode 13 of the first year of the series, which has a young Helen Hunt smoking a bong (and a report about Moby Dick.)

February 18, 2009 - Whoopi!!
I was just informed by a TV View-er that Whoopi Goldberg said she'd smoked weed during a discussion of Michael Phelps on February 2:

CelebStoner asks of the new Friday the 13th flick: Is Jason a Stoner?

And apparently Twilight star Kristin Stewart (right) didn't get enough press when she was caught smoking pot on her porch by TMZ, so now the 18-year-old actress appeared on a boat in a bikini with some strategically placed pot leaves.

Limbaugh: Puff and Pay
"Do you know what the largest crop in California is? What is the largest crop in California? Brian? Marijuana is exactly right. No, and listen to the numbers. And I'll tell you why this is important, because the state of California has got this $42 billion budget deficit, and the assembly realizes they're getting no tax money for it. They're considering decriminalizing it for the purpose - this is how it all happens. This is how you get rotten socialist economic policies, which lead to the cultural rot of a society. Marijuana is California's largest cash crop. It is valued at
$14 billion annually. That's nearly twice the value of California's grape and vegetable crops combined! And these are government statistics. A recent report pegged marijuana as two-thirds of the economy of Mendocino County, a ganja hotbed north of San Francisco. That's not surprising - it costs $400 to grow a pound of pot that can sell for $6,000 on the street.

"But the state doesn't receive any revenue from its cash cow. Instead, it spends billions of dollars enforcing laws pegged at shutting down the industry and inhibiting marijuana's adherents. Of course, there's a reason for that. Marijuana's social costs may include addiction and rehabilitation treatment and lost productivity. Yet these are minute compared with the extensive social costs of alcohol or tobacco. Of course, just legalizing pot wouldn't automatically harvest revenues for the state. An organized system of regulating sales and collecting taxes would need implementing. And it's possible that general drug use could rise, though the debate that pot is a gateway drug to harder substances is inconclusive. Put it all together, and California could potentially wipe some $3 billion off its budget deficit by letting its people 'puff and pay,' on the largest crop in the state of California. Whoa. As I say, this is how it happens. Economic disasters, bad economic decisions, lead to a cultural rot, as all of this devolves."

Oldies' Goodies
80-year-old Elizabeth Wilsey of Augusta, Georgia (left) beat out 72-year-old UK milkman Robert Holding (see below) for oldest dealer of the week when she was hauled into court for peddling pot. According to the Augusta Chronicle, Wilsey admitted selling marijuana, and led officers to her stash, scales and $3,825 last September at her home.

According to the Chronicle:
"Defense attorney Tanya Jeffords told the judge that Ms. Wilsey had suffered headaches for years without getting relief from prescription medication. About a year ago, someone suggested she try marijuana, Ms. Jeffords said. It worked without the side effects of prescription drugs, and the selling evolved gradually." Wilsey was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered her to perform 230 hours of community service.

February 16, 2009 - Another Famous Pothead List on the Web
As if it weren't obvious from other clues on their site that the online Coed Magazine isn't a magazine for women attending college, but rather for horny guys who like to look at pictures of them, their newly published list "The 10 Most Successful Potheads on the Planet… Cool Enough to Admit It" contains only men: Richard Branson, Rick Steves, Aaron Sorkin, Michael Phelps, Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner, Montel Williams, Steven King and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (I've never seen King admit to smoking pot, but he has been quoted saying it should be a legal cottage industry, and that his native New England produces some pretty good !@#$. Turner made the list because of his hemp industry advocacy. The rest are VIPs.)

I would lead my female Suyccessful Pothead list with Hillary Clinton (who hasn't admitted herself, but Sarah Palin and former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala have), plus Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Republican speechwriter Peggy Noonan, musicians Melissa Etheridge, Norah Jones, Barbra Streisand and Pink, actresses Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Kirsten Dunst, and Susan Sarandon, and Scientist Susan Blackmore. (OK, that's 17 but who's counting.)

The good news is that lists of VIPs are becoming a daily occurrence, often along with arguments for legalization. Among his many records, Michael Phelps could end up being the celeb that broke the back of pot prohibition.

February 15, 2009 - VIPs makes MSNBC
I just discovered MSNBC sports correspondent Mike Celizic linked to VIPs on his Open Mike column PHELPS DID SOMETHING VERY COMMON, NOT EVIL. Celizic writes:

"You can’t find a profession that doesn’t have its share of people who have smoked dope. Heck, Barack Obama is the third straight president who has admitted to experimenting with drugs. Sarah Palin admitted to smoking weed when she was young. So did Newt Gingrich, Bill Bradley, Al Gore (Yeah, I know, no surprise there.), N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Pierce Bronson, William F. Buckley, Bing Crosby, Errol Flynn, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, Margaret Mead, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes and Queen Victoria – and that’s just the short list. Check it out, complete with references, here."

And Keith Thomson of the Huffington Post links to several VIP pages in his post, Michael Phelps in Good Company.

Dale Gieringer of California NORML points out, "Michael Phelps does have severe ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), a common indication for medical cannabis. There are probably thousands of Californians receiving MMJ for ADHD. The utility of MMJ for ADHD has been documented by knowledgeable physicians such as Dr. Tom O'Connell and the late Dr. Claudia Jensen, and was the subject of the book "Jeffreys Journey."
However, Phelps lives in Maryland, which doesn't allow medical marijuana." Recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of smoking cannabis for ADHD.

Fan letters can be sent to Phelps at:
Michael Phelps, PO Box 1734, Olney MD 20830-1734.

February 13, 2008 - Marijuana Milkman
Milkman Robert Holding, 72, left the courtroom in tears after he was given a suspended sentence for delivering pot to his elderly customers in the town of Burnely, in northwestern England.

Prosecutor Sarah Statham told the court a cooperative Holding "said customers would leave notes saying, 'Can I have an ounce, or an eighth?' He only sold to existing customers who were old and had aches and pains."

The Guardian reported Holding "began dealing in cannabis after being horrified to hear how much one of his elderly customers was paying for it."

"She had arthritis and her husband had MS and was in a wheelchair," he said. "They wanted it for the pain relief but it was costing them a fortune. I would sell them an eighth of an ounce for £4.10." The street value is £9.

Holding said his oldest customer had been 92 but was "no longer with us," adding, "I had an old woman who I used to give a bit of cannabis to and she would put it under her tongue for the pain." He said he had never been tempted to try it himself.

Acting on tip-offs from concerned residents, Lancashire police launched a discreet surveillance operation, tailing Holding as he completed his round in his "milk float." A subsequent search of his home yielded 167g of cannabis.

Latin American Leaders Call for End to U.S.-led Drug War

"As drug violence spirals out of control in Mexico, a commission led by three former Latin American heads of state blasted the U.S.-led drug war as a failure that is pushing Latin American societies to the breaking point." So begins a story by Jose de Cordoba on the Huffington Post. "The available evidence indicates that the war on drugs is a failed war," said former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who joined former presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Caesar Gaviria of Colombia in recommending that governments consider reform measures including decriminalizing the use of marijuana.

Phelps Apologizes to China, Evades Arrest
Eight people have been arrested in the Michael Phelps dust-up, but true to the drug war's way of penalizing the poor and non-famous, Phelps wasn't one of them. He did have to suffer the indignity of apologizing again for his actions to the entire country of China, but kept his lucrative Mazda endorsement contract. And South Carolina sheriffs have confiscated the bong in question after its owner tried to sell it on eBay for $100,000.

In an article that began, "Weed, the Breakfast of Champions," San Francisco Chronicle writer Gwen Knapp called for sports to "go green, allow pot smoking." She wrote, "Just as the economy has tanked, strangling sponsorships all over the athletic map, a Super Bowl MVP and the most decorated Olympian of all time have emerged as partakers. Advocates for drug reform have long said that legalizing marijuana would increase tax revenue, not to mention reduce violence in the dealer population."

A remarkable O'Reilly Factor had Bill-O interviewing marketing expert Peter Shankman and Diane Brady of Business Week about the decision by Kellogg's to drop Phelps. Responding to Brady's opinion that Kellogg's did the right thing, O'Reilly replied, "I'm not sure because they tell me after you smoke pot, you want to eat a lot of stuff." He told Brady he'd never smoked pot, but "Nobody believes that, because [of] the way I behave."

Shankman called Kellogg's actions "stupid" and an overreaction, and predicted some other cereal company would

pick up Phelps. This exchange followed:

SHANKMAN "He was off season. This is not - it wasn't a performing enhanced, performance-enhancing drug. This wasn't A-Rod. I don't remember the last time someone smoked pot to, you know, to hit a long ball even longer."
O'REILLY: No, but it's an illegal activity.
SHANKMAN: It is an illegal activity, but it's not - it's the most benign of the illegal."

The Washington Post also noted this inconsistency in their article Phelps gets suspended, A-Rod gets ... nothing:

"Rodriguez, 33, the highest paid player in baseball, admitted to ESPN television on Monday that he took a banned substance from 2001 to 2003 after Sports Illustrated reported he tested positive for testosterone and the anabolic steroid Primobolan in 2003. He escapes sanctions from Major League baseball because it did not punish players at that time for using steroids."

"We should leave Michael Phelps alone. He's a kid. So he made a mistake. He owned up to it right away -- as opposed to A-Rod, whose been lying about it for a number of years," said Deborah Cohn, professor of marketing at New York's Touro College.

Meanwhile, five-time All-Star Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to lying to Congress about his knowledge of other players using steroids. Tejada, 34, admitted that during a 2005 congressional hearing he made the misrepresentations to congressional staff members when he said he never knew of any other player using steroids. And seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has abandoned his much trumpeted proposal for an independent drug-testing program because of logistical problems and high costs.

Grinspoon Enters Blogosphere
Dr. Lester Grinspoon, whose speech at a NORML conference inspired this project many years ago, has added a blog to his Uses of Marijuana Website, devoted to further understanding and appreciation of the way in which marijuana enhances a variety of experiences.

February 9 - Lil Wayne Comes Clean to Couric, Grabs Grammys
Michael Phelps told Ellen Degeneris he listens to Lil Wayne on his walkman while training. The rapper told CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric on her All Access Grammy Special that he's off cough syrup but he uses marijuana medicinally to help with migraines "that make me wanna kill myself."

"I will stand up for marijuana any day... I'm a rapper. That’s who I am, Miss Katie, and I am a gangster and I do what I want. And I love to smoke. And I smoke."

Wayne has been arrested several times in recent years for possessing pot, guns and other drugs (MDMA and cocaine).

He picked up Grammys for best rap song (“Lollipop) and rap solo performance (“A Milli”) today in Los Angeles. Wayne was up for eight awards, the most of any artist, including album of the year for “Tha Carter III."

In addition, All Summer Long from Kid Rock was nominated, as was 4 Minutes from VIPs Madonna and Justin Timberlake, and a song interestingly called "Waiting In The Weeds" from the Eagles CD Long Road Out Of Eden.

More on Kelloggs and Munching Out
You can email and call Kellogg's:
kellogg@casupport.com or 1-800-962-1413
They have set up option#1 on their voice mail for Michael Phelps calls, over questions about the peanut paste poisoning.

The Huffington Post had an amusing Lee Stranahan column about the Kellogg's boycott, and Andrew Sullivan mentioned it in The Atlantic's Daily Dish (noting that Kellogg was kind of a weirdo, who knew?)

And what can you do when you've got the munchies and can no longer stomach Rice Krispies treats due to Kellogg's dumping of Michael Phelps? Well, you could switch to the deliciously and nutritiously filling Nature's Path Hemp Plus Organic Granola Cereal topped with Hemp Dream milk. Or grab a Dr. Bronners Alpsnack bar, delicious with hemp seeds.

February 6 - Kelloggs and USA Swimming Drop Phelps
It's official: Kellogg's has dropped Michael Phelps as an endorser in the most unAmerican way. While we can thank Hilton Hotels, Omega watches, Speedo swimsuits, and VISA for keeping Phelps as an endorser, we should complain to Kelloggs and boycott their products.

Kellogg Company contacts: Consumer complaints
Kellogg Company, P.O. Box CAMB, Battle Creek, Michigan 49016.
Consumer Affairs Department 800-962-1413

Kellogg's Brands:
All-Bran(R)
Apple Jacks(R)
Complete(R)
Kellogg's Corn Flakes(R)
Cracklin' Oat Bran(R)
Crispix(R)
Crunch™
Crunchy Blends(R)
Eggo(R) Cereal
Froot Loops(R)
Frosted Flakes(R)
Frosted Mini-Wheats(R)
Fruit Harvest(R)
Honey Smacks(R)
Pops(R)
Product 19(R)
Kellogg's Raisin Bran(R)
Rice Krispies(R)
Smart Start(R)
Special K(R)

Kashi
GOLEAN(R)
Organic Promise(R)
Good Friends(R)
Mighty BitesTM
Heart to Heart(R)
7 Whole Grains

Pop-Tarts(R)
Pop-Tarts(R) Toaster Pastries
Kellogg's Go-Tarts!™

Snack Bars
Kashi(R) Chewy Granola Bars
Kashi(R) GOLEAN(R) Bars
Kellogg's(R) Crunch™ Bars
Kellogg's(R) Crunchy Nut™
Sweet & Salty Bars
Kellogg's(R) Granola Munch'ems
Rice Krispies Treats(R) Squares
Special K(R) Bars

Breakfast Bars
All-Bran™ Bars
Nutri-Grain(R) Cereal Bars
Nutri-Grain(R) Muffin Bars
Nutri-Grain(R) Yogurt Bars

Fruit Flavored Snacks
Fruit Steamers™
Fruit Twistables™
Kellogg's™ Yogos™

Fruit Leather
Stretch Island(R) Fruit Leather

On-the-Go Snacks
Gripz(R)
Rite BitesTM

Keebler(R) Cookies
Keebler(R) Cookies
Chips Deluxe(R) Cookies
E.L. Fudge(R) Cookies
Fudge Shoppe(R) Cookies
Golden Vanilla Wafers(R) Cookies
Sandies(R) Cookies
Soft Batch(R) Cookies
Vienna Fingers(R) Cookies

Carr's(R)
Carr's(R) Cookies

Famous Amos(R)
Famous Amos(R) Cookies

Murray(R)
Murray(R) Cookies
Murray(R) Sugar Free Cookies

Keebler(R) Crackers
Club(R) Crackers
Gripz(R)
Keebler(R) Grahams
Munch'ems(R) Baked Snacks
Town House(R) Crackers
Wheatables(R) Crackers
Toasteds(R) Crackers
Zesta(R) Crackers

Austin(R)
Austin(R) Crackers

Carr's(R)
Carr's(R) Crackers

SunshineTM
Cheez-It(R) Crackers
Sunshine Krispy(R) Crackers

Kashi(R)
Kashi(R) TLCTM Crackers

Natural
Worthington(R)
Loma Linda(R)

Organic
Morningstar Farms(R) Organic

Frozen
Eggo(R)
Kashi GOLEAN Waffles
Morningstar Farms(R)

Keebler(R) Graham Crackers Crumbs
Keebler(R) Cones
Ready Crust(R) Pie Crust
Kellogg's(R) Stuffing Mix
Kellogg's(R) Corn Flake Crumbs

February 5 - More Support for Phelps
The Hill, DC's influential newspaper, posted an article titled, Why Condemn Phelps, When We Ought to Condemn the Laws That Brand Him A Criminal on its Congress blog today. Excerpt:

"Add decorated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to the growing list of successful Americans who happens to indulge in marijuana during his down time. The tabloid news story is making international headlines, though it’s difficult to understand why."

Today's Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed by Stanton Peele (author, "The Diseasing of America" and "Addiction-Proof Your Child" (Crown, 2007) blowing the lid off who is getting busted for drugs in this country. Washington Post reporter Sally Jenkins mock-denied smoking pot in a couple of columns and wrote "But frankly, it's better than drinking and driving, which is what Phelps did last time. And it's organic!"

Though the National Review Online shouted, Arrest Michael Phelps Now!, Canada.com said, Fewer people can muster the energy for marijuana outrage and the Newsday said, Michael Phelps Doesn't Need to Apologize.

CBS News had something you don't see every day: a debate between snowboarder Ross Rebagliati and doddering old Joe Califano, a paid anti-drug blowhard. After Califano said more teens are in treatment for today's super-strong marijuana (without mentioning that's because pot is still illegal and they're forced into those programs), Rebagliati said he thought marijuana was the safer choice than alcohol or tobacco, that it was fat free and didn't make you feel bad the next day. (Something the SAFER organization has been saying very effectively.)

The fallout? As FINA, the international governing body of swimming reiterated "its confidence and admiration" for Phelps, he told his hometown newspaper the Baltimore Sun he's considering sitting out the 2012 Olympics now. And already some entreprenurial hempster is offering "Phelps Finest" t-shirts.

Cross Balls -- the Marijuana Debate

According to Mikki from the Cannabis Consumers campaign, a pretty hilarious parody of Crossfire can be found at the URLs below.

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=17250739

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=17265695

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=17267283

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=17268730

 

Please write to these people or call them thanking them for keeping Michael Phelps! (Also, buy their products.)

Ellen Gonda, Senior Vice President - Global Communications & Public Relations
ellen.gonda@hilton.com
Hilton Hotels Corporation
World Headquarters
9336 Civic Center Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: 310 278-4321

Omega Watches
http://www.omegawatches.com/index.php?id=337

Craig Brommers
USA vice president of marketing 
Speedo USA
6040 Bandini Blvd.
Los Angeles,
CA 90040 
1-888-4-SPEEDO (1-888-477-3336) 8:00am - 5:00pm PST Mon – Fri
service@SpeedoUSA.com
info@speedo.com (international)

And write to these asking them to keep Phelps.

James M. Jenness
Chairman of the Board
Kellogg Corporate World Headquarters
Main Switchboard: (269) 961-2000
One Kellogg Square
P.O. Box 3599
Battle Creek, MI 49016-3599
Consumers Affairs: (800) 962-1413
Corporate Affairs & Media: (269) 961-3799

sample letter:

I am writing to ask that you NOT cancel Michael Phelps's endorsement contract simply because, at the age of 23, he smoked pot at a party. He is still a hero in my book, in fact even more so for honestly admitting to his actions. More and more people are accepting of marijuana in this country and the world, in fact 41% of college freshmen are for legalization, one quarter of the US lives in a state with legal medical marijuana, and voters just passed a decriminalization law in Massachusetts. Marijuana use is common in the NBA, the NFL, and college sports. Ross Rebagliatti got to keep his gold after he tested positive for pot after he won the first Snowboarding gold. You will say more about your belief in the American way, in our freedoms, by keeping Phelps on. If you don't, I will never eat a Kellogg's cornflake again.

A Twitter Over Kutcher
In a Twitter message to Us Weekly, actor Ashton Kutcher stood up (somewhat) for Michael Phelps and called the guy who released the picture of him smoking a bong an !@#$hole.

USA Today, MSNBC and others picked up the story, while the right wing outlets ran stories about the local sheriff seeking to charge Phelps with a misdemeanor and a fine amounting to a paltry percentage of his still-alive endorsement deals: VISA joined Hilton Hotels, Omega watches and Speedo who stood by their champion. (Still no word from Kellogg's or anyone else announcing they will drop Phelps.)

Kutcher wrote, "God forbid he hit a bong. Go ask your 20-year-old kid what they did last weekend....I'm not saying it was a smart move. But he doesn't need to be publicly outed for it." Kutcher said he hasn't smoked pot "in quite some time" but added, "I'm not immune to a lapse in good judgment from time to time."

Kutcher played another Michael, the jock who gets stoned (presumably) in That 70s Show, where the characters regularly sit in a smoke-filled circle and get goofy. That the bong was never shown on TV adds further irony to Kutcher's pronouncements.

Kutcher was the person who "outed" the Bush twins in a Rolling Stone interview, saying they smoked a bong at his house in 2002. Understandably Kutcher may feel the twins were fair game since their daddy was arguably the biggest drug war hypocrite ever. But unless people like Phelps and Kutcher will come out and say they smoke pot and don't regret it, this tired old politics will continue indefinitely.

The top athlete in the world and the man who caught the winning superbowl touchdown pass are admitted pot smokers! If now is not the time to stand up for our rights, then when?

What Michael Phelps has to lose is nothing compared to the loss of jobs, homes, family, and liberty that the 800,000 pot "crimnals" arrested yearly suffer. It's getting so desperate that some would seek to "out" celebrities in the way that the gay movement did. We have a secret society that gets high regularly, enjoys themselves, and I daresay finds the experience enlightening in moderation. One of the only things that changes people's minds about pot is finding out that someone they admire, whether a celebrity, a family member or a friend, smokes pot and still functions.

Imagine this scenario: The first gay president is elected in the U.S. But s/he repudiates her gayness as a youthful indescretion s/he regrets. Once in office, her administration enforces strict laws against homosexuality. How betrayed would the gay community feel? About as betrayed as the pro-pot-freedom lobby are starting to feel with Barack Obama, who said "When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently" but has yet to appoint a reformist to his administration, despite the fact that voter input on his website www.change.gov made marijuana legalization the top priority.

It's time to stand up and say, "Yes, We Cannabis!" and be heard!

February 4 - Phelps, Day 4
Thanks to the Michael Phelps story, VIPs is getting a record number of visits...and the debate continues.

While the local sheriff explores bringing charges against Phelps, and VISA has announced they will stand behind their champion endorser, the Washington Post editorialized against him, Paul Armentano of NORML asks Why Are We Condemning Michael Phelps' Pot Use? and Maiz Szalavitz notes, If All Americans Had Phelps' Press Experience, The Drug War Would Be Over.

Tommy Chong chimed in with the comment, He's Got Great Lung Capacity, and the San Jose Mercury News lamented that Phelps is to be the keynote speaker at a "Get Motivated" seminar coming next month to HP Pavilion and other Bay Area venues. Uptight bitch Elizabeth Hasselbeck whined on The View, "If he wasn't Michael Phelps, wouldn't he be in jail?" "No," shot back Whoopi Goldberg, "because his picture wouldn't have been in the newspapers!"

Finally, similarly besmirched VIP Ross Rebagliati told Reuters UK, "I think marijuana is less taboo than it was back in 1998 when my incident occurred. It definitely is not a performance enhancing substance. I personally think it is safer than alcohol and cigarettes...I guarantee, even with that one bong hit, Phelps is 100 percent healthier than the average human being."

But our letter of the week is from William McDermott of Cedar Falls, who wrote to the Des Moines Register,

After reading the Feb. 3 front-page article about Michael Phelps smoking pot, I remembered seeing a video clip of Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking a joint of marijuana.

Why is this stuff illegal? Marijuana didn’t make them failures. Phelps won several gold medals in the Olympics. Schwarzenegger became governor of California after a successful career in movies.

We spend billions of dollars arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people for possessing and ingesting “weed.” Why not legalize marijuana, and place the substance along with tobacco. Possessing it is OK. Smoking it at home is OK. Smoking it in public is not OK.

Taxing it is great. Spending billions of dollars to make criminals out of good people makes no sense. Imagine what the savings would be for taxpayers if we stopped spending money to stop people from smoking what they want in the privacy of their homes.

Just imagine the revenue if we started to tax the sale of marijuana.

February 3 - Phelps Fallout Mostly Good
The Baltimore Sun reports that Hilton Hotels and PureSport, along with along with Speedo and Omega watches, all issued statements saying they will keep Olympic champion Michael Phelps as an endorser following his admission he smoked pot.

The article begins, "Ten years ago, a photo that showed an athlete like Michael Phelps apparently getting high at a party probably would have resulted in considerable fallout. That might still happen to the athlete who has won the most gold medals in Olympic history, who has millions of dollars in endorsements riding on the outcome. But his admission that he used 'bad judgment' has been greeted mostly with forgiveness, humor or a shrug of the shoulders."

No sponsor has publicly tried to drop Phelps, the article states, and Phelps's Facebook page "was bombarded with messages of support, with many of his younger fans expressing frustration than he even felt compelled to apologize."

"For probably the most accomplished athlete in the history of the Olympics to be doing that, I found it very disheartening," said Dr. Gary Wadler, a professor of medicine at New York University and a key adviser to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). But Wadler is "swimming against public opinion" the article states. It mentions U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and perhaps George Bush as past post smokers, along with athletes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Santonio Holmes, and says marijuana lover Lil' Wayne is Phelps's musical favorite.

Allen St. Pierre, director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), called the Phelps story "bittersweet." "The bitter part is the immediate denial and refutation of an activity that he probably enjoyed doing," St. Pierre said. At the same time, the NORML director is thrilled to see images of high achievers smoking marijuana.

"It mainstreams the issue and highlights the fact that incredibly successful people, whether athletically or intellectually, are cannabis consumers," he said. "Had this happened 10 years ago, Mr. Phelps would have been in trouble with his commercial interests. Today, it's almost a badge of honor among people 25 years old or younger. Michael is by no means aberrational." Reporting on the story, one DJ came up with what should be NORML's new tagline: Marijuana: A Gateway Drug to Great Success and Fine Performance.
holmes

February 2 - POT SMOKER WINS SUPERBOWL
Pittsburgh Steeler Santonio Holmes, who caught the winning touchdown in yesterday's Superbowl game, was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession last October after a traffic stop in which police found a few "blunts" in his car. Holmes also made headlines on Jan. 28 when he announced that he had sold drugs in his youth in South Florida.

Holmes's historic catch came with 35 seconds left in the Superbowl, to give the Pittsburgh Steelers their record sixth Super Bowl title, a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lofted the ball over the hands of three Arizona defenders, and Holmes leaped to get it - and somehow managed to drag both feet in bounds for the touchdown. Holmes was named MVP for the game, and he's a VIP too.

(As I write this, VIP Hillary Clinton is being sworn in as Secretary of State. Herstoric times indeed.)

Omega, Speedo and Mazda Cool With Phelps Photo
As a Fox News poll on Phelps is trending 79% for 'He's 23 years old - can we relax?' with over 200,000 votes, the Associated Press reports that two of Michael Phelps's sponsors have announced they will keep him on after Phelps acknowledged "regrettable" behavior and "bad judgment" for allowing himself to be photographed smoking a bong (see below.)

"In light of Michael Phelps' statement yesterday, Speedo would like to make it clear that it does not condone such behavior and we know that Michael truly regrets his actions," Speedo said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Michael Phelps is a valued member of the Speedo team and a great champion. We will do all that we can to support him and his family."

Omega said it was "strongly committed" to its relationship with Phelps, calling his Beijing accomplishments "among the defining sporting achievements in the history of sport. "The current story in the press involves Michael Phelps' private life and is, as far as Omega is concerned, a nonissue," the company said.

According to Fox News, two of Phelps' endorsement deals — with AT&T and Rosetta Stone — ended on Dec. 31, 2008. AT&T officials declined to comment Monday on any plans to re-sign Phelps; a Rosetta Stone spokeswoman said Phelps is not being considered for future promotions, but that decision was made before the photo surfaced. Kellogg's declined to comment.

Mazda, which signed Phelps to a $1-million-plus deal last month, will also continue to use Phelps to promote its Mazda 6 car in television and print ads, Dynamic Marketing Group's DMG Entertainment said Monday. "We definitely stand by him," DMG CEO Dan Mintz told FOXNews.com. "We're not jumping to any knee-jerk reactions. He's never failed a drug test, he's not a cheat. Not that we condone this, but that's the reality of it."

According to the Baltimore Sun, Phelps didn't lose any endorsements, which also include Visa, PowerBar, Subway, and several others.

"I would not expect him to lose a single endorsement, or any potential endorsements," said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp., a Chicago-based sports business consulting firm. "He has handled himself so well to date that he has earned the benefit of the doubt. Especially at this age, experimentation with things like marijuana for young people in their late teens and early 20s is an understandable action."

John Antil, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware's Lerner College of Business and Economics who studies celebrity endorsements, also praised Phelps's actions. "He didn't deny it. He gave a plausible reason: Young people do this. ... He didn't say, 'I didn't inhale.'"

Marijuana, though not considered performance-enhancing, was added to the International Olympic Committee's list of banned substances after the 1998 Olympics. Its use among Olympic athletes became a matter of public debate after Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati tested positive after winning the first snowboarding gold medal in Nagano, Japan, in 1998. Rebagliati was initially stripped of his medal but in the end kept it because marijuana was, at the time, not on the list. In 1998, Olympic swimmer and VIP Gary Hall Jr. was suspended for three months after he tested positive for marijuana during competition.

Meanwhile, Fox News adds a page on Sports' Top 10 Tokers linking Phelps with Ricky Williams, Josh Howard, Damon Stoudamire,Randy Moss, Mario Chalmers, and Rebagliati. Thomas Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton and Barack Obama are pictured on the "Presidents in Need of Pardons?" page with the caption, "Throughout our history, some of the nation's greatest thinkers have taken solace in herbal delight. Raise your hand if you inhaled..." Just for kicks, they add Cheech and Chong and Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High with the caption, "A little wacky tobacky never hurt Spicoli's endorsement opportunities."

They might well add Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bill Bradley, Orlando Cepeda, Phil Jackson, Robert Parish, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rob Szatowski, (Sumo wrestlers too.)

February 1 - NORML's Super Ad Contest
The Super Bowl, with its super expensive ads, airs today. "But how much cooler is NORML’s first ever SuperBOWL Pro-Marijuana Law Reform Ad Contest? Heh?! Forget the painfully boring and tedious eight hours of Pre-SuperBowl television programming…watch and share all of these great pro-marijuana law reform ads."

Marijuana, Inc. A Hit
Just when the economy has become the overriding issue in politics, the economic arguments for marijuana legalization are gaining traction. Witness CNBC's program Marijuana Inc., which is proving so popular it's being rebroadcast weekly. The program makes plain that our choices are to allow the legal, tax-paying marijuana movement to flourish, or to see more smuggling and illegal cultivation, with its attendant violence and environmental degredation. The comments page for the program, with people writing in from across the country, reads like talking points for the legalization movement.

Phelps Finds Another Use for Water
According to an exclusive story in News of the World, Olympian Mike Phelps looked like he knew what he was doing when he took a hit off a bong (aka water pipe) last November 6 after showing up unannounced at a University of South Carolina house party, weeks after the swimmer won 8 gold medals in Bejing.

NOTW's source said: "You could tell Michael had smoked before. He grabbed the
bong and a lighter and knew exactly what to do....He looked just as natural with a bong in his hands as he does swimming in the pool. He was the gold medal winner of bong hits. Michael ended up getting a little paranoid, though, because before too long he looked like he was nervous and ran out of the place."

Since the Olympics has a four-year zero-tolerance policy, the revelation could end Phelps' competitive status at the 2012 games. Unless we come to our senses before then. (See above for follow up stories.)

Another Obama Smokes Pot
The half-brother of President Barack Obama was arrested for alleged possession of marijuana on Saturday near his home in a Nairobi shantytown, police said. George Obama, who is in his 20s and barely knows the president, had one joint of marijuana on him, said Joshua Omokulongolo, the police chief in the area. George Obama has a court appearance scheduled Monday morning. He and the president have the same father, who died in a car crash in 1982. George, who is studying to be a mechanic, is the youngest of the senior Obama's seven children, born six months before his father died. See: Esquire: Why Obama Might Decrimalize Marijuana

John Updike - Did Rabbit Run (from the truth?)

UPDATE 1/8/2011 - Dr. Lester Grinspoon informs me that although John Updike nearly admitted to smoking in his fiction, he adamantly denied smoking marijuana when asked by Dr. Grinspoon to join his marijuana uses blog.
Novelist John Updike, who died at the age of 76 on January 27, wrote 35 books and won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In his 1989 memoir, Self-Consciousness, he wrote:

"At moments of suburban relaxation, in our circle of semi-bohemian homes, we smoked pot, wore dashikis and love beads, and frugged ourselves into a lather while the Beatles and Janis Joplin sang away on the hi-fi set. I was happy enough to lick the sugar of the counterculture; it was the pill of antiwar, anti-administration, 'anti-imperialist' protest that I found oddly bitter. I was, perhaps, the most Vietnam-minded person I knew."

It's a bit like the "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows" Family Guy episode where Brian (the dog) sings of the 60s, "we lost the values, but we kept the weed" (in the Emmy Award-winning song "You've Got a Lot to See").

Updike's novel The Witches of Eastwick (which ends very differently than the movie) depicts pot smoking; Updike published a sequel, The Widows of Eastwick, last year.

kennedy obamaCaroline Kennedy Shows "Hookah Heroics"
The current New Yorker piece on Caroline Kennedy could point to only one moment of greatness: when she took the rap for her cousin's pot patch in Hyannis Port. According to the NY Daily News report on the book American legacy : the story of John & Caroline Kennedy by C. David Heymann (New York : Atria Books, 2007):

Caroline once took the blame when a police officer found marijuana growing in Jackie's backyard at Hyannis Port, according to the book. "Although David Kennedy had harvested the plants," explains Heymann, "Caroline, attempting to protect her cousin, took the blame."

While Caroline's hookah heroism earned her an angry letter from her grandmother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jackie's temper wouldn't flare until Caroline's interest turned from grass to grazing. "She had given her daughter a credit card for individual purchases under $100," writes Heymann. "One day, she saw a charge for two pounds of barbecued spareribs at Mr. Chow. After lecturing her daughter on the perils of excessive poundage, she canceled the credit card, but reactivated it when Caroline agreed to join her mother on jogs around the Central Park Reservoir.

"It's strange," a family pal, the late George Plimpton, allegedly told Heymann. "Jackie didn't like it when John [Jr.] drank or did drugs, but she didn't seem to care if Caroline got smashed on beer or stoned on grass. It was only when Caroline gained a pound or two that Jackie reacted."

Kennedy bowed out of the New York Senate race (where she could have been appointed by admitted pot smoker and NY Gov. David Patterson), but her support of VIP Barack Obama helped get an admitted pot smoker in the White House too.

Kerry to Hillary: Study VIP Gertrude Bell
An alert observer heard admitted pot smoker John Kerry say at her confirmation hearings that VIP Hillary Clinton should read about another VIP, Gertrude Bell, the woman credited with creating the modern Iraq.

Swiss Marijuana field spotted through Google Earth
Swiss authorities announced on Jan. 30 that they had found a large marijuana plantation while using Google Earth, the extremely popular free satellite mapping software. The discovery was part of an ongoing investigation that has so far led to the arrest of 16 people and the seizure of 1.2 tons of marijuana with a street value of $2.5 million USD. Cash and other valuables were seized as well with a value of over $800,000 USD. The 16 suspects have allegedly sold 7.7 tons of marijuana since 2004, making an average of 6 million Swiss francs a year.

One commentor said: "Google Earth is now the worst invention ever. Its responsible for removing 1.2 tons of love, peace and happiness from the world." Another wrote, "They could have shared."

More Sumo Arrestlers
Sumo wrestler arrested for marijuana possession

January 24, 2009 - Look For Videogame Ads in High Times
A new study from a Brigham Young University undergrad found negative correlation between video gaming, personal relationships and self-esteem in college students. Those who played video games daily reported smoking pot almost twice as often as occasional players, and three times as often as those who never play. The better news: The Chronicle of Higher Education reports 41% of Freshman support legalization of marijuana, the highest level yet reported. The level has been increasing slowly but steadily since 1998, when it was around 33%.

spacey exhaling

January 23, 2009 - Spacey at Sundance

Kevin Spacey, who played a middle-aged man who redicovers pot in American Beauty (1999), was interviewed at Sundance film festival about his new film, Shrink. In that film, Spacey plays a pot-smoking Hollywood psychiatrist.

"How tired did you get of smoking fake weed?" asked James Rocchi of Cinematical, who also wondered if doing so many scenes revolving on just two people talking is an actor's dream, or an actor's nightmare. "As compared to? Explosions, and cars flying through the air?" replied Spacey. "I think it's an actor's dream, and I also think it's an audience's dream; there's noting quite like being able to go to to a play or the cinema and watch people exchange as human beings." Spacey said he was pleased at the audience reaction to the the ensemble-style film, which was compared to those of VIP Robert Altman. Spacey agreed that his character's most therapeutic relationship is with his pot dealer, played by Jesse Plemons.

Spacey had a second film at sundance, Moon, but was off to London to play Hollywood's most major substance abuser, washed-up actor Norman Maines of A Star is Born in a workshop in London next month. The original 1937 film version aired last night on TCM, and Robert Osborne said the final moment where Janet Gaynor gives her name to the world as Mrs. Norman Maines was based on a similar moment when Dorothy Davenport called herself Mrs. Wallace Reid. Reid, star of Birth of a Nation, died in 1923 after battling morphine and alcohol addiction.

Medical Marijuana Raids Continue
According to California NORML, the DEA yesterday conducted its first medical marijuana raid under the Obama administration. Agents raided the Holistic Solutions facility in South Lake Tahoe, taking cash and product but not arresting anyone. Supporters are urged to call the White House and ask that Obama act promptly on his pledge to end DEA medical marijuana raids. White House hotline phone is 202-456-1111.

January 20, 2009 - Inhale to the Chief Day
CNN on Obama's Speech: "Sober with a dose of hope."

Addendum: Midler Puffs Again
midlerWhen Bette Midler was crowned VIP of the Month in December 2008, it was unknown that the Divine Miss M had made her second movie appearance as a pot smoker, this time in The Women, starring Meg Ryan. Ryan plays a woman who discovers her husband is cheating on her, and goes to a yoga retreat where she encounters Midler -- who has procured a joint. Though Meg does imbibe in the movie proper, you'll have to go to the deleted scenes on the DVD to hear her saying "I'm really stoned." After this scene, her character finds her way to her own center.

The Women is a re-make of the Clare Booth Luce play. Luce admittedly tried LSD, and thought it was great, but wasn't for the masses. In the 1939 movie based on her play, one character, played by Marjorie Main, often exclaims, "Smokin' Oakum!" Oakum is made of the small fibers of the hemp plant and used to plug holes in the planks of ships.

VIPs of the Month for January 2009: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

January 19, 2009 - Seymour Hoffman to Direct Pothead Love Story
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman will make his directing debut with "Jack Goes Boating," based on the Bob Glaudini play he starred in off-Broadway. The New York Times described the stage version as "a gentle portrait of pothead losers in love."

"You're likely to leave the theatre with a contact high from the ripe pleasure that Mr Hoffman and his cast mates derive from portraying everyday eccentrics," wrote the newspaper's Ben Brantley, adding, "Most particularly, though, 'Jack' is about its title character’s pursuit of perfection, of talismanic, Zen-like moments to hold against life’s chaos." The play featured a "stoned dinner party from hell" and "the most eloquent sex scene on any stage in New York."

Variety reports, "Assuming the movie follows the play, Hoffman will sport blonde dreadlocks and spend a lot of time smoking a bong and pretending to be a Rastafarian. The love affair between Connie and Jack manages to explore cooking classes, swimming lessons, and … well, illegal drugs. This will definitely not be your usual romantic comedy, but who hasn’t wanted to see that tired genre shaken up a bit?" The website is taking comments.

January 18, 2009 - Betty Boop Banned for Drug Theme

41 Wrestlers Fail Drug Tests

2700-Year-Old Stash Still Green

 

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