I was struck by the comment discussion the other day about marijuana. I think it’s fair to say I won’t be touching marijuana until I need it for my terminal-cancer fight — either that, or a particularly stupid late-midlife crisis. As I told someone today, there seem to be enough substances in the world to make me stupid; why invite another?
Also, it hasn’t escaped my notice that marijuana today isn’t like the marijuana of yesterday. Which brings us to this Slate piece, about the unmet need for a weaker, ’70s-era marijuana. Because of old boomers, natch:
Marijuana is much stronger than it used to be. Lots of the strains for sale at medical marijuana dispensaries are approaching 25 percent THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in the plant known for getting you wicked high. Sitting around a winter solstice bonfire in the Seattle area this December, I heard a woman in her 60s tell a story about her husband taking a tiny toke on a joint that was going around a dinner party, only to pass out in his chair. Another friend and her husband, in their 30s, decided to share a marijuana caramel after their daughter went to bed. They got way too stoned and entered a shared freak-out about how they would deal if she came out to ask for a glass of water.
An elder statesman of Generation X, comedian Louis C.K., has a bit in his Live at the Beacon Theater special about taking “big hits. Like big, 1970s, jean jacket, Bad Company hits” of modern, high potency dope, and then everything going terrifically terrible. “When I was a kid you could just smoke a joint for a while. Now you take two hits and you go insane,” he says. “It’s not doable anymore.”
Well, OK. I guess, if I were a dedicated drinker of two glasses of wine after work, and suddenly it was like drinking two glasses of grain alcohol, I might see this as a problem. But my impulse would likely be to quit drinking, or drink something else, but probably quit drinking.
Marijuana is now legal in Detroit, and medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, and one of the problems that comes with that is how you test for it when someone’s driving gets out of control. If we’re going to let this drug into the legal corral, then I don’t think it’s irresponsible to wish there were weaker varieties of it to be had. And not just for aging boomers who want giggle-weed instead of a sledgehammer to the forehead.
The lab the writer mentions in her opening paragraphs? I interviewed a guy who runs a similar facility here in Michigan. Sometimes when I’m bored, I go to their results page and read the names of the various batches. Girl Scout Cookies? Organic Amnesia? I’m always amused.
And so we come to the end of another week. I will break the tape with relief. I play you out with some bloggage:
Peggy Noonan asks if the GOP can recover from Iraq. After fretting over such casualties as the party’s “respect for economic stewardship” and “the political ascendance that began in 1980,” she remembers who actually fought this fiasco:
All this of course is apart from the central tragedy, which is the human one—the lost lives, the wounded, the families that will now not be formed, or that have been left smaller, and damaged.
A shout-out to the maimed at the two-thirds mark. Well, at least she didn’t forget entirely.
Tom & Lorenzo have been posting photos of the “Mad Men” cast as they appeared at their red-carpet premiere earlier this week. May I just say? If I’d been dealt the genetic hand January Jones was, I wouldn’t go out in public looking like this. Never mind the dress — which I don’t think is as awful as some — but yes, mind that hair. Does this girl not own a comb?
This is hilarious: Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum tried to craft a “unity ticket” to unseat Mitt Romney as frontrunner last year, but couldn’t agree on which one would be on top. Because unity.
Have a great weekend, all.
Peter said on March 22, 2013 at 8:47 am
“Gingrich thought he could carry Georgia, Delaware, Washington, and Wisconsin (from which his wife, Callista, hails). ”
Yeah, he was going to carry the Madison vote because his wife reminds them of an emaciated cow.
“But for a moment it was real. It was fun, it was heady, and—for those few weeks—it was real.”
That’s what we used to say at the end of a difficult project “It was real, it was fun, but it wasn’t real fun”.
More and more, I’m sad that Romney won the nomination. One of those nut jobs should have ran against Obama; they would have made Barry Goldwater look good.
Peter said on March 22, 2013 at 8:48 am
Hey, did I miss the nuclear strike?
Where is everybody?
alex said on March 22, 2013 at 8:48 am
I’ve heard tell of a couple of potent pot hybrids. One’s called God, the other Strawberry Dogshit. Both (I’ve heard) live up to the hype. 😉
coozledad said on March 22, 2013 at 8:55 am
I wonder if part of the reason behind the tech for developing brain cuisinart strains of pot isn’t the American drive toward general conspicuousness, and the emigration of jockdom into everything from guitar fills to yoga.
It’s not enough to get hosed, you got to be the most hosed.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2013 at 9:05 am
Having a fascinating ongoing dialogue with a family and a 17 year old who is articulate, courteous, and passionate that pot should be legal, so all this mediation and diversion and possible probation is stupid. I’m trying (to the mild dismay of the very engaged & concerned father) to convince the offender “I hear you, I don’t disagree with your assertions, but can we talk about the fact that it is, in fact, currently illegal, and your persistence in engaging in both the use of and sale of said substance to your fellow juveniles will, in fact, monkey wrench your future starting right about the time you walk away from me and my end of the process, and insist on your legal right to flaunt your knowledge and rhetoric in front of the bench?”
To which the answer, to date, is “no.” Making me think there’s something to how weed regularly inhaled makes you stupid. He’s got another week to change his mind, and it doesn’t look like he will. It’s enough to make me doubt my persuasive abilities.
claudia said on March 22, 2013 at 9:06 am
I’m pretty sure that identifying those driving under the influence of pot can be done. Here in PA (where pot isn’t legal), my son is a state trooper. He’s also considered an “expert witness” in drug cases. He was certified to detect and identify drugs and people who are impaired by drugs (while driving or doing anything else). He’s often called out (day or night) to help local and state cops when they pick up someone that they suspect is doing some sort of drugs.
BigHank53 said on March 22, 2013 at 9:33 am
I’m pretty sure Washington state already has a protocol for THC testing in place, based on the DUI laws. It’s a blood test, so a bigger hassle than a breathalyzer, but it’s doable.
Jeff, I lived in a shared house long ago with a young pothead/dealer who was constantly bitching about his probation. I pointed out to him that if he got a haircut, pitched the tie-dyed t-shirts, and got some dumb part-time job, nobody would ask too many questions about where the rest of his money came from. Conformity is the single greatest desire of bureaucracies, and even insincere surface conformity is better than none.
Bitter Scribe said on March 22, 2013 at 10:32 am
I was absolutely amazed that all the people in that Bloomberg article, from Gingrich and Santorum on down, were willing to talk so openly, on the record, about what a pack of greedy, egotistical shits they were.
Oh, I would have given five years of Mitt’s life to be able to eavesdrop on those meetings between Grinch and Frothy.
Jolene said on March 22, 2013 at 10:35 am
Conformity is the single greatest desire of bureaucracies, and even insincere surface conformity is better than none.
You are so right. I have never been more aware of this than in traffic court in Chicago. In a venue where being able to speak English clearly was rare, I found that standing up straight, looking the judge in the eye, and saying “Yes, Your Honor” was pretty much all I needed to do to get my case dismissed.
At least it worked that one time.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2013 at 11:20 am
Bitter, I’ll bet you a York Peppermint Patty that they never spoke face to face except at the beginning of debates, that it was all done thru surrogates. Kabuki theatre, if not that of the absurd.
Sherri said on March 22, 2013 at 11:44 am
Washington did set a blood level for THC for DUI in the new marijuana law. I don’t know how much science there was behind the number, but I think the belief was let’s get a number in there and adjust as needed. The medical marijuana community was opposed to the initiative because they felt the number was too low.
brian stouder said on March 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm
I thought the police did some sort of eye-tracking test, to determine if you’re impaired. Anyway, noted Jeff’s comment on yesterday’s thread:
Is the Coronado worth the time it takes to get to it? I’ve never yet been west of the Las Vegas airport, so I know nothing other than from books, TV, & movies of California, but the Coronado architecturally looks like something I’d love to see. (And if you’ve never watched “The Stunt Man” with Peter O’Toole . . .)
And indeed, I’ve never been further west than Lincoln, Nebraska – or Houston, Texas (whichever is further!)…and Uncle Google shows a pretty impressive set of images of that Coronado. The San Diego jaunt would include one or more of my brothers*, and my son and I. The airplane ride would be 5 hours non-stop from Detroit – and as that would be Grant’s first plane ride, it would automatically provide one of the key experiences of the whole thing.
And indeed, the zoo would almost certainly be the Big Thing…and almost certainly there’s another Big Thing (or two)that Must Not be Missed. In any case
*the object of the trip is the delivery our parent’s ashes to the US navy there, for their burial at sea. My brother Alan decided, by gosh, we aren’t sending a parcel – we’re personally delivering them there. Meanwhile, Pam and the girls and their aunts and cousins have a WDW-Florida plan that didn’t include Grant and I (and which involves the girls’ first plane ride), so this plan of his fits Grant’s any my agenda pretty well, also.
garmoore2 said on March 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm
Brian: the test you’re talking about is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. It and assorted other tests are used as field tests to make a preliminary determination about intoxication. A blood test comes afterward if police have enough evidence from the field tests to get a magistrate to issue a search warrant for a blood sample. The results of the blood test are used at trial.
Catherine said on March 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm
Did anyone else watch Weeds as devotedly as I did? A few days ago, I finally watched the series finale (too cheap to get cable, had to stream it from amazon). Spoiler: The final two shows are flash-forward six or seven years, to a time in which pot is legal and Nancy Botwin is the CEO of a chain of pot-selling teahouses (for lack of a better word). They’re being pursued as an acquisition by *Starbucks*. Yes, Starbucks. I am still pondering two questions from that finale: 1) Is that really the future of the marijuana business, and if so, is it coming in only a few years? 2) Do I buy the somewhat hopeful and redemptive ending to a series in which our anti-heroine dealt a shitload of drugs, had sex with I-lost-count, torched a town and a NYC townhouse, served prison time, screwed over (variously) a Mexican cartel, a bunch of redneck drug dealers, and some seriously scary Russian arms/drug dealers, got shot in the head by the son of her second, FBI-agent husband, married a rabbi for crying out loud, had FOUR husbands die on her, and always returned to the drug business?
Prospero said on March 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm
Last time I bought pot was in 1991 and it was expensive. 75 bucks for a quarter oz. It was potent. My solution was rolling with half a paper and smoking the whole thing using forceps. Worked wonderfully. My sophomore year in college, some friends of mine and I bought a key of Michoacan grass that was as powerful as anything I’ve ever smoked since, including some “name-brand” medicinal varieties.
Santorum and Gingrich? Oy veh, man on man, man on dog. Hapless buffoons.
Is Peggy Noonan actually admitting the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq was a major league mistake and incredibly expensive? If it’s more than just her typically confused maundering, that’s a rare shot of clarity from anyone in her neighborhood on the political spectrum. In the past, the High Priestess of Raygun Idolatry has been consistently in hardcore purveying the astounding whopper from the GOP that President Obama is responsible for the entire deficit and the entire sum of the national debt. Fact is, nobody knows what the terrible cost of the invasion and the occupation will be (at least $2.2trillion), when all of the medical care costs for vets are totted up years from now. Of course, when Peggy bemoans the lives lost and wrecked, she means American lives. And didn’t she get the memo from Richard Perle, about how questioning the invasion is “unreasonable”:
And remember that, coming into sequestration, America was spending $2.2mil per minute on the military. Any way and from whatever perspective you look at that, it’s obscene, when Ryan wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program and the GOP attacks programs like WIC and SCHIP.
Connie said on March 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm
Brian, It’s been a long time since we took that family trip to San Diego but after the zoo and Sea World the other high point was our one day there and back to Disneyland.
alex said on March 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm
Catherine, thanks for the synopsis. I only got to see shows from the first season, about eight years ago, and thought the show hysterically funny but never went to the trouble of renting it, just as I never go to the trouble of renting anything. Always wondered how the marriage to the FBI guy was going to work out.
Catherine said on March 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm
Alex, it turned out that he was at least as much a criminal as she was! A nice narrative touch at the end was that the rabbi (husband #4) had been killed in a car crash avoiding a bear. If you remember the first ep, it’s called “You Can’t Miss the Bear.”
Prospero said on March 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm
Something else Peggy Noonan should stick in her pipe to smoke. Of course, these babies are post-born, not pre-born so they might not cause her so much trouble. Whoever thinks you can leave millions of lbs. of detritus composed of spent uranium all over the landscape and not cause genetic damage is delusional.
No franking way. Oil and gas companies are suing municipalities in NY state to force them to allow franking operations. How are GOPers not ideologically bound to be on the enviro side when the issue at hand is municipal sovereignty? In the case of big gas and oil, no way in the world. As with the case of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would involve taking land from Americans by eminent domain for the benefit of a multinational that will generate no revenue nor fuel for use in the USA.
Weeds is available on Netflix Watch Now.
Prospero said on March 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm
@19, Auto-correct. Crap. It’s more annoying than being asked if you really want to delete everything in the spam filter.
Jeff Borden said on March 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm
If Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich HAD run as a unity ticket, no one would need to smoke marijuana. We’d all be fucked up all the time. Aside from a pairing of Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods and Michele Bachmann, this would be the funniest combination of candidates possible.
Interesting talk about pot. In the Chicago area, I’m told prices are about $400 per ounce with most of the product coming from hydroponic operations. I tend to view the rise in THC levels in the same way as the growing portions served in restaurants. The growers are serving up that much because users are demanding it.
Adding another legal or decriminalized intoxicant to the U.S. is scary, but so is the toll on those in prison, who now number more than 600,000 in our (frequently for-profit) prisons. The fact that those incarcerated are disproportionately black and brown adds to the problem.
Prospero said on March 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm
I don’t know dick about fashion, but that blue and white dress looks as if somebody sewed a white rayon skirt to the bottom of an LLBean grammaw bathing suit. And she does look like she’s got a serious case of either bedhead or hathead. And try the link to Elizabeth Moss in a little black dress from the JJones page. Nice, but the shoes look like torture devices.
Looks like Daily Caller and its boss, human tampon (or is he just a douche bag) Tucker Carlson are really caught with their pants down on the big Menendez expose.
Borden@21: Idiocracy, on acid. And spending money to incarcerate people for possession of pot is an appalling waste of money that Granny-Starver wants to rob from my Medicare and Social Security.
mark said on March 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm
It seems you Chicagoans are the worst at using drug laws to disproportionately arrest and incarcerate minorities.
alex said on March 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm
mark, it seems you libertarians are the worst at contributing anything useful to a discussion.
Prospero said on March 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm
Something the world could use more of: Calvin and Hobbes animation.
Obama’s Israel Speech (analysis).
Wrong Alex. We all need it constantly pointed out that Libruls are the real racists. Like the preponderance of liberal Obama types on the Chicago PD. The statistics in that story are absurd without any weighting based on population demographics. According to the 2010 census by USDC, the black and brown population of Chicago is 62%, so while there is still a racial discrepancy, it is far less severe than the author of that piece makes it out to be. Sloppy? Intentional? God only knows, but it’s some bullshit either way.
Charlotte said on March 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm
Missed Jeff’s comment about the Coronado — it’s great. Stayed there in … 1989? 90? when I was a nanny. We took the kids to Disneyland, then San Diego to the Coronado. Rooms were nice in a not-fancy old fashioned way with balconies out into the courtyard, the restaurant was good, and the kids loved the beach. Liza did get weirdly freaked out on the bridge, but she was five, and has Downs and sometimes odd things would freak her out (she’s in her late 20s now!?!).
As for dope — the commenters at Slate were hilarious, telling all of us amateurs to man up. All I can say is that in my demographic, there are plenty of us who would like a nice, mellow toke once in a while before bed … and we all keep asking one another where we can get some good old fashioned ditch weed. I don’t see any difference between that and a couple of glasses of wine — and as I head into the change-o-life sleeplessness, a little dope seems to help on that front as well. We came close to legalization a couple of years ago — I know a lot of responsible adults with medical cards — biggest driving issues we saw were some really really sloooow drivers.
LAMary said on March 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm
The Gingrich Santorum ticket could appeal to the delusional wing of the GOP. You get two completely different varieties of delusional behavior with Gingrich/Santorum, thus broadening the appeal.
David C. said on March 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm
I’m amazed how open the sale of equipment to grow your own is. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I went to a new gardening store in town. They had lots of neat organic fertilizers which interested Mary. But the rest was high power grow lights, hydroponic equipment, air filters, etc. Stuff nobody growing tomatoes would ever use unless they wanted $500 tomatoes. The guy manning the store was an obvious stoner, and I’m not sure if he found the middle age couple in the pot growing store funnier than we found him.
coozledad said on March 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm
LAMary: it would pretty much have covered all the bases- Santorum would have stitched together the pro-torture fetus adulators along with the panty sniffers, and Gingrich would have brought those easily gulled by shiny objects, inexplicably blubbery cocksmen, and Duke’s Fuqua school of business. If they’d promised to make Giuliani Secretary of State, they could have called themselves the Torque-Ramada triumvirate.
But the Republicans were already running that guy anyway, so really, what was the point?
Prospero said on March 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm
cooze@29: Newticles figured he could con another bookoo $millions out of Sheldon Adelson. To funnel into Tiffany’s.
My very pregnant daughter just hit week 40 of gestation and the OB has scheduled her for inducing labor next Thursday. I’m finding this upsetting, haveing never had any experience with this.
My brother’s new hose in Beaufort SC, right up next to Parris Island came equipped with a greenhouse. We are planning to grow a crop for personal use. I seem to remember a very funny episode of King of the Hill in which Hank and Bobby were bonding by growing roses together and ended up in David C’s store.
Prospero said on March 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm
And Newticles/Sanitarium would have attracted plenty AIPAC bucks.
Prospero said on March 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm
What GOPer Senators did to earn their big bucks today, not to mention their Cadillac health care and assorted perks.
alex said on March 23, 2013 at 12:44 am
Santorum and Gingrich couldn’t decide who was on top because they’re both bottoms.
crazycatlady said on March 23, 2013 at 2:29 am
I sometimes wish I could get some marijuana to get at least temporary relief from chronic back pain, and enjoy the ride. But I can’t afford to be caught with it. I could lose my Nursing License.
Dexter said on March 23, 2013 at 3:02 am
Years ago I was sitting in the VFW bar drinking beer, making small talk with a new guy to the club, who had been to Vietnam the same time I had been there, but put off joining the VFW for many years. We talked a bit about the drug situation there in the late 60s and early 70s…drugs were available everywhere. “Cocaine” was actually 97% pure heroin, and the guys who tried it back in the states and then ingested the stuff over there always barfed until they learned how to handle that stuff, which as I have reported here before I never once tried.
We then talked about the “Cambodian Red” weed and the Thai sticks, both weeds of legend, both kick-ass reefer. I am not sure either of those strains ever reached our area. What was available everywhere was peddled as “con-sa” , which I guess was their way of saying ganga , meaning rolled joints thicker than Pall Malls and sold in plastic bags of ten for hardly any money at all…chump change, paid in MPC, which was military script money we used…American greenbacks were vorboten.
In our unit, I would guess that three out of every four GIs smoked weed, and most of them were stoned out of their gourds a good part of every day. Jesus, was that weed powerful.
Well, my drinkin’ buddy that day told me he got into a little jam with the law; he had gotten into a bar fight and broken some loud-mouth’s jaw and messed up his teeth by hitting the guy with the thick end of a pool cue. I think he hit him way more than once, and put the guy in the hospital.
When he went to court, he got the standard two years at Orient State Prison, did four months hard time, and was sprung to probation. On his sentencing day, the judge asked him if he ever had used drugs in Vietnam. The man said “I experimented a few times, but only with marijuana, Your Honor.” Now this had been about twenty years before the jaw-breaking incident. It made no matter, as this judge sentenced him to mandatory post-incarceration intensive drug rehab school,which was four hours of classroom, five days a week, for sixteen weeks, and it wasn’t free. This guy told me he had not smoked a joint since before he left Vietnam, but by being honest with the judge, he had to not only get a job, but give a third of his take-home pay to this rehab class, for four months. For all the talk about marijuana being such a liberating, helpful drug and all that , it sure gets people in a lot of trouble yet today.
Linda said on March 23, 2013 at 7:46 am
crazycatlady @34, that’s interesting. My sister has terrible chronic back pain, and when I looked up the most scientifically verified alternative treatments for chronic pain, the top 3 included marijuana.
And, as David C @28 notes, it’s super-easy to find equipment to grow your own, and our library even has books on it, which were hard to find nearly 30 years ago when I started working in libraries.
alex said on March 23, 2013 at 10:01 am
Dex, I remember when I was in high school in the ’70s that plenty of joints got passed my way that were being touted as Thai Stick, but I suspect it was all Hoosier ditchweed. I even knew some people who were selling particularly odious stuff that barely gave a buzz. They’d come back from Lord knows where with a car trunk full of this vegetation in garbage bags, put it in a bathtub and then saturate it with large quantities of Pepsi. This was to make it sticky like the good stuff and also to give it added weight so that they could make more cash off of it.
No doubt about it that today’s stuff is coma-inducing, as I found out when my college-age stepson from a previous relationship was living with me in Chicago. He and his art school classmates were chronic smokers, and I was concerned for him except for the fact that he would build up such an immunity that after a week of smoking it failed to provide any satisfaction and he’d have to lay off of it for quite a while before it gave pleasure again. But for a person who seldom indulges, a puff of that stuff is definitely not your father’s Oldsmobile, as they used to say.
I have mixed feelings about legalization. I believe that today’s pot has much more addictive potential than its defenders are willing to admit. At the same time, there are far worse mind-altering substances that are extremely harmful not only to the health of the user but those in proximity to the user. Methamphetamine can contaminate a dwelling so as to make it uninhabitable and it costs tens of thousands to remediate the damage. It also has the potential to explode and injure people. Addicts are making and using this stuff in the presence of children. This is a scourge worthy of aggressive prosecution, certainly much more than the amount of resources being directed at penny-ante pot smokers.
Prospero said on March 23, 2013 at 10:27 am
Jazzercise for Jesus.
Jolene said on March 23, 2013 at 10:43 am
Meth can contaminate buildings? Astonishing. I never heard of such a thing. Are the fumes so powerful that they retain their intoxicating (if that’s the right word) potential after permeating the walls?
Charlotte said on March 23, 2013 at 11:30 am
Jolene — meth is incredibly toxic, and yes, contaminates buildings. When we lived in California, my brother’s buddy was CHP — he told me never to stay in a cheap motel on the interstate, especially not one where the doors open directly into the parking lot. He said they were all so contaminated with meth that they were dangerous.
The miscreant next door to me, who has ruined the house his mother lets him “rent” had some guys cooking in the basement last summer. Aside from worrying they’d rob me, I was afraid they’d blow up the house.
Scout said on March 23, 2013 at 11:34 am
Jeff: Go to Coronado! You’ll love it. My daughter used to live on the Island when her husband was in the Navy. We used to ride bikes all over the place when we visited. One of my favorite memories is when we spent the 4th if July with them and attended the community parade down Main St. Very Americana mixed with old Cali nostalgia. It was great.
I’m hoping that when da Ganga is legal there will be different octanes to choose from. I definitely don’t need high test.