Archive for cannabis

The Book Booth: What's In That Pipe? Edition

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Image: Telegraph UK

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: What's In That Pipe? Edition

It's another opening, another show! Time to brush up our Shakespeare! Everyone's favorite bard, it appears, was no stranger to the use of marijuana. Now may be the time to, um, re-read those plays and sonnets.
Don't Bogart That Pipe, Will

When we think of summer beach reading, we tend to think of thrillers or romances, or both. Vanity Fair thinks we should look at some darker themes while basking in the sun and has these suggestions for the ocean.
Summer's Here And the Time Is Right for Reading on the Beach

Then, again, if you'd like something a bit more substantial, the readers at Buzzfeed recommended these under-rated books. Topping that list is Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain, which probably isn't neglected, but if you haven't read it, do so.
Under-Rated Books You Should Read

The poet and novelist Naja Marie Aidt, whose new novel is entitled Rock, Paper, Scissors, also has some reading ideas of novels written by poets. Though I think most people regard Gertrude Stein, no relation to Garth, as a novelist; her poetry is pretty forgettable. Otherwise it is an interesting list.
Novels Written by Poets

With the recent departures of both Jon Stewart and David Letterman from the late night airwaves, authors will be missing those venues to promote their books. Those guys were terrific at interviews and the art of book placement in front of a camera. How important are these promos? Publishers Weekly tells us we should just ask Jon Stewart's wife.
How Important Are TV Book Promos? Ask Jon Stewart's Wife

From the world of the bizarre department. It seems children's author and illustrator Mary Engelbreit has drawn some severe criticism for her recent art concerning the death of Michael Brown a year ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Truth be told, I have not been a fan of hers, but I am now.
A Children's Book Illustrator Getting Hate Mail?

Not to be out-done when it comes to removing books from the classroom, Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida has pulled Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. Apparently it has swearing in it. Oops.
The [expurgated] Incident of the Dog in the Night And A Florida High School

Finally, I think you all need one of these. This handy little gizmo will calculate how long it will take you to read the books in your TBR, or To Be Read, list. Mine looks to be seven months. What's yours?
How Long Will It Take to Read All Those Books on Your Bedside Table? 

It's the weekend! Break out those books and start turning the pages and enjoying some good writing. And do let us know what books you are loving now.

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NYT's Maureen Dowd OD's On Marijuana And Blames The Candy

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There's nothing like trying something before writing about it. And that's what New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd did recently -- and not without some lingering effects. For an article she was writing on Colorado's legal marijuana culture, she decided to try some of the "edibles" which contain cannabis. So far so good.

So, she bought a caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar which she said looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars she used to love as a kid. After she took one bite, then another, she didn't notice anything happening. Perhaps she was disappointed but for whatever reason, she decided in her impatience to gobble down the rest of the bar.

She waited, and then it happened. The effects began. In her NYT article, she writes:

But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.

Based on that experience, she's come to some conclusions. The biggest one being that the entire marijuana industry was set up for potheads, people who smoked frequently. This nascent business has to educate new or first time users prior to selling them the edible goods so people will know what to expect to feel.

That's not a bad idea. But her article goes on to condemn and point out the dangers of legalization, even trying to equate her unfortunate experience with people jumping off buildings and kids eating marijuana-laced goodies and ending up with irreparable harm. These are possible, but not probable. And the reason is, she OD'd because she lacked common sense.

The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.

So in essence, she took 16 times the amount she should have taken. No wonder she got herself into a bit of a problem. If she had bought a fifth of scotch and drunk the whole thing, she would have gotten sick or drunk or both on that too. There's no suggested servings printed on a bottle of booze. So I find it a bit disingenuous that she faults the experience on her naivete. She's been around. She knows you don't go from one bite to the whole bar, just as you don't go from one shot glass of Glenlivet to the whole bottle.

Her suggestion that if this had been alcohol, she'd have known better doesn't really hold water. She claims in her article that people know you have to be careful in how much you drink, when only an idiot or the most simpleminded would think that taking too much of a marijuana laced edible wouldn't lead to some ill effects.

But that said, I do think the public has been so scared by lies and innuendos--the Reefer Madness syndrome--that more education of the public might not be such a bad thing. But Dowd's reckless accusations that it was the lack of full labeling or the implication that she needed more knowledge to safely ingest is a disservice to an industry. If she was new to this kind of purchase, why didn't she ask when she bought the candy bar how much she should take to feel some effects? The next day when she asked, she was told. A bad assumption on her part made an ass of her, not a better investigative columnist.

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Marijuana - An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

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Now let me begin with I'm a skeptic when it comes to things like Dr. Whoopadoo's Snake Oil Elixir, good for whatever ails you. There's no panacea that does it all. At least I haven't found it. But I'd like to believe that good health and cures for all diseases are within our reach.

Now I read this on HUFFPO:

Marijuana has long been used to effectively treat symptoms associated with HIV, such as chronic pain and weight loss. But a growing body of research suggests the plant may be able to stop the spread of the disease itself.

Adding to these findings is a Louisiana State University study published last week in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses Scientists found that damage to immune tissue in the primates' stomachs, one of the most common areas in the body for HIV infection to spread, decreased.

Some of you may say, who cares? HIV is a "gay" disease, attributed to risky sexual behavior. Those queers deserve what they got. It's God's wrath. Well if you believe that, you don't need to read any farther. Go back to reading your Flat Earth Society Monthly periodical.

I suppose I attribute my being spared from HIV to my relatively normal, quite risk-free lifestyle. But hey, maybe my many years of smoking weed was actually helping me in ways of which I had no knowledge. Putting honesty above claims that marijuana saved me revelations, I'm glad to see these scientific research findings. And not for the reason you may think.

I'm glad because I come from the generation that saw so many die of HIV-related AIDS complications. It was the '80s and '90s. Being diagnosed with HIV was as close to a death sentence as you could get. There were no cocktails of meds that could save you. I saw friends die. Now, things are bit different.

So what if smoking grass could prevent this awful disease and its related complications? Wouldn't that be great?

Put aside the old thinking that marijuana is nothing more than a gateway drug. Of course it's got its drawbacks which, like the premature reports of Mark Twain's death, have been greatly exaggerated. It's not for everybody -- neither is alcohol or peanuts. There are also limits to be discussed. But with all the arguments against smoking cannabis, the movement to legalize it is a juggernaut. It's happening. The sooner the better.

If you're an opponent of legalization, I understand. You really don't have the facts. But give a bit of credence to the findings quoted above or this one below:

Similar research spearheaded by Molina in 2011 found that infected monkeys treated with THC had a better chance of surviving. And a report published in 2012 pointed to evidence that marijuana-like compounds can fight HIV in late-stage AIDS patients.

Let's face facts. Most of us aren't scientists. So being dubious is natural. If you have doubts about marijuana being nothing more than snake oil, that's your business. No one's forcing you to imbibe. Just don't stop others whom modern medical science show are being benefited by it. And not just HIV sufferers.

Last year, an oncologist from the United Kingdom found that marijuana compounds can kill cancer cells in leukemia patients, and scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco have conducted research that suggests those compounds can also effectively combat other forms of aggressive cancer.

If there's even the slightest bit of medical benefits to this drug, that's important to all of us. And if by some chance it actually does stop the spread of disease, let's make it available for anyone of legal age to have access to. It won't hurt you and it could ease a patient's pain or even prevent the spread of a deadly disease. The time is here. Let's take our heads out of the sand and back marijuana legalization when it comes up for a vote in your state. As they say, the life you save may just be your own.

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A.G.Holder's Big Cutting Crime Step:Opening Up Banks

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As crazy as it seems, there's a financial issue on the federal level that has been cause for alarm in the legalized marijuana industry. Note: I said legalized. By that I refer to transactions for medical marijuana purchases (in 20 states plus D.C.) and legal recreational buys in Colorado and soon Washington state. You see, because of archaic federal laws making cannabis a Schedule One drug, purchases are illegal by federal standards despite being legal in a number of states for varying purposes.

So if it's legal in some states, what's the problem with banking?

Simple. Banks are currently barred under federal banking regulations from handling proceeds from marijuana sales even in states where pot sales have been made legal. Banks are also prohibited from doing other banking business with these vendors like loans and investments. Simply put, that means vendors can't deposit their "state legal" revenues in banks.

That trickles down to the customers who are mandated to cash only purchases -- no credit/debit cards. It also means employees have to be paid in cash as the vendors can't have checking accounts if their deposits were made from marijuana purchases. Loans and investments too are verboten for sellers who want to expand or improve their facility -- perhaps to add security measures to safeguard all of the cash-carrying customers.

Finally the Obama Administration Attorney General, Eric Holder, has seen the light -- and gotten at the very least, a nod from the POTUS to take steps which will help guarantee taxes being paid on these purchases -- a gray area in the state legal system but felonious on the federal level. That's right -- Colorado could tax your purchase, but wasn't allowed to pay federal taxes on the money. They would have to send cash via pony express or Wells Fargo Wagon to deliver the tax revenues as the money couldn't be wired. The result was no federal revenues were collected.

Money talks. Especially federal tax revenues.

As reported today on the HuffPo:

Jan 23 (Reuters) - U.S. treasury and law enforcement agencies will soon issue regulations opening banking services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses even though cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

Finally, some common sense out of Washington. Let's face it, if states are fighting to legalize something that shouldn't have been criminalized in the first place (remember the Volstead Act), at least let them levy their taxes and be able to put them somewhere safer than in the mattresses. And lets send the applicable tax revenue to the IRS. If we can get cannabis tax receipts sent to Washington, maybe next we can do something about collecting those soft off-shore tax loophole revenues. Talk about putting a dent in the federal deficit.

This is a step in the right direction. It's late, but like many good things, better late than never.

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