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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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Wednesday Links

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Heroin Kills, Pot Giggles

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Marijuana Leaf

Marijuana Leaf

Another guest post by the one, the only Will Durst who's having a little fun with :

GREEN RUSH MUNCHIES.

Easy to imagine an arena full of Phish fans raising and waving their lighters to honor US Attorney General Eric Holder for suggesting the feds might help states that legalize pot by allowing dispensaries to utilize banking services. Way to go, Super AG. That’s so incredibly righteous of you.

These days, everyone dealing with marijuana distribution is forced to use cash in financial dealings. To buy inventory, pay employees, stock up on munchies, tip the pizza dude, everything. Even cover their taxes. Problem is, those amounts of dead presidents tend to attract the sort of unsavory company you normally associate with orange jumpsuit- wearing, ankle- shackle sporting, border- tunnel digging, Vin Diesel movie- watchers.

19 states have already approved medical marijuana and in 2014, the citizens of Oregon, Alaska, California, Arizona and DC will vote to legalize it for recreational use, joining Washington and Colorado in the Pot Club. The smoke, it is a wafting. Banks can smell the money and are itching for a taste of the action. Lawmakers themselves are jonesing for additional revenue. You’ve heard of squeezing blood out of a turnip? Think of this as scraping green off the green. A phenomenom that pot journalist, Jack Rikess, calls “Grassnost.”

Grass. Tea. Weed. Reefer. Mary Jane. Wacky tobaccy. Herb. Hemp. Happy leaf. Hippie lettuce. Parsley. Oregano. Cabbage. Chronic. Ganja. Da kine. Doobie. Dope. Blunt. Bone. Bud. Smoke. Spliff. Stank. Schwag. Shanizzle. Sticky icky. Indica. Tetrahydrocannabinol. The assassin of youth. Hairy purple skunk balls. Whatever brand name you prefer, lines are forming at the trampoline for corporate America to jump on The Green Rush Bandwagon.

Even President Obama admitted marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and he should know. As opposed to Bill Clinton, who never inhaled, some skeptics doubt the 44th POTUS ever exhaled. In high school, as a member of the Choom Gang, he was noted for cutting off passing joints, intercepting extra hits. Seems to have lost some initiative in the days since. Typical.

But brah’s right. Consider how many steps it takes to produce a bottle of whiskey. Not like you can walk into the backyard and pick a Daiquiri off the Cocktail Tree. Pot, however, grows right out of the ground. They don’t call it “weed” for nothing. You saying God made a mistake?

Convincing politicians to stop lumping all drugs together would be a major victory. In their condemning zeal, they admit to no gradations. But even a fifth grader can tell you that heroin is to pot like an Uzi is to a banana. Heroin kills. Pot giggles.

What’s the worst thing going to happen if you do run into a crazed pothead? You might get fleas. That’s about it. Okay, There’s Twinkie cream on your shirt, wipe it off. Can’t get the song “Stairway to Heaven” out of your head- deal with it.

All that said, legalizing the stuff on a federal basis is going to be trickier than rolling three joints while swinging by your knees on a trapeze in a high breeze. Plan for heavy pushback from a variety of vested interests: the cotton and oil industries. Big Pharma. Prison guard unions. Mexican drug cartels. Mexican politicians. Taco Bell. Bail Bondsmen. The Catholic Church. Zig Zag Papers. Liquor distributors. Law enforcement agencies. ATM manufacturers. ATV manufacturers. Phish.

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new CD, “Elect to Laugh” and calendar of personal appearances including his highly lauded new one man show- "BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG."

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