Archive for smoking

The House Votes For Another Crazy Bill

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Smoking A Joint Raw Story:

A Republican congressman has successfully pushed legislation to pressure the U.S. Department of Justice to crack down on marijuana in states that have legalized its use. “It is with growing alarm that we see this administration selectively executing and enforcing federal law,” Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) said Wednesday on the House floor.

Growing alarm, huh?

On Friday, a seemingly contradictory measure was passed. The House of Representatives approved an amendment to prohibit the federal agency from spending taxpayer money on activities designed to stop the use of medical marijuana in states in which such use is legal.

Then comes this dickwad from Louisiana. Somehow he got enough other bozos in the House to go along with him in trying to step their foot back down on the accelerator to force more arrests by the Justice Department. All this at a time when it's become more clear that marijuana busts are a racial issue. The numbers are staggering. But how about this wacky logic by Representative Fleming?  He's pushed through the following (by voice vote):

Fleming’s amendment reduces the Department of Justice’s Salaries and Expenses, Legal Activities account by $866,000 until the Attorney General enforces the Controlled Substances Act in every state.

So, by cutting the Justice Department's budget, how can they step up enforcement? What Fleming and his ilk have actually done is made it more unlikely the DOJ has the money to take on these marijuana cases. I guess this means stupid is as stupid does. Good work Republicans. Now I feel safer lighting up a reefer because there's less money to apprehend me.

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Why Prohibition Doesn't Work On Drugs

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Volstead Act

Perhaps the closest parallel to the "war on drugs" is the war on alcohol -- the Volstead Act of of 1919. Highlights from Wiki:

The three distinct purposes of the Act were:

1. to prohibit intoxicating beverages
2. to regulate the manufacture, sale, or transport of intoxicating liquor (but not consumption), and
3. to ensure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye and other lawful industries and practices, such as religious rituals.

It provided further that "no person shall manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, or furnish any intoxicating liquor except as authorized by this act." It did not specifically prohibit the use of intoxicating liquors.

In 1933, after this "experiment" proved to be an utter failure, leading to massive deaths caused by bootleggers and a growth in the mob for the purposes of providing this contraband, the government passed the the Twenty-first Amendment rendering the Volstead Act unconstitutional and restored control of alcohol to the states.

It was a tragic right-wing plan to control the masses and under the guise of protecting them, really caused more deaths and imposed more prison sentences for a low risk, non-violent crime -- drinking. By their restrictions, they generated an environment of death and destruction far greater than the booze itself.

Marijuana justice

Maybe we're about to smarten up on the current "war on drugs," specifically marijuana. With a number of states lessening their restrictions on usage, a few even allowing people to participate recreationally, sanity seems to be without our reach. The importance of this isn't so people can get high. It's important that our rights are being snatched from us with restrictions that have a disproportionate number of poor and minorities caught up in the government web.

Here's a short summation that's as concise and succinct as I've ever seen. It's worth a gander:

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Video Overnight Thread- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, the opera

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Snort and guffaw. Via Boing Boing.

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Welcome To The Explosive World Of Vaping

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eCigs

A week ago, three U.S. congresspersons,  Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) wrote in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration. They complained that e-Cigarette companies are taking advantage of a “loophole” in current regulations that allows them to escape the type of oversight given to the rest of the tobacco industry.

Really. The tobacco industry is getting nervous. That can't be all bad. Remember, these are the peddlers of cancer sticks they call tobacco cigarettes.

What this trio of representatives is really complaining about isn't regulation of the product based on contents, health, or dangers. It's competition. Commerce. They're doing their dirty deeds under the guise of trying to protect children from vaping -- using eCigs.

First, I don't want to see kids smoking. Certainly not cigarettes. Yet the health hazards equated to eCigs and related vaporizing devices, according to the Daily Consumer Alert are not all that drastic.

A few of the benefits claimed from using the electronic cigarette:

No tar, tobacco, carbon monoxide, or ash.
Get the same amount of nicotine as a regular cigarette.
Each cartridge costs less than $2 and is equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes.
Average consumer can expect to save over $1,000 each year.
You won’t “smell” like a smoker any longer.
Different flavors are available.
No more second-hand smoke.

bloomberg reports on eCigsYet because there is no tobacco in these products, they don't fall under the strict guidelines the FDA has set up for tobacco products. One of those restrictions has to do with access to anyone under 18.

Will kids start taking up eCig usage and vape? You bet, just like with regular cigarettes. But is this healthier for them? Probably, but that's what research is for.

Then the question becomes, before a product is deemed needing regulation, do kids need extra protection, just in case? Hesitantly I say, maybe. But I'm not sure yet of the motives of the people trying to bring parity with the tobacco industry regulations. I've got questions as to who's bidding these congresspeople are doing. Are they interested in the children, or is this a lobbyist attempt to help out what could be a dying cigarette industry?

Maybe if they want to bust open their books and return any money they've received in contributions in the past or currently, I might be inclined to be less dubious of their putting some "sin" in sincerity.

If vaping grows as rapidly as it looks to be doing, there's cause for tobacco to worry. Cigarettes won't die out forever, but they may becomes yesterday's news.

A year ago I didn't know anyone who had tried an eCig. Today I know a few. And those are all people used to smoke cigarettes. They don't anymore. I've asked if they enjoy the experience and unanimously they say yes.

Formerly, the cigarette smoker's clothes and even their bodies reeked of old cigarettes. Their breath wasn't fresh, and when they'd  taken a hit or two in my presence, I got a headache from the smoke smell. Not now. With the eCig usage I noticed nothing more than a light waft of soft, fragrant aroma. It's less than passing by mid-summer, night-blooming jasmine.

So maybe these congresspeople should cool their jets. Do some research. If eCigs require more regulation, it'll come. But after research.

Until then, check out the newest advertising for eCigs. An adult campaign isn't going to get kids to want to give vaping a try. See for yourself.

Hmm. You know what I wrote up above -- Never mind.

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