Archive for March, 2011

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Texas, of course, it would be Texas.  When I first read this article I thought for sure it was a hoax, and that I was browsing a sister website for The Onion News.  I think I’d laugh a lot harder about all this if I wasn’t so frazzled by the thought of how much money and how many man hours of work went into this private acoustic Willie Nelson concert.  How many tax dollars went into harassing and embarrassing this beloved American musician?  And they hassled him for what?  For marijuana possession.  A crime, which is barely recognized by over a dozen states in our country.

“Every farmer that I know of, who is worth his salt or who’s just average, is ahead of the experimental stations and research agronomist in finding better ways, changing ways to plant, cultivate, utilize herbicides, gather, cure, sell farm products. The competition for innovation is tremendous, equivalent to the realm of nuclear physics, even.   In my opinion, it’s different in the case of lawyers. And maybe this is a circumstance that is so inherently true that it can’t be changed. “- Jimmy Carter’s Law Day Address May 4, 1974

I could not agree more, and I don’t think it ends at Lawyers, but also includes Politicians.  Everyone is so perfectly content with reevaluating the American legal system on a case by case basis.  Basically, defending the past against the future, clutching to the old ways.  I think the real founding fathers would be disgusted to see how similar our government is to theirs after more than two centuries of evolution and improvement and growth.  In 1775 the population of the 13 colonies was 2.4 million, including slaves and natives living under colonial control.  As of July 2009 the estimated population of the United States was over 300 million.  We are one hundred times larger than in 1775.  Colonial America is smaller than modern day Costa Rica, in terms of population.

One hundred times larger.  I’m going to let that sink in for a minute.

We have more people in American prison than the entire population of the 13 Colonies in 1775.  The JFA Institute’s study from 2007 says “approximately 30-40 percent of all current prison admissions involve crimes that have no direct or obvious victim other than the perpetrator.”  If the low-ball figure for this study is still valid today, that would mean a reduction in prison population from 2.4 million to about 1.7 million.  700,000 prisoners costs $15 billion every year.  We could save the American people $15 billion every year by merely decriminalizing on a national level.

Legalize it?  Sure, I think we should legalize and tax it, but I understand many people do not feel this way.  Decriminalization is the perfect middle ground.  The tax payers save money, court room time is freed up for more serious crimes, police and DEA can spend their valuable time and efforts on more important tasks, involving much more dangerous drugs like methamphetamine and heroin (both of which are actually safe in pure form and under controlled circumstances, to be completely accurate), and so much more.  The hard truth is that we spend more on prisons and prisoners than we do on education, a black man is almost 8 times more likely to be imprisoned for the same crime as a white man, and there are more than 200 new jail cells created every day in America. (

How do you think the founding fathers would feel about that?  Well, other than the black to white incarceration ratio.  Do you think our constitution and legal system is currently working for us now that you’ve considered these facts?  Maybe you do, these kinds of beliefs are akin to religion from a stubbornness standpoint.  I’m not optimistic about changing people’s opinions on key issues, but maybe I can help educate someone who is open-minded enough to accept the facts for what they are, and reexamine the old laws and fears for what they were.  Substance abuse, often times, is a victimless crime.  Sure, intoxication can lead to spousal abuse or car accidents or worse, but emotions can pave the way for any one of those scenarios just as easily.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project we spend $7 billion every year arresting people for marijuana.  Add to that the $15 billion every year to keep them in prison.  These are non-violent offenders of a ludicrous law enacted by biased white men almost a hundred years ago.  It’s time to reevaluate whether or not it’s worth more than $20 billion per year to put our friends, coworkers, siblings, parents, and even grandparents in the ever expanding prison system for a plant that is both scientifically and statistically proven to be not only benign but also beneficial for thousands, if not millions, of Americans.  Certainly, this war on drugs, is not winning.  Surrender is not dishonorable, nor should it be stigmatized, especially when combating inanimate and naturally occurring things.

Hopefully, in the future, maybe later this century, we’ll look back on this time in America and we’ll laugh, like we do about Alcohol Prohibition last century.  “What a silly thing,” we’ll say, “to not only ignore the money making opportunities of these ‘illicit’ chemicals and plants, but to actually spend that much money trying to fight these things, and all the while turning a blind eye to the medical and social impacts; Ha ha!  Ridiculous!”  I’m optimistic about such a scenario, but not always.  Maybe we’ll actually pull a 180 and pay people money for specializing in the creation, distribution, and understanding of these compounds.  Maybe not.  In the meantime, ladies and gentlemen, I present Willie Nelson…


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It’s amazing how emphasizing one aspect of a study over another can skew a person’s view on a subject.  This… let’s call it a Press Release… No, how about a Study Summary?  Teen ER Visits Due to Ecstasy Are on the Rise.  That’s an interesting title, and after reading this Study Summary I have a second opinion regarding the title, excuse the pun.  This block of words and numbers could have easily been titled “Everything in Ecstasy Except MDMA is Bad For You.”  Or, another possibility is “Teen  Population on the Rise.”  Or how about, “ER Visits as a Whole Are on the Rise.”  Or another personal favorite “MDMA: Seriously Way Less Dangerous Than Everything Else.”

The United States of America has the fastest population growth rate of all industrialized countries, according to a World Population Data Sheet in July of 2003 from the Population Reference Bureau.  And the National Center for Health Statistics says there are 1.6 million more births each year in the US than deaths.  4 Million new babies per year.  This Study Summary claims an increase of 40% over three years, when there must be at least two or three million new teenagers every year.  People who have ingested Ecstasy, a word I abhor by the way, will typically ingest it again in the future.  There’s a reason there’s no such thing as Ecstasy Anonymous.  MDMA is not easily accessible to everyone; Marijuana and Cocaine are probably much more available and desirable among youths.  Never mind the availability and wealth of alcohol to teenagers.

So, as you can imagine, there aren’t many people who would claim to have used MDMA in 2005 who would not claim the same thing just three years later.  Add to that the, literally, millions of new teenagers discovering something far worse than any drug or drink available locally, the internet.  Yes, the internet can, and probably will, change your teenager in one way or another.  There are a lot of things you can do with the knowledge at your fingertips.  One thing teenagers can use the internet for is learning about the wonders of human inebriation.  However the internet holds more psychedelic majesty than any normal adult would ever care to learn about.

With that being said, MDMA has a certain appeal, especially to young people.  First of all it’s a drug from “this generation” you could say.  Mushrooms have always existed, LSD was the 60s, cocaine in the 80s, and Ecstasy in the 90s.  MDMA is also associated with electronic music, which is still popular with teenagers to this day.  Another point to mention is the lack of any deaths from MDMA, or even Ecstasy, the dirty whore of a sibling.  I’d be interested in seeing the data comparing alcohol overdose to every other substance.  Who can say no to a drug that guarantees a happy experience with a low risk of overdose, when the legal competition is a highly dangerous liquid capable of inducing suicide, homicide, and so much more?

Overdose.  I’ve been using this word a lot.  When I say the term “Ecstasy Overdose” most people are just thinking of the drug, MDMA, street name Ecstasy, causing overdoses.  However, this is not entirely true.  In fact, it’s mostly false.  Ecstasy pills are notoriously impure creations of human greed, containing everything from Methamphetamine to Mephedrone to BZP, Caffeine, or TFMPP.  Fortunately I don’t know this first hand, but most human beings would not voluntarily ingest many of those chemicals, and some Ecstasy pills contain a combination of those chemicals, and even worse, sometimes they contain no MDMA what-so-ever.

So how can you even properly have statistics regarding “Ecstasy” the pill, instead of MDMA the chemical?  It doesn’t seem logical.  And even in the chimera trucker doppelganger candy form we call Ecstasy, it’s only ranked 7th for “most commonly involved illicit drug involved in emergency department visits, behind cocaine, which accounted for 48.5% of the ER visits, marijuana (37.7%), heroin (20.2%), methamphetamine (6.7%), PCP or phencylidine (3.8%), and amphetamines (3.2%)”

MDMA was once a prescription drug that was praised by the psychiatric community for its effects.  As I remember it, it was used to treat terminally ill patients and help them cope with their mortality while allowing them to connect on a more personal level with loved ones, while also treating more common problems like depression.  MDMA is truly a magical chemical, which, when used in its pure form, is very safe and enjoyable for an extremely high percentage of users.  I still make an effort to experience the benefits of Shulgin’s creation at least a couple times per year.

I’d like to end this with another reference from this Study Summary, something you might not have noticed that frightened and confused me on a primal level.  Let’s see that quote one more time…

“Ecstasy was the seventh most commonly involved illicit drug involved in emergency department visits, behind cocaine, which accounted for 48.5% of the ER visits, marijuana (37.7%), heroin (20.2%), methamphetamine (6.7%), PCP or phencylidine (3.8%), and amphetamines (3.2%).”

According to this study, 37.7% of ALL illicit drug-related ER visits are for marijuana.  Seriously?  Seriously… Words cannot describe the emotions rising up within me as I read this series of numbers and letters.  The part of my brain involved with reading is telling myself “Yes, that is what they said.”  Meanwhile, the part of my brain that is aware of the fact that no one has ever died from marijuana ever in the history of written language, no, in the history of spoken word and storytelling, is flaring up something fierce.  A bolt of lightning, not unlike the ones used in pain relief advertisements, is connecting these parts of my brain striking my mind repeatedly over and over, incapable of processing these two facts.  Because, after all, they are both facts.  These people are actually going to the hospital, it’s not a lie.  I would be thrilled to see the marijuana overdose episode of House.

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Death is never easy to accept.  Revenge is a predictable byproduct of death, especially unnatural death of someone in their “prime.”  But how do you exact revenge on something inanimate?  Or rather, alleviate the desires for revenge?  How can you achieve peace of mind?  Well, there are two ways to go about such a task.  The first, involves creating awareness of this danger which has been put in the spotlight.  Yes, tell everyone about said danger in the hopes that no one else need be sacrificed.  Pretty simple concept.  The other thing someone could do is condemn the dangerous thing.  Banish it, destroy it, criminalize it, and install a sense of fear into everyone with the ability to listen.

Articles like this one seem more and more common, if you can call them articles.  A serious lack of actual investigation and reporting went into the making of these blocks of text on the internet.  First of all, as you might notice, there is a picture of some powder with the caption “2C-1, the drug being blamed for the overdoses.”  Where to start?  First of all, there is no such thing as 2C-1.  That is not a chemical that exists either theoretically or physically.  I assume they meant 2C-I, which I guess kind of looks like 2C-1, however this article is about 2C-E, so you’ll have to pardon my confusion when it says “the drug being blamed for overdoses.”  Enough of that, let’s keep going down this path, I like where this is heading.

The author immediately goes into chemical background.  I’m sure the same level of detail-oriented craftsmanship can be expected in the body of the text and not just the captions.  “2C-E, is the chemical cousin of a relatively new, synthetic hallucinogen called 2C-I.”  Alright, I know this is splitting hairs, and the word “relatively” is very clearly in the sentence, but 2C-E and 2C-I both had their syntheses published in the 1991 book PiHKAL by Alexander and Ann Shulgin, twenty years ago.  I wouldn’t say to someone “I’m relatively new to videogames” and that’s because I’ve been playing them for twenty years.  Forget it, let’s move on.

“Since it first surfaced in the early 2000s, 2C-I built a reputation as a” – hold it right there.  How can you, as a writer, input into your keyboard a sentence using the words “relatively new” and then immediately follow that sentence with a sentence about it’s already existing reputation from last decade.  I mean come on.

“According Anoka County Sheriff commander Paul Sommer, 2C-E is actually legal.”  Not true.  2C-E is illegal for human consumption.  It is only legal as a “research chemical” which means when you ingest 2C-E it’s the same as ingesting paint thinner.  There are warnings all over the packaging telling you to NOT eat the contents, and for good reason.  One thing paint thinner has in common with 2C-E, is they are both lethal in high enough doses.  But then again, what isn’t?  It’s possible to overdose on nicotine patches, acetaminophen, alcohol, and glue, yet all of them are readily available at a store near you.  Hell, a poor diet will lead to cardiac problems and diabetes, moderation is the key.  In the drug community it’s called “Harm Reduction” and it’s a very serious thing for the hardcore drug geeks of the world.  Harm reduction produces fewer headlines.  Fewer headlines mean less drug laws.  Less drug laws means the ability to buy things like 2C-I and 2C-E and the hundreds of other “legal” chemicals available to, not just Americans, but almost every developed nation.

“It’s not on any controlled substance tables in the United States,” he says. “I guess you wouldn’t even call it a drug. It’s kind of marketed as a research chemical or something like that.”

That’s a hell of a quote.  I’m not sure how I feel about the Sheriff Commander ending his sentence with “or something like that.”  I guess ambivalence and confusion are far better reactions than fear and loathing, but it’s a short road from one to the next, and only a matter of time before one of two dramatic conclusions occurs.

Option A – Decriminalize all drugs and legalize the non-addictive and non-lethal varieties.  The government can tax and over-see the manufacture and distribution of these plants and chemicals, maintaining standards while generating capital.  The prison system becomes less crowded, less money is spent on inmates, and more money is put into public healthcare to assist drug addicts and alcoholics.

Option B – Create a blanket law that outright criminalizes any “substance with recreational and/or psychedelic effects” without needing the emergency scheduling process.

Right now in America for a drug to become illegal, or Scheduled, it must first go through emergency scheduling which requests medical information on the dangers, or possible benefits, of the chemical in question.  After a short period of time, I believe it’s 30 days but I can’t remember, if all goes according to plan, the chemical is placed in the list of Scheduled chemicals.  Because of this, combined with the hard reality that new psychedelics are invented, synthesized, and ingested every year, it’s incredibly difficult for the government to quickly determine which, if any, of the new chemicals are dangerous enough, or popular enough, to require Schedule placement.

So those are you’re options.  Embrace the inevitable, accept the fact that humans have been altering their minds and perceptions for millenia, and plunge in head first, or clamp down even harder and burn more cash fighting the most popular recreational activity in the world, substance abuse.