Pubdate: Mon, 16 May 2005
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Jon Carroll
Note: Jon Carroll is on vacation. His column will return Wednesday. This is 
a Carroll Classic, originally published on May 20, 2002.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Saints preserve me, I never thought I'd live long enough to hear the 
special assistant to the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse 
say, somewhat defensively, "Like any mass processing, it's not a perfect 
process. But the marijuana we provide and produce is almost entirely free 
of seeds and stems."

Government Sez: We've Got Righteous Weed.

The remarks by Steve Gust were in response to a complaint by users of 
government-produced medical marijuana (that would be the good kind of 
marijuana, the medical kind, rather than the felonious marijuana that leads 
to heroin, insanity and bank robberies) that the product they were 
receiving was "Mississippi ditch weed."

In my day it was called "Midwestern median strip weed," since less potent 
forms of marijuana often grew along our nation's highways -- the hemp plant 
being, among other things, a hearty and adaptable weed -- but I am glad to 
hear the government defending its own doobies.

It's also interesting that the phrase "seeds and stems" has entered the 
general vocabulary. Maybe it will become corporate jargon next -- 
"Carstairs, this report is nothing more than seeds and stems."

Of course, none of this is funny to the people who have to smoke the 
inadequate marijuana. They are using marijuana to alleviate severe pain. 
It's not exactly wonderful to lay some inferior pot on someone who wants 
relief from the nausea of chemotherapy.

One study, with a small sample and run by a biased source, did indeed 
suggest that government muggles was not nearly as potent as street boo. 
(I'm including a brief history of marijuana slang in this column as an 
educational tool.) But of course, if the stuff were legal, then suffering 
people could find their own sources and get their own dosages.

Maybe they are anyway. Let me think for a moment of how many people I know 
in the journalism, film, music and art worlds, in the construction trades 
and the U.S. military, in the restaurant business and the rag trade, in 
dentistry and medicine and law and podiatry, who have smoked marijuana. 
Hmm. In percentages, I'd say: just about everyone.

I mean, George Bush was a party guy at a party school during the late '60s. 
You telling me he never toked down? I am not believing you.

Clarence Thomas and Newt Gingrich -- you telling me those lads never had a 
few puffs? Hey, Tom Daschle and Barney Frank and Ted Kennedy and Dick Armey 
- -- do not bogart that joint, my friends.

As for Willie Brown and Terence Hallinan and Barbara Boxer and Gavin Newsom 
and Jerry Brown -- it is to laugh. Nobody here but us recreational users, 

I myself -- and this will be a shocker, I know -- used quite a bit of 
marijuana. I stopped in 1988, so my support of the legalization of 
marijuana is entirely altruistic.

But while we're walking down memory lane, why not stop to remember the 
large number of people who are in prison for gigantic amounts of time 
because they got caught growing or selling what the government is currently 
growing and what many of us have used without fear of legal penalty?

It's the old class system again. The people who do the dirty work also do 
the time. (Say, it's just like the prostitution business!) Because the 
government has a hair up its astrolabe about recreational drugs, the poor 
and the inadequately defended are rattling around hellholes with psychotic 
loonies and serial abusers.

It's an outrage and everyone knows it. It's been an outrage for so long 
that everyone has forgotten about it except the folks walking the exercise 
yards. Making alcohol legal and pot illegal is senseless; everyone knows it 
and everyone has other priorities.
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