Category Archives: Drug Policy

Stop letting people say that marijuana is deadly

Facts are better than myths

Here in the United States, there’s a lot of misinformation about cannabis and its health impacts.

Given the fact that Tobacco and Alcohol are legal and that each passing year brings us more prescription drugs, we think marijuana prohibition is mostly for historical cultural reasons. We’re doing our small part to help spread information by sharing the science and facts that are being discovered via research on marijuana’s impacts on the human body.

Let’s talk about the myth of marijuana killing people for a moment.

In this study of deaths and their causes which compares marijuana with FDA approved drugs, we find some interesting information: the FDA approved drugs are much more deadly, according to a government-approved evaluation methodology.

We highly recommend reading through it, it’s enlightening. Maybe a little dry, but hey, this is your health we’re talking about.

We’d like to remind you all that here at Stonyview, we think about our health and the risks we’re taking by enjoying marijuana. We think it’s similar to thinking about drinking a beer or a glass of wine or eating a whole package of bacon or having a candy bar. Nothing more. Nothing less.

While we think it’s ridiculous that people paint marijuana as deadly and that’s the point of us researching and reading up on the latest medical studies, we also think that it’s important to note that:

Most marijuana intake does come with a risk

Do you smoke?

If you’re like us, you enjoy that toke. That little puff, the inhale and the warming sensation as you feel the smoke waft through your mouth and lungs. If you’re a noob or you really took a tube down, you finish off with a bit of a cough and some watery eyes.

Mmmmmm just thinking about it makes us want one. It’s a fun feeling

But, that smoke is the worst part of indulging in marijuana

The damage you do to your lungs as the result of smoking pot is pretty serious. You just need to think about these two unique aspects of lighting marijuana on fire:

  • The heat from the fire and smoke messes with your mouth, your gums and your tongue. It’s not pretty. We’ve talked with our friends who are doctors and they all say the same thing,
    • "You never hear about it, but mouth cancer is pretty serious. It’s painful and kind of gross." If you want some quick examples, take a look at this search for mouth cancer images. It’s pretty graphic, so we didn’t want to embed it here.
  • The carbon monoxide and other side-effects of combustion are also big fails. When you light something on fire, combustion happens, and because of the nature of the combustion, a lot of carbon monoxide is released, straight into your mouth, since that’s the point right? Then you also have the tar and carbon flowing into your lungs in small pieces. Not good times…

You’ve probably thought about this before. Maybe you’ve evaluated the risks and decided you’re fine with it. Just like having that glass of wine with dinner, you’re comfortable with the risks you take in your life and that’s one you are willing to take.

man protecting himself from smokeIf you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to think about it a bit. Part of why most people feel kind of "dumb" when they smoke pot is because of this carbon monoxide – it goes straight into your system through your mouth and nose you and for a few minutes, you let the carbon monoxide asphyxiate your brain for a few minutes. That dumb feeling isn’t part of being stoned.. it’s the byproduct of inhaling a fire.

If you would run out of a smoky building, worried about the impact on your brain and lungs, you owe it to yourself to think harder about what you’re doing when you’re taking those bong hits. That joint you light up everyday is beautiful, but it’s burning the shit out of your mouth, really fucking up your lungs and killing brain cells (yeah, it’s the carbon monoxide that does that, not the weed).

Smoking isn’t the only way to enjoy marijuana

Don’t get too down about things though. If you love weed but don’t like reading and hearing about all these negative side effects to smoking, rest assured that there are two different ways to go about consuming pot:

Vaporizers

We’re unabashed vaporizer lovers here at Stonyview. Consider this: vaporizers tend to give you a better high with less weed in the same amount of time that it takes to smoke. Pretty awesome right?

We wrote about why you should invest in a vaporizer and won’t repeat ourselves much here, but our two favorite vapes at the moment are:

The Volcano Vaporizer, the Cadillac of Vapes

The Vapir One Vaporizer – the best value out there

Got a favorite vape? Tell us about it in the comments.

Edibles

Who doesn’t love eating yummy stuff and then having a delicious body high for several hours afterwards? Making basic edibles can be surprisingly easy:

Pot brownies in 90 minutes? Yes please – take a look at our easy instructions.

What’s challenging about edibles is that they require quite a bit of plant material in order to get you the high you’re looking for. However, we’ve discovered another reason that vaporizers are awesome: if you keep the vaporized leftovers you can use them to bake with.

How to use vaporized material for your baking goodies

 

So, now that you know that:

  • Marijuana isn’t deadly on its own and studies show that fewer people die from cannabis use than FDA-approved drugs
  • Smoking of marijuana is the riskiest component of marijuana consumption
  • Vaporizing your marijuana and baking it into edibles are great ways to consume weed without nasty side-effects

Be sure to spread the facts to your friends. The more people understand the basics and the facts, the better!

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Marijuana growing would be more efficient if legalized

…at least according to this report from GOOD on The Carbon footprint of Indoor Cannabis production.

The report says that indoor Cannabis production is using 1% the nation’s entire electricity consumption, which comes to a cost of ~$5 billion/year in electricity costs.

According to the report, much of the costs of energy associated with Cannabis production are due to highly inefficient practices designed to avoid being caught. If legal, the cannabis industry would be able to pursue more efficient growing methods, including moving much of the growing outdoors. Fast Company’s take on this report goes so far as to say that,

“Marijuana production needs to be legalized, so people will actually cast a critical eye on its energy usage. All the industry has to do is follow in the footsteps of the commercial agricultural industry, which has made strides in energy efficiency in recent years.”

With more people consuming Cannabis every day, it’s certainly important to behave responsibly and take a mature stance to the impact we, as consumers, have on energy practices. Obviously, legalization would help to further the objective of a lower carbon impact, but the next best thing that you can do is to apply a philosophy similar to that of what we’re starting to do with food. Ask your source a few questions:

  • Do you know where this came from?
  • What are the growing practices?
  • Are you consistently getting your weed from the same place?

These might seem like small questions to ask, but being conscientious and curious is the first step that you can take to leading to better practices. As the consumer, your dollars can drive action, so start driving action and preferring less impactful marijuana that hasn’t been shipped long distances!

 

Question: do you think that you can impact the energy practices of companies? Discuss with us in the comments.

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A roundup of Prop 19 and legalization writings

With the elections over and the 4 statewide initiatives all having failed, we thought we’d take a bit of time to reflect on the past few months of campaigning for marijuana legalization.

While it’s never fun to lose, we’ve got to say that this election feels less like a loss and more like a, “ok kid, wait your turn” moment at the high dive. As far as we can tell, we’re a few more years away from a major state (probably California) officially putting legalized marijuana on the map and up for legal debates of a higher and more serious order.

That seems to be the route necessary to ensure that the real conversations about legalization are being had. Is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol? Should it continue to be massively overpriced, relative to the price of a competitive good? Is it reasonable that so much crime is associated with its cultivation, use and distribution?

These questions and others are being asked on a more regular basis and we’re happy to see people changing their minds as they discover more of the facts. While we, as marijuana proponents, would have preferred if at least one of the initiatives on the ballot passed, we are quite content seeing that the numbers are moving up quickly and favorably and that major news organizations are acting as if it’s inevitable. Trust us: if it wasn’t perceived to be a likely event in the next few years, we would have CNBC and the like doing special documentaries on the topic of the business of marijuana.

In any case, our process of reflection about the election includes re-reading some of the most interesting pieces that were written leading up to the election, along with a following of the reactions from many of the leaders in the marijuana community after the results were tallied. Blow a few clouds from your device of choice (you know us, we love to vaporize it up…) and sit back with some interesting reading:

  • Leading up to the election, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch of reason.com wrote a widely shared piece in the Huffington Post entitled, “Why Pot Legalization Is the Most Important Issue Before Voters This Election Day. They were right then and advocates for legalization will need to keep their points in mind as they rebuild their case. Their most excellent point is about the inevitability of legalization:
    • “A legalization win in California, or even a close call, will certainly spread to other states, including ostensibly conservative red states. A 2009 Zogby poll found that 52 percent of adults now agreed that pot should be regulated similar to alcohol, and other national polls all show persistently upward trends and historically high percentages sympathetic to legalization. Pot is the top cash crop in California, Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia, and elsewhere. A dozen states, including California, Nebraska, Mississippi and North Carolina, have already decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and more than that have legalized some form of medical marijuana (Arizona and South Dakota are voting on it this year too). Given marijuana’s presence in every part of the country, legalization is not a question of if but when.”
  • Steve Elliott, on his Toke of the Town blog took the “Stoners Against Prop 19” to task in a way that only he can, by quoting numerous members of the pro-Prop 19 movement who were upset: check it out here
  • The Cannabis Warrior had a boycott page up, listing all the businesses that were were against Prop 19 and asking for pot purchasers to boycott them, but had to take it down after unintended consequences. His writing about that ordeal is pretty interesting, you can find it here
  • In the lead up to the vote, High Times took its time to list out their best and worst cities for pot, with Indianapolis rounding out the bottom of the list and of course, San Francisco at the top. While we know that this was largely traffic bait, it is interesting to think about where the most friendly and accommodating places in the US are. Perhaps one of you out there with some savvy tech skills could help us whip up something that takes this list and makes some valuable maps around it. 
  • Of note, after the loss, the New York Times led its post-election coverage with a discussion of the failure of Prop 19, highlighting their perception of the interest level of this proposition.

Finally, we’d like to highlight a lengthy and substantive piece in the aftermath of the election that is a balance of optimism and pragmatism. In “10 Lessons Learned from Marijuana Election Defeats,” NORML discusses lessons learned and comes away with some tough, but important realizations that proponents need to make as we work towards legalization. A few choice quotes from the piece:

California’s Prop 19 received 3.4 million votes for legalization, which represents 46.1% of the voters.  This is the best a statewide marijuana legalization measure has ever done, besting Nevada 2002 (39%), Alaska 2004 (44%), Colorado 2006 (41%), and Nevada 2006 (44%)

 

None of that really matters, though, until we honestly address the social disapproval of “smoking pot”.  The underlying premise of prohibition is that we are forbidding adults from an activity for all of our own good.  Without addressing the morality of marijuana, the flaws we point out in prohibition are just kinks in the system that need to be improved, not an indictment of the reason for the system.  We’re locking up too many blacks and Latinos?  We’ll just try to be more fair about arresting all races equally, then.  We spend a lot of money going after pot?  How much is too much to spend to keep your kids safe?  Gangsters are violent in the marijuana trade?  That’s why we need to arrest people, so they’ll stop smoking pot.  See how that works?

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Have you heard of WeedMaps? Maybe you should..

We were intrigued to read about WeedMaps, a company that’s growing an online business (pun intended) with the premise that marijuana will be legal before too long. Take a look at this multi-part piece on Cannabis Capitalism that includes time the founder of the company, Justin Hartfield and talks more in depth about the business of pot. He’s clearly intelligent about the state of the industry, the macro trends and where you can make money in this business. We particularly enjoyed his honest assessment of the fact that some businesses are going to get disrupted and be upset as things change – that’s very natural. We love to see competition, it usually results in better stuff for us consumers!

Cannabis Capitalism Part 1
Cannabis Capitalism Part 2
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The legalization of marijuana isn’t being argued for honestly

At least that seems to be the take of one journalist: David Harsanyi. He writes rather personally and passionately that many people arguing for legalization aren’t doing it honestly and are instead opting for arguments that are more palatable. His rebuke of the medical marijuana argument is particularly biting. While we may not fully agree with him, we liked seeing someone talking about a subject that is often left untouched. The politically attractive arguments certainly don’t seem to be the ones that most of our friends really understand and support:

We could argue that legalizing drugs would provide government with a great source of revenue. (No worries; the “wealthiest among us” would pay their fair share.) But a new Cato Institute study by Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron and Katherine Waldock at New York University finds that there would be a rather unexceptional $17.4 billion in yearly national budgetary improvement from legalizing marijuana.

(For a number of reasons, there would be far more savings if we legalized potent narcotics. Then again, as it’s nearly impossible to buy cough medicine without asking a cashier for permission, the prospects of heroin and methamphetamine party samplers remain murky at best.)

Or we could keep pretending that pot has profound medicinal value. In Denver, a sham medical pot industry has blossomed, and coincidentally there have been mass outbreaks of Andromeda strain and cooties among 20-somethings. This makes a mockery of real sickness and threatens to turn one-time public support into deeper skepticism.

Meanwhile the most honest arguments for legalization are also the most politically unattractive: If people want to get stoned, it’s none of your business. (Now that’s a campaign slogan!) If an employer wants to test me, fine. If government wants to bray on about the troika of evil — drugs, cigarettes and Happy Meals — so be it. But the trade-offs are clear. Today we’re creating international crime syndicates, we’re locking up nonviolent citizens and we’re not altering behavior.

You can read the entirety of the piece here.

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“The Dude” speaks about marijuana legalization and special interests

As many stoners know, “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski is actually a real person, he lives in California and he’s really pretty interesting. He’s been written about several times, but we found this piece on his thoughts on legalization of marijuana in California interesting.

It’s an article well worth reading, but we’re sharing a really insightful part here, that discusses the role of money in the current battle in California:

“If you take out the special interests, the entrenched groups, with any of these issues — whether it’s energy, the financial sector, or legalized marijuana — it’s always very clear what the right thing to do is,” said The Dude.

He was echoing, in his way, an old truth of politics: that the best way to judge what’s really at stake in an election is to follow the money. And the source of the funds being used to dissuade Californians from legalizing pot says a lot about the end-stage hypocrisies of the arthritic war on drugs.

As a societal ground-shaker, a voter-imposed act to legalize the most popular illicit drug in the United States — with about 17 million current users — will hardly bring down any of the nation’s foundations. Like most tectonic shifts, Prop 19 is long in coming, and the actual slip of the earth will not be apocalyptic.

Cannabis became illegal in most states not long after alcohol was freed of the folly of Prohibition, the greatest crime-booster of the 20th century. The legalization movement, now 35 years and running, acknowledges the obvious: pot is a mildly mind-altering recreational diversion that is not worthy of having the weight, misery and money of the criminal-judicial-industrial complex against it.

Of course, too many people abuse marijuana. And too many young people escape in a cannabis cloud when they should be studying calculus or kicking a soccer ball. But these cautionary notes also go for sugar, trans fats, television, computer games and a big pair of destructive legal drugs — alcohol and nicotine.

And therein lies the first lesson in this potpourri: The real threat posed by Prop 19 is not from the “message” that society would send by allowing legal pot use. Talk about message: it’s impossible to escape the drugs pushed relentlessly on television — pills to help you sleep or have sex, or drinks to make you sociable. No, the threat is to the established order that controls profitable legal drugs, and to the criminal cartels who benefit from our absurd prohibition of pot.

So, it’s not a bit surprising that one of the biggest contributors to the campaign against legalization is the California Beer and Beverage Distributors. Having branded their products with nearly every major American recreational ritual, Big Alcohol does not want marijuana to get a piece of that large pie of legal money spent to distract ourselves from ourselves.

The other major opponents appear, at first glance, to be somewhat of a surprise. The California Cannabis Association, representing medical marijuana dispensaries, has come out against legalization, claiming it would be “a direct assault on medical marijuana patients.”

Prop 19, in fact, would be a direct assault on the profits made by those dispensaries. A Rand Drug Policy Research Center study this summer found that the price for an ounce of pot could drop 90 percent — before a hefty tax — if it’s legalized in California. This is in part because the law would allow people to grow a small plot of their own weed, further cutting into the cartels — legal and illegal.

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Stephen Colbert & Barney Frank discuss politics and pot

In addition to talking about financial reform, Barney Frank comments on what he views as “nannying”, when the U.S. Government penalizes those who smoke marijuana. It starts at about 4:40 in, check it out and enjoy it!

The Colbert Report

Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

Consumer Protection Agency – Barney Frank
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive

 

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The UK: looking for a science-based approach to drug policy

Great Op-Ed in the Guardian about drug policy in the UK and how it appears to be shifting to a more science-oriented policy, as opposed to being locked into rumor mongering and fear tactics.

The article is located here

An especially poignant quote from the piece:

Science cannot determine alone what the framework for drugs regulation should be. But if policy is not grounded in the science it can easily collapse into prejudice, moralism and authoritarianism. The chaos earlier this year over the "legal high" mephedrone raised very significant issues of evidence in relation to new drugs of unknown harm. Alcohol is legal yet is producing growing levels of damage which are well detailed in government reports but recommendations for harm reduction are not acted upon. A recent scientific review of drug harms, originally published in The Lancet, found that many class A drugs are in fact less harmful than alcohol. This raises further questions over the coherence of current drugs laws.

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