Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Readusting to the gloom and cold in lovely downtown Noho. The fall colors are still strong here and offer something of a consolation for a so far brutal week. Having nothing amusing to report let me take this moment to issue my second ever correction in the history of the blog.

You remember my favorite bar in Lauderdale-by-the-sea, the Pumping Station? Well, it really was a great place. I went there every night for my dose of human interaction. The patron base was mostly the local hospitality service crowd, and expats from the north. It was this oasis in the center of a dozen tourist ridden joints. The bar menu was the best in town, good food for a decent price and the bartenders were the best in town.

Randy and Tarra rocked the house. Pleasant, alert and efficient, great team, not to mention personable. They were the only ones having any fun and my guess is they were ringing a drawer at night that was bigger porportionately than the tourist traps.

Lest you think I'm being judgmental, I was a bartender for three years. I have a professional interest in these things. Randy's style is a lot like my own. He connects with his patrons. I always maintained the job was 10 percent mixology and 90% sociology. You have to relate to people to do the job well.

Randy spent enough time with me to get the blog address and actually check it out, which brings me the correction. Now in my defense, I'm going deaf and Lauderdale-by-the-sea is a noisy town. Randy very tactfully pointed out that the name of his bar is not the Pumping Station.

So, if you find yourself in this part of Lauderdale, stop by the Village Pump and tell Randy that Last One Speaks sent you....


Still battling our way through the inbox here, so we're taking it off the top again tonight. First report is out of Canada on the imminent demise of the decrim bill on marijuana. Although according to the results of a recent poll, 55% of Canadians support decriminalization, the bill appears to be doomed by the political machinations of a changing administration up North. The icy breath of John Walters is freezing this one it seems.

The contentious legislation is being pushed by Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien, but Mr. Martin has not shown much support. Mr. Martin wants to rejuvenate Canada's troubled relationship with the United States, which opposes the bill.

I'm going to miss Chretien. It disturbs me to see a US agenda being imposed on the will of the Canadian populace via a weak willed incoming adminstrator. I don't really understand the politics there, but still, it feels somehow like this is a setback and not a total loss. They still did get the medical marijuana provisions through, weak as they were. Patience is definitely a virtue in this process.

* * * * * *

Across the pond, from France comes a positive development, Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin is backing a plan to amend French law to downgrade marijuana possession to a fine-only offense, according to published reports in L'Express. According to the article this is already a defacto policy but it's good to see it made official.

* * * * * * *

Meanwhile here in the US, Keith Stroup, Executive Director of NORML, testified today in favor of the legalization of marijuana at a special joint legislative hearing before the Maryland Senate Special Committee on Substance Abuse, the House Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and the Baltimore City Senators and Delegates.

Maryland you may remember recently passed legislation allowing medical necessity as a marijuana possession defense.

Speaking of medicine, from Hanover Germany, comes this piece of the cannabis puzzle. The efficacy of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana,is sufficient enough to warrant its clinical use in the treatment of Tourette's Syndrome (TS), according to a clinical review published in this month's issue of the journal Expert Opinion in Pharmacotherapy.

In a related article linked to this notes, the herb marijuana,

is effective in reducing "tics" in patients suffering from Tourette's Syndrome (TS), according to clinical trail data published in a recent edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Tourette's Syndrome is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor tics (sudden spasms especially in the facial muscles, neck and shoulders) and one or more vocal tics.

I'm heartened by this research because I know someone with a son who has this condition. He's a teenager now and he tells her it relieves his symptoms and she sees it's true but is afraid to tell her doctor because it's illegal. None of the pharmaceuticals have worked.

Cannabis has been utilized as a medical remedy for 5,000 years. It's studies like this that will bring the dialogue into civilized debate and allow this child to live his life with dignity.

Sometimes, the old ways are best.


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