Thursday, July 31, 2003


I woke up yesterday and vomited. Even taking into account my innate hypochondria, I thought I felt a little warm. Nonetheless, I pressed on to the office thinking I would get the essentials done and go home. I ended up driving to Cambridge instead to file a complaint that was returned for a lousy $5 surcharge that was listed nowhere on the incomprehensible, Romney inspired, newly increased filing fee charts. No one listened when I said Romney would not solve what ails the Commonwealth. I still think Reich would have but no matter, we have to hope we will survive Mitt.

Four hours on the MA Turnpike and almost an hour dealing with Boston drivers in town. I have to admit I contributed to the myth of the BAD Boston driver on the return trip. Funny town to drive in, easy to get into but impossible to find the way out. It's like the MA Pike is some dirty secret. There aren't street signs much less highway markers. So I slowed way down on Storrowtown Drive trying to find a sign - any omen that I was getting close, and this truck pulls up behind me going 70, blaring his horn and giving me the finger.

It was slowing up two hundred feet anyway. So I shake my arms around and shout some shit back, pointing to the traffic jam but I keep going. The guy slides between me and the car next to me, making four lanes out of three, cuts me off, and roars away slicing on through the traffic. Worked out for me, he cleared the lane and the next exit was miraculously mine. I was dead straight sober, but it was one of those times when it felt like the car knew the way to go better than me. We hit the same bridge that let us escape last time.

I've owned this car for three years and I'm just bonding with it. Until about a month ago, I probably put 1,500 miles on the odometer. I still don't know where all the stuff is, I often pop the trunk instead of the gas cap cover. It's turning out to be a good highway car though. We both have the same comfort zone at around 70-75. Keeps you in the left lane just under the acceptable over-the-limit range and melts the miles a little faster.

It was kind of Zen, surfing through the traffic on the pike. I used to love to drive and I used to do it a lot. In my lifetime, I've spent a lot of hours on this particular stretch of road. It evokes memories in its monotony. Going up the big hill, I could almost see the Volkswagen bus I used to drive on our weekly drug run into the city. Later on I drove a van. In those days there was a kind of cameraderie between the runners on the road. We used to wave to each other and share melting ice cream at the rest areas. The world was so much more civilized then. You don't see VW buses on the road anymore and nobody waves. I miss those gentler times.



Good news on the medical marijuana front. In a Medscape poll, still in progress when I received it, 85% of medical professionals endorse the plant as a medicine. Statistics like this is what makes Andrea Barthwell's remarks denying industry acceptance so transparently false and infuriating.

Here we are suffering the indignities perpetrated by the DEA in the so called land of the free, while in Canada, only hours away from where I sit now, Marijuana Home Delivery has been operating a successful website without government interference for many months. I hope that kind of thinking is more contagious than SARS.

Speaking of SARS, the scare seems to be over judging by the 450,000 fans who paid the mere $16US to spend the night together with the Rolling Stones. I considered going myself at that bargain price, but frankly I was also thinking that both Mick and I are getting a little too old for these big concerts. I saw some video of the show. Mick is definitely starting to show his age.



I've been trying to avoid talking about the Iraq war here but this Flash video was so powerful and it struck me as I watched it, that it could just as easily be describing the War on Users of Natural Drugs, or any war for that matter. Fair warning, it's disturbing. The sense of loneliness it evokes has been haunting me since I saw it. Dark as it is, it's the last word today.


Wednesday, July 30, 2003


It was quiet in lovely downtown Noho yesterday. Even my discussion lists were slow, I didn't get into the red zone on my email storage once, an unusual occurrence these days. In the War On Users of Natural Drugs, the only news of substance came out of Canada. Tim from OCSARC sent this item:

Source: Canadian Press
Pubdate: July 29, 2003
Author: Tara Barutigam

Court hears appeal that could alter pot possession and distribution

TORONTO (CP) - A battle to determine whether the federal government should be required to provide medicinal marijuana began Tuesday, proceedings that could alter Canada's pot possession laws.

Crown lawyer Croft Michaelson argued in the Ontario Court of Appeal that a ruling by an Ontario Superior Court justice that the federal government is required to set up a distribution scheme for medicinal marijuana should be overturned. He said Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees one's right to life, liberty and security of the person, does not require the government to dispense pot.

"Section 7 does not require the government to establish a legal source of unproved drugs because individuals choose to use them," Michaelson told a panel of three justices. "There's a real possibility that at the end of the day, there's going to be a vacuum that the government is going to have to fill," he added, referring to the 400-plus federally approved marijuana users.

In January, Ontario Superior Court Justice Sidney Lederman ruled it was unfair for the federal government to allow people to smoke medicinal marijuana but put them in a position where they have to buy it from drug dealers because
Ottawa provides no legal access to cannabis. He gave the government until July 9 to fix the regulations or supply the pot itself.

"He's erred in requiring the government to establish a safe, legal supply," Michaelson told justices David Doherty, Stephen Goudge and Janet Simmons. "This case is not about deprivation." He also said Canada's global reputation is at stake. "The consensus in the international community is that marijuana should not be used as a therapeutic product," he said.

Outside court, lawyer Alan Young, who is arguing for the appeal, said such a notion should be dismissed. "The international community is yawning through our Canadian debate," he said. "Medical marijuana is not an issue in most of the western world because they have decriminalized marijuana." Young cited the Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland and England as examples of countries where criminal sanctions against pot users have been lifted. "You can only have a recreational prohibition if you take care of sick people," he said. "We're here today to tell the court they're not taking care of sick people properly."

In court, Young said the manner by which medicinal marijuana users have to obtain the drug is "Kafka-esque" because of the difficulty some have in finding two specialists willing to approve of the use of pot. "The Crown is trying to defend forcing people into the black market," Young said. He said the federal government needs to take the initiative because the private sector isn't yet involved in distributing marijuana.

"Physicians aren't interested because most of medicine in this country involves pharmaceuticals, synthetic products and not plant products," he said. "No one wants to get involved because no one's figured out how to make money yet."

The hearing continues Wednesday.



The only other item of interest comes from a new member at the GNN forum. Vlad Tamarov from Russia recently joined up. He fought in the Russian Afghanistan conflict as young soldier and has written a book about his experiences. Check out his website. He's published some really haunting photographs there.


Hoping today will be more eventful, I hate being bored. With that in mind, quote of the (yester)day, comes from Ron over at City Cafe:

If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room


Monday, July 28, 2003


Astounding sunset tonight, just the right density of cloud cover. The winds aloft were moving due east, slow but steady enough to paint pictures in the sky for a long time. I swear I saw Jimi Hendrix smoking a joint and then a few minutes later a perfect blue circle of sky formed right over my head, ringed with fat fiery pink clouds shooting orange God light.

I'm so lucky to have this stoop. I live 2 blocks from Main Street but there's a good quarter acre of open land in front of it. Most of it is really well lanscaped parking lots with a raised municipal greenway blocking the north end. To the west, behind the fancy condos is about 7 acres of swamp. I get a lot of birds. I've even seen a rabbit in my parking lot. Tonight the short tail swallows were showing off, looking like little black Stealth planes vying for the sky with the Cessnas and Pipers reluctantly landing at the local airport at the end of the sunset run. I call it the country of lovely downtown Noho.

My mockingbird and my erstwhile suitor, were absent for the first time in days. Come to to think of it, I always saw them both at the same time. One would inevitably show up after the other. I saw a female courting the bird yesterday,
maybe they both found more suitable mates.



They released the Department of Justice prison statistics today. I find it horrifying that 1 out of every 143 people in this country is in jail. We have almost 2,200,000 prisoners, almost 50% of the growth of the federal population and 25% of the entire penal system, are non-violent drug war prisoners. At the state and local level, our prisons are bursting with inmates and busting budgets. This at a time when our educational system and our entire economy is in shambles. I was thinking today of the Pledge of Allegiance I recited to the flag every day in school for 12 years. I could hardly remember the words:

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I've been in an international discussion lately on whether America is still the greatest country in the world. When I was a little girl, I remember reciting that with pride and believing in it. I wish I still could.



Free speech is the foundation of a representational democracy and here in my own Baystate, Steve Drury is making some noise at the Gardner public access station. Seems the local cranky Yankees on the Commission are not too keen on airing Jim Pillsbury's videos on the real facts about cannabis. Jim has just surfaced on my radar screen, but I do like his style. I have a feeling we're going to meet before it's all over.

I'm giving him the quote of the day:

We're all labeled in some way," he said. "So I don't mind having my name associated with drug reform.


Sunday, July 27, 2003


If I had realized what a responsibility matchmaking was, I probably would not have become involved. Continuing the stalker energy that's surrounded me this week, Mike and Irma hunted me down for a barbecue yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I love these two but it takes a lot of patience to listen to them. They're always trashed, and repeat themselves endlessly. It's why Jamie and I thought they would be so perfect together, and they are except for the one fatal flaw both of us missed.

I'd like to point out that this was Jamie's big idea in the first place, I just gave it legs, as was typical in our relationship. Mike and Irma still thank me at least once a week, even as they approach their two year anniversary. I was the one that convinced Irma; it took 3 months. Every time I'm with them, Michael will tell the story of how I set them up. The deal was the three of us would meet for drinks. After an hour if Irma liked him, I would leave. If she didn't, we would leave together. I told Michael the plan as well, before we arrived. He always ends the story by demonstrating how startled he was, standing up and looking around in confusion, and then says "And the rest is history".

It seemed like a such a good idea at the time. When Jamie brought it up, it was one of those head-slapping moments when you say, "Why didn't we think of this before, it's so obvious". Irma was afraid he would hurt her emotionally. I knew him to be a good man who would treat her well. Who would have thought he would treat her so well that it enabled her to hurt herself. She's drinking herself into an early grave and she can't stop because he removed the economic control factor.

Jamie sleazed off to live in another town with his beastly new girlfriend months ago, so I'm left here alone to figure out how to save Irma without hurting Michael. Poor Mike is running around clueless, talking about how he's part of the family, while Irma is telling me her family and her doctor think she should leave him to save her life. I would think that's true except that I see the light in her eyes when he walks into the room. He really is good for her in so many ways, but he is not going to stop drinking and the question is - can she stop if he doesn't? As God is my witness, I will never matchmake again.



Speaking of matchmaking, my personal stalker seems to have finally understood the message. My posse of redneck drinking buddies at City Cafe probably helped drive it home. I didn't even realize I had a posse until this happened. He was still showing up and sitting across the bar from me -- staring. I never had less than four big guys standing around my chair. Three of them each had a little talk with the guy privately. I haven't seen him since, although I hear he's still coming in but leaving before I get there.

That's the thing about living in such a small place. There are times when it feels so incestuous that you have to run screaming to an airport and get out of town. Most times though, trading anonymity for safety works for me. While I hate being watched, it's good to know someone is watching out.



It's been a busy week in the War On Users of Natural Drugs. To begin with we lost the McGovern amendment to divert Columbian drug war funds to AIDS relief in Africa. It was a little disappointing, but it was a close vote - 195 to 226. I thought we might have taken that one, particularly in light of Bush's newly professed concern for Liberia, but I'll take the margin as a sign of hope in this ungodly war. We are making progress.

Speaking of amendments, the rest of the ones I've been working for this week were attached to the transportation bill.

It's mindboggling that the Drug Enforcement Administration will get a healthy budget increase over this year, considering this report by the White House Office of Management and Budget giving the agency a 0 rating in Results/Accountability, while the FBI will have a level budget and aid to state and local law enforcement agencies will be cut.

What a concept. Pump money into a failed program that persecutes non-violent people and take it from the agencies responsible for protecting us against violent terrorist acts. Meanwhile, Bring Em On Bush is out there trying to incite some mayhem that he can take decisive action against and look presidential again, just in time for election season. And they wonder why I smoke cannabis.

In another colossal waste of tax dollars, the Connecticut State Forensic Laboratory is spending $340,000 of federal money to map the DNA of seized marijuana in order to track growers. Should this really be a priority in our federal budget when schoolchildren have no books?

On the brighter side, the FCC amendment to bar federal regulators from letting broadcasters own television stations serving 45 percent of the country's viewers -- compared with 35 percent today -- passed and has drawn a White House veto threat. One little win for as long as it lasts.

Daniel Forbes, who writes on social policy and has testified before both the U.S. Senate and the House, recently published an excellent analysis on where we currently stand in the battle for drug policy reform. It's a sobering look at how far we have to go, but offers hope as a review of what we have accomplished so far.

Other encouraging news comes once again from North of the Border. In Nova Scotia, Marijuana Party Candidate, Michael Ronald Patriquen, is proving a decisive factor in a hotly contested local race. Michael is conducting his campaign from a jail cell where he is serving a 6 year sentence on conspiracy to traffic marijuana. One more thing to love about Canada. There's no law to prevent him from running.

On the subject of medicinal marijuana, the last word and the quote of the day goes to Alison Myrden, a medical marijuana patient living in Burlington, Canada who offers this response to Andrea Barthwell's screed. I don't have a link to this so I am publishing it in its entirety.

I'm the proof

I have just finished a second perusal of Dr. Andrea Barthwell's synopsis of the medicinal utility of cannabis. As a young woman living with chronic progressive MS, and as a legal medical marijuana patient in Canada, I am truly thankful that Barthwell -- deputy director at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and a past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine -- is not in my country.

As far as I am concerned, Barthwell is in the same category as Health Minister Anne McLellan -- misinformed. Barthwell doesn't frighten me. It will just take a little longer to educate her. She argues that the proof of medicine is in the patient's getting better, not just feeling better. Well, I am her proof.

Ten years ago, I couldn't get out of a wheelchair and could not stop shaking violently when I tried to cross a room. I was taking more than 32 pills plus 600 to 2,000 mg of morphine a day. I lost full control of my bladder and bowel. Next came the worst pain known to medicine that was also incurable -- Tic Douloureux.

Before too long and many, many doctors later, I was introduced to marijuana. The results were instantaneous.

Over the last four years, I have halved my prescription medications that were my life for more than 10 years. I am also out of a wheelchair more often and not using my walker at all. Would Barthwell believe I could do this if I weren't improving?

I am one of hundred of thousands of Canadians who have shown the Canadian government just how much our quality of life has improved. My health is better now than it ever has been. I am walking every day of my life now with a cane, I have everything under control when I have the proper strain of cannabis and things could not be better.

I feel sorry, not only for Barthwell because one day she may need this incredible plant, but for her patients who will obviously be denied an indisputable service while she cages the suffering innocents of her country. Shame on her.

Alison Myrden, Burlington.

Friday, July 25, 2003


Life was a lot simpler when I didn't listen to CSPAN. The US Border Patrol is justifying their budget as I write this. I'm beginning to remember why I stopped being a political activist. I used to attend the sessions at the Statehouse in Hartford when I lived there in the late 60s. Nothing has changed. The hypocrisy so infuriates me. As if they really care about what happens to the desperate aliens trying to get into this country. When I turned it on, a border guard was talking about how many drugs they intercept along with the aliens. Not one speaker has referred to these desperate souls as people - you know - as in human beings. They care about nothing but their funding inside the Beltway. This is the most people I seen in that chamber in a week. They only show up for the votes that were decided in the back rooms and on the lobbyist's tabs. It's no way to run a government.

No matter, that fight is too big for me, John Gilmore is on that job as Reason Magazine Online reports. I still haven't found a picture of the actual button involved in the BA brouhaha, but thanks John, for fighting against the small and ridiculous infringements of our civil liberties before they become too big to stop.

I can not afford such large statements. My act of rebellion today was to buy a pair of Harley Davidson slides to wear at work. Sidewalk sales. They were right outside the street door to my office at the tattoo place. That motorcycle has played a big part in my life in small ways and I have never owned any black leather with the symbol. These were surprisingly low heeled but they do have a little riveted tag that says HD. I bought the shoes in the end because they reminded me of my brother.



On the anti-prohibition front, my favorite story of the day is about an insurance claim paid on stolen herb in a Hawaiian granny's garden (excerpt):

By Hunter Bishop/ Tribune-Herald

A Hilo grandmother whose medical marijuana plants were stolen received $2,000 from her insurance company for loss of four plants.

Tammy VanBuskirk, 57, who smokes marijuana to treat glaucoma, has a Hawaii state permit to grow a limited amount of marijuana at her Sunrise Ridge home, and to use it with a doctor's approval.

VanBuskirk said the plants were stolen from her yard on May 5.

"They jumped my fence and grabbed what they could," she said.



Meanhile, DEA Deputy Andrea Barthwell published an outrageous indictment of medicinal marijuana. I sent this letter to two newspapers today:

Please consider this letter for publishing:

Andrea Barthwell, deputy director at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, offers some hazy logic in justifying the continued federal prohibition of medical marijuana. She absurdly suggests that it has no medicinal value because it is an intoxicating substance and patients ingest the plant for relief of symptoms rather than for curative value.

These are terminal patients with incurable diseases. Morphine, a toxic chemical with numerous unpleasant side effects, is routinely administered to dying cancer patients, not as a cure but to relieve pain. One easily develops a tolerance to it that exceeds the toxicity level in a short time, rendering it useless in the long term.

She sneers at those who prefer natural remedies to pharmaceutical poisons and disparages herbal remedies as dangerous or substandard. She then admits that even our most commonly used legal drug, aspirin, was derived from the knowledge gained through the folk medicine of our ancestors. As Congressman Ron Paul, who is also a physician, pointed out at the recent amendment hearings, more people die every day from the use of legal drugs, than from illegal ones. There has never been one reported case of a marijuana overdose.

Ms. Barthwell, wake up. Marijuana has been used since the beginning of civilized society as a medicinal herb and the public is beginning to understand that sometimes the old ways are best.


I'm going to say that again tonight and give myself the quote of the day.

Marijuana has been used since the beginning of civilized society as a medicinal herb and the public is beginning to understand that sometimes the old ways are best.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


We lost the medical marijuana amendment today, the official results being 152 for and 273 against. Still, it was the biggest plurality in the history of the movement. I called Neal's office three times. The second time was about the Columbian amendment. The third time was to thank him for voting for HR 2799. I love that the roll call came at 420, the magic marijuana number. I think it's a good omen for the outcome of this war.

I'm reminded of my friend Bitty, who when he loses at shuffleboard says, (and this is the quote of the day):

I ain't no machine you know; I can't win every round



The debate on the drugwar aid to Columbia is on right now on CSPAN. I have to tell you, life was sure a lot easier when all I watched was the weather channel. I'm either going to have to start eating more celery or up my blood pressure meds. What has celery got to do with it? My holistic GP tells me if I eat 7 stalks of celery a day, I could stop taking meds. Who could eat that much celery? Not me.

So I'm listening to the debate. I'm starting to get used to the rythum. First a sensible view, then an incomprehensibly false view. I wouldn't mind if the opponents offered some actual facts, but I have such a problem when they spew absolute falsehoods and think they are going to continue to get away with it forever.

The axis of evil unbelievable - Souder, Mica and Ballenger have just about stopped pissing me off. In fact I'm almost starting to feel sorry for them. They're going to lose in the end. Their rhetoric is so stale and it's only playing to the elderly and the otherwise internet deprived. It's a shrinking pool of support. With the advances in WiFi technology in the latter and the inevitable attrition by old age of the former, the Souders of the world will not get re-elected forever.

I listen to McGovern, Skelton, DeLauro, Lee, Obey...the list goes on and they are all articulate and even more importantly, passionate about presenting the facts. The buzz on the political lists is that this amendment stands a better chance than usual to pass. I think it will be close and I also feel a strong slant towards the bill. We could win, but what really strikes me tonight is that the room is almost empty. The only people there are the ones talking for the camera. Everyone has already made their deals and wait for the recorded vote to be demanded. They show up for the hour it takes to press their pre-determined button and then go off to the next cocktail party, to cut the next deal. How much are we paying these guys to not show up? We boomers have the numbers. It's time for us to start showing up again, let them know we are watching and ask for some accountability.

The population grows and the planet does not. Our challenge now is to look beyond the small defeats and even the larger victories in the WOUND. A war I believe we are going to win. We need to also build a new model of governance; one that focuses on the needs of the whole planet as well as individual freedoms. We have a responsibilty to both.


Tuesday, July 22, 2003


It was a brutal day. For the longest time I thought it was still Monday. Sure felt like one. My suitor turned out be a stalker. Not dangerous but totally irritating and he required way too much energy to shut down. I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with Mark about him. Turns out he's an old friend of Danny Fitzgerald of Lost Wandering Blues Band fame. It makes his behavior all the more incomprehensible.

AS predicted, he showed up on Sunday afternoon. I already had a plan for the day. He did not take the news graciously. It went downhill from there. Turns out he was stalking two other women in town before he got to me. In the end I gave his license plate to someone who could run it discretely. Details to follow.

The Appropriations Committee is on CSPAN right now, debating the medical marijuana amendment. Souder is on right now, making the usual ass of himself. (Tapping my foot, waiting for him to stop spewing his BS). He is such a sour little man. I keep wanting to call him prune face behind his back. Always raises my blood pressure when I hear him speak.

Hinchey made an eloquent statement in support of his amendment though. Glad he has some time reserved to speak again. Blood pressure dropping. Ron Paul is speaking in favor, he's a doctor and just said more people die from legal drugs than illegal drugs, and more people die from the war against drugs than by ingesting them. I would have never thought a Texas Republican would be speaking so forcefully in favor of this. I'm going to write him a thank you letter. The proponents are carrying the debate I think. The opponents all sound like authoritarians who beat their kids and they're coming out against state's rights at the same time. I do so hope they pass this.

I wrote a lot of letters today and called DC twice. The medical marijuana and the FCC amendments came up for vote. (The opponents sleazed the Med mj onto the floor a day early). I want them to know I'm watching. I'll be doing it again tomorrow against drug war funding to Columbia. I have a feeling we're going to get on first name basis down there.



Received some great mail today. My friend Paul Von Hartmann forwarded an eloquent response he wrote in defense of anti-prohibition:

Current prohibitionist doctrine is an obvious and far reaching attack on fundamental human rights spelled out clearly in the U.N`s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the U.S. Bill of Rights. Those outlaw policies, institutions and individuals who are found to be violating fundamental moral principles, must be charged and held accountable, by an overwhelming global consensus, for credibly referenced scientific conclusions concerning rational drug control measures, and the damage being done by prohibition. At this point, in light of decades of environmental, economic, and behavioral analysis, anyone supporting current drug war policy can be identified as at least unfit to serve, if not criminally sociopathic.

The science of ethology (behavior) which includes population dynamics, provides the foresight necessary for anticipating the outcomes of various drug control policies. The most fluid, time-efficient way of moving past economically vested control mechanisms which have been legitimized through financial influence is to use recently developed ability to communicate globally, economically, influence recalcitrant drug war vested factions which have infected our society. Prohibitionist dogma is a poor excuse for extinction.

Individual responsibility for damage and injustice being done by drug prohibition has been suspended beyond moral accountabilty by too many people for too long. Until that changes, the vested interests of the chemical/military industrial complex will continue to dominate our existance, and synergistically destroy the quality of life on this planet. For many people, in all regions of the world, it already has.

for peace,



My sister sent her response to the story about the DA using the Terrorist Act against drug defendants. I love it when she talks like this:

Well Lib,

I just don't know what the world is coming to. Now meth is a weapon of mass destruction. Go figure. Now there are some real brain trusts involved with this stuff, so I can't say I'd want to live next to someone making meth. The danger of an explosion is very real, but I'd say unless you are in a condo or apartment, it is unlikely that an exploding meth lab is going to do damage to anyone but those involved.

What is far more disturbing is the label of "terrorist" that would be applied to an American citizen who is, granted, involved in an illegal activity, but hardly in the same league as the 9/11 hijackers. The implications of using this designation are scary. As a "terrorist" suspect, the person could be moved to a military site like GBAY in Cuba and held indefinitely. No speedy trial guarantee.

And don't think this is all right wing republican blather. Your facist left winger friends are up to some real scary stuff, also. Some liberal Nazi bitch of a professor at Chapel Hill was involved in a CA directive last year where a high school was telling students that if they were not going into the military or on to college that they could not attend their high school graduation, even though they had fulfilled all the requirements. Seems this dingbat group of ivory tower denizens decided that any young person not meeting their "vision" of a productive life plan should be shunned.

I watched very closely as school ended this year. If any NC school had tried to pull off one of these little numbers, I would have been first in line with my picket sign. Can you imagine? KGB and Gestapo come immediately to mind.

By the way, I am neither to the left or right. I do not follow any one political leaning. I prefer to pick and choose what I think is right and wrong. I vote according to a candidate's historical standing. Such as how he has voted in the past if he's been in office, etc.

I pick and choose my battles. I really must be so passionately incensed before I will give up time and energy and there are so few causes that do that for me: anything that supports children and their right to a happy and safe environment
Anything that looks like Big Brother is on the rise. We are losing our right to be autonomous. Unfortunately, in the name of greed, people flock to give these rights away. They want gun laws and drug laws and seat belt laws, etc. so they have a basis for a law suit.

A lot of people will stand in line to give their rights away if there's money in it. Those in government, and it makes no difference which party, don't want to reform anti-drug laws because there is too much money involved. Drugs are expensive because so many palms need to be greased. There was talk of a national tax that would be applied to luxury items. The idea was to tax money being made on drugs since dealers don't file tax returns. It was totally shot down. Politicians wet their pants thinking of all their slush fund monies being taxed.

Sometimes I think living in a cave looks pretty good.

And the last word goes to Annie


Monday, July 21, 2003


CatiaTV is still down but the buzz is slowly building. The only source of real news on Blanca and her community station is coming from They have a significant amount of coverage archived(enter Catia TV). President Hugo Chavez Frias himself came out in support of the station, however the national Venezuelan media has been slow to cover the story and only did so in the glare of international outrage from activists within the authentic press. Journalists Without Borders issued a statement in support, Human Rights Watch has been reportedly vacillating. I wrote to Pena yesterday; I think I'll write to HRW today.

Quote of the day goes to Presidente Chavez:

I wonder how Venezuela would have been if I had not been returned to power on April 13, 2002.



The good news comes from Igor Grant, MD, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis, professor of psychiatry. Grant's analysis, published in the July issue of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, concludes there is no long term damage from heavy marijuana use.

The bad news comes from Sanho Tree, Fellow, Drug Policy Project, Institute for Policy Studies and my sister Anne. Sanho sends a link to a slide show of photograhs taken in Columbia last month that brutally illustrates the harm the US eradication project is causing to the innocent indigneous people. If they operated in this manner in the US, they would be criminally prosecuted.

My sister sent me the most disturbing news of the week so far, districts attorneys in North Carolina have started to prosecute drug cases under the anti-terrorism laws. Seems they don't like the penalities under the existing drug laws and think they should be able to stretch the crime to fit a statute that delivers a longer sentence. I hate when my nightmares start coming true, but I really love that my Sis thought to send me the story.



Guess this falls into the category of flotsam and jetsam. Someone sent this eye-opening exercise that measures your consumption of the planet's resources, the site calls it your footprint. I fell below average, but not by enough. Kind of scary stuff if you think about it too long.

To balance the depressing nature of that I did also receive a charming bit of fluff that I found funny. Hope you do too.



At the opportune moment, activist burnout came up as a topic on the drugwar list this week. Burnout is something I struggle with all the time in my day job. I'm under a lot of stress in my fight for what passes for justice in present day America. I had just been asking myself, why I had become so involved now? This is what I told the list:

I'm a part time conscript in this war but I live and breathe the battle. I've only started actively fighting on this front in last few months but I've been engaged in the combat all my life.

I work 40+ at the law firm, at least 25% of the load is drug and alcohol related defense but the cases like Banamex v. Narconews keep me in the field. Trying to build precedents for common sense. My firm employs between 11-15 people at any given time. Four of us and the indefatigible energy of Al G. beat Akin Gump to protect the voice of the internet. The aggregate of our single efforts is making a difference.

I think and talk about this war almost all the time. Since I decided to join up - I have no real life. I don't return calls, I rarely go out except for my M-F stop at the local pub for one, on my way home from work. Then I get here and spend 2 to 4 hours reading and sometimes writing about my outrage. On the weekends I can easily end up spending all day catching up on what I missed.

My friends are worried. I haven't seen anyone in weeks. They're starting to talk about my new addiction. I've missed the last four big parties in town. They show up sometimes to pry my fingers off the keyboard...

Oddly, for a person who loathes schedules, my best defense against burnout is a routine of sorts. I make it a point to try to spend 30 minutes a day outdoors in a quiet place where I can hear the birds and see the sky and try to get quiet and think about nothing. I just watch the world unfold and see what the universe wants to tell me.

All I can say really is that I'm over 50 years old and I've seen this war ebb and flow more than once. I remember when cannabis felt almost legal, ignored at least by law enforcement, and I think it can happen again thanks to all your heroic efforts. Take heart my dears - it's like watching your kid grow. You don't notice the changes because you're there every day but the growth is apparent to those outside the daily grind.

I think we are winning,


Sunday, July 20, 2003


Yikes! I spent about an hour putting today's entry together and Blogger just ate it. I appreciate them having given me this little site but I wish they would work out their server problems. This is the third time this has happened since they changed the system. In any event, it's a beatiful day in lovely downtown Noho and it still feels like a good time to look at the lighter side of this absurd War On Users of Natural Drugs.

Marc Emery of Pot TV in Canada is on his Summer of Legalization Tour. Reporting from Halifax, Nova Scotia he tells of a successful smoke- in at the local police station and a subsequent stroll down the boardwalk with about 75 other people, all of them smoking marijuana. The local residents apparently didn't even notice. There's no live video in this clip but it is amusing to watch the anchorman smoking a big fat one while he conducts the interview. I kind of feel like taking a quick trip up north for the next stop on the tour.

Meanwhile, In Ontario, police are investigating the first reported marijuana theft since the law against the possession of cannabis was declared invalid. An eighteen year old girl reported being robbed of about $20 worth and the police say they are taking the crime seriously and will do their best to retrieve the girl's property. You gotta love it. I definitely have to get to Canada this summer.

Finally, my friend John Gilmore and his partner Annie are tearing it up on the civil liberties front. It seems British Airways did not like John's choice of attire. You have to feel sorry for the airline. They don't stand a chance against those two.

Reason Magazine will be featuring this story in their upcoming issue but since it is not on-line yet, I give you this preview in John's own words:

Your readers already know about my opposition to useless airport security crap. I'm suing John Ashcroft, two airlines, and various other agencies over making people show IDs to fly -- an intrusive measure that provides no security. But I would be hard pressed to come up with a security measure more useless and intrusive than turning a plane around because of a political button on someone's lapel.

My sweetheart Annie and I tried to fly to London today (Friday) on British Airways. We started at SFO, showed our passports and got through all the rigamarole, and were seated on the plane while it taxied out toward takeoff.
Suddenly a flight steward, Cabin Service Director Khaleel Miyan, loomed in front of me and demanded that I remove a small 1" button pinned to my left lapel. I declined, saying that it was a political statement and that he had no right to censor passengers' political speech. The button, which was created by political activist Emi Koyama, says "Suspected Terrorist". Large images of the button and I appear in the cover story of Reason Magazine this month, and the story is entitled "Suspected Terrorist".

The steward returned with Capt. Peter Hughes. The captain requested, and then demanded, that I remove the button (they called it a "badge"). He said that I would endanger the aircraft and commit a federal crime if I did not take it off. I told him that it was a political statement and declined to remove it. They turned the plane around and brought it back to the gate, delaying 300 passengers on a full flight.

We were met at the jetway by Carol Spear, Station Manager for BA at SFO. She stated that since the captain had told her he was refusing to transport me as a passenger, she had no other course but to take me off the plane. I offered no resistance. I reminded her of the court case that United lost when their captain removed a Middle Eastern man who had done nothing wrong, merely because "he made me uncomfortable". She said that she had no choice but to uphold the captain and that we could sort it out in court later, if necessary. She said that my button was in "poor taste".

Later, after consulting with (unspecified) security people, Carol said that if we wanted to fly on the second and last flight of the day, we would be required to remove the button and put it into our checked luggage (or give it to her). And also, our hand-carried baggage would have to be searched to make sure that we didn't carry any more of these terrorist buttons onto the flight and put them on, endangering the mental states of the passengers and crew.

I said that I understood that she had refused me passage on the first flight because the captain had refused to carry me, but I didn't understand why I was being refused passage on the second one. I suggested that BA might have
captains with different opinions about free speech, and that I'd be happy to talk with the second captain to see if he would carry me. She said that the captain was too busy to talk with me, and that speaking broadly, she didn't think BA had any captains who would allow someone on a flight wearing a button that said "Suspected Terrorist". She said that BA has discretion to decline to fly anyone. (And here I had thought they were a common carrier, obliged to carry anyone who'll pay the fare, without discrimination.)

She said that passengers and crew are nervous about terrorism and that mentioning it bothers them, and that is grounds to exclude me. I suggested that if they wanted to exclude mentions of terrorists from the airplane, then they should remove all the newspapers from it too.

I asked whether I would be permitted to fly if I wore other buttons, perhaps one saying "Hooray for Tony Blair". She said she thought that would be OK. I said, how about "Terrorism is Evil". She said that I probably wouldn't get on. I started to discuss other possible buttons, like "Oppose Terrorism", trying to figure out what kinds of political speech I would be permitted to express in a BA plane, but she said that we could stand there making hypotheticals all night and she wasn't interested. Ultimately, I was refused passage because I would not censor myself at her command.

After the whole interaction was over, I offered to tell her, just for her own information, what the button means and why I wear it. She was curious. I told her that it refers to all of us, everyone, being suspected of being terrorists, being searched without cause, being queued in lines and pens, forced to take our shoes off, to identify ourselves, to drink our own breast milk, to submit to indignities. Everyone is a suspected terrorist in today's America, including all the innocent people, and that's wrong. That's what it means. The terrorists have won if we turn our country into an authoritarian theocracy "to defeat terrorism". I suggested that British Airways had demonstrated that trend brilliantly today. She understood but wasn't sympathetic -- like most of the people whose individual actions are turning the country into a police state.

Annie asked why she, Annie, was not allowed to fly. She wasn't wearing or carrying any objectionable buttons. Carol said it's because of her association with me. I couldn't have put it better myself -- guilt by association. I asked whether Annie would have been able to fly if she had checked in separately, and got no answer. (Indeed it was I who pointed out to the crew that Annie and I were traveling together, since we were seated about ten rows apart due to the full flight. I was afraid that they'd take me off the plane without her even knowing.)

Annie later told me that the stewardess who had gone to fetch her said that she thought the button was something that the security people had made me wear to warn the flight crew that I was a suspected terrorist(!). Now that would be really secure.

I spoke with the passengers around me before being removed from the plane, and none of them seemed to have any problem with sitting next to me for 10 hours going to London. None of them had even noticed the button before the
crew pointed it out, and none of them objected to it after seeing it. It was just the crew that had problems, as far as I could tell.

John Gilmore

PS: For those who know I don't fly in the US because of the ID demand:
I'm willing to show a passport to travel to another country. I'm not willing to show ID -- an "internal passport" -- to fly within my own country.

(And that's the quote of the day. Thanks John).


Saturday, July 19, 2003


I seem to have a new admirer. He materialized yesterday evening while I was sitting on the stoop listening to the birds and enjoying a magnificent sunset, wanting to take me out for a drink at the local pub. He popped up again this morning at 11:35 to see if I wanted to have a Bloody Mary on the terrace bar downtown. I’m a little put off by a vague sense of being stalked but said yes to both invitations nonetheless. He’s rather intense but interesting, intelligent, articulate and the timing was right. Besides, I figure his interest in me will pass.

My life’s like that – all or nothing. Sometimes every guy I know or meet seems to think I’m sexually irresistible and then there are weeks when they don’t give me a second look. This week, even the resident male mockingbird has been flirting with me. I swear he’s been perching really close, opening his wings and showing me his tail, and this morning he did this incredible summersault off the electrical wire and practically landed at my feet. I think I must have weird pheromones.

Anyway, I met this new guy a few days ago when my friend Mark brought him over. If I had met him as a stranger in a bar, I would have probably moved to another stool. Don’t get me wrong he’s a cute as a puppy and wonderfully entertaining but he’s definitely a drunk and I’m pretty sure he is also certifiably crazy. He claims to be from a rich powerful family in Ulster County with connections all the way to DC. I guess he could be. He dresses well, drives a new vehicle, spends money pretty freely and has a really nice apartment. (Don't jump to conclusions - I saw his apartment when Mark and I drove him home).

He’s an incredible artist and writes remarkable poetry that he can recite by heart over a drink. He tells me he writes movies. He also claims to be a psychology professor who has invented a new treatment model for depression but produced an expired ID card to prove his tenure at the school. I don’t know friends, as I told him, the last thing I need in my life right now is another tortured genius. Still it’s been an interesting couple of outings.

It remains to be seen whether I’ve scared him off yet. Yesterday night I brought him with me to check in on Michael and Irma. He ended up storming out because I refused to stop what I was doing and go into another room to listen to an album. Today he walked off because I refused to go to another bar and insisted on having breakfast at the diner (as was my plan when he caught me at my door). Guess he figured he had already compromised enough by going to the farmer’s market with me. He was smiling this time though.

I have a feeling he’ll be back one more time before he gives up. You see, he often boasts of being chased by women and his sexual conquests. I suppose he thought to impress me and seemed surprised when I finally told him that there is way too much traffic through his bedroom for me to ever consider spending the night there. I don't think he believes me yet.

The quote of the day goes to Peter Falkey:

If you have the capacity, you have the responsibility to use it.



The Bush administration responded to the 80% of American citizens who think medical marijuana should be allowed as a remedy of personal choice by threatening to prosecute doctors who even say the word marijuana to their patients and appointing another Prohibition pit-bull to head the DEA. Karen Tandy, who is committed to subrogating the public’s will by continuing to arrest terminally ill patients, who are legally ingesting a remedy under their state law and simply looking for relief while facing down their impending deaths. It’s not only an illogical policy, it’s inhumane. Not to mention the chilling effects of the gag order on the doctor's first amendment rights. Where was the main-stream press on this appointment anyway? For that matter where was my elected representative?

On a brighter note, our legislators have finally found their cahonnes and brought drug policy reform into the public debate. Even Senator Joe Biden, author of the ill-conceived RAVE Act, called on the DEA to explain their misue of the legislation. Senator Biden, if you happen to be reading this, thanks for speaking up. It restores a little of my faith in the human race. Think I will send him a thank you note. It would sort of balance off all the scolding phone calls I made when he was sleazing this Act through.

Foreign Policy published an article by Ethan Nadelman on the failure of of US drug policies and it's consequences to Latin America. Ethan in his usual no-nonsense style nails the issue once again and suggests practicable solutions. I wish Bush had nominated him to head the DEA.

Finally, a story that deserves to be more widely disseminated is now available on line. If you have about 40 minutes to spare, you can view Ed WEEDMAN Forchion’s video .


Friday, July 18, 2003


I held out for many years before I bought a computer but I have come to love the internet. I've always been concerned by the threat to privacy that internet communication presents, nothing makes you easier to track than an electronic trail however there is no easier way to communicate over wide geography either. It's a trade off and this week it feels like a pretty good trade.

If not for the buzz created in the uberworld CatiaTV would have died an untimely death. This story was not reported in the US press at all. Why would it be? This administration virtually owns the mainstream press here and they support the coup-mongers of the Chavez opposition. Thanks to an international outcry however, it looks like Pena and the oligarchy will not be able to squelch the voice of the Venezuelan people so tidily.

According to this story posted yesterday on, the alternate press in Venezuela has come forward in solidarity and with the eyes of the rest of the world on him, Pena is now forced to explain this outrageous attempt to silence the Chavistas.

Coverage of this incident is now being picked up in the US by our own alternate press. Andrew Stelzer, another one of out compatriots from the Narconews School of Authentic Journalism, reports that Free Speech radio is broadcasting on government hearings in the matter:

Hearings on the Closure of a Venezuelan Community Television Station

The mayor of Caracas, Venezuela is being asked to attend hearings this week by the Venezuelan legislature. Last Thursday, Mayor Alfred Pe?a closed one of the country’s largest community Television stations, “Catia TV.” Workers
at Catia, TV say the mayor of Caracas targeted the public station because it was instrumental in reporting the events that led to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s reinstatement during last year’s coup attempt. Pena has publicly admitted his opposition to Chavez - supporters assert Catia TV provided a balance to the private opposition media they say organized a media blackout during the coup. Carol Delgado and Greg Wilpert bring you more from Caracas, Venezuela.

In the USA, Free Speech radio may be on your local station, to find out, go to this link.

It's not too late to email the coup-supporter and censor against press freedom, Mayor Alfredo Pena at this email address: . Thanks to everyone for supporting Blanca and protecting freedom of the press.


Monday, July 14, 2003


Disturbing news in my inbox this afternoon. CatiaTV in Venezuela was illegally shut down and its equipment was seized by Metropolitan Mayor Alfredo Pena of Caracas. Blanca Eekhout was a fellow participant at the first Narconews School of Authentic Jornalism. In the ten days we spent together, I came to care about her as if she were my own daughter. She has been doing some incredible work in her community and this indignity against the free press should not go unremarked. President Chavez has come out in support of the station. Support from her fellow journalists in Venezuela has been tepid. Please write to in support of Blanca and CatiaTV.



The American Nurses Association, joining a dozen others, came out in favor of medicinal marijuana this week. In the hierarchy of the hospital, the nurses are the front line. They spend more time with the patients and can observe the effects of treatments more closely than an MD who comes in at best for 10 minutes or so, maybe twice a day. Bless the ANA for having the courage to speak up.

Sis, if you're reading this tonight, thanks for signing.

The Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society published a study done by a group in San Diego asserting No "Substantial, Systematic Effect" Of Chronic Pot Smoking On Neurocognitive Performance.

Meanwhile, researchers in Milan, Italy found cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, is protective against brain injury in animals, according to a study published in this month's issue of Neuroscience Letters. And they say it's not a medicine?



Well I've already broken my resolution to post every day except Mondays. Over time, I have come to appreciate the comfort of routines but in the end I suppose I just really loathe schedules. I'm blaming this lapse on that big fat full-face moon that's been hanging over lovely downtown Noho all weekend. They don't call it lunacy for nothing.

I spent a lot of time with my neighbor. She's a year younger than me and is literally drinking herself to death. Our relationship would take volumes to explain but I hold myself partly responsible since I hooked her up with an Irishman with a golden heart but also a wooden leg. I've had to use some unkind words to drive home my concern. Not my favorite strategy but it had come down to sparing her feelings or saving her life.

We did make some progress however, we talked about detox programs and she and Michael gave me the quotes of the weekend.

Mike quoting Mark Twain: If you don't lie, you don't have to remember anything.

Irma quoting Iris (her deceased mother): You know you have to watch a thief - but you can never trust a liar.

It was a weekend of the brutal truth that changes but does not harm you.

LA Stone

Friday, July 11, 2003


I'm having a little discussion tiff about the value of blogs. Reporters can sometimes get a little elistist. Hazard of being in the public eye I guess.

On the subject of reporters and blogs, Paul wrote:

> >They're in: That doesn't mean they're used.

and then X wrote:
I'm with Paul. Blogs are a waste of time for a working reporter, in addition to being the farthest thing in the world from a reliable source.

Then I wrote:
Oh I see, blogs are unreliable in opposition to say the White House press releases?

Blogs build the buzz. They serve the purpose on the net of providing an avenue of private communication between your friends and family that you can share with a larger audience if you have nothing to hide, or have something to say.

I'm a hopeless correspondent with my family. I started my own quirky addition to the genre as a way for them to keep track of what's on my mind.

It's all about communication. I'm never going to be some hot shot investigative reporter; I'm just an open book proffered to the greater world. Oddly, I'm building an audience.

Go figure,

LA Stone


Thursday, July 10, 2003


I've been trying to stay out of general politics and the war here. I figure there are plenty of bloggers out there covering that territory but this story affects (or maybe I should say infects) the anti-prohibition movement as well as every citizen in the US. The Bush administration is destroying not only our constitution and the bill of rights but also the fabric of our democracy. Our vote is the most effective tool we have as private citizens to impact the policies of our government and our only real means to keep the legislature's power in check.

TruthOut reported this story yesterday on how the Bush neo-cons are planning to steal the next election. With this technology, they can rig any vote from a citizen's initiative to a presidential election.

The days of Daley's Chicago are gone. It's no longer necessary to raise the dead and strongarm the living legions to rig an election. The technology expands daily. Even as you read this, some kid is figuring out some new way to hack into something cool. The Pentagon has been hacked, how secure could an election be?

I figure you could practically pull this off with 12 people in the know and a few bright teenage hackers.

There's a lot of buzz over on the GNN forum about this item. Some of guerrillas would like to use this as an excuse to give up and not vote at all. Thankfully there seem to be more that take it a challenge to keep fighting to take back the system that Bush and his band of thugs are trying to steal from under our noses.

It's interesting that all the critical news that breaks on this administration seems to be coming out of Australia and New Zealand and to a lesser degree from England and Canada. I posed that question on the thread. The New Zealanders say it's because they care and the Aussies say it because their press is not bought by corporate interests. Personally, I think it's because the main-stream media in the US has become a bunch of gutless panderers of Bush-fed propaganda.

This story should scare you, but let it scare you into action, and not be used as an excuse for inertia.


Meanwhile, the War On Some Drugs continiues unabated. Not is all news is bad however. Today in Canada, Health Minister Anne McLellan was dragged kicking and screaming into medical marijuana compliance. I've only started paying attention to Canadian politics lately but from what I see they seem to have enlightened jurists even though many of their bureaucrats are as morally corrupt as our own. It appears the system and the voters are working better there. Their laws at least seem to reflect the will of the people more than of corporate lobbyists.

US District Judge Jeremy Fogel cast a point of light in San Jose today when he asked the medical marijuana community to come up with some help and find a cite he could use to order an injuction against further raids in Santa Cruz. The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana have been long awaiting a ruling in the case. Good to know we have some enlightened jurists on this side of the border as well.

On the other hand, not unexpectedly, the US Government will appeal Ed Rosenthal's sentence. Our government's attempt to circumvent a sensible decision by US Dist. Judge Charles Breyer on a downward departure from the mandatory sentencing guidelines. That would be the federal government spending our tax dollars fighting the state government's citizen mandated laws.

I know it wasn't all rosy under any adminstration, the government has often irritated me, however, at this moment it terrifies me. As they dismantle our civil rights, the ability to dissent is almost imperceptibly undermined. Their agenda is transparent, their machinations so clumsy yet they are getting away with it because they sold their souls to the corporate powers who protect and elect them and have taken over the media which would otherwise expose them.

Our need is clear. We have to depose the Bush dynasty in 04 or we will lose any vestige of democracy as we know it. Let that be the final word today.


Wednesday, July 09, 2003


My friend Patrick White said something to me in 1991 that has stayed with me all these years:

You wake up in the morning and you think you have a plan and you know what you are going to do. But the truth is you don't know who you are going to meet, or what is going to happen to you. Anything can happen.

Today was one of those days. I ended up debating Bill Gallagher, executive director of Run Drugs Out of Town. He's an interesting guy. When he posts he sounds so reasonable but when I look at his site or read his newsletter, I can't figure out how we ended up in the same places. Here's what I said to Bill today:

Bill wrote:

If you are proposing that in order to bring about positive change all the negatives must first be exposed and eliminated I suspect you will live a life of complete frustration. Yes the mistakes should be identified and corrected but in a democracy opinions vary as to which are mistakes.

I reply: That's what I don't get about you Bill. You talk on this list like a reasonable person who agrees that the War is wrongheaded. But I go to your site and that's not what I see at all. It's a repository for propaganda.

As for the name Run Drugs Out of Town Run it is catchy and often attracts people who want something different than I aim for. Bottom line is that it is about prevention especially primary prevention with children.

Again, I see your primary methods of prevention as promoting the prohibition, not necessarily making informed choices.

Then there is the question of violating your rights. For someone who advocates democracy you seem to not recognize that the laws are a product of that democracy. I am not saying that the laws are always right but when they are not, as much as you may want to work to change them you are still legally bound by them.

However, when the elected representatives are bought and paid for by corporate interests and no longer reflect the will of the people, then the people must band together and use what weapons they have. They do not have the deep pockets of the corporate lobby so they can only organize their numbers and raise their collective voice in protest. Civil disobedience is never a first choice but sometimes it's the only way to turn up the volume for a cause.

I agree that going on the basic premise in the Declaration of Independence we do have a right to pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately when ones pursuit of happiness inteferes with another's we have a problem.

I don't understand what you mean by this. Are you saying that anti-prohibition is impacting negatively on your happiness?

Thus is the beauty of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It allows us to disagree and at the same time have free access to ideas and information. I filter out hundreds of items to find those most relevant to what we want..

Unfortunately on your site I only see one point of view. I think it's well done but I don't find it balanced in it's content.

Now for me and what I believe. I agree that the drug war is a total failure. Why we didn't learn that in 1933 is beyond me. We have wasted too much money, manpower and lives trying to eliminate substances, by one estimate up to $400 billion a year. I believe we would be better served to decriminalize everything and save $200+ Billion a year on the war and imprisonment. It is absurd to have someone in prison serving more time for possession than another is for murder.

Is there a place on your site where you say this?

I believe that all substances should be regulated by the FDA (wouldn't it be nice to see that agency operate efficiently and honestly?). That agency formed by a democratically elected congress was charged with protecting the public. 90,000 a year die from prescription problems, imagine where we would be without their protection. For that matter more people die from aspirin than from illegal drugs.

I don't get your point here either. This IS where we are under FDA protection. People are dying from drug complications because of politically rather than scientifically based approvals.

I appreciate your point of view Bill, but I'm not at all clear about what you're trying to do. I look at your work and it does not look like someone working for allowing kids to make an informed choice, it looks like solving what you perceive to be the problem by removing the choice.

You're right about one thing though. That's the beauty of democracy. We can both be a little right without either of us being completely wrong.


LA Stone



I also spent an hour on line today looking at hair follicle testing sites. Checked my office email an hour after that and I had a spam from this site selling cannabis oil perfume.

Now I understand how they target you, but how the hell did they find me so fast? This is the first time I've ever been pitched for cannabis goods and I get Liafax and a number of drug related legal newsletters there.

I'm convinced it's because I ended up on a lot of how to beat your drug test sites and they flagged me there somehow. I think they should get their money back though. The spam was for a perfume that proclaimed, if you were blindfolded - you wouldn't be able to tell whether you were smelling Kaya or standing next to a live plant.

Now if I was on that site because I was trying to beat a drug test, what reason could I possibly have to want to smell like pot? Wasted marketing but it provided a funny end to an insane day.

By the way, there's a lot of buzz about shampoos that can beat the test. Some claim a 2 percent fail rate. You get better hits if you use testing, not tests.

It's all good.


Tuesday, July 08, 2003


I'm on this great discussion list at I've come to consider the regular posters on this list as my uber-friends. I feel pretty humbled by the company I keep there; the folks on this list are the ones that put the move into the anti-prohibition movement. We've shared a lot of intimate thoughts in these last few months and they inform and inspire me. Someday I want to tell you about Preston Peet and his magical mystery site but today the list led me back to my roots.

I studied medicinal herbs for decades but it's been years since I cracked my old reference books. That's what I love about this list. The subject of wormwood came up today and I dug out Adelma so I could answer the question. It reminded me of what was really good about living on the farm. I sure did love that herb garden....

So here's what I sent to the list:

Adelma Grenier Simmons comes through.
She was this amazing old lady who lived to inform and ran an herb farm/B&B/ restaurant in CT when I found her. It’s well worth buying her books if you are interested in medicinal herbs. From my falling apart softcover of Herb Gardening in Five Seasons:

Artemisia absinthium is the true wormword. … and one of the great plants of the past because of its medicinal value. In fact it is used today in the well known product “Absorbine Jr.”.

A narcotic property has been ascribed by some in consequence of its tendency to occasion headaches and when long continued to cause a disruption of the nervous system. In large doses, wormwood irritates the stomach and stimulates circulation.

She goes on to tell of an elderly man who attributed his longevity to drinking three wineglasses a day. She, being young, tried this in a weak solution for three days. At the end of that time she was unable to enjoy food or drink. Later she learned that taken in very small doses it was reputed to revive appetite, but that, taken persistently would have the same effect as absinthe has for the addict, stimulating the appetite while producing inability to eat food or a distaste for it. She goes on to say:

In an old herbal we read: An infusion may be made of an ounce of the dried plant to a pint of boiling water and given in doses of from one to two tablespoons three times during the day. This infusion with a few drops of the essential oil will prevent the hair from falling off.

She cautions about its casual use and admonishes against its overuse once employed as a remedy. She does not recommend it for ‘amateurs’. Artemisia are generally divided into four groups, mugworts, wormwoods, southernwoods and decorative types.

A southerwest US native, filifolia ‘Romerillo’, commonly called silver sage, is a favorite remedy of the new Mexican Tewa Indians. They chew and swallow it with water and drink it in a hot decoction for indigestion.

It goes on for pages like this but I see no mention of its use in asthma. From all accounts it’s great for indigestion and appetite stimulation and as treatment for the liver, spleen and a great relief in gout, but safe only in small doses for short periods of time. I would still make a weak tea of it and try throwing some mint in to make it more palatable.

This is already overlong and I’m still reading as I write this so I’m going to send in installments. I just saw a section on how to cure baldness….


Wormwood II – Southernwood and Baldness

All plants in this class come under the name A. abrotanum and they are known by their scents of lemon, camphor and tangerine. They are native to Southern Europe, indigenous in Spain and Italy. The leaves reduced to ashes were once used to make an ointment to promote the growth of a beard. Dried branches are used to repel moths.

Historically bunches of southernwood and rue were used together to protect judges and prisoners from jail fever. It was also reputed to dispel drowsiness and was used in churches to counteract interminable sermon fatigue.

It was used to kill worms in children and the herb bruised helpeth to draw forth splinters and thorns out of the flesh; the ashes mingled with old salad oil helps those that have their hair fallen and are bald, causing the hair to grow again.

That’s it folks except that French Tarragon is also of the same family but has none of the same properties.

Hope that helped, Andria.

LA Stone

Sunday, July 06, 2003


I forgot to mention my favorite part of my Fourth of July celebration. At 11:00 pm the air was still thick enough to squeeze in your hand and the town was unnaturally quiet. At 11:11 I opened up all my doors, blasted the blues through my speakers and in my own personal act of independence sat on my front stoop and smoked a big fat joint. As I took the last hit I wondered why on earth such an innocuous activity should be illegal. Haven't heard a good reason yet.



Thankfully there's still hope of restoring sanity to drug policy within the system. Judge Richard Savell in Fairbanks Alaska rendered a courageous decision upholding the Alaskan constitutional right to privacy and dismissing marijuana possession charges against a local man. I hope the legal minds in this movement can find a way to apply this precedent on the federal level. That's the bottom line - our bodies - our homes - our business.


Speaking of constitutional rights, The Denver Post ran a good opinion piece by Michael Holzmeister on the damage caused by this insane War On Users of Natural Drugs. The last paragraphs sum it up for me:

If you're afraid that legalizing drugs would make them more available than they are now, think again. Drugs are easy to find - ask any drug warrior - yet the vast majority of people choose not to buy them. There are better ways to spend time and money.

The War on Drugs is a resounding failure. Drugs still flow freely. The War on Drugs has had some success, however. It has successfully battled the Constitution and helped to quash our freedom.


Quote of the day comes from SmellyAss a/k/a SmellyTheAss. Smelly is a resident troll on the GNN forum. His avatar is a nerdy kid sneering and giving you the finger.

Now I don't fully understand how one is defined as a troll but they generally behave badly and have nothing of substance to say. Mostly they try to derail the thread with childish insults and post lots of irrelevant graphics. Smelly (who I'm beginning to believe is actually another alter-ego of Mr. Special a/k/a DashRiprock et al.) was especially well-behaved this weekend. When he's not throwing tantrums he apparently has something insightful to say:

But those are just my opinions. The right way is to return the decision to the individual States, and return federal law enforcement agencies to their proper task of coordinating and augmenting State and local law enforcement, and providing specific services at the federal level. Then, if some states wanted it illegal, they could make it illegal, and the marketplace of ideas among the States would determine the way that works best. I'd rather our government quibble State to State in the open, rather than committee member to committee member behind closed doors.

Just goes to show that you can't judge a troll by his avatar. Last word is yours today Smelly.

Saturday, July 05, 2003


I hope everyone had a great Independence Day. Mine turned out to be fun. Spent the late afternoon lazing at the pool and then stopped into City Cafe for a quick beer. Bitty was there.

Bitty is a local character, a crusty little guy with a gravelly voice and really blue twinkly eyes. He totally disapproves of marijuana but we bonded when he participated in my Vienna Solidarity Launch. He's a disabled Navy vet from the Viet Nam era but looks older. He reminds me of Popeye (the cartoon, not Doyle). He's never sober. Drinks Budweiser from morning to night but he's the best shuffleboard player at the Eagles. He beats me consistently. We were talking about the last game we played when he came up with the quote of the day:

I'm not a legend. I'm an icon

Bitty rocks.

I made my way out of the air conditioning into the sultry evening and found my neighbors had finally responded to my invitation to use the community chalkboard. I returned to find huge words celebrating freedom scrawled across the sidewalk. Later on, drunk guys riding motorcycles set off fireworks in front of the bars in the hood. Altogether a festive and peaceful holiday, not even the usual macho drunken face-offs on the streets at closing time could be heard.



I have 123 unread messages in my inbox. I'm on so many lists that if I let it go for a day it's almost too overwhelming to even start reading them but as my granny used to say, no way out but through, so here goes.

First item off the threads is this article about Rep.(R-Ind) Mark Souder's latest proposal to waste the taxpayer's money. In yet another assault on the medicinal value of cannabis he would like the FDA to declare it unsuitable as a medicine. Aided and abetted by Judy Kremer of Educating Voices (I can't bear to even google the org - I'm sure it's a neo-con (read PAC) think tank), these two would like to spend your tax dollars on a cruel campaign to deny terminally ill patients the right to choose to find relief from their symptoms with a natural remedy from a plant.

Kremer is reported as making the absurd statement, "It's very, very dangerous to be suggesting that this is a medicine and that it should be taken by people who are ill." Excuse me Judy but why on earth would so many sick people be willing to risk arrest to take something that did not make them feel better? The only real danger in the use of cannabis as a medicine is that the pharmaceutical companies will lose their obscene profits. If a natural medicine, a plant that anyone can grow in their backyard is legalized, how will they get patients to continue taking their over-priced toxic concoctions? You think that maybe pharm-co PAC money has any effect on the drug policies of this country? You don't have to "follow the money" far to find a connection to the Bush administration and the family coffers.

Meanwhile Souder conveniently traveling and unavailable for comment, asserts that since this is a medical issue, the FDA must step up to the plate and not let the Drug Enforcement Administration be the only voice of reason.

It's beyond belief that a deparment spending millions of tax dollars on a failed WOD is cited as a voice of reason. This is the agency arresting patients in their wheelchairs, arresting glass blowers for making empty pipes, pursuing court cases to ban ecologically sensible industrial and nutritional uses of hemp, shutting down legitimate political events based on content and by the way is pretty sure that glo-sticks (you know, those things that your kid was probably twirling around in the dark last night while waiting for the fireworks to start) are directly related to the use of illegal drugs and wants them banned also, just to be on the safe side.

I only hope the real reason Mr. Souder is thinking the FDA should get on board is that the building backlash from the public on this issue is becoming apparent, and he wants to spread around some of the political damage. Skewed polls aside, there is a clear majority of the American public that believes medical cannabis should be legal and say what you will about Dennis Kucinich - he has brought this debate into a broader context in his presidential campaign and a lot of his strongest supporters are also involved in drug policy reform activism. You never know with presidential politics. 2004 could be a very interesting election.


Friday, July 04, 2003


I got the following note in my email this morning from Ed "The New Jersey Weedman" Forchion. It seems the judge on his case has been busted for possession of child pornography. No one can say why the investigation was begun.

I rather like that this judge will now have to bear the effects of the same 'justice' he has been dealing out in implementing the Sexual Offender Registry program. I wonder what his classification will be if he is convicted?

Ed comments on the judge: At the end of my trial my trial Judge-Judge Thompson said to me, "MR. FORCHION you hold strongly held beliefs, unfortunately your beliefs are misguided". Well guess what,Judge Thompson obviously believes in kiddie porn, recently he was caught ordering a child sex video online with his "OWN" credit card.



Here's a heartening little story about a little website that took on FOX news and when all seemed lost, got the blogger community's attention and now appears to be winning. It's a good tale for a holiday that embraces the concept of freedom won against the odds. Good luck Think I'll order an O'Reilly Youth tshirt myself.



So I'm up to over 170 archived posts on the GNN forum.

I'm in a lively debate right now on the Elitist Scum thread.

I make some good points I think but these kids are a tough bunch to convince. They never back down. Here's some of my favorite exchanges:

So tell me, infinitely wise one, what the fuck am I gonna drink my martini out of?

Your girlfriend's $239.oo satin slipper of course.....

Um - yeah. Seriously now, you made quite the claim here. You apparently really believe that the only reason people go to the mall is to hoard things they don't really need.

I don't recall speaking in such absolutes. I'm talking about a general trend not each individual specific act of shopping. The original premise of this thread was elitism. I think elitism occurs on many levels and looking at US society as a whole, your status in the hierarchy is partly based on what you own. Indeed people frame their identities by what they choose to possess.

Go ahead, tell me I bought that stuff cuz I was programmed to need clothing by Madison Ave.

Don't take it so personally. If you don't fit the profile then take yourself out of the line-up, but can you really tell me you don't know anyone who defines themselves by always being the first to get the cutting edge of the latest electronics or fashions?

If my premise is so absurd, how did we get to the point where teenagers will kill each other in the streets of the ghettos to get a pair of sneakers or a jacket that costs more than their parents make in two weeks, when a pair of $20 Keds would fill their actual need for footware? How did planet destroying SUVs (and now these hideous Hummers) become THE vehicle when a $5,000 Ford would still provide reliable transportation?

That is what Mad Ave does. It creates a desire to over-fulfil a need with a specific product. In marketing circles, they call this branding. The products they promote are not necessarily well made, are often manufactured under socially and environmentally destructive conditions and the profits do not stay in the community but rather go to corporate interests.

You and I may just be running into the mall to pick up our semi-annual supply of black Levis and tshirts but most of the shoppers are there for what they saw in a magazine or on TV last night.

The former, IMHO, is directly attributable to poor parenting.

More attributable to parents who are poor. They are forced to work 2 or 3 part-time service jobs for corporations that figured out long ago it is cheaper to pay 3 part-timers than one full-time employee with benefits. They are forced to be absent and when they are at home are probably exhausted and emotionally unavailable. The greatest formative influence on their children then becomes the TV and peer pressure. The economic deprivation creates an environment where the violence can flourish and corporate employment policies creates the deprivation in the first place.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, creating a cycle of poverty is a neat way to keep the masses oppressed. Add to that mix the political clout to get laws enacted that ensures a third of their men will be put in prison and cut the social programs created to help them out of poverty. Even if it isn't part of a pre-conceived plan, it sure is effective. Ironically, the products that become the must-have items of status in the ghetto create the massive profits feeding the corporate beast that is devouring the residents.

end excerpts

There's plenty more at the links. Am I wasting my time with this stuff? Sometimes I think I should be using my time a little more productively but the discussion helps me focus my own position on these issues. These kids are often misguided (to my mind) in their thinking but they offer a challenging discourse and I like their energy.

Besides you have to love a place where you can engage in debate with a guy named Evil Josh whose tag line is:

But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 02, 2003


It's been a crazy week here in lovely downtown Northampton. Everyone I know, including me, has been in turmoil. I always chalk it up to the planets. My friend Mariah, who moved away, used to be able to tell me exactly which ones were causing the trouble. Now that she's gone, I usually just blame Mercury retrograde. It's the only one I remember.

Anyway, Karen and I were having our after-work debrief on the corner this afternoon for the first time in a few days. She had suffered equal upheaval up there on the hill. We were exchanging horror stories when it hit me.

I said, "You know what? The good thing about bad stuff is that it doesn't last forever. The bad thing about good stuff is that it doesn't last forever either."

Maybe you had to be there but it made us laugh. It felt like a moment of truth. I think Mercury went direct just then.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003


I received this story in my email today. This is written by Loretta Nall, President of the US Marijuana Party. I thought it was beautiful example of how the universe provides what you need and it also gives me hope for the success of the anti-prohibition movement. Every day I see more and more people stepping forward to say this absurd War on Some Drugs is wrong-headed and doing greater damage than the use of the outlawed substances.

I left early to be sure to get there on time. 1 hour outside of Guntersville my anti-lock brake system in the car went out and I almost wrecked. I stop at a brake service place to see if they could fix it. They couldn't but sent me to a Mercury dealer up the road. They can fix it but couldn't right away.

So I call a rental car company and had them pick me up. I am already running very late by now and the rental place was 20 minutes out of the way. They also did not take cash and I do not have a credit card. Luckily, the lady who picked me up was from Columbia and as we rode we discussed the drug war. She related to me that her brother lives in the region of Columbia where the US Govt. sprays for coca and that when his wife was 6 months pregnant she lost a baby that was terribly deformed because of the pesticides. When I told her who I was on my way to see and what my purpose was she made an exception and took cash from me for the car. She also waived the $100 deposit and wished me all the luck in the world and said she hoped that one day things would change.

Amen. Today I believe that one day things will indeed change.

War of the Words

I had a letter to the editor published in response to this article in the Brattleboro Reformer.

It's funny. For over 20 years, I've had virtually every LTE I have written on politics published until I started writing about drug reform. This was my first hit in ten submissions. I suspect the Reformer publishes pretty much everything they get but it still felt good to say something in a public forum.

I'm convinced we are going end this war when enough of us who have been lurking in the shadows step forward and speak up.

Speaking In Tongues

My two faithful readers may have noticed I jazzed up the blog. Yes it's true - you can teach an old girl new tricks - I'm learning html. I find I like it. It's sort of like learning a new language only so far it doesn't seem to have a lot of contradictory rules of grammar. It appeals to the meticulous part of my nature. I love putting little pieces together to make a bigger picture. Thanks to and Treva at Lift the Veil for getting me started.

Now if I could just figure out how to access my D:/ drive....