Open Thread March 1: Marijuana Task Force or Stoner Farce?

Filed in National by on March 1, 2018

You have to read Matt Bittle’s story about Wednesday’s marijuana task force meeting to believe it. Rep. Helene Keeley, who chaired the meeting, couldn’t have screwed it up any more if she had taken bong hits throughout. Here, I’ll let Matt do the honors:

A vote to release the task force’s report was initially thought to have succeeded only for it to be pointed out by reporters that it had, in fact, failed. Just 12 of the 25 members supported releasing the report. [Keeley] then claimed the vote was non-binding, simply held upon the request of a task force member, and the report can be still provided to other lawmakers….Due to an initial miscounting, most members left the building thinking the vote was successful. The few that were told it had failed were dismayed to learn Rep. Keeley characterized the vote as not binding — despite not informing the room of that before the vote itself.

If the point of the meeting was to demonstrate that even talking about the Evil Weed gives you a contact high, mission accomplished.

Has a stupid idea ever been (ahem) shot down so quickly? Just days after the idea of arming teachers was floated as a serious solution to school shootings, a Georgia high school teacher fired a handgun and barricaded himself in a classroom. Fortunately for all, Donald Trump ran in and disarmed him before anybody got hurt (citation needed).

Former model and Trump wrangler Hope Hicks ankled the White House yesterday, the day after telling Congress she lied for her boss. The departure, just days before the end of TV’s sweeps month, provides one of the most sudden twists yet in season two of “That Darn Trump!”

Indeed, popular historian Jon Meacham says that if we use Trump’s stated standard — that every day is another episode that needs to be “won” — yesterday was not a sign that the already creaky White House is collapsing. “He’s driven entirely by conflict and entirely by narrative, so yesterday actually is a perfect example of Trump’s vision,” Meacham said. “I think he thinks of it as a production, so the theme here, as Hobbes would say, is the war of all against all.”

Forced-birth hero Mike Pence told a forced-birth crowd that he could see an end to all legal abortion in our time. And that shows you another reason the Deep State keeps Donald Trump around and Congress shows no interest in impeaching him.

To what should be nobody’s surprise, local gun shop owners say they won’t be following Dick’s example, because selling assault weapons is what keeps them in business. It would be like a pain clinic deciding it would only give patients Tylenol from now on.

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  1. bamboozer says:

    Greed is what will legalize weed (there, I said it!), not committees or assorted blundering politicians. At some point the inherent greed in the politicians will take over. Admit the process is taking longer this time. Prefer to think Of Hope Hicks as The Trump Whisperer, supposedly she was able to reach the maniac when no one else could. Question is does she split town unscathed or does Mueller call her back? As for the NRA believe they are actually scared at this point as Walmart (Yes! Walmart!) raises the age limit to 21 to buy guns.

  2. Arthur says:

    The members left early because they were hacky sacking on the green

  3. Jason330 says:

    If Mueller doesn’t call Hope Hicks back, I have literally no grasp on our current reality.

  4. Jason330 says:

    By any chance, was Mike Pence talking about highly effective, Denmark style sex education, and widely available birth control when made his prediction?

    He wasn’t?


  5. RE Vanella says:

    With regards to the ganja report: the funny bit is that there is a cabal that clearly wants to simply block legalisation (Carney, the folks from AAA, some in the cop/conservative contingent, etc.). They’ll try every procedural trick they can.

    Personally, I don’t care. My activities are de facto immune from scrutiny because I’m affluent and white. I actually dig the illicit nature of it because I can drag big fat blunts in public as a peaceful protest with basically no consequences.

    Safer than cigarettes and alcohol.
    No overdoses in recorded history.

    It’s just a tool for the cops to cheat PC. (How many police reports include words to this effect: “After approaching I noticed the odor of marijuana.”)

    The ironic part is that the same people who say that folks who don’t know the technical language about guns can’t lobby for gun control do everything they can to hide facts about weed because they just don’t like the idea of it.

    If it’s good enough for Snoop and Willie it’s good enough for me.

    Smoke weed everyday.

  6. Alby says:

    The part I find funny is that none of the people in that meeting were high, but the results would be the same if they all were.

  7. RE Vanella says:

    How do you know they weren’t?

  8. Alby says:

    Because one of them was Smyk the Prick.

  9. delacrat says:

    “…I inhaled. That was the point” – Barack Obama

  10. Dave says:

    I find AAA’s point to be valid and needs to be addressed.

    AAA opposes the legalization of marijuana for recreational use because of its negative traffic safety implications and the current challenges in discerning and addressing marijuana-impaired driving. This apparently came from from a May 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analysis of Washington State Patrol data that concluded: “Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana more than doubled — from 8 percent to 17 percent. One in six drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for active-THC.”

    However another study, published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), researchers at the University of Texas concluded that changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado between 2009 and 2015 were no different than rates in similar states that did not legalize adult-use cannabis.

    We have two inconclusive studies which basically say the opposite of each other. So we are left with no conclusion and have to rely things like logic, reason, and common sense. Alcohol and weed both impair driving ability. Prohibiting drunk driving hasn’t fixed the problem. Neither will prohibiting drugged driving.

    However, because it is not legal, most weed use takes place in stationary environments and once a person has used, the are more than likely to remain stationary (aside from getting the munchies with no food in the house). If you legalize its use, the culture of using will change and the use in public will increase, thus increasing the incidence of drugged driving.

    I will also point out that the Public Health study measured only fatalities, whereas the AAA study measured collisions. Consequently, the studies do not actually contradict one another. Fatalities may indeed decrease, because you drive slower; are more paranoid about driving and are probably much more relaxed contributing to survivability, but collisions seem to increase.

    I’m not against legalization. But I do think we should recognize that drugged driving will increase, along with the consequences from driving while impaired. If that outcome is acceptable to society, then legalize it. But let’s not pretend there is a world of difference between drunk and drugged driving. There is not.

  11. RE Vanella says:

    Define “recently used”. What does that mean? Humans test positive if they’ve used 3 weeks ago. Useless statistic.


    “because it is not legal, most weed use takes place in stationary environments and once a person has used, the are more than likely to remain stationary”

    Absolutely untrue.

  12. Alby says:

    Your overall point is well taken, but I disagree with your specific conclustion. Maybe not a world of difference, but certainly a continent.

    If they were equally bad, whatever metric chosen should show increases consistent with rate of use — that is, if one-half of the population drinks and has alcohol-related accidents at x rate, then if 10% of the population uses pot — one-fifth as many — accidents should increase by x/5, or 20%. I don’t think any of the data (small set so far and I haven’t really looked around) shows that large an increase. I also don’t know if those numbers I chose are accurate.

    Another complicating factor is the number of impaired-driving incidents in which the driver has consumed both.

    Finally, and cited only as anecdote and to lighten it up a little, there are the stereotypes we all know about drunk drivers vs. stoned drivers. See any Cheech and Chong movie for details.

  13. Alby says:

    Going back to the top item in the roundup, I would like to propose that all future working groups be confined to 10 or fewer people, so those in charge can count votes without taking off their socks.

  14. chris says:

    After all these years, we know one thing for sure …Helene still can’t count!

  15. Bill B says:

    I recently read a report…I wish I could remember where but I was probably high when I read it…that explained that the combination of alcohol and weed should be of much more concern than weed alone when it comes to driving. This report said that while alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to execute safety related tasks, weed mostly affects the ability to do routine driving tasks with no impact on safety related tasks, although it didn’t specify what routine or safety related tasks were. But when alcohol and weed are combined the effects of both are magnified.

    Some of these studies seem to focus on the weed without indicating how many of the crash victims had also had something to drink. It’s also interesting that studies done by organizations not connected to insurance or police interests do not find the same issues with weed that others like the AAA study do.

  16. Anyone who reads this and supports cannabis it’s time we start voting with more then just disobedience of buying/smoking ms-13 pot. Time to start filling court dockets/jails with “decriminalized” tickets. Obviously voting is a scam it’s up to us.

    High CBD Strains

  17. The whole point of the task force was to slow-walk the issue and ultimately dissipate support for it.

    Helene Keeley is generally well-intentioned, but she’s never been a master of vote-counting.

    BTW, if we eliminated ‘civil forfeitures’, the cops would be far less likely to use the ‘I smelled pot’ meme to steal stuff. Win-win.

  18. chris says:

    And they at looking to lower BAC from. .08 to .05….
    that second glass of wine might put everyone over the limit now.

  19. Dave says:

    “I would like to propose that all future working groups ”

    First, the phrase “working groups” is an oxymoron. Second, the success of a working group is inversely proportional to the size of the group.

    Most experts believe that the optimal size of a group is 5 to 8 people. Social scientists theorize that the reason for this is that because we are pack animals living in “families” this is the optimal size of a social unit. When the group size extends beyond 10, two groups form and so on as the size of the working group increases.
    The reason for this is that shared goals become loosey goosey (a scientific term) the larger the group and it becomes increasingly difficult to stay on track.

    Thus, a working group of 10 is beyond its theoretical limit in effectiveness and will have an increased probability of failure. 25 members is a terrible number for actually accomplishing anything.

    Most of you know this to be true because in your life, you have discovered that anything you want done, is actually easier if you just do it yourself and at best you can share some of the task with a few dependable people.

  20. Alby says:

    The problem with this particular group, aside from Keeley, is that nobody in the room could accurately count to 13. So if the group went 0 for 25 on that, how much could it reasonably be expected to accomplish?

  21. spktruth says:

    So, this so called Task Force stands with the cartels? Face it, cops want weed not legal so they can get more arrests for the money along with the courts and every office up the line. I agree with Alby the legislature isn’t going to legalize until the states coffers equal Mississippi. Stop electing ex cops and republicrats.

  22. Dave says:

    No, they don’t want to legalize it because they only see the downside. The perception is that MJ is a gateway drug. They are concerned about the effects, on the roads, in the workplace, yadda, yadda. The Colorado “experiment” just started in 2014. Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said it is too soon to draw sweeping conclusions about legalization’s impact.

    There are a lot studies ongoing by a multitude of group and the results will be interesting to say the least as the come out. But for anyone to suggest that they know all the answers or have all the data they need is lunacy.

    A study in 2014 concluded that state medical marijuana laws were associated with lower opioid-overdose death rates. Other studies have found that marijuana is effective at controlling chronic pain — meaning people may choose it over opioids when they have the legal option — and that painkiller prescriptions drop after states adopt medical marijuana laws. But everyone has urged caution because they think that the correlation is too simple Because as prescription opioid deaths have fallen, deaths from heroin have been rising — meaning it is possible that what appears to be progress in combating prescription drug addiction is actually just a large-scale switch to a different opiate.

    Now, if you want to start some sort of real live experiment in Delaware, I’m all for it. But let’s not pretend that we understand the impact and long term effects because none of us have enough data for that and without data, you are advocating something based on faith, which is belief in the absence of evidence.

    It’s a big step from having a personal-use-at-home stash of Purple Urkle and broad use in public and on the streets. The nation has 3 years of knowledge under our belt. That ain’t a lot time. And yes, you will always get pragmatism from me. The only radical I know are the free ones and of course, the stuff that was available out of Mendocino back in the day.

  23. mouse says:

    I have plenty of anecdotal data to testify on its behalf

  24. RE Vanella says:

    I have surprising news. Usage is already broad and on the streets.

    It’s funny how we have to pretend it isn’t.

    We have all the data you want on the poison of alcohol and the dangers of cigarettes.

  25. jason330 says:

    The silver lining on all of this is that people interested in legalization are very focused and committed voters. Democrats need to learn how to get out of thier own way.

  26. RE Vanella says:

    This Dave guy is an adorable character, isn’t he? Classic SPA.

  27. Dave says:

    “Dude, you have Purple Urkle?”‘

    I lived in San Francisco Bay Area in the 70s and 80s. There isn’t much I haven’t seen. I’m pretty sure you can’t get Purple Urkle here in Delaware or any of the other sweet stuff (not that I’m admitting to any first hand knowledge). But, there were/are so many strains, it’s like the wine and beer industry. So I don’t really know what’s available here in Delaware.

  28. Arthur says:

    I think Dave makes a good point in terms of socially mobile use of pot. we know the dangers of alcohol and drunk driving because they usually take place at establishments outside the home. we dont know the impact of pot bars and how pot impaired driving will affect the roads. as you’ve said, everyone smokes but mostly they do so as a stationary location or with minimal movement. how would the delaware roads look when people are hitting the local Purple Haze Happy Hour

  29. Alby says:

    @Dave: Actually, I was asking mouse. No offense.

    Meanwhile, here’s what your national HHS secretary had to say about the subject recently:

  30. RE Vanella says:

    This stationary location assumption is incorrect. I don’t know how many times I need to say it. It’s a very strange assumption at that. So everyone smokes alone in their own home and doesn’t go out? Is that what you think people are doing?

    Look, I get that you don’t understand what’s going on. Totally. You’re making what you think is a reasonable assumption. And that’s fair enough. But you really haven’t the slightest idea what’s going on. I don’t need to assume.

    We’re out and about. We’re here, there and everywhere. You seem to think that legalizing marijuana is a change to what’s happening right now. It isn’t. You still won’t be able to smoke at a bar or shop, or technically “in public”.

    Except for a few people who would want to try it to see what it’s like everyone else is going to be doing the exact same thing they are doing today. Only paying tax.

    You’re making a very straightforward thing complicated and I don’t know why.

  31. mouse says:

    Most of the people I know who are successful, contribute to the community or are university educated smoke MJ

  32. mouse says:

    That stuff is expensive and if you consume a lot, it’s a waste of money

  33. RE Vanella says:

    I resemble that remark. And it’s true in my case. Of the 2 or 3 dozen friends I socialize with on a regular basis the vast majority smoke. Half smoke everyday.

    PhDs, chemists, engineers, a systems administrator, writers, teachers… This entire debate makes me laugh, and I’m not stoned yet today.

  34. RE Vanella says:

    Bulk discount mouse my man.

  35. Ben says:

    Dave, while it IS a little tough getting “name brand” stuff here in Delaware, DC is a short drive and their laws are….. fantastic.
    You go to an open air market (lots of em every day) …LEGALLY buy a post card for $50 and the vendor LEGALLY “gifts” you some …. for example, Blue Dream. Just lock your cruise control at “not getting pulled over” through MD. An individual can legally possess up to 2 ounces… and for those of you not “groovy”… that’s a lot.

  36. Ben says:

    I personally dont care too much about legality. It bothers me that Jeff Session(s?) jackboots can take my home and all my possessions if they THINK I have some devil grass, but my big complaint is all THE FUCKING MONEY John Carney is depriving our schools of.

  37. mouse says:

    I forgot about that DC thing. It’s been a while since I had anything other than low quality brown stuff

  38. mouse says:

    One toke over the line sweet Jesus

  39. Ben says:

    one toke, you poor bastard, wait till you see the goddamn bats!

    In any case, I would stay away from strains with names like “night terror”… i kid you not, one was called “night terror”. Im a fan of the high CBD content bud onnacounta really bad anxiety. too bad John Carney doesnt care about mental health.

  40. RE Vanella says:

    I just got stoned, rolled another joint.

    Now I’m… Going outside! Ahhhhhhhh.

  41. RE Vanella says:

    Wanted to let you folks know. I made it. It was fucking insane out there. I was terrified.

    We should study it more. Mistrust anyone who says otherwise. Especially if they lived in the “bay area” after it was cool. Especially if!

    The Black Panthers were founded in Oakland.

  42. Ben says:

    They ALL KNOW!!!