A Little Traffic on City's Streets 

A Little Traffic on City's Streets 
Posted by FoM on March 31, 2001 at 21:10:22 PT
By Thom Marshall 
Source: Houston Chronicle
A co-worker asked me recently where he could score some drugs. He doesn't actually use any illegal substances, as far as I know. Very few of us in the age bracket of 50-64 do use them -- only 1.7 percent, according to 1999 estimates from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. It was just his way of jiving me about the amount of time I've spent over the past several months trying to understand the drug war, and about the number of words I've written on drug-related issues. 
I said that since I don't buy them myself, I couldn't tell him precisely where to get them. Said I have heard from many people who have been busted for drugs and I could ask one of them, but did he really want information from someone who got caught. In the hit movie Traffic, the boyfriend of the daughter of the incoming drug czar had some strong lines about white people going into black neighborhoods and asking anyone they happen to see where they can buy drugs, and how inappropriate and rude such behavior is. A lawyer I know suggested that some night we cruise around a neighborhood some of his clients told him about, stop and talk to someone on the street, then see how fast we get pulled over by police. He's willing to wager and give odds that a couple of middle-aged white guys cruising around that neighborhood in the late hours would, indeed, be stopped. Pot's Popular With Drug Users:One fellow told me that on a night shortly after moving back to Houston after living in Mexico, where he had acquired a drug habit, he went into a neighborhood close to downtown, asked a man on the street and soon made a buy. Said he chose that area because if the cops happened along, he stood a good chance of losing them in the downtown traffic. A couple of policemen who e-mailed recently expressed their opinions that people who buy drugs also are guilty of stealing the money and guilty of contributing to the violent lifestyles of their dealers. In 1999, an estimated 14.8 million Americans were illicit drug users, according to SAMHSA -- a number equal to 6.7 percent of the population age 12 and older. Some 57 percent of these users consumed only marijuana. A few of them get their grass from a man I visited with recently. He described himself as "40ish, divorced, well-read, reasonably intelligent, a native Houstonian, gainfully employed, middle class," and said he has "a multitude of wonderful friends" who also are his customers. Mostly professionals and business owners, he said, they buy their marijuana from him because they trust him and because he knows where to get it and they don't. He said he doesn't use or sell any other illegal substances and has never been busted in 18 years of dealing and using marijuana. His personal pot consumption rate is less than his customers', he said. He sometimes goes weeks between tokes. Said he was 22 before he tried it the first time, although he was around it a lot before that. Friendly Neighborhood Dealer:Back when he was going to high school, tobacco use was tolerated to the point there was a student smoking area on campus. This fellow said that someone often fired up a joint in the school smoking area, but when it was passed to him, he would simply pass it along without trying it. Since he limits his dealing to friends he said his volume is small and likewise his profits -- maybe $200 in an average week. "They have to ask me," he said. "I'm not standing on a street corner pushing anything." The heaviest user among his friend-customers is a business owner who uses about three-quarters of an ounce per week -- a tightly wound fellow who smokes marijuana a few times a day to combat stress and tension. Such a person might otherwise turn to a prescription drug, said the grass merchant, who believes his merchandise is superior when measured against the potential side effects and withdrawal symptoms of many medications. "I'm doing something illegal," the dealer admitted in the first half of a sentence, "but I'm not doing anything wrong," he contended in the last half. In 1999, some 704,800 people were arrested on marijuana charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Thom Marshall's e-mail address is: thom.marshall Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)Author: Thom MarshallPublished: March 31, 2001Copyright: 2001 Houston ChronicleContact: viewpoints chron.comWebsite: Articles - Thom Marshall
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Comment #7 posted by ashamed on April 02, 2001 at 08:18:07 PT
ashamed of our goverment
I am not ashamed of myself , i am ashamed of our goverment im ashamed of our laws regarding what we as a free countryare actualy allowed to do . Im ashamed of the stupidity that our govement contends to be the truth , they claim it has never undergone a true large trial program to find out if it has any medical value . When in actuality marijuna has undergone the largest test of any unaproved drug that i can think of . We the pepole of this United States of America have found that there is theraputic value in the use of marijuana . Legalize and stop the .....CIVIL WAR...on our pepole of the This United States of AmericaEND THE CIVAL WAR
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Comment #6 posted by MegaStoner on April 01, 2001 at 16:16:49 PT
nothing to be ashamed of?
Hey Ashamed,I liked your commentary.But I am curious as to why you chose 'Ashamed'?
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Comment #5 posted by Ashamed on April 01, 2001 at 14:28:49 PT
Over 50
From a personal perspective i know many pepole over the age of 50 who smoke first my father second my mother as well as 2uncles and 3 aunts one uncle dead of cancer but smoked untill he passed . And from family freinds at gatherings over the age of 50 theres around 20 of them and 18 of them smoke as well as a couple of the oldtimmers over 65 . At work the 2 owners of the machine shop i work for smokes as well 20 of our 28 employes . Not to metion all the countless pepole that i know personaly . im sorry but in my area no matter where i go i find peole who smoke . My guy supplys 2 town cops and a state troper all friends from childhood . Im in CT and it just seems to prolifarate here it can allways be found depending on how hard you look . With this many peole and the range of ages i just dont understand why we dont all band together . Other than the fear of trial prosecution forfeture destroyed carriers to name a few its just not right.  Conecticut has a medical marijuana law on the books for glacoma and chemotherapy . but thats as far as they ever took it , they never passed it as a defence nor did they legalize posesion of any amount or home grown .they simply said it could be used for these two conditionsand that it has to be purscribed by a phisician in persciption form wich means that it must be filled by a pharmacy. And that the licence may be applied for by both doctors and pharmcys . Funy thing is the pharmacys are fedarly regulated and can have there prescription licence removed if found with it as there is no legal way for them to obtain it ehter. They just kind of screwed us all around in general......END THE CIVAL WAR
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Comment #4 posted by MDG on April 01, 2001 at 12:41:50 PT
My father is in his mid-fifties, and he's definitely out of touch when it comes to "drugs". Of course, people in that age bracket don't think cigars and Scotch are drugs. Now, that's out of touch!Mike...
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Comment #3 posted by michael on April 01, 2001 at 09:18:46 PT:
-----------NO WAY-----------
I know that the figure of 1.7 is wrong when it comes to people over 50 using illegal drugs. Or am I so out of touch as a 50 year old that this figure is correct. Some one help me on this.
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Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on April 01, 2001 at 08:03:01 PT
Free Press
Free press in an un-free corporate envirnoment almost seems crazy. The internet is changing that, where the media always had the channels to offer news, we now have the chance to publish content, free from corporate controls. We should find better ways of getting the truth out to more people; an anti's nightmare, but they deserve it for all the nightmares they've caused.
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Comment #1 posted by Rambler on March 31, 2001 at 23:29:28 PT
General Public
I think if there was some way to do an actual survey,it wouldshow the majority of Americans know that pot is relativelyharmless.This is one of the things that really fries me,is theway the media carries prohibitionists the party line propaganda,froma small group of small minded people. The fact that the "news",is owned and controlled is the spookiest elementof our decaying demockracy.It is almost beyond reform or repair.
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