Reefer Madness 

Reefer Madness 
Posted by FoM on May 17, 2001 at 07:29:29 PT
By Rinker Buck
Source: Hartford Courant 
During the course of researching his latest book, "The Botany of Desire," Michael Pollan spent a delightful evening smoking pot in an Amsterdam cafe and made an important discovery about himself and America's $20 billion war on drugs: Marijuana didn't make him feel "stupid or paranoid" anymore. Michael Pollan of Cornwall wrote “The Botany of Desire,” a study of how man's desire to alter nature has affected apples, tulips, potatoes and marijuana. 
The improvements in America's favorite controlled substance - a vast change from Pollan's hippie days at Bennington College in Vermont in the early 1970s - have come about, he concludes, for an important reason. "Operating in the shadow of a ferocious drug war," global pot growers have literally been forced underground into modern, scientifically managed marijuana cellars, where cross-breeding and improved growing methods have turned pot into a more potent, benign high while removing the noxious side effects of old. The result? Cannabis has been transformed into "what is today the most prized and expensive flower in the world." "The drug war is great politics," Pollan said during an interview at his mountaintop home here, an elaborate, 7-acre warren of gardens, ponds and elegant stone walls reclaimed from the site of a former dairy. "Declaring a war on drugs explains away a lot of crime and why we have problems with our kids. But like all societies, we're torn both by a desire to alter consciousness and then to control the consequences of that, and it's really the ambiguities of that behavior that drew me toward understanding the culture of growing marijuana." The disappointing results of America's drug war are but one of many ironies in "The Botany of Desire," a whimsical, literary romp through man's perpetually frustrating and always unpredictable relationship with nature. Pollan didn't set out to become a New Age critic of America's drug laws, and he seems an unlikely candidate for that kind of attention. In 1994, Pollan abandoned a successful career as an editor in New York to devote himself full time to writing. As the founding editor of the Harper's Magazine "Index" and later the magazine's executive editor, he was regarded as an up-and-coming star capable of taking over any number of high-profile editorial posts. But Pollan found himself increasingly drawn to the pleasures of gardening and writing about his experiences in nature. "I found that nothing was more pleasurable than devoting a long evening to gardening after a day spent writing or guest-editing in New York," says Pollan, who had floodlights installed so he could garden after dark. Pollan, 46, is often surprised by the impact of his quirky, discursive essays. In 1998, a long article Pollan published in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, "Playing God in the Garden," described how Monsanto had introduced a genetically engineered potato to kill off the Colorado beetle, largely without public notice. The article's appearance led to a wholesale review of genetically engineered potatos by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This spring, Monsanto quietly dropped the product. Pollan's two earlier books - "Second Nature," a critically acclaimed meditation on gardening, and "A Place of My Own," his lyrical account of spending a year designing and building a writer's cabin behind his home - established him as a sort of Emerson of the contemporary gardening and shelter boom. In his new book, Pollan chose four common, commercially successful plants - the apple, the tulip, the potato and marijuana - to explore the connection between man's desire to alter nature and how the plant world responds. But Pollan's probing and at times hilarious journey through America's marijuana culture will provoke the most notice as he makes the rounds of television shows and a six-city book tour. "The big lesson I took away from `Second Nature' was that the garden is the place where we look to to answer our questions about nature," Pollan says. "But in the end, I was interested in us, people. By looking at plants that have evolved to gratify the desires, maybe I could understand the nature of those desires themselves." Modern society's official taboo on marijuana has led to contrarian results, Pollan concludes. He became interested in marijuana because it symbolizes every generation's tendency to select a single "forbidden plant" while ignoring others just as threatening or intoxicating. In the 1920s, as Pollan points out, alcoholic beverages were prohibited, but opium and marijuana could be bought over the counter at drug stores. Today the situation is exactly reversed, but government prohibition efforts have proved just as ineffective. "Americans just don't seem to realize that the $20 billion war on drugs is essentially a war on pot, a drug whose real threat to society is as best debatable," Pollan says. "If you take away all the people using pot, what do you have left? A couple of million users of hard-core drugs. I'm not sure most Americans would agree to spend this much money for a threat that small." Few Americans, as well, realize the threat to basic freedoms raised by the war on drugs. "You can go down through the Bill of Rights - all 10 of them - and easily determine that freedoms have been eroded by decisions on drug cases, and most of these are pot cases," Pollan says. "The Sixth Amendment right to confront your accuser, the Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable searches have all been curtailed as a result of drug cases." Pollan, however, refuses to become a moral sourpuss about what he considers to be America's overzealous war on pot, and his journey through the marijuana culture reveals several fascinating nuggets of trivia and hilarious personal events. Pollan discovers, for example, that astronomer Karl Sagan avidly experimented with pot and even anonymously published an essay on the subject. Pollan's own brief career as a marijuana farmer almost ended in disaster when he accepted delivery of a cord of firewood from a man who turned out to be the chief of police from New Milford. Pollan's odyssey through the world of marijuana reveals one final, perhaps critical, irony. The rapid spread of pot in the 1960s "and the attendant official worries" freed up generous government resources to study how marijuana affects the brain, and Israeli and American researchers soon discovered both the "psychoactive" agent and the receptor in the brain that creates a pot high. The resulting research has revolutionized science's understanding of how the brain works. "People always thought that if they took mind-altering drugs, maybe they'd understand consciousness more," Pollan says. "Now we're realizing that studying pot and its effects are changing what we know about the brain, everything from memory, emotion, appetite and so forth. Scientifically, pot has literally unlocked the secrets of the brain." Source: Hartford Courant (CT)Author: Rinker BuckPublished: May 17, 2001 Copyright: 2001 The Hartford Courant Contact: letters Website: Related Article:Cottage-Garden Poppies Fall Victim To The WoDs Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by RevJeff&Annie&Corps on May 18, 2001 at 08:48:01 PT
The Freedom Revolution! is Now...........
Greetings! The Time Is Ripe for The People, as they are doing so well, to Strike The Beast Down. Here in Jefferson County Mizzoura, where Crimes by Sexual Predators on young children are not prosecuted because there is no Federal Money in it......We Are Now Getting Down To Brass Tacks..and an Army of Lawyers..are soon to see massive civil suits and the removal of numerous
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on May 18, 2001 at 05:48:42 PT:
Very, very close to the truth
Sudaca and Mayan are quite corrcet; this is about sustainable, renewable enegy...and the cartels who control the present, non-sustainable energy sources.But their agenda goes a lot deeper and further back in history than just the present phase of the DrugWar.And the Bush Family is involved in it up to their hair follicles:The Elkhorn Manifesto the article:"A large volume of documentary evidence exists that reveals that many of the  richest, most powerful men in the United States, and the giant corporations  they controlled, were secretly allied with the Nazis, both before and during  World War II, even after war was declared between Germany and America. This alliance began with U.S. corporate investment during the reconstruction of  post-World War I Germany in the 1920s and, years later, included financial, industrial and military aid to the Nazis."And further on:" "George Bush's (Senior's) problems were inherited from his namesake and maternal grandfather, George Herbert 'Bert' Walker, a native of St. Louis, who founded the banking and investment firm of G. H. Walker and Company in 1900. Later the company shifted from St. Louis to the prestigious address of 1 Wall Street. . . . "Walker was one of Hitler's most powerful financial supporters in the United States. The relationship went all the way back to 1924, when Fritz Thyssen, the German industrialist, was financing Hitler's infant Nazi party. As mentioned in earlier chapters, there were American contributors as well...."Young George was in flight school in October 1942, when the U.S. government charged his father with running Nazi front groups in the United States. Under the Trading with the Enemy Act, all the shares of the Union Banking Corporation were seized, including those held by Prescott Bush as being in effect held for enemy nationals. Union Banking, of course, was an affiliate of Brown Brothers, Harriman, and Bush handled the Harrimans' investments as well. "Once the government had its hands on Bush's books, the whole story of the intricate web of Nazi front corporations began to unravel. A few days later two of Union Banking's subsidiaries -- the Holland American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation -- also were seized. Then the government went after the Harriman Fifteen Holding Company, which Bush shared with his father-in-law, Bert Walker, the Hamburg-Amerika Line, and the Silesian-American Corporation. The U.S. government found that huge sections of Prescott Bush's empire had been operated on behalf of Nazi Germany and had greatly assisted the German war effort." (1) This is but a small part of a very large and informative document that I strongly urge all readers here to look at. And keep something in mind; we rarely ever see more than the tip of the iceberg. This particlar iceberg runs very deep, indeed. And those maintaining it are still in power.
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on May 17, 2001 at 16:40:06 PT
War on Hemp
 Morgan is absolutely correct in my opinion. Does anybody think that the Federal Government really cares about us and wants to protect us from these "evil" drugs. They don't care if we all kill ourselves(except for the fact that they wouldn't be able to tax us if we were dead). This is a war being fought between non-renewable,non-sustainable resources & renewable,sustainable ones. The war on drugs has very little to do with drugs & everything to do with controlling citizens and preserving greed & power. Hemp for Victory!!!
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Comment #5 posted by Dank Hank on May 17, 2001 at 14:18:47 PT:
Hey ......
I spent a week in Amsterdam a few years ago, and when I talk about it to admiring friends who want to do the same I recently started to remember one thing:I have NO memories of being worried about police, I can barely remember SEEING any police and I had a wunderful time, right up to the point where I encountered the US Customs PIGS in Detroit airport.Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave ... translated ... welcome to the land of the partly free and home of the brave persecutors of sick Americans.
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Comment #4 posted by shaun(jack)daneils on May 17, 2001 at 13:19:03 PT
jack daneils
the mother herb ,the cheba ,the holyest of plants it has more protien than any other plant ,helps with medical problems, dosent impair or kill anybody like alcoholso the only real drug problem is getting good weed.
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Comment #3 posted by shaun{jack) daneils on May 17, 2001 at 13:11:57 PT:
w       w eeee eeeeee dd w   w   w e   e   d d      is great  w  w w  w eeeee eeeee d d  w w  w w  e   e   d d  w   w   eeeee eeeeee dd
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Comment #2 posted by Morgan on May 17, 2001 at 12:06:28 PT
Think on this...
The War on Drugs is a war on pot? True...sort of. The way I understand it (and anyone here is free to jump on this and correct me), this War on Drugs is, in it's true objective, a war on Industrial hemp. The plant that can replace 90% of the world's energy needs. Since our whole economy pretty much depends upon sucking up more and more fossil fuels as the blood to keep our collective body alive, any competitive alternative that is renewable, cleaner, and can be produced by practically anybody, poses a major threat to the powers that be. (Big Oil, Plastics, Chemicals, etc.... you know, Bush and company). Pot (the psycoactive flower of certain hemp plants) is the useful boogieman that is closely associated with Cocaine, Heroin, Meth, Opium, etc. as 'Drugs'... all are one...evil incarnate.So attacking 'Drugs' (evil) in Columbia is seen as something worth doing to protect our children from this evil. Even $20 billion dollars worth.Oh yea, there also happens to be a huge untapped pool of oil down there. But it's sitting under a bunch of indegenous natives and FARC rebels.Now, how to get them off of it?Hmmmm.... ********************************************
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Comment #1 posted by Sudaca on May 17, 2001 at 09:27:46 PT
"Americans just don't seem to realize that the $20 billion war on drugs is essentially a war on pot, a drug whose real threat to society is as best debatable," Pollan says. "If you take away all the people using pot, what do you have left? A couple of million users of hard-core drugs. I'm not sure most Americans would agree to spend this much money for a threat that small." This is a fundamental observation. Domestically the War on Drugs is a war against Pot, the most popular and widespread 'recreational' drug in the United States. This is not even a question; where is all the domestic budget spent?The question is why then is the US spending so much money intervening in Colombia/South America? Surely that's not against pot? There's something else going on down there, and it's not a War against Cocaine. 
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