Another Way California And Connecticut Are Different: Pot To Your Door


Helaine and I dropped by Stef’s apartment in Hollywood yesterday. Nice neighborhood. She’s on a hilly street just off Hollywood Boulevard. It’s city life. You’re never more than a few minutes from hearing a police siren or fire truck.

Like most apartment dwellers Stef gets her fair share of ads under the door. Nearly anything you can think of will be delivered at nearly any hour.

This one was different. Well, to me it was different.

Yes, it’s an ad for pot delivery!

I’ve decided not to scan the backside. No sense giving away free advertising. Basically it mentions the types of weed available, including gourmet THC chocolates and vegan infused THC brownies.

Always discrete. Credit cards accepted. Just text or call for a menu or delivery.

Pot to your door. I haven’t seen that since college.

When Poker And Pot Are Legal

With the economy stalled and governments unable to keep out of the red, this may be the year we see the widespread legalization of some former unlawful vices: online poker and pot!

Pot for medicinal purposes is already legal in a few states, including Connecticut. I have one friend with a card that allows her to purchase 2&#189 ounces per month for a person with MS under her care. That’s a lot of pot for one person.

There’s no established structure for distribution, so legal pot in Connecticut exists more in theory than fact.

In states like California medicinal marijuana is more a ruse. If you have a real or imagined physical complaint you can score pot! I have been in the car as friends and relatives drove to strip mall pot dispensaries to score. None seemed very sick.

Recently Colorado passed a recreational pot law. Around the nation opposition is fading fast.

For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.

Support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010. The change is even more dramatic since the late 1960s. A 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84% were opposed. – Pew Research Center for People and Press

Pew Research survery on legalizing pot

Even if it is the evil “Weed With Roots in Hell,” it is ridiculous unconscionable we still arrest and jail people for possessing it. Do we really need to ruin their adult lives by arresting pot smoking teens?

As has been recently pointed out, the last three presidents were once law breakers as was this blogger and nearly every other adult I know!

Obviously there are concerns with kids smoking and stoned drivers, but we’re facing those concerns today with little realistic recourse. It’s unlikely anyone will start toking just because it’s legal, as few were stopped because it was not!


Online poker might actually beat legalized pot in some states. New Jersey and Nevada both have laws. Other states are sure to follow.

Poker is an interesting case, because I can play with friends at home or go to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun for action, I just can’t play online.

At one time online poker seemed to be in some sort of quasi legal no-man’s land. Then the Justice Department shut things down on what’s come to be known as “Black Friday.”

From Wikipedia: United States v. Scheinberg, 10 Cr. 336 (2011), is a United States federal criminal case against the founders of the three largest online poker companies, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Cereus (Absolute Poker/Ultimatebet), and a handful of their associates,[1] which alleges that the defendants violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and engaged in bank fraud and money laundering in order to process transfers to and from their customers

PokerStars, where I played, is still around. I’ve got a play money tournament on my tablet right now. Playing for real money, even the tiny tournaments I played at PokerStars, is different. Players aren’t as cautious without some skin at risk.

When pot and poker are legalized (and there currently seems no doubt they will be) will we look back and wonder why they were illegal in the first place? I will.

Let’s Talk Pot

I have friends and relatives in California who have prescriptions for medical marijuana. I’m not a doctor, but I think they’re legally doing the same thing I did illegally in the 60s and 70s (and maybe the 80s… who can remember clearly). None of them are degenerates… well, any more than they were before they started smoking.

I just read a story on Huffington/Mediaite/Politico about the DEA oversight committee in Congress. The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration was appearing. She was grilled questioned by Congressmen Jared Polis and Steve Cohen. They are both Democrats. They both disapprove of our country’s policies toward marijuana users.

“Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis asked.

“I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart replied.

“Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”

“I don’t think any illegal drug is good.”

“Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?”

“Again, all drugs…”

“It’s either ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘I don’t know.’”

The scene was scarcely different with Cohen asking these questions.

“Would you agree that marijuana causes less harm to individuals than meth, crack, cocaine, and heroin?” he asked.

“As a former police officer, as a 32-year DEA agent, I can tell you that I think marijuana is an insidious drug,” Leonhart replied.

“That’s not the question I asked you, ma’am. Does it cause less damage to the American society and to individuals than meth, crack cocaine and heroin? Does it make people have to kill to get their fix?”

“I can tell you that more teens enter treatment for marijuana.”

“Can you answer my question? Answer my question, please.”

Neither congressman got the answer they wanted, apparently, before their respective times expired.

I graduated high school in 1968. We all inhaled.

I have friends and relatives in California who have prescriptions for medical marijuana. I’m not a doctor, but I think they’re legally doing the same thing I did illegally in the 60s and 70s (and maybe the 80s… who can remember clearly). None of them are degenerates… well, any more than they were before they started smoking.

As Representative Ron Paul so eloquently pointed out, it’s not legality that controls these controlled substances.

“How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would,” he said to applause and laughter.

The problem isn’t what pot does to you. The problem is what arresting 18 year olds (or adults) does to them. Does the punishment fit the crime?

Where would my career be if I had been arrested? I suspect many (most) of you could ask the same question and shudder at the answer.

When I was 18 I thought pot would be legal by now. By age 30 I realized it would remain illegal forever. Now I’m not so sure.

I don’t want people driving stoned. I don’t want students getting high (like they don’t already). The only thing legalizing pot will change is how many are arrested. I can live with that.

Note: The marijuana tax stamp pictured above is real.

Barney Frank and Ron Paul–The Doobie Brothers

The bill won’t legalize pot, but it will make federal law enforcement respect local laws.

Talk about your strange bedfellows, Congressmen Barney Frank (D – MA) and Ron Paul (R – TX) have collectively introduced a bill. It’s HR2306 “To limit the application of Federal laws to the distribution and consumption of marihuana, and for other purposes.”

Really? We talked about this stuff like this when I was in college. The older I got the less likely it seemed. Now Andrew Breitbart’s “Big Government” website is calling them the Doobie Brothers!

The bill won’t legalize pot, but it will make federal law enforcement respect local laws. If a state says pot’s OK the DEA and other federal agencies will have to steer clear. California’s pot dispensaries immediately come to mind.

No matter what you think of pot is its mere possession a proper cause for incarceration?

I remember a friend getting busted for pot possession at SUNY Stony Brook back in the late 60s. Forty years later does he have to disclose his felony?

During the recent Republican debate in South Carolina Congressman Paul spoke about the legalization of all drugs (going well beyond this proposed law).

“How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would.”

And, of course he’s right.

As weirdly enlightened as this bill seems it’s going nowhere! House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said it won’t clear his committee. It’s dead-on-arrival… a pipe dream.

Parents, Apartments And Pot

I know my parents smoked back in the day. I can safely say this because I was there.

I came of age in the sixties. Did I smoke pot? Please! I’m not sure I knew anyone who didn’t. It was a generational thing.

On the other hand the generation before mine, the one Tom Brokaw named “The Greatest Generation,” they were a little straighter… or so I thought!

I grew up in a six story building in Queens. We were in Apartment 5E. Last night my lifelong friend Dennis who grew up in Apartment 5F posted a link to a story which said marijuana “grew like weeds in 1950s Brooklyn.” He followed up by saying…

My father admitted to having smoked pot when he was young privately to me. I do not know if my mother actually ever knew. I assume my brother did, but I don’t know for sure. But he nonetheless did not want me to use it, and didn’t want it in the house

Honest – his dad Sidney was the last person I’d have expected.

I know my parents smoked back in the day. I can safely say this because I was there. It’s possible I was the provocateur (though you know how it is with pot… there’s so much you don’t remember)!

So, we’ve now established pot in 5E and 5F and I assumed that would be the end of the story until I got an email this morning from another one of my neighbors. She grew up next door on the other side in Apartment 5D. No names here as she has asked to remain anonymous.

When my parents moved to Florida and I was helping them clean out the apartment, I found a small prescription bottle with some pot in it and a package of rolling papers. I quickly shut it and thought which one of my sisters was stupid enough to hide this in our parents’ room. Then all of a sudden my mother called out to me, “By the way, did you find that pot on the windowsill?”

I literally almost fainted. She told me that everyone on the news and everywhere was talking so much about it that they HAD to try it.

They got some through a friend, smoked it once, didn’t understand what the big deal was, and left it there on the windowsill and forgot about it! It had been there for years.

Three families living inches from each other with the same silly secret. I’ll bet it’s as much as shock to the ‘kids’ from 5D and 5F as it was to me from 5E.

Memo to kids: Your parents are hipper than you’ll ever know.

Pot’s On The Ballot In California

It should pass because people shouldn’t be arrested or sent to jail for having marijuana.

I’ve actually wanted to write about this for a while but kept putting it off. Then I read a tweet from a graphic artist/photographer I follow:

Dear California, Legalize Weed and Tax the Profits. You’ll have money after that.

In case you haven’t heard California, where a few hundred thousand signed petitions is pretty much all you need, is putting pot on the ballot. Passage could “turn medical marijuana dispensaries into all-purpose pot stores, and the open sale of joints could become commonplace on mom-and-pop liquor store counters in liberal locales like Oakland and Santa Cruz.” That’s the read from the Associated Press as quoted on Wikipedia.

It’s tough to believe a marijuana tax would bail California out of its budget morass. My Twitter buddy hints at that and many in California openly make the same claim. The state is so deep in the hole there’s little prospect of climbing out in the near term even with $1 billion or more in new revenue some project.

That’s not why this proposition should pass. It should pass because people shouldn’t be arrested or sent to jail for having marijuana. It’s a ridiculous punishment for a fairly benign act.

Back in 1966 I was invited to a friend’s house. As sixteen year old Geoff watched some friends lit up a joint. I started to leave, but not before I told one of my friends, someone I’m still friends with and who will read this blog entry, if I ever heard he was smoking pot I’d call the police!

I was sixteen. It was a dumb thing to say and I didn’t call the police. But what if I had? How would his life changed had he been arrested, tried and convicted as the felon he most certainly was?

Unfortunately, even today, the most likely way marijuana will screw up your life is if you’re caught with it. I sense there aren’t a lot of stoners throwing bricks through car windshields or getting violent because they’re high. My recollection is pot led to music and cookies. The worst part of pot was it made you a law breaker.

As California gets closer to its election it will be interesting to hear the arguments on both sides and the position of the federal government. Possession and sale of marijuana is a federal crime so there is a serious conflict that could nullify a ballot box vote.

For the last 15 plus years I have been a guest speaker for a drug prevention program in Prospect. My views on California are not in conflict with my reasons for going to the Community School every year. Pot, alcohol and tobacco are still a bad mix with kids. They need to learn peer pressure is not insurmountable. You can say no.

When I was in college in the ‘heady’ late 60s I was sure pot would be legal by now. In my 30s and 40s I figured there was no political upside to removing the legal penalties and possession would remain a crime forever. Right now I am just plain surprised it’s on the ballot.

Note: The Connecticut Marijuana tax stamp shown above is real! Though the possession and sale of pot is against the law in Connecticut this tax allows an additional civil penalty to be assessed by the Department of Revenue Services. I don’t claim to understand how it works, how it’s enforced, or whether the state sells any tax stamps as collectors items.