FIRST LEGALIZATION BILL TO BE INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS
Rep. Barney Frank announced on Bill Maher's Real Time live program Friday night that he would "file a bill as soon as we go back to remove all penalties for small amounts of marijuana." This will be the first time in US history that a re-legalization bill will be filed in Congress.
Saying the move warmed his heart, Maher asked Frank why he was doing so at this stage. Frank frankly answered that he'd been burned early on by bills to remove penalties for gay sex, and now "I finally got to the point where I think I can get away with it." One can hope other long-term politicians, will also want to do the right thing before they retire.
The Congressman, who has served since 1981, jokingly added that he feared the bill would negatively impact public health, since it would allow medical marijuana in all states. Republican PJ O'Rourke jumped in saying he was suddenly feeling a little ill himself. Maher countered that there were pot shops on every street corner in Los Angeles, but Frank reminded him that they were still at odds with federal law.
"I now think it's time for the politicians to catch up to the public," Frank said. "The notion that you lock people up for smoking marijuana is pretty silly. I'm going to call it the Make Room for Serious Criminals bill."
Time to lobby your Congress critters, who are on Easter break and will reconvene March 31.
THE REAL RACISM: IT'S THE DRUG WAR
Lost in the flap over the anti-American tirade from Obama’s minister is a major reason why Jeremiah Wright damned our country.
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America'," Wright said in a 2003 sermon. "No, no, no, not God bless America, God damn America." (see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/obama-tries-to-rid-himself-of-troublesome-firebrand-priest-797145.html )
When Wright says the government gives people drugs, he was likely referring to the work of Gary Webb, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who wrote in a 1996 San Jose Mercury News series that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold tons of crack cocaine in Los Angeles and funneled millions of dollars in profits to the CIA-supported Nicaraguan contras during the 1980s. More compelling evidence is presented in the current not-to-be-missed Showtime program American Drug War: The Last White Hope.
Regardless, Wright has cause to be outraged over racism in the drug war. Although public health data reveals that whites use drugs at the same rate as blacks, African Americans make up almost half of those arrested and convicted for drug offenses. Between 1992 and 1996, drug sentences skyrocketed and the African American prison population doubled. Today, 1 in 3 black men are in prison, on parole or on probation and 1 in 14 black children has a parent in prison. (See Drug Policy Alliance: “The War on Drugs or The New Jim Crow?” at http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/NewJimCrowFactSheet.pdf)
Did Obama address these issues in his mop-up speech? Of course not. Although he has admitted to youthful drug use, Obama and the other candidates have managed to sidestep the issue of our longest, 100-year drug war, its detrimental effects on all of society, its inhumanity, and the justified rage that it engenders.
GILLIGAN’S GIRL BUSTED FOR GANJA
Dawn Wells, the petite brunette who played Mary Ann on TV’s Gilligan’s Island, isn’t most people’s idea of a pothead. It was a surprise to many when the 69-year-old actress was caught with pot in her car last October. She was sentenced on February 29 to six months' unsupervised probation and quickly lost a speaking engagement for a Girl Scouts fundraiser.
The still-perky Wells is the founder of the Idaho Film and Television Institute and organizer of an annual family movie festival called Spud Fest. She was pulled over by an Idaho state trooper on her way home from a surprise party held in her honor, when the officer noticed the telltale smell of pot. A search found several half-smoked doobies and stash boxes. At the scene, Wells claimed she had picked up three hitchhikers who did the puffing; her lawyer later claimed another friend had left pot in her car that day.
In an interview on TV’s Entertainment Tonight, Wells claimed the pot was not hers and challenged the validity of the sobriety test she failed. She admitted she was weaving on the road, which she says was because of trying to turn on the heater in her new car, and plea bargained all charges down to reckless driving.
Driving issues aside (she had a few drinks at the party), it’s too bad Wells couldn’t admit to her likely marijuana use, as have other girl-next-doors Jennifer Aniston and Kirsten Dunst. Her arrest is one of almost 800,000 yearly pot busts in the US, and most offenders don’t get off as easily as TV stars, losing jobs, college loans, and sometimes even their children.
Ten years ago, Wells was rumored to be the person who mailed her co-star Bob Denver a package of pot to his West Virginia home. Denver, who played the title role of Gilligan, was arrested after receiving the package and also got probation. Interestingly, for all you cats and kitties who are too young to remember, Denver’s breakthrough TV role was that of Maynard G. Krebs, beatnik buddy to the title character in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959-1963) and arguably the first stoner-type character on TV.
MADONNA ON MARIJUANA
Madonna, 49, grabbed headlines away from her fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees by using her acceptance speech to reveal she took Ecstasy and smoked grass on her way to the top. The admissions came on March 10 at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel.
After accepting her award from Justin Timberlake, Madonna said, "The night I met Michael Rosenblatt, who signed me to Sire Records, I jammed my demo tape into his hand, we both did a tab of ecstasy and then we danced the night away." She then recalled the night she met long-term publicist Liz Rosenberg, saying: "We smoked a joint together." (See how bonding with drugs can help form productive relationships?)
Timberlake, who collaborated with Madonna on her upcoming album 'Hard Candy' and has admitted to past drug use, said Madonna gave him injections of vitamin B12 when they worked together. “That is what Madonna will always be to us. The shot in the a** when we really need it!" he said.
Others to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year include The Dave Clark Five, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp and The Ventures.
LIKE A ROLLING STONED
Seen on The Colbert Report: during a March 18 interview with Carole King, Colbert pulled out his Tapestry album and noted it was a double, briefly demonstrating how this allowed people to clean their pot on it in the 70s. Sony is re-releasing Tapestry on CD with additional material on April 22.
CBS DEEP-SIXES POT SMOKING CHARACTER
In a March 9 New York Times article by Susan Stewart, Hamish Linklater, who plays Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s brother, Matthew, on the CBS show “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” said his character was conceived as a surfer, a stoner and a slacker. But, the article stated, CBS dislikes marijuana references “unless they’re very clever or very veiled.” Instead, Matthew plays a medical school dropout training to be a psychotherapist. Seems like the hard-drinking Christine could use a shrink, and a joint.
Now CelebStoner.com informs me last week's show had Christine smoking pot in her garage. Any reports, readers?
ANOTHER POTHEAD IDOL?
Radaronline.com and other sites have noticed that dreadlocked American idol contestant Jason Castro “seems kinda baked all the time.” Last week’s show began with a medley of Beatles songs, many of which were inspired by the weed.
DON’T MISS THIS
Next week’s Root of All Evil with Lewis Black (Weds, 10:30 PM on the Comedy Channel) will see Beer face off against Weed, with judge Lewis deciding which is evil. (Last week pitted Donald Trump v. Viagra.)