Sunday, April 28, 2013

Anne Hathaway: Toking a Victory Lap?


Anne Hathaway in Havoc (2005)

According to various celeb sites, Anne Hathaway is the second 2013 Oscar winner (after Jennifer Lawrence) who is taking a toking victory lap.

The National Enquirer has reportedly announced that its May 6 print edition will contain photos of Hathaway and husband Adam Schulman smoking pot. While the Enquirer found friends who lamented Hathaway's partying proclivities and blamed them on Schulman, other sites are supportive.

Fanshare.com opined, "More than likely, she and her husband were just chilling out, and someone managed to get pictures of them smoking pot. Anne is still young, and she has her whole career ahead of her. Much like Jennifer Lawrence, if this report is accurate, it's unlikely it will affect her or generate any backlash." We've come a long way, baby.

Hathaway toked onscreen in 2005's Havoc (pictured)where she plays a fancy LA girl taking a walk on the wild side. (And yes, you can see her boobs in the film too.)

Schulman played a bumbling police officer in a 2007 TV "Dukes of Hazzard" prequel with Willie Nelson as Uncle Jesse. Many will remember the ending of the 2005 Dukes movie in which the bad guys and dignitaries spent the last scene in Jesse's smoky trailer. Willie just turned 80, and many birthday tributes included mentions of his love for pot and its role in his longevity. (By contrast, the hard-drinking George Jones just died at 81.) Justin Bieber seems to have gotten the message: pot (and a taser) were found on his tour bus in Sweden.

In other Enquirer news, it's reported that John Boehner's daughter is giving him something to really cry about: she's marrying a pothead. It's not unheard of for Republican daughters to marry into marijuana: William LeBlond, the first husband of Dorothy Bush (Shrub's sister), was arrested in 1989 for drunken driving and marijuana possession.

According to the Los Angeles Free Press (9/5/1969) then-Vice President Spiro Agnew's daughter Elinor Kimberly Agnew was arrested for marijuana in June 1969 after being caught at a pot party with classmates at the National Cathedral School in DC. Agnew famously called radio stations asking them not to play Brewer and Shipley's "One Toke Over the Line" (but not before it was sung on Lawrence Welk's show) and apparently he was able to squelch the story about his daughter as well. Another political daughter, Teresa McGovern, didn't fare as well.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jane Fonda: What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Misunderstanding?

Jane Fonda as Grace in Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
It's the role of a lifetime for Jane Fonda. No, not Nancy Reagan. It's the hippie grandmother Grace in 2011's Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, now being shown on The Movie Channel.

Fonda plays the mother of uptight attorney Diane, played by Catherine Keener. Diane brings her two teenage children to her mother's after their father demands a divorce, and it turns out to be a healing journey and cultural clash.

Grace, whose home reeks of pot, deals a little on the side and introduces her grandkids to the wonders of the weed. It's done intelligently, with Grace resorting to it before losing them to an evening of them closing down (as so many teens do). Afterwards, she gives them sage advice: stay away from the brown stuff (heroin) and nothing up the nose (cocaine).

It's the first Fonda has toked on film since 9 to 5, where she plays an innocent who finds her inner strength with the aid of weed and some gal pals. Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding is part Harold and Maude, part Pineapple Express and although some would say it's a bit contrived or heavy-handed, it's well worth seeing for Fonda's performance.

Jane was observed smoking some weed at a recent Oscar party and in 1969 asked Rex Reed, "You don't mind if I turn on, do you?" before he interviewed her the year she won a well-deserved Oscar for They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

She's still vilified as "Hanoi Jane" even though she spent the war advocating for veterans. Fonda's thoughtful film about the Vietnam War, Coming Home, was trounced at the Oscars in favor of the controversial The Deer Hunter. Recent controversy is about Jane playing Nancy Reagan in a forthcoming film, and there's a note about Reagan in Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding.

The child of a famously stoic movie icon father and a beautiful mother who killed herself when Jane was 12, she played out her relationship with her father onscreen in On Golden Pond while getting her body bikini ready. She was also great as Lilian Hellman in Julia and in her current turn as a network executive on TV's The Newsroom.

Still getting roles at the age of 75, we're looking forward to more insight and enlightenment from Lady Jane.

UPDATE 8/14 - Fonda was honored with an AFI Life Achievement Award at a splendid ceremony with tributes from Lily Tomlin, Michael Douglas, Meryl Streep, Ron Kovic, Jeff Daniels, Peter Fonda, Troy Garity (her son with Tom Hayden, pictured) and many more. I hadn't realized that, among her other many accomplishments, her movie 9-5 helped launch the SEUI. Fonda commented that it was good to see the award go to a woman; earlier winners were Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Barbara Stanwick, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep, and Shirley MacLaine.

UPDATE 12/14: Fonda, in one her last appearances on HBO's The Newsroom, utters the line, "I sold my clothes, dealt a little pot.....Just kidding, I didn't sell my clothes," when her character Leona is trying to come up with funds to buy back her network. The role was doubtlessly informed by her marriage to CNN's Ted Turner. Recently we uncovered an exchange between Fonda and Bill Maher where Bill tries to get her to out Turner as "a big pothead" and Fonda gets an admission from Bill instead.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Prominent Women "Woman Up" for Drug Law Reform in Letter to Obama that Addresses Children's Concerns



Actress and Obama campaign co-chair Eva Longoria

What do Eva Longoria, Roseanne Barr, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson, Cameron Diaz, Scarlett Johannson, three Kardashians (Kim, Khloe and Kourtney), Demi Moore, Sarah Silverman, Susan Sarandon, Ani Difranco, Missy Elliot, Jennifer Hudson, Natalie Maines, Nicki Minaj, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and authors Michelle Alexander and Naomi Klein have in common with John Hamm, Ron Howard, Richard Branson and Mike Tyson?

They've all signed an open letter to President Obama calling for an end to the injustice of the war on drugs. Also signing were civil rights leaders and advocates, members of the faith community, business leaders and athletes, all members of a coalition 175 strong lead by Russell Simmons and the Drug Policy Alliance.

The letter says:

"The greatest victims of the prison industrial complex are our nation’s children. Hundreds of thousands of children have lost a parent to long prison sentences for non-violent drug offenses, leaving these children to fend for themselves. Many of these children end up in the criminal justice system, which comes as no surprise as studies have shown the link between incarceration and broken families, juvenile delinquency, violence and poverty....


"Many of those impacted by the prison industrial complex are among your most loyal constituents. Your struggles as the child of a single mother allow you to identify with millions of children who long to be with their parents. We request the opportunity to meet with you to discuss these ideas further and empower our coalition to help you achieve your goals of reducing crime, lowering drug use, preventing juvenile incarceration and lowering recidivism rates. We stand with you, ready to do what is just for America." 


The letter also asks Obama to form a panel to review requests for clemency that come to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. 

Justin Bieber didn't sign but made news when he tweeted support. And the NAACP president told the US to man up and reform the WOD, tweeted the Marijuana Majority. In response to a tweet with a link to this article, MM responded that Ben Jealous also said "woman up" in his excellent interview (well worth a look).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Annette Funicello: Beauty with a Beastly Disease

Annette Funicello, the Mousketeer that Roared, has died at the age of 70 of complications from Multiple Sclerosis. Before she died, she had lost her ability to speak and had long withdrawn from public life since learning she had MS in 1987.

Studies show that a large percentage of MS patients use cannabis for their symptoms. I'd heard a rumor years ago that Funicello was one of them, but was not able to confirm it.

Researchers have been finding for decades that cannabinoids hold promise for treating MS. "In addition to symptom management," wrote one team of researchers in 2003, "cannabis may also slow the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other disease." Source (p. 52).

MS attacks women more often than men. Another beloved actress, Teri Garr, also suffers from MS. She and Funicello worked together on beach movies when Garr was a dancer. Dawn Wells, who played the wholesome, dark-haired Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island (a role possibly modeled on Funicello), was caught with pot in her car in 2008.

Meanwhile, UCSF researcher Dr. Donald Abrams, who has studied cannabis in AIDS patients, won approval and funding for a clinical study on sickle cell disease and cannabis. The study was based on a successful mouse study that found cannabis not only is helpful with symptoms of sickle cell, it can halt the progression of the painful disease.

The study was to begin April 1st, but is now a victim of the federal budget sequestration.

There has been a paucity of studies on cannabis and sickle cell. A PubMed search yields only one:  a British team found in 2005 that 36% of young adults with sickle cell in their study had used cannabis in the previous 12 months to relieve symptoms associated with SCD. "We conclude that research in the use of cannabinoids for pain relief in SCD would be both important and acceptable to adult patients," the researchers wrote.

In the United States, approximately 1 in 500 African-Americans and 1 in 1,200 Hispanic Americans are born with SCD. Sister Somiyah, a longtime activist from LA, was a sufferer who was repeatedly harassed by LAPD over her medical marijuana garden.

In recent years, reports NORML, health regulators in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom have approved the prescription use of cannabis extracts to treat multiple sclerosis. But in the US, we are letting our sisters suffer, especially those brave enough to provide medicine.

In Tuolomne County, Sara Herrin, RN, and her sisters are being persecuted for operating an above-board medical marijuana collective called Today's Health Care. Sara has been a registered caregiver for over 30 years and was Tuolomne County's Director for the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of the Sierra for 7 years. Their bank accounts have been seized and Sara has lost her home of 22 years. They are in desperate need of funding for their legal defense. Go to fundly.com and search for "Save the Sisters."

UPDATE: May 5, 2013 - Charges were dropped against the Tuolomne sisters!

And then the sad news that Chrissy Amphlett of the DiVinyls has died at age 53. Amphlett also had multiple sclerosis, and when she came down with breast cancer, couldn't avail herself of radiation treatments due to her MS. Known for their monster hit "I Touch Myself," one of the Divinyls' later songs, 1996's "Human On The Inside," was covered by VIP Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders. Amphlett appeared with a cane at the 2011 ARIA Awards.

In a recent report, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the Federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that marijuana "inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines." The same report showed marijuana slows or stops the growth of certain lung cancer cells and suggested that marijuana may provide "risk reduction and treatment of colorectal cancer."

UPDATE 5/25:
Hemp Seed Oil Associated With Improved Clinical and Immunological Parameters In Multiple Sclerosis Patients