Friday, February 24, 2012

McCartney in "High" Profile Child Custody Case?

"At 69, Paul McCartney Swears Off Marijuana" the headlines ran. McCartney told Rolling Stone he'd given up the weed because of his 8-year-old daughter with Heather Mills, who he divorced just after she said she wouldn't tolerate his toking.

McCartney has just remarried, and he and Mills are back in divorce court. Although no journalist thought to ask, I'll bet Mills brought up the marijuana matter over child custody. Why do I think so? Because not a week goes by that I don't hear from a mother or father involved in a custody battle whose spouse brings up their pot use to get some leverage for themselves.

The revelation is key because McCartney has been about the highest (ha) profile proponent of marijuana legalization for decades. He helped pay for a July 24, 1967 advertisement in the London Times that called for legalization of pot possession, release of all prisoners on possession charges and government research into marijuana's medical uses. (Other signatories included VIPs John Lennon and Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA.) He told RS he's still for legalization, and is "a bit surprised" that it hasn't happened yet.

So perhaps by making this public statement McCartney's parental rights will be protected, but what of countless others who aren't so lucky? What effect the breaking up of families has on the children we're all supposed to be fighting this drug war about is unknown.

Meanwhile, Redbook magazine has an article in its current issue titled, "Pot Parents" that explains, through experts and parents, that those who are accustomed to the effects of smoking are no more dangerous to their children, even in an emergency, than parents who think nothing of having a beer while babysitting. Charles Sophy, medical director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Children, told Redbook, "Every day he sees parents who have underestimated the repercussions of smoking pot — in rare cases, he's seen children sent to live with relatives."

Hear this and weep.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Smoking a Super Bowl

UPDATE: Clarkson has revealed that she was hospitalized during her "horrible" pregnancy due to severe nausea and vomiting. It's likely the star suffered from hyperemis gravidarum (HG), a debilitating ailment characterized by severe nausea and vomiting, malnutrition, and weight loss during pregnancy that afflicts 1-2% of pregnant women globally, including Princess Kate

Since cannabis is the safest and most effective anti-emetic known to man, with a non-oral delivery system (smoking) that offers immediate relief, it would make sense to consider it a remedy for mothers with severe morning sickness.

Not only did Superbowl XLVI feature the first female Very Important Pothead halftime performer, it also had original American Idol and Tokin Woman Kelly Clarkson belt out the National Anthem. Clarkson came through like a champ, winning favorable reviews over Christine Aguilera's performance last year, when she muffed the lyrics.

In 2007, Clarkson told USA Weekend magazine that she ate a marijuana cookie in Amsterdam. "It is legal there, and it is not legal here," she (somewhat erroneously) said. "I don't ever do anything illegal here," Clarkson added. "I have never smoked anything in my life. I've never tried any drugs. I wouldn't do anything that would cause holes in your brain or your nasal cavity. Call me Texan, but I don't think of marijuana like that."

Shortly thereafter, Blender magazine's August 2007 profile of Clarkson presented her as a bit of a rebel, documenting the Grammy winner's rift with 74-year-old BMG Chairman/CEO Clive Davis. "I can't stand it when people put out the same record over and over again," Clarkson told Blender. "Life is too short to be a pushover."

Advertised during the Super show (with spots that cost upwards of $3 million) was Anjelica Houston's new series Smash, involving the creation of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, premiering tomorrow on NBC. In a 2006 episode of Showtime's excellent series "Huff," Houston passes a joint to Huff, her psychotherapist colleague Hank Azaria, before guiding him on an MDMA/Ecstacy trip/therapy session.

Anjelica is the daughter of legendary film director John Houston. According to Lee Server in the Robert Mitchum biography, Baby I Don't Care, the elder Houston delighted Mitchum with tales of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, during the filming of 1957's Heaven Knows Mr. Allison. Anjelica said of the classic 1948 film, shot in Mexico, "they were all smoking grass down there, high as a clouds for most of the picture." Marlon Brando said in his book Songs My Mother Taught Me that John "did a lot of heavy pot smoking" while filming Reflections In a Golden Eye, and got Brando high before filming a scene. But what we really want to know is, did Bogart bogart the joint?

In other Super spots, the Pepsi and Coke wars continue, with Coke's offering using the tagline, "Open happiness." Of course, the original forumulation for Coca Cola contained cocaine and the company reportedly still imports coca leaves for flavoring. Red Bull Coca, available in the US, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, Russia and the UK, also contains "decocainized" coca leaf. Germany found traces of cocaine in the product (0.13 micrograms per can) and banned it in six states.

Budweiser premiered a nostalgic spot starting with a celebration of the end of alcohol prohibition and ending with the line, "Delivering great times since 1876." It was followed by an ad for Doritos, a product often associated with another kind of bud. Budweiser got double coverage when GE ran a spot highlighting the fact that their refrigerators keep beer cold (refrigeration not required for marijuana buds).

Howard Stern was featured in an ad promoting him joining NBC's "America's Got Talent." Stern admitted to youthful pot smoking in his book Private Parts and righteously has said he won't endorse any presidental candidate who isn't for legalization.

In a memorable spot, David Beckham models his tatoos and underwear to The Animals' song "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." In Eric Burdon's autobiography of the same name, The Animals' singer writes of visiting Mazatlan where, "I went into a rap about how the Mexicans had given the world two precious things--marijuana and beautiful women. The crowd loved it, but I don't imagine the Mexican authorities did." Burdon relates that he smelled his "first magical whiff of marijuana" with none other than Jack Teagarden at a Louis Armstrong concert. Teagarden was Benny Goodman's trombonist and inspiration for the song, "Texas Tea Party."

An ad for the new movie "G.I. Joe" begins, "In the immortal words of Jay-Z, 'Whatever deity may guide my life, oh Lord, don't let me die tonight.'" Jay-Z is so associated with the holy herb that days after his daughter was born, a strain named for her started appearing at LA cannabis clubs. The original 1945 G.I. Joe movie won an Oscar nomination for its hot young star, Very Important Pothead Robert Mitchum.

VIP Madonna made her halftime show entrance pulled by a legion of gladiators, like Elizabeth Taylor in "Cleopatra" (both probable pot smokers). It ended with "Like a Prayer" and the words "World Peace."

Betty White made a re-appearance in an ad, two years after the 80-year-old hit with the "You're playing like Betty White" Snickers ad. White was just outed by Joan Rivers as having smoked with her back in the day, when "we had fun." White's character on "Hot in Cleveland," which just won her another SAG award, smoked pot until it was explained away in Season 2.

And they call us the counterculture. Seems to me, we're a driving force. And that's just the first half of the game. Don't get me started about how the Giant Patriots who founded the US were all hemp farmers.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

NIDA Kills Marijuana and Pregnancy Follow-up Study

Culture magazine published an interview this month with Melanie Dreher, the researcher whose 1994 March of Dimes-funded study found that Jamaican mothers who used marijuana bore developmentally superior babies.

A follow up study conducted when the children were 5 years old again showed no negative impacts of marijuana; in fact, they seemed to excel. But no further follow ups could win approval from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dreher reveals. No polydrug abuse was seen in the mothers and very little tobacco or alcohol.

Now dean of nursing at Rush University with degrees in nursing, anthropology and philosophy, plus a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University, Dr. Dreher told Culture, "March of Dimes was supportive, but it was clear that NIDA was not interested in continuing to fund a study that didn’t produce negative results. I was told not to resubmit. We missed an opportunity to follow the study through adolescence and through adulthood.”

In Dreher's original study, nineteen of the 24 Jamaican mothers reported that cannabis increased their appetites throughout the prenatal period and/or relieved the nausea of pregnancy. Fifteen reported using it to relieve fatigue and provide rest during pregnancy.

The study tested 24 Jamaican newborns exposed to marijuana prenatally and 20 nonexposed babies from socioeconomically matched mothers. At one month, the children of marijuana-using mothers scored markedly higher on autonomic stability, reflexes, and general irritability. Babies born to the heaviest smokers, those who smoked every day, at least 21 joints weekly, scored significantly higher in 10 of the 14 characteristics measured, including quality of alertness, robustness, regulatory capacity, and orientation.

It took three years to publish the study in the US; in fact the five-year study was published first. When the NAS Institute of Medicine conducted its $1-million taxpayer-funded study on cannabis as medicine in the wake of Prop. 215, it amended the Dreher study to say the newborns born to marijuana-smoking mothers were equal, not superior. The study has been omitted from other overviews of the topic.

In a recent talk, Dreher lamented the "terrible arrogance and ethnocentrism" that refuses to accept data from other countries, even Europe and Canada. She spoke about the academic world, where "tenure is often more important than truth." Her employers get letters from irate ex-Marines, for example, demanding she be fired.

She also pointed to a 1989 article in the Lancet "Bias Against The Null Hypothesis: The Reproductive Hazards of Cocaine" which found that the rate of acceptance of articles finding negative consequence of cocaine was 57%, versus 11% (only one) for articles that didn't, even though the latter were methodologically superior. Comparing that to the situation with marijuana, Dreher said, "If we looked at all of the literature that hasn't been published, we might find a very different story."

"We have a lot of red herrings," Dreher concluded. She wonders why there are variances within the exposed group, theorizing it could be because of the "impoverished conditions in which women must raise children," looking for cheapest and most available substance to relieve their symptoms and give them the energy to work. Rather than measuring so-called "executive function" in 9-12 year olds, she thinks we should look at a broader picture, including school performance, leadership skills, and the use of tobacco, alcohol and other substances. "We need research on the quality of life -- and how marijuana enhances it," she said.

Dreher did return to Jamaica and found 40 of the children she studied, who now have children of their own and are doing quite well.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of reports from California tell of children being taken from homes of parents who cultivate medical marijuana under state law. Hear this and weep.

If you're as angry about this as I am, write to your Congressional representatives about this outrage.

Also see: NIDA and Pregnancy: The Whole Truth? 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Joan Rivers Outs Herself and Friends; Roseanne Barr Runs for Green Party Presidential Nomination on Pot Platform; Armie Gets Hammered: All on TMZ!

RIP Joan Rivers: Forever Outrageous

Ya gotta love TMZ and not just for its hot James Franco-ish surferdude. It's for the gang's potparazzi-style fascination with celebs and pot. Formerly TMZ outed Whoopi Goldberg as smoking pot before she accepted her Oscar, and Dyan Cannon for proffering pot brownies at Lakers' games.

In tonight's episode, Joan Rivers is accosted in New York, where she is asked about smoking pot on her television show Melissa and Joan. Toke of the Town strangely said it smelled like a publicity stunt when Joan tokes up in a car, saying she hadn't done so in 40 years.

But maybe Rivers was purposely making a statement. TMZ asked the comedienne who else she'd smoked with. "Oh, Betty White," she said, "George Carlin, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby...we had fun."

Rivers and Lily Tomlin where the two females picked to honor Carlin after, a few days before his death, he was awarded the Mark Twain prize for humor. That night, she said of Carlin, "We met in Greenwich Village, but we couldn't pinpoint the date because he was high on acid and I was totally wasted."

TMZ was a bit behind on their story about actor Armie Hammer (grandson of the oil scion Armand) being caught with pot baked goods in the same Texas town where Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg were nabbed. On the red carpet at the Screen Actors' Guild awards Sunday night, the question put to Hammer by Access Hollywood was, "How did you manage to take a good looking mug shot?" the softest softball ever pitched. Not missing a beat, Hammer jokingly and sweetly answered the question “What you didn’t see is there was a makeup crew there.” He made no apology for entering the lofty triumverate, spending a night in jail to earn his badge of honor.

But wait, before the evening's out it's another scoop! Hitting on TMZ's website tonight is the breaking news that VIP Roseanne Barr has officially filed papers to run for president and hopes to carry the Green Party banner in the November election. They say,

"Barr says she's sick of Democrats and Republicans, whom she believes are not working in the best interests of the American people. So what, you ask, is Roseanne pushing? The answer is simple ... pot. She wants marijuana legalized and sold strictly domestically."

As of now, Barr is leading Romney in the online poll and isn't far behind Obama.

Obama 39%
Roseanne 36%
Romney 25%

Total Votes: 14,049

It's been quite a Candlemas. Let the quickening begin.