Saturday, February 27, 2021

The United States vs. Billie Holiday: How The Drug War Can Silence Political Speech

The United States vs. Billie Holiday, now showing on Hulu, depicts how Holiday was targeted by the US government for her drug use due to her politics, in particular because of her refusal to stop performing her song "Strange Fruit" about lynching.

Starring Andra Day in a powerhouse, Golden Globe–winning performance, the film has the questionable casting of the handsome Garrett Hedlund (who played Dean Moriarity / Neal Cassidy) as the hideous (inside and out) Harry Anslinger, the careerist anti-drug zealot and longtime head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who took down Holiday over her heroin use.  Very Important Pothead Louis Armstrong makes an appearance or two in the movie, and Tokin Woman Tallulah Bankhead is also depicted, as being questioned by Anslinger about her relationship with Holiday.

Just after Holiday is shown singing Bessie Smith's song "Give me a Pigfoot/Reefer" we see Very Important Pothead Lester Young, her saxophonist, rolling and smoking a joint. But despite the fact that at the time, "Billie Holiday's name had become a kind of password among marijuana smokers," she is only shown buying and using heroin, after which a flashback scene reveals she was pressured into prostitution as a young girl by her mother. Reason enough for anyone to do heroin. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

New Film Explores Canada's 1970s Experiment with Women and Weed

"The Marijuana Conspiracy" cast 
Coming to the US on 4/20 is a Canadian film titled "The Marijuana Conspiracy" about a bizarre experiment that happened in 1972 in which 20 women were confined in a Toronto hospital for 98 days while they were supplied with increasingly potent marijuana to smoke. 

Then-Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's government was reportedly considering legalizing pot, and the experiment sought to discover whether smoking it would make workers unproductive. The women were paid to weave belts or assemble stools with sea grass seats, as a measure of their motivation. According to an article in The Toronto Star, when their wage increase from $2 per stool to $2.75, the women's output increased. “Evidence shows that the inability or unwillingness to earn following high cannabis consumption can be overcome by an economic incentive,” researcher C.G. Miles wrote. 

Women from Canada's 1972 pot experiment
Filmmaker Craig Pryce interviewed several of the women who took part in the experiment for the film. Expecting a sort of fun "hippie camp" where they were paid to smoke marijuana, the subjects' isolation and the effects of too-potent weed they were required to smoke (or else not be paid at the end of the experiment) reportedly had a detrimental effect on some of the women.  Many were disturbed by the fact that the results of the experiment were buried, apparently due to political reasons. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Hemp Wins the Superbowl

An Inside Edition story reveals that 43-year-old quarterback Tom Brady's health regimen includes a daily blueberry breakfast shake with two key ingredients: hemp milk and hemp seeds. Hemp seeds (and the milk from which they're made) are complete proteins, containing all the essential amino acids with the perfect proportion of omega-3 and omega-6 oils, plus hard-to-find ones too.  

Brady and his wife Giselle speak about their commitment to regenerative agriculture in the the documentary "Kiss the Ground," narrated by pot-lover Woody Harrelson

Unstoppable receiver Rob Gronkowski, who followed Brady from the Patriots to Tampa Bay and scored the first two touchdowns in Sunday's game, announced in 2019 he was investing in a CBD company. Gronk said at the time, “I am here today to appeal to the sports governing bodies of the world to update their positions on CBD.” 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Nabataean Incense and the Goddess Al-Uzza

Watching the series Sacred Sites of the World, I learned of the city of Petra in modern-day Jordan with its Nabataean Temple of the Winged Lions where the goddess Al-Uzza and the Egyptian goddess Isis were likely worshipped. This would make it yet another ancient site where incense was burned ceremonially to the goddess.  

The Nabateans (300 BCE to 106 CE) were Arabian nomads from the Negev Desert who "amassed their wealth first as traders on the Incense Routes which wound from Qataban (modern-day Yemen) through neighboring Saba (a powerful trade hub) and on toward Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea." 

Some archaeologists think the Queen of Sheba was a Sabaean.  I was informed by a DJ in Jamaica that the Rastas sing about the Queen of Sheba bringing ganja to King Solomon.