Tag Archives: cannabis

Get her out of Russian prison!

Brittney Griner has been handed an outrageous prison sentence for a “crime” that in most countries on Earth would be treated as a misdemeanor offense.

Oh, but not in Russia!

Griner, a noted women’s basketball star from Texas, was caught earlier this year with some cannabis in her luggage. It was a tiny amount. She told Russian authorities of her mistake at the time, but they took her into custody anyway.

Griner then pleaded guilty to the crime of packing an illegal substance. She went on trial, was convicted of it and then received a nine-year prison term.

What an utter outrage! She is being treated as a political prisoner. Why? Because the United States of America opposes Russia’s lawless, immoral and illegal invasion of Ukraine. President Biden has called Russian thug/goon/dictator Vladimir Putin a war criminal because of his forces’ attacks on civilian targets.

For that — and not the tiny bit of drugs she was carrying — Griner is being punished.

American and Russian negotiators are working to secure her release. Indeed, Griner isn’t the only American being held unjustly. Paul Whelan is serving a prison term for espionage, which is another dubious charge.

Griner and Whelan both need to come home. Many of us are now imploring the State Department to move whatever mountain it must to secure their release.


Back and forth on marijuana

Man, I cannot make up my mind on the issue of whether we ought to legalize marijuana.

I have commented in the past on this blog about my “open mind” on the issue. It’s still open, but it closes from time to time.

At the moment, my mind hasn’t slammed the proverbial door shut, but I am wavering.

States are decriminalizing marijuana use. Oregon, the state of my birth, was among the first to do so. It’s two Pacific Cost neighboring states — Washington and California — have done the same. We moved away from Oregon in 1984, so I am not entirely well-versed on the effect that decriminalization has had on my home state.

I am not prepared to endorse the idea of decriminalization. Nor am I ready to condemn it. So, I guess my mind is open.

There might be a middle ground I can endorse: turning it into a civil penalty, sort of like a traffic ticket. You pay the fine and go about your business.

Some progressive members of Congress are talking openly about legalizing marijuana use. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.


Legalize marijuana? My wheels are turning

Some people get more crotchety in their old age.

Others get more, um, reflective; they are more able to see the big picture.

I think — at least I hope — I am in that latter group.

I’ve spent a lifetime to date believing we should maintain marijuana’s illegal status. People should be punished for using the devil weed. That was how I used to think. I’m beginning to feel differently about that — and a lot of other things — as I grow older.

The states of Washington and Colorado are about to effectively legalize its use. A recent “60 Minutes” report declared that there are now more medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver that McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. It’s going to be taxed and regulated by the state. Coloradoans will be able to purchase the stuff essentially over the counter.

My home state of Oregon also has liberalized its marijuana laws. Other states have followed suit.

Meanwhile, still other states have continued to drop the hammer — as has the federal government with its minimum sentence policy — on those caught carrying and/or consuming small amounts of weed. Texas is one of them, where state police patrols are picking up drivers of vehicles loaded with grass on those so-called “routine traffic stops.”

I’m now wondering aloud whether history is finally forcing a serious change in societal attitudes toward marijuana.

Full disclosure here: I have smoked it. A very long time ago, when I was quite young, before my sons were born and mostly before I got married. My dad once asked me straight up: Have you smoked marijuana? More disclosure: I didn’t have the courage to say “yes.”

That was then. Dad is gone now and wherever he and Mom are, they know the truth. I haven’t touched the stuff in more than 40 years and, oh yes, I did inhale.

Is it sane to keep prosecuting people for consuming a substance that is no more addictive than, say, nicotine or alcohol? How do I know that? Well, I never became hooked on it, nor on alcohol. I did get hooked on cigarettes, but managed to quit cold turkey nearly 34 years ago.

That’s just me. I am aware, however, that millions of others can make similar claims.

I’m aware that I’m late getting into this discussion. What’s fascinated me over many years has been the advocacy of marijuana legalization by prominent conservatives: William F. Buckley, the economist Milton Friedman and former Secretary of State George Schultz, to name just three, all have spoken in favor of legalization. The conservative movement’s godfather, the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, did as well.

It’s not just the flaming liberals out there calling for this sea change.

It well might be time to catch this wave.