L.A. Times on "Marijuana's new high life"

The hometown paper in the City of (burning) Angels claims that "Cannabis is moving into the mainstream, with fashion, films, TV and politicians acknowledging it's here to stay." Some of the anecdotal data:

In June, an estimated 25,000 people attended the inaugural THC Expo hemp and art show in downtown Los Angeles, an event that pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy -- including a $22,400 payment directly to the city of Los Angeles for use of its convention center. [...]

Earlier this year, Season 5 of Showtime's "Weeds" kicked off with promotional materials plastered on bus shelters, buses and billboards throughout the city. Last year, just across from the tourist-packed Farmers Market at 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue, a "Pineapple Express" billboard belched faux pot smoke into the air. Even the '70s slacker-stoner comedy duo Cheech and Chong are back. After recently concluding an international tour, they say they are working on another movie, voicing an animated version of themselves and even batting around the idea of staging a Cheech and Chong Broadway musical. [...]

At fashion-insider parties, joints are passed nearly as freely as hors d'oeuvres. Traces of the acrid smoke waft from restaurant patios, car windows and passing pedestrians on the city streets -- in broad daylight. Even the art of name-dropping in casual conversation -- once limited to celebrity sightings and designer shoe purchases -- now includes the occasional boast of recently discovered weed strains such as "Strawberry Cough" and "Purple Kush." [...]

Drug references in popular music have multiplied like, well, weeds in the last three decades. Marijuana's presence on TV and in the movies has moved from the harbinger of bad things including murderous rage ("Reefer Madness" in 1936) to full-scale hauntings ("Poltergeist" in 1982) and burger runs gone awry ("Harold & Kumar go to White Castle" in 2001) to being just another fixture in the pop-culture firmament. Cannabis crops up on shows such as "Entourage," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "True Blood" and "Desperate Housewives," and even on animated shows such as "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy." [...]

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has spoken out about decreasing penalties for possession and protecting medical marijuana users. Earlier this year, Glenn Beck of Fox News announced on the air: "Look, I'm a libertarian. You want to legalize marijuana; you want to legalize drugs -- that's fine."

David Bienenstock, senior editor of New York-based marijuana magazine High Times and author of "The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook," said: "Whether you're with the press or a politician, it's no longer a third rail. In the past it could have cost you your job. Now people are at least able to have those conversations."

Why are people coming out of the pot closet, to a level maybe not seen since the 1970s (pictured)? The Times ignores the practical evidence in front of them–the hundreds of medical marijuana clinice operating in Los Angeles alone, after California became among the trailblazers to legalize therapeutic pot–and instead looks at the commander in chief:

Some people point to the Obama administration as the biggest game-changer. "It was when [former President George W. Bush] and his boys were run out of office, that made the biggest difference," Chong said by phone near the end of the "Light Up America and Canada Tour" that reunited him with Cheech Marin.

[THC Expo co-founder Brian] Roberts cited the election as the tipping point as well. "The whole show teetered on who won the election," he said. "If McCain had won, I'd have never have put up my money. But Americans are no longer living in fear."

Jacob Sullum wrote about how the Chong persecution and related paraphernalia busts crack down on free speech here. I analogized Obama to the Mikhail Gorbachev of pot liberalization in June.

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  • Abdul||

    Cheech & Chong survived Nixon, but were afraid of McCain?

    Man, maybe mairjuana is more pscyho-reactive than previously thought.

  • Obama Ridge Boys||

    Up Pennsylvania Avenue they sent me,
    If I spring a leak, they mend me;
    I don't have to speak, and they defend me,
    A politician's dream if I ever did see one...

  • ||

    "The whole show teetered on who won the election," he said. "If McCain had won, I'd have never have put up my money. But Americans are no longer living in fear."

    Indeed. Thank God we have a president who ordered a stop to DEA raids on medical MJ dispensaries in states where it's legal. And halted the prosecution of people in other countries who supply US citizens with seeds. And most of all, I'm grateful for my toaster oven turning into a beautiful woman with six vaginas so I can stay interested.

    OK...that was a bad trip.

  • ||

    Matt, it's so true that practical evidence has been overlooked with regard to the clinics. This population of users could also be the source of reliable data to check the validity of much feared negative effects of cannabis that have been the basis of prohibition laws. For example, are the medical users suffering from increased rates of cancer or respiratory disease? Are they moving on to harder drugs? Are they causing more traffic accidents due to their "impairment"? Are they suffering from amotivational syndrome? Have rates of mental illness increased?

  • McWatson||

    Times do seem to have changed ... a bit. Matt's view is entirely provincial. Notice that his focus is entirely upon California, and L.A. at that. I do not sense, nor do I anticipate some sweeping, nationwide pro-cannabis movement. There are still millions of uneducated, evangelical yokels that will simply never accept the devil weed into their little corner of the world.

  • ||

    And the evangelical yokels in NYC are basically sin taxing cigarettes back in to the black market. So by the time weed is legalized, it's going to be a moot point. The per pack tax on 20 joints is going to be so high we'll still be buying on the street.

  • ||

    "It was when [former President George W. Bush] and his boys were run out of office..."

    Run out of office? Somebody hasn't heard of the 22nd Amendment. Or Ben Bernanke.

  • Joe M||

    Really, I think we're going to have to wait about one more generation, for the last of the pre-baby boomers to disappear, before legalization will have a chance. Baby boomers are just making a show for their parents, but they secretly want to toke up.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I know it's heresy to say on this board, but I've developed a bit of grudging respect for Glenn Beck.

  • ||

    Did the Oak Ridge Boys sing Cripple Creek too?

  • ||

    Some people point to the Obama administration as the biggest game-changer.

    W...T...F? That would be Barack "legalization isn't even in his vocabulary" Obama, who has not changed, as far as I can tell, one thing about marijuana enforcement policy?

    Sure, he issued a nice press release about medical marijuana raids, but they're still happening, aren't they?

  • ||

    Some people point to the Obama administration as the biggest game-changer.

    The NYT interviewed sleepwalkers for this piece?

  • Scooby||

    ...now includes the occasional boast of recently discovered weed strains such as "Strawberry Cough"...



    Is this made up BS, or did someone name a real variety after a fake variety from "Children of Men"? Stephen Glass wants to know.

  • ||

    Speaking of sleepwalkers:

    L.A. Times on "Marijuana's new high life"

    Sheesh.

  • ||

    Taxation and regulation of marijuana is in the public interest. The refusal to implement a regulatory program for marijuana in the United States is irresponsible and a violation of the public trust.

    The cartels would be poorer and our children safer if we implemented a Personal Use and Cultivation Permit: $100 per year for a dozen plants. Split the proceeds between the States and the Fed.
    It's time to put the cartels out of business.
    It's time to let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    C.P.& T. illustrates the dangers of mainstreaming pot.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Imagine the cannabis Czar's men poking around my garden to make sure my pot permits are in order and my cultivation meets all the required regulations and my dues are paid up with the Cannabis Marketing Board.
    Nothing could go wrong with that, right? However, I suppose it's the best we can hope for.

  • ||

    Citizen-

    You had better not be trying to exceed the Board's potency limits!

  • ||

    However, I suppose it's the best we can hope for.

    Its a hell of a lot better than the current situation. I'd sign on in a heartbeat.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm on to you, R.C. You just want some of that subsidy money the Dept. of Ag. will hand out for not growing pot.

  • ||

    Tax it on a per plant basis and my dream of a kudzu/marihuana hybrid will come true.

  • ||

    You just want some of that subsidy money the Dept. of Ag. will hand out for not growing pot.

    I wouldn't be eligible, Citizen N.

  • ||

    This is our opportunity to put our money where our mouth is. Join us in California by donating or volunteering for the California Cannabis Initiative who is working hard at bringing us the Tax, Regulate, and Control Cannabis Act of 2010 to the ballot box. Lets end this senseless war that has drained our local, state and federal treasuries and has destroyed more families and lives than any drug itself could have ever done.

    To join or help the fight go to www.californiacannabisinitiative.org

    Oscar Chavez
    California Cannabis Initiative
    San Bernardino County Coordinator

  • ||

    The absolute worst thing that can happen to patients who actually need marijuana is for the federal government to legalize it. It'll be 10 times harder to get hold of.

  • jasno||

    "Sure, he issued a nice press release about medical marijuana raids, but they're still happening, aren't they?"

    Ok, let's go over this - because it was completely lost on everyone participating in the last weed thread - The raids have effectively stopped. If you look at the number of raids under the Bush administration vs. the raids on Obama's watch, there's been a dramatic pull-back.

    Sure, a few raids have gone on since, but time will tell if they were justified or not. Now, I completely agree with your average Reasonista that MJ use and commerce should be free of restrictions, but that's not what the law is at this point. California has a poorly thought out medical marijuana system and we're all trying to do our best to navigate the convoluted legal path. However there are some things which are still clearly illegal. It is definitely *NOT* legal to use MMJ as a pretext for producing and then sell to your dealer friends. If that's what initiated the recent raids, then I believe they were justified.

    s this made up BS, or did someone name a real variety after a fake variety from "Children of Men"? Stephen Glass wants to know.



    Both are real.

  • ||

    Obama maybe the answer for marijuana ( which I want to be legal I am a smoker ) but other then that he is NOT the person who should run OUR country 53 % of America now sees that so I could give a fuck about weed being legalized I am going to smoke anyway I'd much rather have a stable country then one ran by a mad man

  • MarijuanaLobby.org||

    See how much our US Cities, States, Country and households could save on taxes if Marijuana were decriminalized.

    http://MarijuanaLobby.org
    Change we can engage in...

  • Soberguy||

    I stopped consistently smoking years ago for obvious reasons. If you over do it, you become the typical "pothead." But why not tax it, monitor it's use, and make money off it? The average Joe Blow off the street will pay Uncle Sam his hard earned cash for desired MJ recreational fun; which is proven more safe than alcohol related recreational fun. Who knows, maybe we could dig our country out of this financial hole.

  • Blake Burgess||

    See how much our US Cities, States, Country and households could smoke on cannabis look at Arnold he looks happy when you smoke your mine open up the stress ante there and you feel good

  • Blake Burgess||

    stfu and let us pot haeds be. Come on now Obama smoke weed it dont mess you up man. Me im still in school im in JROTC and I fight in the MMA and very healthy and active. I think weed also prevents sickness i havent been sick in a very long time or dont have problems with my breathing. LET MARIJUANA BE FUCKEN LEGAL. PLUS MORE TAXES BITCH THANK ABOUT IT YA FUL.S/hhs/hisd/

  • brian roberts||

    Hey, all you cannabis fans!

    It’s time for the world’s biggest trade show, dedicated to the celebration of the cannabis plant.

    But now the THC Expo is the THC Expose. It’s still the same show—but bigger and better and greener!

    On April 23rd, 24th, and 25th, the world of cannabis businesses will convene at the Los Angeles Convention Center, once again, to demonstrate to the world that marijuana’s time has come!

    Learn all about the new, modern age of cannabis industry. See all the newest innovations in cultivation equipment. Meet the best medical marijuana dispensaries in California. Find out how to get your medical recommendation.
    Learn how to grow.
    Sample the newest, hottest hemp products.
    Buy your dream pipe as the top paraphernalia outfitters nationwide set up for business.

    But most important, be a part of the celebration. Help carry the banner. Let’s make marijuana—legal and free!

    Remember, the THC Expose!
    April 23rd, 24th and 25th.
    $10 admission fee.
    Must be 18 or older.

    The THC Expose at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
    We’ll see you there!

  • SunflowPipes||

    I hope that people will finally start voting for issues like this so that our voices are heard, rather than those of a powerful and vocal minority. It is crazy that it has taken so long to legalize marijuana for medical use. Why should the government stop somebody from smoking a pipe or using a glass bong? It shows the disconnect between the people and the law. Freedom is only possible when everyone votes and takes responsibility for democracy.
    http://www.sunflowerpipes.com

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