Why Isn't Liquor Considered a Gateway Drug in Kentucky?

I'm not arguing for that, but there'san interesting side issue in the Kentucky Senate race between Rand Paul and Jack Conway. Paul says that drug policy should be a state and local issue, which is about as good as any national pol gets. He's against the federal drug war. Conway, on the other hand, thinks that even growing hemp - let alone get-ya-high pot! - would be a dangerous gateway drug; he's pushing for more federal dough to be tossed to Kentuckians to fight the "scourge of illegal drugs." And, naturally, he's all for the production and subsidization of bourbon and non-wacky tobaccky. Take it away, Freeman in Kentucky:

Recently, when asked about hemp farming by the Marion County Line reporter Jim Higdon, Jack Conway responded that allowing farmers to grow hemp was basically legalizing a “gateway drug.”... Jack Conway's a defender of tobacco and alcohol and rightfully so. He's not supporting tobacco and bourbon because Kentucky make a good amount of money in being the home of many fine distilleries and some great tobacco farms. He supports bourbon, because alcohol is how Jack's wife makes her money and pads close to half of Jack's family income. How hypocritical is it for a man, who makes money off a liquid drug that has only one purpose to get you drunk, to turns around and put the label of "gateway drug" on a plant that can do so much more than get you high? While all this time his own wife is part of the people who produce alcohol as part of the Brown-Foreman Public relations team.

So, Jack.... do you believe your wife should be out of a job and we should close down all the distilleries? Or do you want to retract your statement about "gateway drug?" Because it really is shameful to use a line like "Gateway drug" when your wife works for a company that gets more people started down the road of addiction.

More here.

And while we're talking about Kentucky, let's reflect on the greatness of the old ABA Colonels.

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  • ||

    Ah, see the mistake is assuming that the War on Some Drugs is based on some sort of rational criteria for prohibition.

  • Joe||

    Bourbon=drugs for white people

    Cocaine=drugs for black people

    Marijauna=drugs for Mexican

    See--perfectly rational.

  • ||

    We'll never run out of retards.

  • ||

    But we could fatigue them going full retard all the time.

  • ||

    Jack Conway is a George W. Bush, jr. clone running as a Democrat, but in favor of national heath care.

  • ||

    Not a lot of heaths in Kentucky, though a lot of heathens.

  • Lefty4Life||

    I abhor the whole concept of 'gateway drugs'.

    Marijuana is a gateway drug only because it is illegal and so puts users in contact with people who also deal other drugs.

  • Mango Punch||

    John McCain?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What kind of sick mind would think to use a Family Circus picture for this post? Also, Mrs. Clarke's pension obligations are going to bankrupt little Dolly's generation.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    How hypocritical is it for a man, who makes money off a liquid drug that has only one purpose to get you drunk...

    And a nice prime steak has only the purpose of getting you obese, right?

    There's no doubt that bourbon can get you drunk and probably no doubt that that's why most people drink it, but to claim that's its only purpose is stretching the argument a bit far for the sake of making the "one reason" vs. "multifaceted" argument. And it fails.

  • ||

    It's Kentucky Bourbon we're talkin bout here. All it's good for is cleaning engines and killing brain cells.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Which is why I drink tequila, of course.

    But, even if the "liquid drug" is limited to Kentucky bourbon, the general principle still stands.

  • Wind Rider||

    Not that NEM is one, but I particularly love folks that go on and on about paying exorbitant amounts of money to sip little tiny amounts of foul liquid while trying not to gag or make a face while they lie to each other about how great and 'smooth' it is, then go off on a rant about how cannabis users only smoke it to get high, rejecting as ridiculous the possibility that the taste might be something tosavor.

  • Robert||

    So the question is why bourbon is quite deliberately flavored that way, by a slow and expensive process. It does come out like varnish, so the question is...why? Same question for Vernor's soda.

    And sure, I remember the Ky. Colonels. Hated 'em, of course. Dampier & Carrier not content to trade 2 pointers with you, but insisting on getting their 3s. Then they had to go out and bust the ABA's unwritten height limit and sign Artis Gilmore.

  • Zeb||

    How many times have you tasted varnish? And what kind of varnish?

  • Zeb||

    I think what you mean to say is "I don't care for whiskey".

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Them's fightin' words if ever there were any.
    Pistols at dawn?

  • ||

    I don't even get a gloveslap? You, Sir, will get no satisfaction from me.

  • ||

    It's Kentucky Bourbon we're talkin bout here. All it's good for is cleaning engines and killing brain cells.

    Kentucky Bourbon at its best is really tasty. Your ignorance or poor taste is not an adequate excuse for this statement.

  • Zeb||

    I actually would like it if whiskeys of all kinds got me less drunk. Then I could drink more of those delicious distilled wonders.

  • ||

    Add a little water maybe? Was, after all, the original purpose of distilled spirits.

  • Zeb||

    Maybe with Bourbon, but I am more a Scotch drinker and generally I like them neat.

    My solution is just to pour very small servings.

  • ||

    What you need is to just balance it out with proper stimulant intake. To hear my friends tell it, you can drink all night without falling over if you have a little blow in your system.

  • Zeb||

    Been there, done that. Coke is the most boring drug in the world. I don't know how people can get addicted to it.

  • ||

    I've never had a reason to try it myself. Psychedelics are the only class of drugs that have ever seemed consistently appealing and/or interesting to me.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Psychedelics are great until you've been tripping for 8 hours and all you want is to not be tripping anymore.

    Then you realize you have ~4 or so more hours to go.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    A well constructed{*} Irish coffee can have a similar effect, but the hangover you get from those things has to be endured to be disbelieved.

    {*} Start with dark roasted coffee brewed strong (it should be utterly opaque and adhere to the sides of the vessel), use about six ounces of joe, add a jigger of the pretty-good stuff (please don't waste your best whiskey this way), and a small dollop of whipped cream that has been ever-so-slightly sweetened (and I mean cream that you have whipped, nothing out of a can and if it tastes like a Miracle Whip competitor you're doing it wrong), and don't even think of putting creme de menthe on it...

  • Zeb||

    I don't know what is the official "right" way to do it, but I make a pretty fine Irish coffee using espresso and frothed milk from my cheapo home espresso maker.

  • ||

    Start with dark roasted coffee brewed strong (it should be utterly opaque and adhere to the sides of the vessel)

    Go on :)

    and if it tastes like a Miracle Whip competitor you're doing it wrong

    Cool H-whip, man. If your whipped cream is tasting like Miracle Whip, you need to cut back on the eggs and oil.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Cool H-whip, man. If your whipped cream is tasting like Miracle Whip, you need to cut back on the eggs and oil.

    D'oh!

  • ||

    What did you say?

    Cool Hwhip.

  • A.G. Pym||

    For Scotch, anyway, it's amazing what three drops (the number of thy counting shall be three) will do to open up the aromatics of a fine single-malt. Ideally, three drops of the water it was distilled into, but that's a bit difficult to manage.

  • ||

    Ideally, three drops of the water it was distilled into, but that's a bit difficult to manage.

    I'm confused. Wouldn't the byproduct-water from the still have crap in it? Wouldn't some sort of filtered water be better?

  • Zeb||

    I think he means the water it is diluted with before it is bottled.

  • ||

    The original purpose of distilled spirits was to lower the cost of transporting grains on the bad dirt roads prevailing at the time.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Spirits will also keep longer then their progenitor materials, and provide a surprising reserve of calories against the lean times.

    Which is to say that the peasants are not only malnourished and revolting, they're stinking drunk as well.

  • ||

    but to claim that's its only purpose is stretching the argument a bit far

    Agreed -- of course this is often the "distinction" raised by prohibitionists: that alcohol is used "socially", while "drugs" are used only to get "high". The argument sucks just as much in that direction too.

  • waffles||

    I used to do crayons, man. I started with just 8 colors, 8! Within a week I was begging my mom to buy me a 32, but soon that just wasn't enough.

    I HAD to have the 64, I mean burnt sienna! goldenrod! robin's egg blue! It was heaven on earth, I tell yah.

    Then one day I saw it, 128 crayons in one box. Colors I couldn't even pronounce! The fix didn't last though, the crayons broke and were pretty much all the same. I needed better, brighter colors.

    That's when I started doing magic markers. It was all downhill from there.

  • ||

    I was hooked on the new fangled, designer, fluorescent colors.

  • ||

    Yet another crayon-related tragedy. We must defeat this scourge on society.

  • Spiny Norman||

    And Family Circus just promotes this stuff. Bill Keane has a lot to answer for.

  • waffles||

    No one ever told me you weren't supposed to eat the crayons or sniff the markers. When they let me use white-out correction fluid I was a goner.

  • ||

    Don't forget about the neat-o crayon sharpener on the side of the box, wowzers!

  • Zeb||

    I wonder if anyone has told these idiot drug warriors that hemp farming would pretty well ruin any outdoor marijuana crop (which I understand there is quite a bit of in Kentucky) within a few miles by filling it with seeds. That they haven't figured out that industrial hemp is actually good for their cause is just further evidence that they are just grandstanding assholes with no interest in reality or truth.

  • ||

    "Look, reality and truth can go eat a bad of dicks, as long as the paychecks keep rolling in."

    -How I imagine Jack Conway would respond.

  • Zeb||

    Sounds about right.

  • ||

    Look people, this is actually very simple:

    Alcohol intoxication = socially responsible recreation.

    Farming a fibrous stalk for manufacturing material = a gateway into the dangerous worlds of addiction and crime.

    Sheesh, get it through your thick America-hating skulls.

  • ChrisO||

    John Y. Brown managed to parlay ownership of the ABA Kentucky Colonels into ownership of the Boston Celtics within a few years after the 1976 merger by taking a buyout in return for folding the Colonels.

    The owners of the other non-merged ABA team, the Spirits of St. Louis ultimately got a much better deal. They folded the team but in return got a single-team percentage of the NBA's TV revenue in perpetuity. In other words, the owners of an ABA team that has been defunct for 34 years are still receiving millions of dollars in revenue from the NBA. That was an amazing bit of negotiation by their lawyer.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Where I went to high school, some of the farm boys would smoke dried corn silk.

    A buddy of mine who tried it said it made him sick as a dog and left him with an awful headache.

    So he switched to meth instead and then coke and finally smack. When that wasn't enough, he started mainlining Cetol marine spar varnish with a Drano chaser.

    Actually, I made that last part up.

  • Brett L||

    Yeah. Don't shoot Drano unless you want to be a Darwin award winner.

  • Atanarjuat||

    I read somewhere that native 'murcans typically didn't smoke tobacco by itself, but rather mixed about ten different ingredients together, one of which, IIRC, was corn silk.

  • ||

    I smoked dried banana peels once. Smoldering dried banana peel is an awful smell and an even worse taste. No intoxicating effects were detectable.

  • waffles||

    but it lead to feministing jezebels!

  • ||

    If I could have only seen the broken shell of a man I'd become because of that fateful banana peel smoking session, I would have never done it.

    But I'm still on board with using tequila in bongs instead of water.

  • Wind Rider||

    Without the worm, of course. It's a motherfucker to suck that down the wrong way.

  • ||

    There is no worm in Tequila.

    That's Mezcal you're thinking of.

    And there is no worm in Mezcal. It's a larva or catepillar.

  • ||

    Pffff. Ice water all the way baby.

  • ||

    Snow. Preferably off of a porch railing while it's still fluffy.

  • ||

    As long as you're talking about Cuervo or Pepe, no problem. Otherwise, what an abominable waste of fine agave juice.

  • ||

    The active chemicals are soluable in alcohol, so, do you drink the bong water? I thought the point of the water was to remove water-soluble crud from the smoke?

  • ||

    From what I understand, there's little evidence that water-filtered smoke is significantly safer from a chemical perspective than straight smoke. But there's something to be said for cooling the smoke and making it more dense -- it makes for a more comfortable experience for sure.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Water cools the smoke and enables larger hits. So I've been told.

  • RPW||

    "How hypocritical is it for a man, who makes money off a liquid drug that has only one purpose to get you drunk"

    That is an error. Most people who drink alcohol do not drink alcohol to get drunk -- especially bourbon.

    Alcohol is used to relax and to temporarily elevate mood, (and technically to block dopamine from being taken back up, so that pleasure centers are stimulated). This can be done in far lower doses than cause drunkenness. Alcohol is also used to cook with and flavor foodsd. I use bourbon for marinating steaks (and that's about all I use bourbon for).

    Even when people do use alcohol to get drunk, the vast majority do not move on to illegal drugs. So it doesn't qualify as a gateway drug.

    I agree with you as far as hemp goes. It has a multitude of uses. It sounds like a ridiculous debate.

  • ||

    For the record, I think the application of the "gateway" logic to alcohol is meant to point out the absurdity of said logic, not to promote its extension to alcohol.

    The point is that it's a bankrupt argument that can be as easily applied to alcohol as any other substance. So to depend on it when discussing freaking hemp while not thinking twice about alcohol is massively hypocritical.

  • Zeb||

    Depends on what you mean by drunk. I think it is safe to say that alcoholic beverages are generally used as a drug, (when not used as a cooking ingredient), even if users are not getting sloshed, which is the point being made here.

  • ||

    Alcohol is used to relax and to temporarily elevate mood, (and technically to block dopamine from being taken back up, so that pleasure centers are stimulated).

    I believe this is called "getting high".

    I could do the same thing with low doses of heroin.

  • ||

    Right. A lot of times I'll pack a bowl, take one hit off it, and set it down for a half hour or so. No different than having one drink.

  • Dick Nixon||

    Alcohol is used to relax and to temporarily elevate mood, (and technically to block dopamine from being taken back up, so that pleasure centers are stimulated). This can be done in far lower doses than cause drunkenness.

    That's right. A person does not drink to get drunk, he drinks to have fun. As my good friend Art Linkletter says, "When people smoke marijuana, they smoke it to get high. In every case, when most people drink, they drink to be sociable."

  • ||

    "Most people who drink alcohol do not drink alcohol to get drunk -- especially bourbon."

    Same bogus nonsense that is pushed by the middle aged "wine tasters." No one drinks any hard alcohol without a desire to get at least a little buzzed. Why not? Because, unless you're an alcoholic, even drinking a glass of bourbon will result in a degree of intoxication.

    "Even when people do use alcohol to get drunk, the vast majority do not move on to illegal drugs. So it doesn't qualify as a gateway drug."

    Even when people smoke marijuana, the vast majority do not move on to illegal drugs. So it shouldn't qualify as a gateway drug. I don't know anyone who smoked pot before drinking alcohol or who drank alcohol before caffeine.

    The whole idea that there is such a thing as a "gateway drug" is laughable. There are people who are predisposed to abuse substances and practices. If it isn't alcohol, it's cocaine. If not cocaine, then gambling, food, street racing, or some other behavior.

  • waffles||

    I smoked pot before drinking alcohol but after caffeine and those pills they give to kids with ADD.

  • ||

    and those pills they give to kids with ADD.

    BUT BUT BUT, that's MEDICINE not EVIL EVIL DRUGS!

  • Zeb||

    The only reason most people drink alcohol before smoking pot is that most people's parents have liquor cabinets, and not pot cabinets (at least not that are so easy to find).

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Ot their parents have them take a sip as a joke when friends are over.

  • Steve Chaos||

    True story: I was once hammering the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) over marijuana laws, pointing out in particular that other legal intoxicants, particularly alcohol, are billed with no therapeutic benefit and cause far more social harm but are tolerated as part of a free society. The response I got back (which also concluded with a terse, "quit bugging us, we don't care what you think" in more diplomatic terms) grumbled about how even these things weren't so good, and were it possible, they'd like to see them go away too.

    It was a refreshing bit of honesty from a politician, even from as big of a douche as Grassley.

  • Abdul||

    I've alwasy been fond of Civil War re-anactors. Who knew that there was such a thing as Prohibition re-anactors, and one of them is Chuck Grassley?

  • ||

    The tommyguns and slick fedoras are way cooler than the bayonets and goofy caps of the civil war guys.

  • Robert||

    Actually that's a common statement. I don't know how many advocates are sincere when they make it, but their argument is that intoxicants are bad, but that it's too late to try to eradicate alcohol, its having become socially acceptable long ago (and being too easy to make), while it's not too late to prevent other intoxicants from becoming socially acceptable, by legally suppressing them.

  • ||

    I've heard that reply too. Given that cannabis use stretches back at least 5,000 years -- and that it was part of the US Pharmacopeia for decades -- the people who advance that argument are either ignorant or disingenuous. Or both.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    From the guys that did the Bed Intruder song:

    The market value of pot would go down, down, down if we legalize it
    Then supersize it
    Right now, now, now
    $4,000 an ounce
    That's way too much
    $400 an ounce
    That's ten times the blunts
    We need to smoke a little more pot, right? right right now, now, now

    That huge profit margin would go down, down, down if pot were legal
    For the needy people
    Right now, now, now
    Does it lead to harder drugs?
    No more than cigarettes
    No, absolutely not
    It leads to happiness
    We need to smoke a little more pot, right? right. Right now, now, now

    http://www.youtube.com/user/sc.....bc2NaLuv1A

  • ||

    Hey, the ABA. When I was a kid in the 70s, I owned an old red-white-and-blue ABA basketball.

  • robc||

    The Federal Government paid my grandfather to grow hemp in KY during WW2, en lieu of military service.

  • Zeb||

    Some of his crop may have saved George H.W. Bush's life.

  • Hacha Cha||

    I'm glad to see Reason speaking the truth about Rand Paul's positions on drug policy. The Associated Press tried to spread disinformation, which really pisses me off.

  • ||

    The whole gateway drug argument is bogus. Skip alcohol and tobacco, I don't know a single hard drug user (or even just a drinker or pot smoker) who didn't get started on caffeine.

    Pot isn't a gateway drug. The only times I used to smoke it in high school was when my friends and I couldn't secure a convincing fake ID or cajole one of our older brothers, sisters, or parents to pick us up beer or rum.

    Wanna solve the whole mess? Legalize drugs and encourage treatment for abusers. And while we are at it, legalize prostitution and gambling.

  • ||

    Imagine for a moment what evidence drug warriors demand to "refute" the gateway theory: hard drug addicts who never once tried cannabis. In other words, flat-out insane motherfuckers.

    They never point to the percentage of cannabis users who move on to heroin, probably because it is vanishingly small. Instead they work backwards. Absolute intellectual dishonesty.

  • ||

    George Carlin said it...mother's milk leads to heroin.

  • Conservatard Nannie||

    I knew it! You libertarians just want for our children to have access to heroin and hookers during their lunch breaks at school, and use gambling to pay for it.

  • Jeff||

    Yep, you're right. If I had access to gambling, more weed, and hookers while in high school, I wouldn't have been such a miserable fuck.

    And while we're on it, fuck high school. It's nothing but a factory that's built to beat the individualism out of kids.

    That fills my stick-it-to-the-man quota for the day.

  • ||

    ""Why Isn't Liquor Considered a Gateway Drug in Kentucky? ""

    I'm not sure, but if it's Kentucky, the answer has something to do with screwing your sister.

  • The Left||

    But the 0.00000001% chance that Rand Paul could be the deciding vote for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act is more important than this!

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