Winners Don't Use Drugs, but Future FBI Employees Do

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The FBI may become more tolerant of youthful drug use by job applicants. Under current policy, the bureau automatically rejects applicants who admit smoking marijuana in the previous three years or more than 15 times or who admit using other illegal drugs in the previous 10 years or more than five times. Under the policy the FBI is considering, which would apply to non-gun-toting jobs such as intelligence analysis, translation, computer work, and accounting, the bureau would take a more holistic approach in evaluating an applicant's background and character. (Would-be special agents would still be subject to the stricter standard.) "Some senior FBI managers have been frustrated that they could not hire applicants who acknowledged occasional marijuana use in college but who in some cases already perform top-secret work at other government agencies," the Associated Press reports. A.P. also quotes former Bush administration terrorism adviser Richard Clarke:

What people did when they were 18 or 21, I think that is pretty irrelevant….We have to recognize there are a couple of generations now who regarded marijuana use, while it's technically illegal, as nothing more serious than jaywalking.

[Thanks to Bruce Mirken at the Marijuana Policy Project for the tip.]

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  1. I think it’s less serious than jaywalking.

  2. What people did when they were 18 or 21, I think that is pretty irrelevant

    But we’ll still imprison them if we catch them.

  3. Seeing as pretty much everyone in the current administration thinks that illegal immigration is less of a problem than jaywalking, the FBI should hire some illegal immigrants.

    They would work cheap.

  4. I like Richard Clarke.

  5. I picture Efrem Zimbalist Jr’s Inspector Erskine passing the J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Bong to his assistant…

  6. i prefer to get a natural high by crossing against the light in the middle of the street.

  7. How about the J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Bra and Panty Set?

  8. Something I always wondered: the type of person who has NEVER EVER tried drugs, or stayed out after curfew or other such harmless acts of rebellion because they always go along with the crowd and listen to everything authority tells them and so forth. . . is this really the best person to be an FBI agent? Aren’t FBI agents supposed to have the ability to think for themselves, if they want to be effective? I can understand how a “no disobedience, ever” rule would be useful for low-ranking military cannon fodder, but for guys who are supposed to have valuable brain power I honestly have my doubts.

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the useless clusterfuck that is the CIA?

  9. The most zealous person for any cause is a convert from the other side.

  10. The most zealous person for any cause is a convert from the other side.

    Then why am I such a lukewarm libertarian? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Ha! I used this tactic to get out of Marines recruitment in high school. These Marines recruiters would come and stalk the juniors and seniors at my high school relentlessly for weeks on end every year. One year, they managed to capture me and schedule an appointment for recruitment. When I went to their office and filled out an application at their behest, I answered a series of drug-use-related questions. To their dismay, I answered them all too honestly and discovered that I would not be eligible for service for at least ten more years. Hee hee! See, kids, drug use does pay off sometimes.

  12. Smacky, I think you just explained why we’ll never again have a draft. Draft dodging would be a huge boon to sellers of interstate commerce, with young people puffing to disqualify themselves.

  13. Smacky-any Marine recruiter worth his salt could get around that. I worked as a recruiter’s assistant for a month or two, and could tell some stories. Considering that I’m still subject to the UCMJ, though, I probably shouldn’t.

  14. Smacky, why do you hate America?

  15. BTW-I know for a fact that there are people on the Presidential detail who have smoked the cheeba, and admitted doing so. Somehow, the Pres seems to be ok.

  16. Drugs! Drugs! Hooray! You are a miserable fundamentalist statist unless you smoke tons of pot and crack and inject lots of heroin!

  17. Under current policy, the bureau automatically rejects applicants who admit smoking marijuana in the previous three years or more than 15 times…

    and they wonder why people can always tell they’re cops.

  18. It’s the black, shiny FBI shoes, Zach. According to this guy in the white linen suit, anyway.

  19. thoreau,

    The funny thing is, I got the idea when a total stoner (and frequent drug user) I knew who was going into the Marines was encouraging me to apply. I was asking him if my drug use would hinder my qualifications, and he said that it would, but that I should just lie about it like he did! All I know is, I would not want to be around that guy when he’s bearing a firearm. I could see some serious accidents happening while he’d be busy scouring for munchies.

    Number 6,

    I worked as a recruiter’s assistant for a month or two, and could tell some stories.

    “tell some stories” — you mean, they coerce people? bwa? I would be interested to hear your stories sometime, if they weren’t already considered “classified”.

    mediageek,

    It’s not that I hate America really….I just luuurved mah psychoactive substances back then!

  20. Oh, well, in that case, carry on.

  21. “It’s the black, shiny FBI shoes, Zach.”

    Some of them have wised up. Now they buy sneakers.

    Pristine, gleaming white, low top sneakers.

  22. The funny thing is, I got the idea

    Clarification: I got the idea to use past drug use as a means of getting the recruiters to leave me alone .

  23. You are a miserable fundamentalist statist unless you support the legal choice to smoke tons of pot and crack and inject lots of heroin!

  24. Well, yeah, Richard Clarke is right, and there are plenty of cops who might do a better job if they smoked a joint now and then…but on the other hand, this is the same federal government that denies student loans to 18-21 year olds who get caught with a joint…thus denying many of them a college education and a chance at a decent job. As long as we have the drug laws we do, FBI agents should not be allowed to have used any illegal drug, never ever not ever. If they can’t hack that, maybe they should join the campaign for liberalizing the drug laws. Fair’s fair.

  25. Drug Czar Barry McCaffery offered the following observation on the revised FBI criteria: “The 16th time is a killer!”

    So all you potheads out there – scratch a notch on your bong for each “use”. When you hit number 15 you better throw the thing out or the Grim Reaper will getcha.

    Those government overlords – they have this stuff down to a science. I only wish they could provide maximum threshholds for drinking bouts, sex acts, gambling wagers, farts, and cuss words. When these limits have been carved in granite we will all be able to lead happy and productive lives. Nanny state metrics rule!

  26. “Smacky, why do you hate America?”

    the correct question would be:

    smacky, why did you smoke america?

  27. Smacky- No coercion, but lots of lying and occasional document fraud.

  28. I just had an interview to be an FBI agent the other day. In my opinion, they set the bar on drug use pretty low already. They told me that they screen out anyone who used pot more than 15 times, or more than 3 times in the last two years, or if they used any illegal drugs while working.

  29. Smacky- No coercion, but lots of lying and occasional document fraud.

    Oh, great. They’ll probably be knocking on my door any day now, in that case. I do remember signing something in the recruitment office. I had reservations about it then, since I figured even back then that it would not be above the military to lie and forge fraudulent docs.

    On that note, I no longer sign anything unless I read the entire document in full.

    (Maybe I should go to law school…)

  30. If I was interviewed by the FBI, and was asked any questions about drug use, I’d pull out a big fattie and say “This (Light. Puff puff) is number fifteen…”

  31. How about the J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Bra and Panty Set?

    Nah, It makes me look fat.

  32. [Thanks to Bruce Mirken at the Marijuana Policy Project for the tip.]

    Hee hee….Mirken. That sounds like merkin.

  33. I just had an interview to be an FBI agent the other day. In my opinion, they set the bar on drug use pretty low already. They told me that they screen out anyone who used pot more than 15 times, or more than 3 times in the last two years, or if they used any illegal drugs while working.

    That’s setting the bar “low”? So if someone goes on a two and half week pot-smoking binge in their senior year of high school, smoking once per day, they’ve unwittingly taken themselves out of consideration for future employment as an FBI agent…

    We’re disqualifying resources in tense times base purely on actions undertaken by people who had no idea what they wanted to be when they grew up. Seriously.

  34. Drugs! Drugs! Hooray! You are a miserable fundamentalist statist unless you smoke tons of pot and crack and inject lots of heroin!

    Anyone want to bet it’s Juanita?

  35. so thats 16 hits? 16 periods of usage? 16 days high? what if u wake and bake and then blaze and pass out? what if u smoked catnip thinking it was weed? what if u smoked pot laced with coke or pcp?
    what if u smoke DMT once?
    what if u meditate and spontaneously had a DMT rush from your pineal gland?
    if u want the best and brightest america has, get every pot smoker and hallucinogen user who went to a public school and now goes to a 1st tier college.
    i would think anyone whose too much of a follower to break the laws and try drugs and too much of a pussy to “break open the head” and get out of social programming isnt going to be good in a high level FBI or CIA job. dont analysts need to find links and connections between tons of data? what better tool to do that (other than a computer) than a nice hit of haze and the occasional blotter?

  36. How do they come up with the number 15? Is this something they just pulled out of their ass?

    Puff puff puff number 14 and 15 = Elliot Ness

    Puff puff number 16 = Tommy Chong

    ??

  37. I go along with Not David. This is simply bending the rules so they can get more cops to enforce the rules. Soon only cops will be allowed to get stoned!

    No, as time goes by their pool of non pot smoking candidates will be reduced to only shut ins and homeschooled. They won’t be able to enforce those stupid laws anymore!

  38. Oh goody!

    Juanita makes me hot.

  39. I just heard that in order to be President of the United States, you have to have less then 500 occurences of cocaine use.

  40. Maybe excluding pot heads leads to things like Waco and the Iraq invasion?

    And if you can’t be an FBI agent, why can you still be POTUS?

  41. And if you can’t be an FBI agent, why can you still be POTUS?

    Founders didn’t anticipate such hysteria over burning a common weed, I guess.

  42. Something I always wondered: the type of person who has NEVER EVER tried drugs, or stayed out after curfew or other such harmless acts of rebellion because they always go along with the crowd and listen to everything authority tells them and so forth. . . is this really the best person to be an FBI agent?

    Apparently. The FBI recruits lots of Mormons.

  43. Still, it’s refreshing to think that as the old guard dies out, some change is possible on the margins.

  44. “Something I always wondered: the type of person who has NEVER EVER tried drugs…”

    The thing is, potheads are univerally morons. Given this, people who are smart enough when young enough and exposed to some potheads will choose to stay away from it on their own.

    I don’t and never have taken this on authority, but on life experience.

  45. the difficulty i have with this is that we’re now establishing a double standard of the type common in class societies, but now between administrative and administrated peoples who are drawn from the same pool.

    if its illegal, it has to be illegal especially for law enforcement, not except for. to adopt a lighter, not heavier, standard for law officers is a woeful precedent to set.

  46. “Univeral moron”?

    That’s just, like, your opinion, man.

  47. Gaius, well said.

  48. if its illegal, it has to be illegal especially for law enforcement, not except for. to adopt a lighter, not heavier, standard for law officers is a woeful precedent to set.

    which is fine and dandy — but we’re talking about previous drug usage. not taking people who have in the past broken the law basically refutes the idea that peeople can and do change, and that criminality is inherent in people and not learned.

  49. The thing is, potheads are univerally morons. . . .I don’t and never have taken this on authority, but on life experience.

    You need to associate with a better class of potsmokers, then. Quite possibly a better class of people, period. I’m having a party this weekend–you’re invited.

    Cue Onion article: Alcoholic Father Disappointed in Pothead Son.

  50. Sweet! Party at Jennifer’s house! Can I make the drive? It’s only about 2000 miles! ๐Ÿ™‚

    In principle, I see gaius’ point, but the whole past drug use issue is what caused me to drop my crim justice major. Well, that and the drug war itself. But you see, I wanted to get into the FBI (would prolly still do it) or CIA (ditto). Now sure, part of it was to be a kind of mole…not that I’m not a patriot, but I think it’s good to have free thinkers in government institutions, especially law enforcement and intelligence branches.

    Unfortunately, I used copious amounts of drugs from about 16 on, and even now am not afraid to have a little fun with a mind-altering chemical or plant.

    So I’m totally dq’ed.

  51. “You need to associate with a better class of potsmokers, then.”

    If it’s the class that can get from “didn’t try drugs” to “doesn’t rebel at all” to “doesn’t think for themselves” to “shouldn’t be an FBI agent,” I think I can do without them, or at least without emulating them.

  52. And JDM, I have to agree with Jennifer. You’ve just met the wrong potheads.

  53. The thing is, potheads are univerally morons.

    JDM,

    I agree with Jennifer. (You need to associate with a better class of potsmokers.) I have met a ton of insightful and/or witty people who toke weed. I am not one of those people. I am a moron when I am stoned. That is why I no longer smoke pot. Some people might argue that I am also a moron when I am not stoned. Sorry, I can’t help you there.

    You can take the pot out of the moron, but you can’t take the moron out of the moron.

    Hee hee…merkin.

  54. “You can take the pot out of the moron, but you can’t take the moron out of the moron.”

    I’m not so sure about this. I think that even though you can take the pot out, you can’t take out the thoughts that occur to potsmokers as revealed truth. “Dude, it makes perfect sense when you are stoned.”

    person under the influence of alchohol : think’s he’s funny :: person under the influence of pot : think’s he’s received some revealed truth

    My own scientifically unsubstantiated speculation is that long term potsmoking lowers the rational barrier to acceptence of ideas as truth. Or at least ideas accepted under the influence muck up the thought process. We don’t re-examine all of our premises every time we come to some new conclusion. Sadly, I don’t think there is any research on this.

  55. JDM, in all seriousness, thinking back to the idiots my parents associated with when I was growing up, before the age of 22 I could have honestly said “Based on personal life experience, I think people who drink alcohol are either moronic white trash or violent white trash.” But no–my parents hung out with white trash who just happened to drink alcohol. I doubt you’d go so far as to say that the consumption of alcohol is the deciding factor in whether or not a person is a moron–why do you make that assumption with pot?

  56. Bandini,

    I was a little inaccurate in expressing myself. I meant that the bar was set far lower than I would’ve thought. I half-expected that more than one Scotch per week would disqualify me.

  57. My own scientifically unsubstantiated speculation is that long term potsmoking lowers the rational barrier to acceptence of ideas as truth.

    Again, sounds to me like the smokers you know are either idiots regardless of their use of various substances, or–perhaps–you’re talking about people who have only smoked once or twice and have basically NO tolerance for it. Me, I never smoke to the point where I’m doing the stereotypical “Have you ever looked at your hands?” stuff–I’ll just take a hit or two, just enough to give a little psychic twinkle. (My eyes don’t even get red, and I’ve had many conversations with unsuspecting cops while in that state.)

  58. Me, I never smoke to the point where I’m doing the stereotypical “Have you ever looked at your hands?” stuff–I’ll just take a hit or two, just enough to give a little psychic twinkle.

    *chuckle*

    Maybe that’s where I went wrong as a kid….I think I had a tendency to overdo it on substances a bit, when I decided to use them. I’ve since realized that I usually can’t trust my own discretion, and after noticing that fact about myself, I actually can trust my own discretion now, because I’ve learned it. I had some expensive* lessons, though.

    *Well, if I were paying in puke.

  59. “why do you make that assumption with pot?”

    It’s not a simple observation of stupid vs. not. Potheads, even when not high, are uniquely able to believe with total confidence things that they are far too intelligent to possibly think rationally, in my observation.

  60. Smacky, if pot makes you puke you got some baaaaaaaad shit there.

    But honestly, people–moderation in all things. One shot of alcohol won’t make you an asshole–ten shots probably will. One or two hits off a bong won’t make you an idiot–smoking a quarter-ounce in a single sitting probably will.

  61. I’d also like to add:

    Regarding pot: I actually fall into the category of people who basically have little to no tolerance for it. Strangely enough, I’ve probably smoked more than my fair share back in the day. I just happened to have lost my tolerance for it somewhere along the way….

  62. Jennifer,

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear…when I was talking about puking, I was referring to overdoing it on alcohol consumption, for the most part. Although alcohol and pot combined almost always made me sick, no matter what the dosage.

  63. Potheads, even when not high, are uniquely able to believe with total confidence things that they are far too intelligent to possibly think rationally, in my observation.

    Then observe me. I’m a rationalist who believes nothing which cannot be proven–don’t believe in ghosts or alien abductions, don’t buy into conspiracy theories concerning JFK, the CIA or anyone else, don’t believe in faith healing, crystal power or any of that New Age hippie bullshit. (I do believe there’s something to the Peak Oil theory, namely that we’re going to see some economic disruptions within a decade, but that’s based on a bit more than “The voices in my head say it’s true.)

    Where do I fit in to your worldview?

  64. I just happened to have lost my tolerance for it somewhere

    Damn, how I envy you. Tolerance is great when you’re talking about race and ethnicity and all that happy stuff, but it sucks in reference to pot. Really.

  65. JDM-

    Not every pot user is a pothead.

    Jennifer-

    But you believe in Peak Oil. And you’ve criticized private companies from time to time. By the standards of this forum you are obviously ignorant, irrational, and (worst of all) statist!

  66. “Potheads, even when not high, are uniquely able to believe with total confidence things that they are far too intelligent to possibly think rationally, in my observation.”

    Yeah, so what have YOU been smoking lately to make you believe this, JDM?

  67. Damn, the first thing I read when skimming this thread is: “Excuse me, I wasn’t clear when I was talking about puking.” Well….

  68. Jennifer-But you believe in Peak Oil.

    [snark] I already mentioned my belief in Peak Oil, Thoreau. Maybe if you smoked a little pot, your perceptions would broaden enough to notice that. [/snark]

  69. It’s more than a bit ironic that someone who is decrying pot smoking for supposedly damaging one’s ability to think rationally bases his entire argument on a generalization drawn from inductive reasoning based on a small sample. Not only that, but juding from the tone of JDM’s posts, it’s probable that the sample was viewed with a good bit of observeer bias.

  70. Sweet! Party at Jennifer’s house! Can I make the drive? It’s only about 2000 miles! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Come if you want, Lowdog, but with gas prices what they are nowadays, I can’t honestly say the party will be good enough to warrant a four-thousand-mile round trip.

    Four hundred miles, definitely. But not four thousand.

  71. Drugs! Drugs! Hooray! You are a miserable fundamentalist statist unless you smoke tons of pot and crack and inject lots of heroin!

    Hear hear! Tsk, tsk, it sickens me to hear all of this open bragging of the use of illegal psychoactive substances! Libertarianism is not libertinism! For the record, I have never smoked such substances! And I never will!

    PS: Hey, nine minutes until Happy Hour starts! Woo hoo!

  72. Come if you want, Lowdog, but with gas prices what they are nowadays, I can’t honestly say the party will be good enough to warrant a four-thousand-mile round trip.

    On the other hand, I can honestly say that the Reasonoid gathering I’m having in Washington D.C. this weekend will be that good. Good enough to warrant a four- nay, five-thousand-mile round trip.

  73. Yeah, I was thinking about the gas prices and realising it’d prolly be cheaper to fly up there.

    But it was a tongue-in-cheek comment, as I’m sure your powers of observation, enhanced by occasional recreational marijuana intake, were quick to notice.

    I think I’ll just have a party at my house instead!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  74. I have a good friend who is a pothead. He’s also a research scientist working in x-ray crystalography (hope I spelled that right) at a major university. A very reasonable, rational guy, who enjoys marijuana the way most folks enjoy beer when they get home from work.

    I also enjoy the evil weed now and again, but I’m not nearly as smart as my friend. However, I am a skeptic at heart and think of myself as a generally rational person.

    Dude.

  75. “Where do I fit in to your worldview?”

    You really aren’t very rational, based on your posts here. Occasionally, but not usually. Which doesn’t mean only when I disagree with you. There are plenty of people I disagree with more who are more rational than you are, at least as revealed here.

    “Not every pot user is a pothead.”

    That’s true.

    “By the standards of this forum you are obviously ignorant, irrational, and (worst of all) statist!”

    Where are these standards written? You’re always railing on about all the randroids and right winger’s here, but there really is a pretty broad range of people who post here.

    At any rate, it’s my opinion, and not inconsidered, but also not backed or refuted by any reasearch I’ve been able to find. There’s lots of research that shows how various types of training can effect personality, values and beliefs.

    People trained in economics become more selfish in personality, and more libertarian in their political ideologies. Computer programmers have peculiar linguistic habits, and process written language differently than other people. Both show up beyond the narrow cases where the training is being used.

    I think that time spent high probably acts as training for the mind. Much as people aren’t really remembering anything when they feel deja vu, they aren’t really understanding anything when they are on pot, or acid. I think that messes them up in at least introducing shoddy premises to their thought process, and possibly in other ways as well.

  76. JDM-

    I was joking.

  77. Computer programmers have peculiar linguistic habits, and process written language differently than other people.

    w00t!

    Agree with you on that one, I do.

  78. “It’s more than a bit ironic that someone who is decrying pot smoking for supposedly damaging one’s ability to think rationally bases his entire argument on a generalization drawn from inductive reasoning based on a small sample.”

    If I were claiming my belief was statistical, you’d have a point. But I get out of bed in the morning without looking for studies on how likely the floor is to disappear when my foot lands on it. I have a whole range of beliefs and opinions based on various degrees and types of evidence, and I’m pretty aware of why I hold them.

    I’m perfectly willing to examine statistical or rational evidence anyone has.

  79. “I was joking.”

    I know. Maybe I take all that wrong. I remember the days when you’d end half your posts with “Go ahead, call me a liberal Democrat.”

  80. JDM-

    I’ve moved on past those days. I think part of it is that back then people were still getting a feel for my stances, so I got more such accusations. Today, not so much. And I’ve also realized how annoying my habit was.

  81. I’m just glad no one here is a heroin pig.

  82. You really aren’t very rational, based on your posts here. Occasionally, but not usually. Which doesn’t mean only when I disagree with you.

    How so? Or, to be more specific in regards to what you said, what things do I believe with total confidence things [for which I am] far too intelligent to possibly think rationally?

    Much as people aren’t really remembering anything when they feel deja vu, they aren’t really understanding anything when they are on pot, or acid.

    You’re probably right about acid (which is after all a hallucinogen, which means people who take it see and hear things that aren’t actually there), but how do you “know” this about pot?

  83. I don’t see how taking pot or acid and having it alter the way you think about things is always going to be a bad thing. I’m sure there are some people out there, especially those without a well-rounded education, who are going to go the wrong way with their altered mind (I know, because I’ve actually seen it), but for people who are looking to alter/expand their mind to enhance their critical thinking and have a well-rounded enough education to actually understand the changes and the ramifications of them are probably going to have a net positive benefit.

    Of course, that’s my anecdotal experience. Although I have read a number of studies using psilocybin, mdma, and lsd where those substances can, indeed, help people overcome repressed memories, post-traumatic stress, etc. This is in a controlled environment with a psychiatrist present and whatnot, but I think it lends some credence.

    Also, look at the writings of a guy like Alexander Shulgin. That man is exceedingly brilliant and has comsumed a huge number of psychoactive substances, most, if not all, because he was experimenting on himself after actually synthesising the substance. Don’t get me wrong, he has a strong spiritual worldview, no doubt due, in part, to his psychedelic experiences, which even I sometimes find to be a little “hokey”, but there’s no doubt the man is brilliant.

    Now I’m just rambling, so I’ll leave it at that.

    (And for the record, I’m not being holier-than-thou in the first paragraph…it’s just more anecdotal evidence that I’ve encountered in my experiences.)

  84. You know, I was thinking about what sort of things JDM might pull from the archives to support his thesis that I (presumably because of that ol’ debbil weed) believe “irrational things I’m otherwise too intelligent to believe.”

    And I thought about various things I’ve said that posters here might hold against me: yes to worker protection laws and various other limits on employers, and certain social-welfare programs and so on and so forth, but this is stuff I’ve believed all my life (and I didn’t even start smoking pot until I was 23).

    And then I thought about the stuff I believe now, as a smoker, that I did not believe when I was younger than 23, when I was a non-smoker, and it hit me that every such idea is a libertarian one.

    You posters who would hold the aforementioned lefty stuff against me: you would have had apoplexy if you’d talked to me in my undergraduate days. Free healthcare and college educations for all! More food and housing for those who can’t afford to get their own! More gun control laws! And more laws that discriminate in favor of women and minorities, since they’re necessary and totally kick ass!

    If JDM is right and it’s the pot that’s making me think like you, maybe I should give the stuff up.

    Aaaargh! The smoke is corroding my soul*!

    *in a strictly metaphorical sense.

  85. (whispers) I lit one before the last post. Can you tell?

  86. I don’t always agree with you Jennifer, but I’m with you on this one. Drug use made me profoundly more libertarian, mostly due to an enhance realisation of myself.

    ‘Course, I’m one of those “better living through chemistry” types, so maybe I’m too fucked up to know any better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  87. Here’s another way of looking at it. There is no question that marijuana makes you stupid in the short term, while using, and that these effects can last for a period of days to weeks after smoking, depending of course on the amount of pot one smokes.

    There’s a lot more to thinking than the ability you have to process information at any given moment. People who spend signifigant amounts of time stoned are at the very least inheriting parts of their worldview from a dumber version of themselves.

  88. People who spend signifigant amounts of time stoned are at the very least inheriting parts of their worldview from a dumber version of themselves.

    Which would, of course, explain all the time I spend at this here libertarian hang-out.

  89. Also, how much dumber are we talking about here, anyway? Let’s say you’re right, and the late Carl Sagan, who was a brilliant man and also smoked pot, would have been even more brilliant had he laid off the weed. (Of course, Sagan himself credited marijuana with several insights that helped him break through complex problems with his work, but that was no doubt the pot itself talking, right, JDM? And lying too, no doubt?)

    How much smarter would Sagan have been had he never smoked pot? If he was correct to credit pot with some of his successful ideas, then would the loss of these ideas have been worth the gain in–how many IQ points, do you think? Two? Five? Ten? More?

  90. Whoops. Forgive the triple post, everyone, but I would still like to know from JDM which irrational ideas or beliefs of mine can be credited to my smoking habits.

  91. You know, if William F. Buckley had just stayed away from the pot, maybe he would have had a shot at being a renowned conservative intellectual.

    Oh, wait a minute.

    Seriously, there’s a difference between the occasional user and certain cousins of mine. Lots of people of all degrees of intelligence, all degrees of diligence, and all types of personality, enjoy a little bit now and then. Most of them don’t use it obsessively like certain cousins of mine.

  92. There is no question that marijuana makes you stupid in the short term, while using, and that these effects can last for a period of days to weeks after smoking, depending of course on the amount of pot one smokes.

    Ok, now that JDM has made a statement that is just plain wrong (what exactly does making someone stupid even mean?), there doesn’t seem to be much more he can contribute to the discussion.

    Not to be rude, but obviously he’s had some awful experiences with people who imbibe the mj, and it’s coloured his worldview in such a way that he can’t have a real rational conversation about the effects of mj and possibly other drugs.

    Too bad.

  93. Oh, and to any and all of you who have ever disagreed with me: you’re all just symptoms of my drug addiction anyway, so I don’t care.

    If JDM’s right, then it’s true.

  94. “You know, if William F. Buckley had just stayed away from the pot, maybe he would have had a shot at being a renowned conservative intellectual.”

    Buckley is pro-legalization, I don’t think he used a lot of pot. I read a column of his where he claimed to have used it once, in a boat outside of US territorial waters, since he was a good conservative who didn’t believe in flouting the law.

    Carl Sagan on the other hand was a big proponent of pot. Why this has anything to do with potheads being morons, I don’t know. Maybe he didn’t smoke much, maybe the breakthroughs you’re talking about are related to his wackier ideas, as opposed to the useful work he did, in any case, he can’t be compared to himself without pot, so there’s no saying.

  95. “Ok, now that JDM has made a statement that is just plain wrong (what exactly does making someone stupid even mean?)”

    There are bucketloads of research showing short term cognitive, learning, and memory problems in pot users.

  96. Maybe the term “pothead” has come to mean something else in today’s vernacular, but in my day it meant chronic daily use. Are there intelligent people who use pot occasionally? I’d bet on it. Are there intelligent people who are potheads? I suppose it depends on your definition of intelligent, but like JDM, I’ve yet to meet one that behaves intelligently.

  97. My eyes don’t even get red.

    Me either! We can be in the No Visine Needed club. And if my arithmetic is correct, I think I started about the same time in the ’90s that you did. AND just as you hated drunks in your youth, I hated potheads in high school, because until college I noticed only the Spicolis. (For all the libertinism of that movie, he and his buds were the only ones who smoked.)

    Stevo, pothead happy hour starts at 4.20. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  98. There is no question that marijuana makes you stupid in the short term…

    There are bucketloads of research showing short term cognitive, learning, and memory problems in pot users.

    But in all pot users? There plenty of people who use pot regularly and who don’t suffer from the problems you mentioned. Now, there really is “no question” that pot affects different people in different ways. To suggest otherwise isn’t really, well, rational.

  99. “But in all pot users?”

    Yes, after you use pot, your brain stops working as well for a while. Just like when you drink, your brain stops working as well for a while. Is that really news to you folks?

  100. Yes, after you use pot, your brain stops working as well for a while. Just like when you drink, your brain stops working as well for a while.

    Again, I don’t think it’s rational or realistic to say that pot affects everyone in the same way. I’m willing to concede that it affects many, if not most people with less precise brain function, but I’ve known too many pot smokers who weren’t affected in that way. Brains and marijuana vary too much to have a uniform effect.

  101. JDM, you have just done the impossible:
    antagonized someone who recently sparked up into snarking. Bravo.

    Smacky, would love to join you and the other Reasonoids in DC, alas, I will be in wonderfully rustic Raton, New Mexico this weekend.

  102. “I’m willing to concede that it affects many, if not most people with less precise brain function, but I’ve known too many pot smokers who weren’t affected in that way.”

    You should get them to a university or something, because pot’s effects on people are pretty well studied, and no where are there claims that mental functioning isn’t negatively impacted to one extent or another by recreational doses of pot. It’s really not a tough thing to measure simple brain functions like memory, learning, problem solving, etc.

  103. no where are there claims that mental functioning isn’t negatively impacted to one extent or another by recreational doses of pot.

    Well, certainly, if I were going to have surgery I wouldn’t want the doctor to have smoked one right before. Nor would I want a doctor who had just became drunk. But permanent or long-term damage? As I said before, Carl Sagan was pot’s equivalent of the casual drinker. So I ask you again: how many IQ points did he lose from that? (And before you bluster “But– but– he wasn’t a smoker!” you need to read his books, which say otherwise.)

    Now if you’re talking about pot’s equivalent of the drunk who never, ever goes anywhere without getting smashed first, or who keeps losing jobs for showing up too drunk or hung over to do his work–sure, those people have problems, but in both cases the problem lies with the person, not the substance. But what’s wrong with the pot-smoking equivalent of the guy who has a beer after work, or two or three beers on the weekend?

    By the way, JDM, you still haven’t answered my question about which irrational beliefs of mine you’ve noticed that can be attributed to my smoking. Not suffering from short-term memory loss, I hope. :*)

    (Also, speaking of irrational beliefs: the belief that if you look at a tiny, unrepresentative sample of people you can draw accurate conclusions about a much larger population is so irrational it’s been immortalized in logic textbooks as an example of something logical thinkers shouldn’t do. Which drug made you so illogical, or was that an accident of birth?)

  104. Two common logical fallacies:

    ? Hasty Generalization: the sample is too small to support an inductive generalization about a population
    ? Unrepresentative Sample: the sample is unrepresentative of the population as a whole

    http://www.intrepidsoftware.com/fallacy/toc.php

  105. If smoking weed makes you stupid in the short term, then how did I ace graduate physics exams while high?

    Somebody needs to check their premises.

  106. Real Bill-

    You have to be high to take string theory seriously anyway, so that explains that.

    :->

  107. Anybody check out the latest Onion? There’s an article on how 92% of the souls in Hell are there for minor drug offenses.

  108. Thoreau–

    Yeah, I saw that. A drug article and the latest Jim Anchower installment! Now if they’d just come out with more Jean Teasdale and Herbert Kornfeld. . . .

  109. Hey, who’s this mofo dissing on dudes who like to rock the ganja? Yo, bitch, don’t be knocking the bud, we ain’t a bunch of idiots just cuz we didn’t finish high school and shit. Look at my tubby friend here, he don’t say much but he’s plenty smart!

  110. Jennifer-

    You actually like Jean Teasedale? What are you smoking? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jim Anchower is the Onion’s finest columnist. The only one who ever came close was T. Herman Zweibel, although Larry Groznic and Herbert Kornfeld are also pretty good.

    See, Jim Anchower proves that you can have a successful career in journalism while smoking weed.

    Um, wait, never mind.

  111. Thoreau–

    Jean Teasdale is the most hilariously depressing columnist they’ve got. I knew a lot of solipsistic people like her, when I was growing up.

    I wish they’d do a column where Jean and Jim stumble across each other in a bar or something. That would be hilarious.

  112. Jean Teasdale rocks. The unspoken narrative is brilliant.

    Kornfield is worn out. It was really funny the first couple times, but that’s it. And I have a cousin who looks exactly like him.

    JDM:

    (cue patriotic music)

    I’ve known accountants, computer programmers, analysts, editors, teachers, and even fire fighters, emts, disaster responders and pharmicists (though no sane person would condone use during the job). They are all very decent, peaceful people, and many of them are very intelligent. They all have jobs and support the world we live, and even make it better.

    There are millions of us. Deal with it.

    (music swells, sound board operator starts hacking)

  113. Damn. I was sincerely looking forward to JDM’s return, so he could tell me how many IQ points Carl Sagan lost from smoking, which irrational beliefs I have due to potsmoking, and what drug or inherent infirmity made him base entire sections of his worldview on well-known logical fallacies. But he’s not here. Damn.

    Maybe he’s having hot and sloppy troll sex with Juanita?

  114. Maybe he’s having hot and sloppy troll sex with Juanita?

    [Shudder] Thanks a lot for that image, Jennifer.

    I’m going to go induce some vomit now with a lil’ MJ. (not really…)

  115. How do you know it’s a bad image, Smacky? Maybe they’re both really, really hot.

  116. Troll sex is never pretty.

    They have acid for blood, for christ’s sake. Akira can back me up on this.

  117. Mr. Nice Guy, if you were as “nice” as you’d have us believe, you wouldn’t know so much about perverted sex.

    Sicko.

  118. Jennifer, I suggest you read the D&D Monstrous Compendium before you embarass yourself any further.

  119. Thoreau, I suggest you learn how to spell “embarrass” before you humiliate yourself even more.

  120. “so he could tell me how many IQ points Carl Sagan lost from smoking”

    Probably none. Pot smoking doesn’t cause permanent IQ loss, except for *extremely* heavy use over a very long time.

    “which irrational beliefs I have due to potsmoking”

    You’ll have to figure that out for yourself.

    “and what drug or inherent infirmity made him base entire sections of his worldview on well-known logical fallacies”

    I’m not on any drugs or sick in any way, which seems irrelevant, since I haven’t based any “sections of my worldview” on any logical fallacies.

    Who are you trying to argue with exactly? I can’t figure out how your replies have anything to do with anything I’ve said anymore, and I’m not going to go into a 100 post exchange trying to explain why. You should try not to take the comments of anonymous strangers so personally.

  121. You’ll have to figure that out for yourself.

    Translation: I can’t answer your question but lack the balls to admit it.

    I haven’t based any “sections of my worldview” on any logical fallacies

    Your insistence on the stupidity of pot smokers is based on the two logical fallacies I listed above: hasty generalization ad unrepresentative sample. Did you not notice, or are you again trying to ignore questions you’re not capable of answering?

  122. I used to be a spelling bee champ.

    Really. Honestly.

  123. “I yoused to bea a speling be champp.

    Rellee. Honestlee.”

  124. “Translation: I can’t answer your question but lack the balls to admit it.”

    I don’t recall claiming the ability to devine the exact epistimological roots of the beliefs of strangers, likely because I never did it. That’s why I can’t figure out what you’re talking about. But fine, I’ll guess your second post on this thread, which is absurd, is a belief influenced by your pot smoking.

    “Your insistence on the stupidity of pot smokers is based on the two logical fallacies ”

    I explained why this is wrong in a post above. I’ve also pointed out that all the science on the topic says that it does indeed make you stupider in the most basic sense for up to a few weeks after you stop smoking cold turkey.

    This is my last post, since we’re just going in circles now.

  125. “Last post”? Aaaaaaawwwww.. It’s been amusing reading the thoughts of someone who obviously doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    Seriously, dude, rent “Reefer Madness”. You’ll feel validated.

  126. I explained why this is wrong in a post above.

    You didn’t explain “why” this is wrong; you merely said “this is wrong,” sans explanation. But no matter. Fine–believe all pot smokers are inherently inferior to (or at least stupider and more likely to make a mess of their lives compared to) those who do not smoke pot. Next time you go out for a drink, perhaps the irony will even sink in.

    Oh, and a quickie lesson: my second post was a “speculation,” not a “belief.” I may smoke pot, but at least I know the fucking difference between a statement of belief and a hypothetical question.

  127. JDM said…
    “person under the influence of alchohol : think’s he’s funny :: person under the influence of pot : think’s he’s received some revealed truth

    My own scientifically unsubstantiated speculation is that long term potsmoking lowers the rational barrier to acceptence of ideas as truth. Or at least ideas accepted under the influence muck up the thought process. We don’t re-examine all of our premises every time we come to some new conclusion. Sadly, I don’t think there is any research on this.”

    as a poly drug user, i completely agree. But is it necessarily a bad thing to deprogram from certain paradigms we accept as reality?

  128. I don’t recall claiming the ability to devine the exact epistimological roots of the beliefs of strangers, likely because I never did it.

    Right, you merely said pot smokers are prone to believing things they otherwise wouldn’t. Jesus, man, do you ever stop to think before you type?

    Arguments based on logical fallacies, sayng things and then insisting you didn’t when you’re called to explain them–do you work for the DEA or something? Your thought processes are more disjointed than those of any pot smoker I’ve known.

  129. JDM,

    Certainly, you have to admit that if The Real Bill is telling the truth, you have to rethink your assertion that pot makes everyone stupid.

  130. I dunno if I’d use Carl Sagan as an example of a brilliant pot smoker. I read a lot of his stuff, starting with Intelligent Life in the Universe and trailing off with Dragons of Eden, as well as most of his contributions to Parade magazine, and I thought he became less rational and more Phil Donahue-like as his career progressed.

    By the way … have any of you guys ever had two martinis and a scotch on the rocks and looked at your hand? I mean, really looked at your hand?

  131. Ok, ok, one more, but really this is it, maybe.

    “Right, you merely said pot smokers are prone to believing things they otherwise wouldn’t. Jesus, man, do you ever stop to think before you type?”

    I didn’t say that, and that statement is worlds different from the statement I just claimed not to make. Here’s a hint: pothead does not mean all pot smokers, or everyone who smokes a joint ever, and potheads I’ve known aren’t strangers.

    So, no. I can’t read the minds of people I don’t know who smoke an unspecified amount of pot. I can recognize some common personality traits of drug addicts, and speculate on the cause.

    If I took more time to proofread, I would have replaced “the beliefs” with “particular beliefs,” but that really ought to be clear based on what I’m responding to.

    “Arguments based on logical fallacies”

    And again, for the last time, I’m not “basing an argument” on statistical sampling. I’m explaining an opinion based on a complex interaction between experience, scientific evidence, and rational evidence as it applies to my model of the human mind. I was hoping someone would have some facts or links to research that could shed light one way or the other. Instead it becomes an exercise in explaining to people what “reading” is, which is interesting for a while, but ultimately useless. Also, a single speculative belief, known and admitted to be specualtive, does not in anyway equate to “a whole section of my worldview.”

    And fine, your second post isn’t a belief, it’s actually a collection of magnetic fluxes somewhere in cyberspace. La de da. Nevertheless it contains words which, logically interpreted, express an absurd belief which is the basis of your speculation. Re-read your own post, and try to figure out why it doesn’t make sense in the context of the conversation unless the reader assumes that you hold the belief that people who haven’t tried pot are never or at least rarely independent thinkers. Your speculation is about whether such people make good agents, not whether or not independent thinkers have almost always smoked pot.

  132. You all are totally sued for stealing the name of my blog.

  133. “Certainly, you have to admit that if The Real Bill is telling the truth, you have to rethink your assertion that pot makes everyone stupid.”

    In what way? Pot makes people stupider while using it. It’s a universally accept fact, as far as I can tell. Maybe The Real Bill is really smart, and can handle graduate physics in a somewhat diminshed state. Pot lowers blood flow to the capillaries of the brain, which reduces oxygen flow to the brain cells. Do you think people who drink get smarter while drinking?

    “I dunno if I’d use Carl Sagan as an example of a brilliant pot smoker. I read a lot of his stuff, starting with Intelligent Life in the Universe and trailing off with Dragons of Eden, as well as most of his contributions to Parade magazine, and I thought he became less rational and more Phil Donahue-like as his career progressed.”

    I was going to say that I always thought Carl Sagan was loon, and that I never knew he smoked pot until now, but I didn’t think anyone would believe it.

    “But is it necessarily a bad thing to deprogram from certain paradigms we accept as reality?”

    Well, that depends on which paradigms you’re talking about, I guess. You don’t need drugs to deprogram.

  134. “Well, that depends on which paradigms you’re talking about, I guess. You don’t need drugs to deprogram.”

    Oh, great. We got Tom Cruise here.

  135. JDM,

    I would never argue that drugs make you smarter, only that they don’t always make everyone dumber.

    That said, you started posting by saying that all potheads were morons, partly because they more easily accepted as true things that might not be. How many examples of people who smoke pot almost daily and who lose their critical thinking skills because of it do you need to admit that maybe not all potheads are morons?

  136. Les–

    In all seriousness, I think JDM is beyond reasoning with. His early experiences have him convinced that smokers are less intelligent than regular people, and he sees no reason to consider the possibility that he just might be wrong. Notice the way his arguments keep changing whenever anyone tries to pin him down on them; I don’t think he’s even aware that he’s doing it.

    Remember the words of South Park’s Mr. Mackey: Having never tried drugs, I can say with certainty they don’t do anything for me.

  137. “I would never argue that drugs make you smarter, only that they don’t always make everyone dumber.”

    I agree, caffeine, for example, makes people smarter in several ways. Anti-seizure medications prevent brain damage caused by a lifetime fo continuous seizures. Pot, however, is well studied, and pretty unambiguously makes people dumber. If you have some research showing increased mental functioning in some people while stoned, point it out. Certainly, it effects people to greater or lesser degrees.

    “How many examples of people who smoke pot almost daily and who lose their critical thinking skills”

    Well, examples like that wouldn’t make me change my stance at all…

    “admit that maybe not all potheads are morons?”

    That depends on how we define “pothead” and “moron.” I’d feel comfortable calling Carl Sagan a moron based on his ludicrous cheerleading to spend taxes on SETI alone.

    You’re at least addressing something I said, though, so yes, in that case I’m using “all” conversationally, it’s really no less precise than “moron” or “pothead.” And yes, I did it to stir folks up. In later posts, I clear up a little more what I mean by that.

  138. It’s not “stupider,” it’s “more stupid.”

    I look around my law school class and see a lot of people who smoke pot on a daily basis. It seems to me that it’s hard to say that potheads are stupid, because a lot of us don’t advertise the fact that we’re stoners.

    So maybe we should agree that stupid potheads are stupid, while smart potheads don’t let you know they’re potheads.

  139. If you take JDM’s posts and substitute “right-wing religious fanatic” for “pothead”, then I would agree with his observations.

    Otherwise, JDM is full of shit.

    Don’t fear the reefer!

  140. JDM,

    Sorry, I meant, “How many examples of people who smoke pot almost daily and who don’t lose their critical thinking skills…”

    I’d feel comfortable calling Carl Sagan a moron based on his ludicrous cheerleading to spend taxes on SETI alone.

    One bad idea does not a moron make. Especially, when his accomplishments are as impressive as Sagan’s.

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