Marijuana

Can't Marijuana Be a Business Instead of an Issue?

The New York Times is vaguely troubled by innovation and investment in the cannabis industry.

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Juju Joints

A recent New York Times story calls attention to Juju Joints, disposable cannabis-oil vaporizers made by a company in Seattle. These e-joints, which are designed to deliver about 150 hits before you throw them out, resemble the rechargeable pens sold by Open Vape in Colorado, but they reportedly can be used even more discreetly, because the vapor they produce is odorless. The Colorado vape pens, by contrast, produce a faint, quickly dissipating cannabis smell that someone close to the consumer might notice. The Stranger, the Seattle weekly, calls Juju "the joint for people who don't like to smoke joints."

Unobtrusiveness is an important feature even in states where marijuana is legal, since restrictions on consumption outside the home are vague and potentially sweeping. "I wanted to eliminate every hassle that has to do with smoking marijuana," the Juju Joint's inventor, Rick Stevens, tells the Times. "I wanted it to be discreet and easy for people to handle. There's no odor, matches, or mess."

What could have been an interesting story about innovation in an emerging market takes a sinister turn in the seventh paragraph, where the Times harshes the Juju Joint's buzz:

Not everyone is so enthusiastic. Many addiction researchers fear that e-cigarettes will pave the way to reliance on actual cigarettes, especially in teenagers. And THC adversely affects the developing brain, some studies have found, impairing attention and memory in adolescents and exacerbating psychiatric problems.

"In some ways, e-joints are a perfect storm of a problematic delivery system, the e-cigarette, and in addition a problematic substance, cannabis oil," said Dr. Petros Levounis, the chairman of the psychiatry department at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

So Juju Joints are bad because they might lead to Marlboros? There is no evidence that nicotine vaping promotes cigarette smoking, and it is even less plausible that THC vaping would. Since products like Juju Joints enable consumers to avoid smoke inhalation (just as e-cigarettes do), they should be welcomed by anyone worried about potential health effects. Levounis' insinuation to the contrary consists of nothing more than a clich√© combined with the repeated use of a disparaging adjective. 

"Law enforcement agencies are concerned that discreet vapor pens filled with cannabis oil are already being abused by teenagers," the Times reports, "and that many are sure to lay hands on JuJu Joints." In other words, discreet forms of cannabis consumption are scary because they might appeal to teenagers. The same concern would indict colorless, odorless vodka as "a perfect storm of a problematic delivery system…in addition a problematic substance." It looks just like water, but it still gets you drunk! Outrageous!

A similar cannabis-induced anxiety afflicts a recent column by New York Times business writer Andrew Ross Sorkin, who notes Peter Thiel's investment in the marijuana industry and wonders, "Is cannabis socially responsible or ethically objectionable?" I dunno. Are potatoes socially responsible? What about cars or computers?

Sorkin's question is meaningless, since any product can be used excessively or inappropriately. A sound ethical judgment depends on context. And even if a certain pattern of consumption is dangerous to the consumer, that does not necessarily mean it is socially irresponsible, unless you take it for granted that every individual has a social duty to be as healthy and productive as possible.

But Sorkin still wants to know: "Is marijuana closer to the health care industry, given its benefits for certain ailments, or should it be lumped into the same category as cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, guns and, in some quarters, fossil fuels and sugary soda?" He argues that "questions about whether the industry is sinful or virtuous will continue to hang over it." If so, that's only because superficial, fashion-driven commentators insist on raising them.

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  1. Can’t ride-sharing be a business instead of an issue? Can’t prostitution be a business instead of an issue? Can’t influence peddling be a business instead of an issue?

    That’s what you sound like, Reason.

    1. What? A dumb cunt. That’s what you sound like, Fisty.

      1. Can’t Harold Falcon be a regular instead of an obnoxious bore?

        Not that those are necessarily non-overlapping domains, of course.

    2. Can’t orphans be a business instead of an issue?

      1. Orphans almost by definition are never an issue, since nobody loves them.

        1. Nice. Hit ’em where it hurts.

    3. What Jacob’s saying is that people seem to be going out of the way to stir up controversy about every aspect of this biz.

  2. “In some ways, e-joints are a perfect storm of a problematic delivery system, the e-cigarette, and in addition a problematic substance, cannabis oil,” said Dr. Petros Levounis, the chairman of the psychiatry department at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

    On behalf of physicians everywhere, I apologize for a physician, much less the department Chair at a teaching hospital, saying something so stupid. A “perfect storm” of problematic things? Is a nor’easter part of it too?

    1. To be fair, he is a New Jerseyan.

      1. And a psychiatrist, not a physician.

        1. Psychiatrists are physicians who possess a specialization in psychiatry.

          Jus’ sayin’

    2. Don’t feel bad. I think there is no doubt that pyschiatrists are lefty prohibitionists by default. If you are a not a lefty control freak pyschiatrist, keep that infomration to yourself. Your kind are so rare that you’ll be hunted down and vivisected if it becomes known.

      1. I think they are mostly psychologists and not psychiatrists, but I know of quite a few in the mental health industry who seem to think that smoking weed is a perfectly good anti-anxiety medicine for a lot of people (and this is where it is not medically legally available for that reason).

        Even a psychiatrist who is not a die hard prohibitionist is in the unfortunate position of being beholden to the DEA if they want to prescribe controlled substances and get a lot of pressure to drug test patients and stuff like that.

  3. Inobtrusiveness?

  4. “…unless you take it for granted that every individual has a social duty to be as healthy and productive as possible.”

    That is exactly what public health nanny-bees take for granted, and will be happy to tell you so. Which is what makes them the most dangerous of all authoritarians.

    1. While neglecting to mention disincentives to productivity and the many concomitant health detriments afflicting welfare dependents. The intervention ratchet only ever swings one way.

      Public health ethicists are loathsome, predictable creatures.

    2. And some of the most literal slavers. “You owe society your full potential” means that they own you and if you waste your potential with drugs you are stealing from society. Stealing yourself.

  5. …unless you take it for granted that every individual has a social duty to be as healthy and productive as possible.

    If you are familiar with the idea of tax expenditures, the idea that not taking is giving, the idea that the social contract is just like a lifetime cellphone contract, the idea that unhealthy habits cost society, the idea that giving back to the community is a swell idea, then you are among the majority who do take it for granted that you owe a debt to society you can never repay.

    “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” is about as clear a message that you are born with the mark of the king tattooed on the back of your neck – and yet most people applauded that line rather than thinking the un-American commie bastard who said it should be shot in the head.

    1. Love the last paragraph, I’ll be using it in the near future, so where do I send the royalty?

    2. and yet most people applauded that line rather than thinking the un-American commie bastard who said it should be shot in the head.

      [Citation from the parts of the Warren Commission scheduled to be released in 2017 needed]

    3. Sorry, America. I forgot to eat my salad last night.

    4. …accidentally by a bodyguard preparing to shoot back at the guy who was shooting at the other politician in the car.

  6. All of the “what about the children” shit ignores one simple fact. Teenagers already smoke pot if they want to. And they ar eperfectly happy to smoke regular old weed if these fancy new devices aren’t available. You’d think that something new was being introduced here.

  7. To be fair, it’s not like the NYTimes likes business, either.

  8. Can’t Marijuana Be a Business Instead of an Issue?

    Can’t business be a business instead of an issue?

  9. Fuck I want one of these really really bad.

    Someone in WA want to mail me one?

  10. Sounds like that guy has no clue at all man.

    http://www.Anon-Best.tk

  11. 30 yrs ago there were about 300 SWAT raids a yr across the whole USA.
    They were reserved for the most extreme targets.
    Now there’s almost 300 a day.
    What has happened since then?
    It’s like the there has been a military coup and the police are now channeling public funds into their own departments without any checks on their validity.
    The US is a police state thanks to the drug war.

  12. No joke! I enjoy vaping my CBD e-liquid. I am glad that it is legal.

  13. I agree it should be a business. The government can make money on it with it being taxed. I am sure they will be taxing e-liquid soon enough.

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