cannabisnews.com: Mellow Attitude Toward Pot Use Lingers Locally










††Mellow Attitude Toward Pot Use Lingers Locally

Posted by CN Staff on July 18, 2005 at 07:23:25 PT
By Sheela Raman, Globe Correspondent †
Source: Boston Globe†

Boston, MA -- Wendy Campbell smokes marijuana almost every day and says it should be legal to do so.The 23-year-old Millis resident is neither the stereotypical stoner nor a patient suffering from a painful illness. She works 70 hours a week, holding down a data-entry job and a waitressing job in New Bedford. She is an ambitious college graduate who plans on having a successful career and a family.
''When I smoke pot I'm a lot less stressed," she says. ''It's a bad habit for some people because they don't know when to stop. I really only smoke a bowl a day." She says she will stop smoking marijuana when she has children and a more stable life.Such a relaxed attitude toward the drug is not surprising, given the recent findings by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that people who live in the Boston area have the country's highest rate of marijuana use -- more than 12 percent of youths and adults here reported smoking it in the previous 30 days. We already knew that Massachusetts was the most liberal state in the nation. Now we learn that it's also the pothead capital of the United States.The Globe spent the past few weeks interviewing local adults and found all sorts of circumstances under which they are smoking pot. Twentysomethings are smoking after work and on the weekends, at concerts and in their apartments. Parents are smoking after their kids go to bed. Baby boomers are smoking with their adult children. Some say they smoke pot every night after work instead of having a glass of wine. (Many of those interviewed were, for obvious reasons, uncomfortable with having their names published in the newspaper.)Several share Campbell's post-college attitude toward marijuana. They may not fit the image of the scruffy, tie-dye-wearing, jam-band-loving college pot smoker, but they say they smoke it almost every day -- or at least know other professionals who do the same. They lead busy, often stressful lives, and they have laid-back attitudes about the risks of using the drug.Josh Evans, who graduated from Harvard University last year and now lives with his parents in Brookline, says he knows more people who smoke marijuana now that he's finished college. ''You'd think that it was mostly the college crowd," he says. But at Harvard, few people he knew smoked marijuana regularly. ''Harvard kids are a little too uptight, too focused."Evans, who says he does not smoke marijuana, now plays in a band, and he says his bandmates use the drug almost every day, as do their friends. ''It's a bunch of people who maybe didn't go to college and are working long hours, or who went to school and are trying to make an artistic career."A 22-year-old New Bedford man named Andrew says that when he would come home from school as a child, his house would stink of marijuana because his parents lit up regularly. ''They would just be hanging out, watching a movie they rented in the living room," he says. ''They weren't like, 'Hey kids, let's pass the joint around the Thanksgiving dinner table.' " But he says the first joint he tried came from his parents' closet.Andrew's father is a business executive, and his mother is a stay-at-home mom who did, Andrew says, an excellent job raising the family. ''They're your everyday, normal parents in their 50s," he says. ''They just do it to unwind, instead of having a drink." Andrew says he doesn't smoke marijuana because it makes his heart beat too fast.Opinions about whether marijuana is harmful differ depending on which experts you talk to.Dr. Harrison Pope, director of the biological psychiatry laboratory at McLean Hospital in Belmont, has conducted more than 20 studies on marijuana use. He says research has proved that both alcohol and marijuana impair motor skills, and there has been no conclusive evidence showing that one substance is safer than the other. But he says that, according to his research, marijuana causes less permanent damage to the long-term memory of heavy users who have quit than alcohol does.Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a Harvard Medical School associate professor emeritus of psychiatry and a marijuana smoker since 1973, says alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana. ''There have been practically no cases of death due to marijuana, compared to alcohol and cigarettes," he says. ''To overdose on marijuana you'd probably have to smoke a trailer truck's worth."Grinspoon says he smokes marijuana in the same way Andrew's parents do -- in place of a glass of Scotch as an evening relaxant. ''I couldn't do anything after a glass of Scotch, but after one-third of a joint I'm still useful to do some thinking and come up with ideas," Grinspoon says. ''I can even sit down to write."Grinspoon, 77, who has written two books on the beneficial aspects of smoking pot, says he does not find it disturbing that the study ranked the Boston area number one in marijuana use. He says he knows many people on the Harvard faculty who use marijuana to relax and that they have told him the drug works better to lift their spirits than antidepressants.Ray DeSimone, 50, a refrigeration mechanic from Johnston, R.I., says he has been smoking marijuana all of his adult life and smokes regularly with his three children, who are in their early 20s. All are in college or have graduated from college.''I would way rather see my kids smoke a joint than go to the bar and have seven drinks," he says. ''After seven drinks you could go out on the road and kill somebody. But with pot I'm not worried."Such a low perception of risk among marijuana users is dangerous, says Dr. John R. Knight, director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston's Children's Hospital. Marijuana is as addictive as alcohol, he says, but people do not see this because it causes fewer physical symptoms. Knight says marijuana addiction is challenging to treat because patients generally show a greater degree of denial than other types of drug addicts.''It's now considered to be normal behavior to smoke marijuana," he says. ''No one thinks it's bad for them, because all their friends are using it, too." Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author: Sheela Raman, Globe CorrespondentPublished: July 18, 2005Copyright: 2005 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: http://www.boston.com/globe/Related Article & Web Site:Dr. Lester Grinspoonhttp://www.rxmarihuana.com/Hub Goes To Pot - Boston Heraldhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20876.shtml CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml

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Comment #18 posted by afterburner on July 19, 2005 at 00:29:18 PT
Is This Guy Surreal?
"Dr. Harrison Pope, director of the biological psychiatry laboratory at McLean Hospital in Belmont, has conducted more than 20 studies on marijuana use. He says research has proved that both alcohol and marijuana impair motor skills, and there has been *no conclusive evidence showing that one substance is safer than the other*."Tell that to the beaten wives and children, to the traffic accident victims.BTW, I voted too. "The dealer is a man with the love grass in his hand. Oh but the Pusher is a monster. Good God, he's not a natural man." --The Pusher by Steppenwolf
STEPPENWOLF lyrics - The Pusher
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Comment #17 posted by runderwo on July 18, 2005 at 21:48:32 PT
emerson
Yeah, she does look hopelessly ignorant on this issue. I would predict that any discussion with her about "drugs" would rapidly devolve into a discussion about methamphetamine, since that is the biggest problem in this area, and her position on meth would probably be used to justify her position on illegal drugs and plants in general. I also see that she voted against harm-reduction measures and medical cannabis. I'll see what SSDP has to say before wasting any more time on her.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on July 18, 2005 at 21:26:00 PT
comments 13 and 15
FoM, "We've changed our minds so many times..."Me, too. Comment 15. That is great and I totally understand why anyone would want it and I'm glad the California government is sticking up for what it's people want. On the other hand, those "lists" remind me of things that happened in Nazi Germany and they really scare me for the sake of the people whose names are on them and for the state of our country in general. It's so hard to accept and believe, but I know it's true, that so many evil and dangerous "witch burners" are still alive and in powerful positions in this day and age.
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Comment #15 posted by jose melendez on July 18, 2005 at 20:12:00 PT
E_J!
You won:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/07/18/state/n184217D16.DTL
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on July 18, 2005 at 19:20:45 PT
Taylor
That's a very nice web site. I don't go to MPP's web site very often. I go to NORML's site. I really like the way NORML's is laid out. I get way more useable information from NORML's web site then any other site I check out. I also like NORML's weekly bulletin. It always has something new that isn't in papers. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on July 18, 2005 at 19:07:57 PT

Hope
This is a busy time of year. We've changed our minds so many times on what we wanted to do but finally figured it out. We closed in our front porch which has always been open until the last 5 years or so and we kept our fire wood and dogs when they came in from the yard there. It gets so out of order that way but we need a dry place for our wood and then when we decided a room addition with a mud room and work room for my husband would be good. Our house is like this one but without the additions and not white but light gray trimmed in white now. Our porch is under the roof like in this picture. That will be more like this porch and the room addition will be added to the side of the house and it will be 24 feet by 22 feet. The addition style on the left of the pic but bigger then the one on the pic. Our house is only 34 feet wide and it will make a nice addition by adding 24 more feet. I kiddingly told my husband I want hippie beads in the new door opening when it's made. He laughed! http://www.jameshardie.com/architect/prodhome/default.phpWe are lining the underside of the porch that isn't in weather with the stucco type siding in this picture trimmed in gray. http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner/prodhome/hardipanel.php
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Comment #12 posted by Taylor121 on July 18, 2005 at 19:04:20 PT

Vermont MPP Regulation 
Has anyone seen this brochure?http://www.vmpp.org/documents/brochure.pdfIt is so professional, it makes me really wonder why MPP's main site can't look similarly.
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Comment #11 posted by BGreen on July 18, 2005 at 18:09:43 PT

emerson is a radical liberal compared to mine
roy blunt, my so-called rep. in a district to the west of runderwo, the father of the the sleazy little troll who got elected governor of the state of misery.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #10 posted by jose melendez on July 18, 2005 at 18:04:54 PT

runderwo
Looking at Emerson's record, I think your best bet is likely to ask for help from SSDP:http://www.ssdp.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=108
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Comment #9 posted by jose melendez on July 18, 2005 at 17:58:00 PT

runderwo
I hope these links help you. Looks like your rep consistently votes against her constituent's interests, is anti-environment, pro war and toes the neo-con line:http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-rgoldberg072403.asp http://www.phrma.org/publications/policy/admin/10.07.2003.780.cfm http://www.issues2000.org/House/Jo_Ann_Emerson_Health_Care.htm http://www.joannemerson.com/Issues.aspx http://www.issues2000.org/House/Jo_Ann_Emerson.htm#Drugs
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on July 18, 2005 at 17:55:11 PT

FoM and Runderwo
Thanks, FoM. Yes, I've been very extra, extra extremely busy. Night and day. Things are winding down a bit as of this afternoon...at least a little for a little while.Your remodeling is exciting. I've got to get some work done around here, too. I just havenít decided for sure what all I want done and how I want it done.Runderwo, your rep sounds like a total nut. "...it is clear that only harsh punishments will discourage drug dealers from targeting our children with the drugs they make, peddle, and push."It is? What planet is she living on? And where the heck do they get the idea that children are being targeted? Oh yeah...that's a pure lie for the sake of propaganda and funding.I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but people like Emerson and Sensenbrenner are either crazy or are purposely undermining rational society for some ulterior motive. Slave labor? I don't understand it, but it's clear they are out to destroy many people's lives and any semblance of a free society. They look like reincarnated frustrated Nazis that are trying to lay a slightly adjusted, but essentially the same, version of their sick vision of what society should be on us again.
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Comment #7 posted by runderwo on July 18, 2005 at 17:10:19 PT

HR 1528
My rep is Jo Ann Emerson. I sent a letter asking her to oppose HR 1528 on the grounds that it removes sentencing discretion from judges and requires people to turn in any neighbors that they suspect are drug dealing to avoid a mandatory minimum sentence, expands school zones so much that there is effectively no distinction, and confers additional penalties onto sellers who happened to sell to someone who was previously in drug treatment, whether they knew it or not.I got a letter back, personally signed, but I have to wonder if anyone even read my letter. Simply, it stated that "drug abuse continues to be a growing problem among America's youth", and that she continues to "fight in Congress to assure that law enforcement and drug treatment programs have the funds they need to fight this scourge. Still, it is clear that only harsh punishments will discourage drug dealers from targeting our children with the drugs they make, peddle, and push."  Okay, this isn't going well. The letter ends by claiming that the bill "would allow judges to use discretion when sentencing individuals convicted of these crimes. The bill would otherwise suggest a mandatory minimum penalty to serve as a base guideline for sentencing."So, in this twisted view, a mandatory minimum sentence is not hampering judicial discretion, because she sees plenty of room for judicial discretion - UPWARDS!Unfortunately it looks like I'm going to have to write again, because she didn't even respond to my other points, and clearly assumes that harsher sentences reduce the harm associated with the black market. Something tells me I'm not going to have any more success this time around.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 18, 2005 at 15:33:58 PT

Hope
It's good to see you. I am sure you are very busy too. We have started construction work today. The bulldozer arrived and the windows and walls will get torn down and replaced tomorrow weather permitting. My nephew who is 5 years younger then I am came to visit today. He lives in Florida. It's been at least 20 years since we've seen him and it was such a great visit. I just wanted to mention what's going on here and at least the news is in a slow time which makes it easier for me to get this work done around home.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on July 18, 2005 at 15:20:36 PT

Some people seem "addicted"
to labeling other people as "addicted". 
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Comment #4 posted by runderwo on July 18, 2005 at 10:00:44 PT

great article
"Knight says marijuana addiction is challenging to treat because patients generally show a greater degree of denial than other types of drug addicts."Something tells me these "patients" didn't check themselves in voluntarily. Maybe the problem is that other people simply have the wrong idea about their "addiction"?I see only two reasons to classify someone as being in denial of an addiction. One would be where this person is harming others through whatever they are doing, yet continue to do it, or where this person is harming themself (measurably, not speculatively) by doing it, and the benefits do not rationally outweigh the negative effects. The other would be where the person expresses a legitimate desire to quit, but can't seem to do it for one reason or another.It's silly to just go around pointing at people who smoke pot saying "you're an addict", and when they respond "nuh-uh", then the conclusion is "you're in denial".
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 18, 2005 at 09:07:46 PT

Sam
I voted too. My sister's grandson was underage and within a school zone and someone saw him give a friend a small bag of pot and reported it to the school authorities. He went to jail for 6 months. 
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Comment #2 posted by jose melendez on July 18, 2005 at 08:58:40 PT

I voted!
How to Eat Marihuana Hemp:http://www.newstarget.com/009586.html
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on July 18, 2005 at 08:54:21 PT

Poll - please help
Help! High school kids are being sent to jail for 2 years for selling 1/8 ounce of MJ to an undercover narc, no prior arrests, please vote "no" in the poll at the bottom of this page:http://www.berkshireeagle.com/
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