High Time?

  High Time?

Posted by CN Staff on August 10, 2007 at 08:56:27 PT
By Barbara Taormina, GateHouse News Service 
Source: North Shore Sunday 

Beverly, MA -- If you have teenage kids, sometimes the most gracious thing you can do as a parent is to fade into the background. You probably shouldn’t shop at Abercombie and Fitch, you don’t need to play air guitar and regale your kids with stories about The Who’s reunion concert and you really don’t need to end up in the police log of your local newspaper for possession of marijuana.From 1990 to 2002, roughly 6.2 million people across the United States were arrested for possession of pot.
According to FBI stats, 8,975 Massachusetts residents were busted in 2000. And the biggest fans of the drug aren’t kids smoking in the boy’s room, it’s adults ages 35 to 49, men and women — the folks at the country club, the members of the PTO, the people who sit next to you every Sunday in church.Groups and organizations bent on changing or reforming drug laws are looking at those numbers and seeing some hope. Here in the Bay State the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition or MassCann has been working to change public policy on marijuana for decades. The organization’s latest push is to place a binding referendum on the 2008 ballot that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana – an ounce or less -- a civil violation, something similar to a traffic ticket. There would be a fine of $100 that would go to the city or town in which the offense was committed. If all that sounds a little familiar, that’s because it is. In 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 voters in different representative and senate districts throughout the state checked boxes on ballot questions to decriminalize marijuana. In those four elections, 484,791 people voted to reform marijuana laws while 277,285 voted against any change.But those were non-binding questions that were meant to take the pulse of the electorate. This time around MassCann is working toward a binding referendum which, at least in theory, means voters will have the final say.“This is an issue of fundamental liberty,” says Steve Epstein, a Georgetown lawyer who heads up MassCann. “You can’t criminalize something that 9 percent of the population has done within the past month.”And that seems particularly true when the 9 percent includes taxpayers with mortgages, cars, kids and dogs. Some battles you win with a quick knock-out punch. In others, it’s endurance that sees you through to a victory.According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, we now have the most “drug-experienced” generation of parents on record. Even if adults don’t smoke marijuana they are culturally familiar with it and they view it is less of a risk than past generations.And while that group may not be ready to vote to legalize pot, they do seem receptive to taking the interim step of decriminalizing it. The CostsThis week, the Showtime comedy “Weeds” kicks off its third season. For those who haven’t been watching, the show is about a single mother and two kids who move to an affluent suburb in California. In order to make ends meet, mom starts selling marijuana to her rich yuppie neighbors.The show has picked up nearly two dozen nominations for Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild awards in part because it hits a chord. No doubt this is what marijuana use looks like for a lot of people today.Ron, a 38-year-old machinist from Danvers, says he’s smoked marijuana since he was a teenager. He likes it, and he doesn’t plan to stop.“It takes the edge off,” he says. “It’s a way to relax. I’m not hurting anyone and I think I’m pretty responsible.”If it’s on the ballot, Ron says he would definitely vote to decriminalize marijuana. It would put an end to that unpleasant wave of paranoia he feels when buying it and carrying it home, and it just makes sense.“I know a couple of people who have been busted for weed,” he says. “It’s not like it ruined them, but it was a huge pain in the butt.”Ending that pain is one of MassCann and Epstein’s big arguments in pushing for decriminalization. According to Jeffrey Miron, an economics professor at Boston University, the state stands to save about $24 million a year if it decriminalizes marijuana. The new law would free up money we’re now spending on police, prosecutors, state forensic laboratories, court clerical personnel, judges, and prisons in connection with marijuana possession offenses.On the flip side, the new law would be bring some cash into communities – although it’s nothing cities and towns will be able to use to balance their school budgets. In 2004, Beverly reported 40 arrests for possession, Peabody had 30 and Marblehead police arrested 19 people. With $100 fine for each offense, we’re not talking big money.Peabody Police Chief Robert Champagne thinks MassCann’s math sounds a little sketchy, a little inflated. Champagne says that often, when someone is charged for possession of marijuana it’s because they’ve already been stopped for breaking some other law.“How often do police go into a living room and charge someone with possession – never,” he says. “We’re not wasting our time and energy on that type of low-level enforcement.”Champagne thinks decriminalization would be a step in the wrong direction. To him, throwing out the laws means we are tacitly condoning or even accepting marijuana use, and he worries that the social costs are just too high.“Who’s going to be watching the kids, or watching grandma when mom’s stoned?” he asks.Epstein acknowledges that marijuana can cause problems for some people.“I won’t say that marijuana is a harmless substance,” he says. “With some people it becomes such a focus it can interfere with obligations to family and employers.”But alcohol and tobacco are not harmless substances, and we leave the use of those products up to individuals hoping that personal integrity and responsible use kick in along the way. What About The Kids?Two years ago, the popular parody newspaper, The Onion, which satirizes events both real and imaginary, ran a short piece about a 16-year-old girl from Dedham who vowed never again to experiment with marijuana after coming homing and finding her parents, Harold and Judy, “obviously baked.”“Dad got all paranoid about the mortgage rate while Mom spent an hour giggling about how dusty the ceiling fan was. It was so sad and depressing,” says the girl who adds she was grateful to be scared straight before she made a fool of herself again.Although marijuana use among kids remains high, study after study has reported a slight decrease over the years. Some worry that decriminalizing marijuana could reverse that trend. But Epstein’s proposals have some built-in safeguards.In both a decriminalization bill filed by state Sen. Bruce Tarr on behalf of Epstein and the ballot question, anyone under 18 who is caught with marijuana would be brought home to their parents. Like adults, juveniles would be subject to a $100 fine, but unlike adults they would be mandated to attend a drug education program. And if they fail to complete that drug education program within a year, them fine would bump up to $1,000 with both the juvenile and parents liable for that fine.Still, even some adults who favor decriminalization do have some concerns about how such a move might change drug use among kids. Some, like Chief Champagne, have no doubt that pot is a gateway drug.Champagne says he’s seen a lot of lives wrecked by drug addiction and abuse and there’s no doubt in his mind that those people started those personal downward journeys by smoking marijuana.Topsfield police Chief Evan Haglund also feels that marijuana is a stepping stone to other drugs, and like Champagne he feels decriminalizing pot would be a mistake.“A lot of property crimes are related to drug use,” he says. “It’s really a quality of life issue.”Epstein agrees that most heroin addicts probably did start out smoking pot. But he likes to take the numbers and turn them around. Of the 80 million people in the United States who have said that they have at least experimented with marijuana only a tiny fraction have gone on to other drugs – and that escalation can often be attributed to a long list of other factors. Epstein does however, concede that there may be a link between marijuana use and hallucinogens – drugs that users often claim expand consciousness and even spark creativity.Devin, a 19-year-old from Gloucester who regularly smokes pot, says he has no interest in harder drugs.“It’s not a gateway drug, that’s just propaganda,” he says, adding that most of the people he knows who smoke are intelligent people with full and interesting lives. He has a buddy who’s favorite pastime when he’s high is to go home and read.Mack, another friend who also smokes frequently, says it’s really no different than going to a bar and having a drink.“Like everything else, you just have to learn to do it responsibly,” he says.And that’s no more or no less than what Epstein and MassCann want this time around. Responsible people making their own decision about marijuana use without the fear of criminal prosecution.This week, the Attorney General’s office is reviewing MassCann’s ballot question to make sure it complies with state law. Once that hurdle is passed it will be up to Epstein and the organization’s volunteers to collect the 67,000-plus signatures needed to put the question on the 2008 ballot.And if it turns out to be a go, a lot of people expect to see pro-marijuana groups from all over the country flood in and wage a campaign to win over voters.But no matter what happens in November, 2008, you can expect to see Epstein and MassCann back in 2010 either with a new decriminalization campaign or push for straight legalization.“We won’t stop fighting until marijuana is regulated like tobacco and alcohol,” says Epstein.Source: North Shore Sunday (Beverly, MA)Author: Barbara Taormina, GateHouse News ServicePublished: August 10, 2007Copyright: 2007 Community Newspapers Inc.Contact:  northshore cnc.comWebsite: http://www.northshoresunday.comMassCann -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #28 posted by The GCW on August 19, 2007 at 18:16:52 PT
US MA: PUB LTE: Epstein Is an American Hero
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Comment #27 posted by Richard Zuckerman on August 11, 2007 at 14:11:59 PT:
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on August 11, 2007 at 08:54:59 PT
Snipped Source Article
Feds' Effort To Get Patient Files Called 'Scary' ***Medical marijuana - The DEA tries to subpoena medical records of patients, some from Oregon, in an investigation of growers Saturday, August 11, 2007Advocates of medical marijuana say federal authorities have deployed a new tactic in Oregon to curb or stop state programs that permit the sick to use the weed: subpoenas demanding medical records for 17 marijuana patients. A federal judge is considering whether to throw out the subpoenas. But people who use and grow medical marijuana say they find the mere issuance of the subpoenas disturbing. "It's crazy. It's really scary. If they can get my records, they can get Gov. Kulongoski's, they can get yours," said Donald DuPay, a former Portland police officer and 2006 candidate for Multnomah County sheriff. DuPay says he is among the 17 people whose records were subpoenaed.   
 A federal grand jury in Yakima issued the subpoenas in April as part of an investigation of a handful of growers in Oregon and Washington. The subpoenas asked simply for "medical records" of the 17 patients, who are not targets of the grand jury. James Hagerty, the assistant U.S. attorney who convened the grand jury, declined to comment, as did a Seattle spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The grand jury served the subpoenas on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, the state office that issues permits to patients and their authorized growers. A second subpoena went to The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a private Portland clinic where doctors examine patients to determine whether their conditions would be eased by marijuana. In addition, the DEA raided DuPay's Northeast Portland home in June and seized 135 marijuana plants that DuPay said he was growing for patients. DuPay, who hosts a local cable-access program on medical marijuana, said this week that he has not been arrested. On Aug. 1, lawyers from the state and from the ACLU, representing the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, went before Chief U.S. District Judge Robert H. Whaley in Yakima to argue that the subpoenas should be thrown out. During the hearing, Hagerty acknowledged that the subpoenas were written too broadly. What the grand jury wants, he said, is not "medical records" but only current addresses and phone numbers for the 17 patients. He told the judge that the grand jury is investigating "four or five" people for growing marijuana to sell under cover of the medical-marijuana law. The 17 people are or were patients who got medical marijuana from the people under investigation, he said. Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #25 posted by afterburner on August 11, 2007 at 08:04:33 PT
Canadian Bakin'
CN ON: Editorial: Roach Burn, NOW Magazine, (09 Aug 2007) Why Is This Canadian Pot Dealer Campaigning for Ron Paul?, Seattle Weekly, (08 Aug 2007) BC: Trial to Hear Testimony From Senator Who Backed Marijuana Legalization, Victoria Times-Colonist, (09 Aug 2007)
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Comment #24 posted by rchandar on August 10, 2007 at 22:04:19 PT:
Who's Going to Be Watching The Kids?
When Grandma's stoned?No one. Grandma's GOING TO JAIL.I guess the social workers are "going to be watching the kids". Notice how cops and government employees all seem to favor unrestrained sex and violence, trust it as an essential truth? Well, that's what you're kid's gonna get to watch, learn from, be.No choclate chip cookies for Junior, and no lemonade. Our new "family" has gotta be leaner, meaner, and sexier. Break out those steely dans. I've got some porno that I want to "educate" your kids with. Listen, people. When a dad, mom, or grandmother can't say "I have my reasons" for feeling or thinking a certain way, we are no longer citizens. We are puppet subjects of an Orwellian nightmare. That's the worst thing that Orwell wrote about: how the children we raise with love and pride decide that the affection of the government is more important than that of their parents. THAT's the most insidious thing that can happen. I slap you for stealing groceries and lying about how you flunked algebra, you turn me in for smoking grass and I lose my family and job. Social workers are famous for dividing families. Champagne, politely, can F#$K OFF.--rchandar
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 21:09:46 PT

Comedy and Cast Light Up 'Weeds'
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Comment #22 posted by ekim on August 10, 2007 at 19:47:32 PT

some good bloging at the Leap site
really good to read that guys that have been LEO's are willing to take on the drug czar and are calling on Fox to come interview them -- any time any where-- if anyone is interested in having a Leap Speaker come talk to there town or club or event please try to make it happen.
Only you can prevent drug czar lies
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Comment #21 posted by The GCW on August 10, 2007 at 18:29:49 PT

jmoran - #6,
My experience and many other citizen's experience is very similar; tried booze, then tried cannabis and cannabis is not nearly as bad!One of the bunch that hires lobbyists to stop cannabis is the alcohol industry.That's why!The alcohol industry will see more profits disapear if cannabis is re-legalized.They are already missing profits while the superplant is prohibited but the loss will grow more if...
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 17:16:10 PT

News Article from Wired
Federal Raids Against Medical Marijuana to End If Democrat Elected***By Steven Edwards August 10, 2007 2008 Presidential Election, Drugs & Alcohol, Policy  Federal raids of medical marijuana users will end under a Dennis Kucinich administration, implied the Democratic Presidential candidate in last night's LGBT Presidential forum. Competing candidate Mike Gravel went further by saying marijuana should be sold alongside alcohol in liquor stores and that all hard drugs should be decriminalized.The answer was prompted by a question from cancer sufferer Melissa Etheridge -- who noted that federal raids still take place in the 11 states have legalized medical marijuana -- as medical marijuana can be used to ease pain by many people in the LGBT community who have "AIDS and HIV, and then many people in general with cancer."Every Democratic candidate has taken a similar position, with Barack Obama being the only one who has yet to explicitly state he will end federal raids in states where medical marijuana is legal, according to Granite Staters. Obama did, however, vote against an amendment offered to undermine state medical marijuana laws.Tommy Thompson and Ron Paul are the only Republican candidates who agree with this stance -- the majority saying they will not stop the federal raids, as other pain management options need to be researched and explored.Copyright: 2007 CondéNet, Inc.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 15:54:05 PT

OT: Dennis Kucinich
Kucinich Office Vandalized After Gay Rights Debate August 10, 2007 Excerpt: Kucinich used the word "love" more than a dozen times in answers to questions from moderator Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, and lesbian rock star Melissa Etheridge. He touted his support for gay marriage, legalization of medical marijuana, and universal health care coverage.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 14:39:51 PT

That's a fine way to post the article and people can read it if they want. I posted it on this thread too.
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Comment #17 posted by unkat27 on August 10, 2007 at 14:09:31 PT

Pot Fines Pay for Cop's Club
-- "“A lot of property crimes are related to drug use,” he says. “It’s really a quality of life issue.”"Note that he says "drug use", not marijuana use. Of course, because the topic is marijuana, we're all suppose to think marijuana, but the fact is, he's referring to harder drugs like crack-cocaine, heroin, and metamethine (sp?), but leading people to think "marijuana". More BS spin from cops. Marijuana users are not generally violent, unless they mix it with alcohol or harder drugs.As for the fines these pigs collect, those are very helpful in financing the cop's private club/tavern that they are building and also help to pay the rent and taxes after it is built (not to mention the beer on tap and liquor). 
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Comment #16 posted by Agog on August 10, 2007 at 13:59:38 PT:

Help in Posting article
Hi FOM,I apologize beforehand for not having the right protocol here, but here is a news story that I think would be a good one for you and the rest of the community here.All the Best,Agog
Pot to the Rescue of California Budget Woes
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 13:13:42 PT

Seriously thank you. I ask why because unless I see justice I need to know why we don't see justice. 
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Comment #14 posted by Toker00 on August 10, 2007 at 13:12:39 PT

They D.A.R.E.D. me, so what choice did I have?
I posted this over at Pete's and wanted to share here, too. It was posted to a story about an upside down flag, but I had just had this experience downtown and wanted to relate.Well I made it to the site and would like to praise the Patriot. I encountered a D.A.R.E. exhibit outside my Kroger store today. There were a Mother and Daughter listening and taking material from these two young women with D shirts on. I walked up behind them and said: "Everything on that table is a LIE. Why are you lying to these children about drugs?" The Mother and Daughter both turned away from the booth with smiles that said: "Oh shit!" As they were leaving, I continued to ask these D shirts why they were lying to children about drugs and enforming them (The D-shirts) that the DEA was nothing but a Lie Enforcement Agency, that this is what they would discover when they grew up. "I am grown up! I graduated this D.A.R.E. program." To which I said, as I walked away, "That doesn't mean anything. That doesn't mean ANYTHING!" Only silence and smiles replaced by shattered frowns of reality as I drove back by with my window down, looking for further discussion, but finding NONE. Wage Peace on War! END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW! 
Toker00 • 8/10/07; 2:59:11 PM #
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Comment #13 posted by dongenero on August 10, 2007 at 13:10:28 PT

he heh
very funny. you had me for just a second!
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 13:08:56 PT

Thank you but why?I'm only kidding! LOL!
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Comment #11 posted by dongenero on August 10, 2007 at 12:38:21 PT

We're all so fortunate that you're stubborn and still asking "Why?".
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 12:28:50 PT

My youngest memory was from before I was 4 because we moved to a new state when I was 4. I was told that I drove people a little crazy because I always asked why. I was stubborn and I still am. I remember a lot from before 4. It is amazing.
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Comment #9 posted by jmoran on August 10, 2007 at 12:21:15 PT

The Childern
You are welcome FoM. It is that, think of the children statement that bugs me so much because of experience and remembering my child years. It is like children are so stupid and mindless it hurts my feelings because I was and still am very smart and made good decisions as a child and an adult. Does everyone really forget there childhood and what they thought and believed? Does everyone become an adult and automatically forget there past child experiences? Please, I hear so often, does anyone out there remember their childhood?I can remember a lot of things since I was 4 years old how about anyone else.

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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 11:12:25 PT

Thank you for sharing your story. 
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Comment #7 posted by museman on August 10, 2007 at 11:01:11 PT

sure give 'em more money
"There would be a fine of $100 that would go to the city or town in which the offense was committed.""On the flip side, the new law would be bring some cash into communities""Like adults, juveniles would be subject to a $100 fine, but unlike adults they would be mandated to attend a drug education program. And if they fail to complete that drug education program within a year, them fine would bump up to $1,000 with both the juvenile and parents liable for that fine."And this is "good news?"I've already seen first hand what a 'community' (white-dominated-rich-mans-social-club) will do with such a situation. As if the cops weren't bad enough already, with laws and ordinances like this their job gets so much easier, they get to do what the cops here in my county have been doing for years, bust teenagers at a rate of about 100 a week during the summer, and if you add up those numbers at $100 a pop, that's an average of around $40,000 a month -without the added fees and penalties (that they can dream up to charge you as well.)The cops in this county have gotten so used to the pot gravy train, they don't even bother answering 911 calls any more. The citizens of the county voted them out, and Bush sent this county 19 million dolars to reinstate them, so not only are they lazy and incompetent, but they have contempt for the citizenry, almost as bad as I have contempt for them.Throw money at it. It's the American solution.
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Comment #6 posted by jmoran on August 10, 2007 at 10:41:13 PT

I have been smoking Cannabis for 29 years
My first try of Cannabis was when I was 11 years old. 
You can say wow that was very young to try that but I tried alcohol first because we had a bar in our house when I was 7 years old, give or take a year.
My parents had a lot of parties. In that time a lot of people had a bar at their home with all kinds of pretty color mixes and bottles. Both of my parents smoked cigarettes. Because of the availability and the no big deal on a kid having a sip of alcohol at home and it might make him sleepy and go to bed and not bug everyone. Yes you can say I started with alcohol and cigarettes.
I was also taught that drugs are bad and cannabis is bad. Even that my mom was hooked on Valium and my day was hooked on Codeine and an alcoholic.
Well it only took a few years to find out that alcohol made my dad a child beater (my older brother) and Valium made my mom sleep a lot and wake up to be a total bitch to me and all my friends. I also noticed that they got real stupid and very embarrassing. Well I did not want to be like that. I was with some friends that had some cannabis and thought well it can’t be any worse then alcohol. So I tried it and did not really feel anything but did get very sleepy and ended up going to bed a lot earlier then I wanted to.To make a long story short. I realized at that age that alcohol and cigarettes were very bad and smoking cannabis was not so bad.
When I really started smoking a lot of cannabis at 14 years old, I notice my grades in school got better and I was not bouncing all around in class and my behavior in class got better. Today I still smoke a lot of cannabis and do not drink or take any other kind of drug including prescription drugs. I am very successful and happily married for 14 years.   

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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on August 10, 2007 at 10:09:23 PT

Who is going to watch the kids when mom is chain
smoking 1-2 packs a day and her kids are exposed to second hand smoke that kills 32,000 Americans Every Year! Whereas Marijuana kills... none...? Duh? Every time when someone whines about the 'bad' effects of Marijuana I get so mad because we have legal cigarettes that kill about 450,000 Americans Every Year, this is besides the 32,000 killed from 2nd hand smoke, mostly kids and their mothers. How do you spell hypocrisy?
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 10, 2007 at 10:05:49 PT

Legal Prescribed Mood Altering Drugs
Who will watch the children when Mom or Dad is stoned on legal substances?
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on August 10, 2007 at 10:03:17 PT

Who is going to watch the kids when mom is drunk
off her ass? Who is going to watch the kids when daddy comes home and ends up drinking a six pack and slaps mommy on the face after another heated argument day after day?
Nobody can stop this!
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Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on August 10, 2007 at 09:38:21 PT

These anti's are so effing Boring.
“Who’s going to be watching the kids, or watching grandma when mom’s stoned?” he asks.How about stoned Mom? They do it every day and they can do it backwards and in HIGH heals! So get off the irresponsible stoner platform. We prove you wrong everyday by the millions. Toke.
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Comment #1 posted by Truth on August 10, 2007 at 09:11:21 PT

People started on pot? I've never met a pot smoker who didn't first smoke tobacco or drink alcohol. Show me one who actually started on pot.Lies, lies and more lies.Not a credit to one's soul.
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