Marijuana, Not Yet Legal for Californians
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Marijuana, Not Yet Legal for Californians
Posted by CN Staff on December 20, 2012 at 19:31:13 PT
By Adam Nagourney
Source: New York Times
Los Angeles -- Let Colorado and Washington be the marijuana trailblazers. Let them struggle with the messy details of what it means to actually legalize the drug. Marijuana is, as a practical matter, already legal in much of California. No matter that its recreational use remains technically against the law. Marijuana has, in many parts of this state, become the equivalent of a beer in a paper bag on the streets of Greenwich Village. It is losing whatever stigma it ever had and still has in many parts of the country, including New York City, where the kind of open marijuana use that is common here would attract the attention of any passing law officer.
“It’s shocking, from my perspective, the number of people that we all know who are recreational marijuana users,” said Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor. “These are incredibly upstanding citizens: Leaders in our community, and exceptional people. Increasingly, people are willing to share how they use it and not be ashamed of it.” Marijuana can be smelled in suburban backyards in neighborhoods from Hollywood to Topanga Canyon as dusk falls — what in other places is known as the cocktail hour — often wafting in from three sides. In some homes in Beverly Hills and San Francisco, it is offered at the start of a dinner party with the customary ease of a host offering a chilled Bombay Sapphire martini. Lighting up a cigarette (the tobacco kind) can get you booted from many venues in this rigorously antitobacco state. But no one seemed to mind as marijuana smoke filled the air at an outdoor concert at the Hollywood Bowl in September or even in the much more intimate, enclosed atmosphere of the Troubadour in West Hollywood during a Mountain Goats concert last week. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Republican governor, ticked off the acceptance of open marijuana smoking in a list of reasons he thought Venice was such a wonderful place for his morning bicycle rides. With so many people smoking in so many places, he said in an interview this year, there was no reason to light up one’s own joint. “You just inhale, and you live off everyone else,” said Mr. Schwarzenegger, who as governor signed a law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. Some Californians react disdainfully to anyone from out of state who still harbors illicit associations with the drug. Bill Maher, the television host, was speaking about the prevalence of marijuana smoking at dinner parties hosted by Sue Mengers, a retired Hollywood agent famous for her high-powered gatherings of actors and journalists, in an interview after her death last year. “I used to bring her pot,” he said. “And I wasn’t the only one.” When a reporter sought to ascertain whether this was an on-the-record conversation, Mr. Maher responded tartly: “Where do you think you are? This is California in the year 2011.” John Burton, the state Democratic chairman, said he recalled an era when the drug was stigmatized under tough antidrug laws. He called the changes in thinking toward marijuana one of the two most striking shifts in public attitude he had seen in 40 years here (the other was gay rights). “I can remember when your second conviction of having a single marijuana cigarette would get you two to 20 in San Quentin,” he said. In a Field Poll of California voters conducted in October 2010, 47 percent of respondents said they had smoked marijuana at least once, and 50 percent said it should be legalized. The poll was taken shortly before Californians voted down, by a narrow margin, an initiative to decriminalize marijuana. “In a Republican year, the legalization came within two points,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic consultant who worked on the campaign in favor of the initiative. He said that was evidence of the “fact that the public has evolved on the issue and is ahead of the pols.” A study by the California Office of Traffic Safety last month found that motorists were more likely to be driving under the influence of marijuana than under the influence of alcohol. Still, there are limits. No matter how much attitudes in California may have changed, it remains illegal in most of the country — as Californians have been reminded by a series of crackdowns by the Justice Department on medical marijuana here. People who use the drug recreationally, who said they would think nothing of offering a visitor a joint upon walking through the door, declined to be quoted by name, citing the risks to career and professional concerns. That was the case even as they talked about marijuana becoming commonly consumed by professionals and not just, as one person put it, activists and aging hippies. Descriptions of marijuana being offered to arriving guests at parties, as an alternative to a beer, are common. In places like Venice and Berkeley, marijuana has been a cultural presence, albeit an underground one, since the 1960s. It began moving from the edges after voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana in 1996. That has clearly been a major contributor to the mainstreaming of marijuana. There is no longer any need for distasteful and legally compromising entanglements with old-fashioned drug dealers, several marijuana users said, because it is now possible to buy from a medical marijuana shop or a friend, or a friend of a friend growing it for ostensibly medical purposes. That has also meant, several users said,¸that the quality of marijuana is more reliable and varied, and there are fewer concerns about subsidizing a criminal network. It also means, it seems, prices here are lower than they are in many parts of the country. Mr. Newsom — who said he did not smoke marijuana himself — said that the ubiquity of the drug had led him to believe that laws against it were counterproductive and archaic. He supports its legalization, a notable position for a Democrat widely considered one of the leading contenders to be the next governor. “These laws just don’t make sense anymore,” he said. “It’s time for politicians to come out of the closet on this.” A version of this article appeared in print on December 21, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Marijuana, Not Yet Legal for Californians, Might as Well BeNewshawk: FiredogSource: New York Times (NY)Author: Adam NagourneyPublished: December 20, 2012Copyright: 2012 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #23 posted by FoM on December 28, 2012 at 08:18:19 PT
We're getting through it but it is a nasty bug. I have no energy and will be glad when I get it back. I'm glad the news is slow right now. Thanks for asking.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #22 posted by Hope on December 28, 2012 at 07:56:34 PT
FoM and Stick
I hope you are feeling better today.
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on December 26, 2012 at 17:55:58 PT
I am glad you are having a good holiday. We are still sick but we don't have to go anywhere so all is well. We got a lot of snow today. Maybe the sun will be out tomorrow and I'll feel well enough to take some pictures. 
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on December 26, 2012 at 13:50:43 PT
We had snow yesterday.
I see that my long Christmas post that I found the chance to write, I apparently didn't get the chance to post. It was about having a great Christmas and that you and Stick would get better quickly, FoM. I was surprised to not see it. But I've done it before. Not gotten a post completely posted.Sorry to see someone stole from you, Afterburner. I hate that.We had thunderstorms, striking, flashing lightening and rain all night Christmas eve night and it continued into the morning, when we lost power early in the morning just as I was turning on the oven and fixing to make coffee. Aaargh! But it started snowing big, wet flakes in the afternoon and we got a lot and quickly. Seven and eight feet tall snow people sprang up. It packed and rolled beautiful giant snow balls. Everyone, children and adults had a marvelous time in the snow. Although people didn't expect it and were totally unprepared for it. They had fun anyway.We had about twenty two people, I think, over for Christmas dinner last evening. All the dishes are done now. But we're doing it again this evening, spaghetti this time though.I love you all. I hope you all are safe and had a good Christmas, even if there was some trouble, like what happened to you, Afterburner. I hope you still had a pretty peaceful and still happy Christmas.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on December 26, 2012 at 07:52:57 PT
Have a good day and Happy Boxing Day. I never understood what that was because boxing means fighting to me. LOL!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #18 posted by afterburner on December 26, 2012 at 07:33:30 PT
They try to keep me down, yeah!
But Jah put I around. Yeah!Bob Marley & the Wailers - Duppy Conqueror
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Comment #17 posted by afterburner on December 26, 2012 at 07:12:13 PT
FoM #16
It's the great recession and lack of morals. We had a green Christmas, but snow today on Boxing Day. I have to work today though. The Great White North is back.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on December 26, 2012 at 06:54:41 PT
That is terrible. Why do people think they can just take what they want? 
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Comment #15 posted by afterburner on December 26, 2012 at 06:45:12 PT
Merry Christmas with family & cyberfriends to all
Had some presents stolen & last minute shopping. Internet & phone finally stable after over a month of wonkiness. Wishing all a prosperous and free new year.We shall overcome!Joan Baez - We shall overcome - YouTube
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on December 26, 2012 at 06:20:56 PT
It is snowing now but the flakes are big so I am not sure if we will get much or not. Up in Northern Ohio they are going to get hammered. It's pretty though.
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Comment #13 posted by BGreen on December 25, 2012 at 20:25:20 PT
That will be fun
Thank God the snow went right to the south of us. I wasn't in the mood for it. It's good for pictures but it makes getting to work less than fun.Bud
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on December 25, 2012 at 19:55:10 PT
Film wow those were the days. It's great now because I can take lots of pictures and just delete them if they don't turn out instead of paying for developing them. I can view them on my 50 inch tv too. I put pictures I don't want to lose on a CD.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on December 25, 2012 at 19:50:58 PT
I think I will love it. We are suppose to get snow tonight and tomorrow and I will have fun trying to get pictures if it just doesn't turn to rain. The shutter speed is way faster then any camera I've had. I don't know how long this flu will last but we both will be glad when it's over. I feel really yucky. 
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Comment #10 posted by BGreen on December 25, 2012 at 18:33:10 PT
I have a really nice Canon EOS10 but it uses something called film so it's pretty much worthless. I used it to shoot concerts when I was a photojournalist.I'll bet you're going to love yours.Bud
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 25, 2012 at 05:16:59 PT
Merry Christmas! We both are feeling a little better this morning but this is one nasty bug we got. We have plenty of wood and food and are looking forward to our first good snow storm tomorrow. I got a new Canon SLR camera and I am chomping at the bit to take some pictures.Merry Christmas Everyone!
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Comment #8 posted by BGreen on December 24, 2012 at 20:26:13 PT
Merry Christmas!
Sorry to hear you and Stick are sick. That really sucks any time of the year. Stay warm and have the best time you can under these circumstances.Cheers to my entire CNews family!Bud
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on December 24, 2012 at 06:47:39 PT
Merry Christmas Everyone
I hope everyone has a great Christmas. I am sure the news will pick up into the New Year. We are down with the flu so we are staying home and watching Christmas Shows. 2013 could be a very good year for all of us!
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on December 23, 2012 at 20:45:45 PT
and many many more citizens who didn't make the top 5 but are in the top 100, the top 1,000, the tens of thousands etc. etc. A large percentage of millions. I'm disappointed with Our government. How did You get the money to buy Christmas???? I'm uncomfortable when I stop to think about what is going on. 
Condensed-0-5 Senior Citizens Serving Life Without Parole for Pot
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on December 23, 2012 at 13:31:19 PT
Hat tip to Pete, at DrugWarRant.
No, Teen Marijuana Use Doesn’t Cause Brain Damage, But Alcohol Does
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Comment #4 posted by Ryannn29 on December 21, 2012 at 19:17:02 PT
I can confirm
I, like many other Californians, can confirm this. Every single person that has a room in my apartment complex lights up, and even when I go home to my parents, I can smell it in my own backyard. My mom thought it was a skunk. No Mom, that's not a skunk. That's the skunk. haha
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on December 21, 2012 at 09:09:34 PT
So, in retirement he's riding and blazing his way down Venice Beach.  Definitely appreciate the endorsement now, but why couldn't he sign the industrial hemp bill when he was governor?  Doesn't leave me with much respect for him, seems like he's proud to discuss his hypocrisy now.  "yes, I blaze my joint every morning, and I screwed the farmers!!!  Life couldn't be better for me!"
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on December 21, 2012 at 05:58:09 PT
Good Arizona news
Arizona Court Denies Attempt to Temporarily Block Medical-Marijuana Law Arizona Court of Appeals today denied Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s effort to temporarily block the state’s medical marijuana law.....But the judges pointed out that no one has been prosecuted for implementing state medical marijuana laws, despite the “saber rattling” from federal prosecutors who warned they could be facilitating federal crimes if they issue licenses to dispensaries.- Read the entire article at AZ Central.
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Comment #1 posted by RevRayGreen on December 20, 2012 at 20:47:55 PT
aPOTcalypse NOW - IOWA NICER 2012 Ray Green rings in the Mayan Calender with the Iowa Medical Marijuana Alliance supporting cannabis law reform advocacy in the State of Iowa...I.M.M.A.
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