I just teamed up with women’s lib writer Barbara Walker and Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School to publish on Kindle Pot Stories and Atheist Essays 

One piece, “Pot Story,” offers a very persuasive polemic for legalization and at the same time shows some of the misery and suffering that unwise laws have caused over the decades.  One section describes Harry Anslinger, the founder and first commissioner of the Prohibition Movement, as a conspicuous bigot and inarguable moron. 

Ms. Walker, in her inimitable style, writes of the abuses of religion over the centuries and the mistreatment of women, mostly due to original sin.

Also included is a podcast of Dr. Grinspoon where he categorically states there is no physical damage to the body at all.  He tells the story of how he first turned on, exhorted by none other than Carl Sagan on a cruise to a conference in Europe. 

If you’re interested in marijuana, either medically or recreationally, this is a must read so you’ll know what you’re doing or talking about.  Lot’s to discuss, n’est-ce pas?  


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Powerful statement!

"Given the mag­nitude of the real prob­lems that con­front us-​​ — ter­rorism, nuclear pro­lif­er­a­tion, the spread of infec­tious disease, failing infra­struc­ture, lack of adequate funds for edu­ca­tion and health care, etc. — our war on sin is so out­rageously unwise as to almost defy rational comment. How have we grown so blind to our deeper interests? And how have we managed to enact such policies with so little sub­stantive debate?"

~ Luara 

Religiousity, with its notion of sin, blocks us from moving to the next level of evolution. We have 4,000 years of thinking, based on believing the fears and hopes of faith, we don't reach to a higher level of functioning. We fail to put aside sins of pleasure and move toward building community, developing alternative sources of energy, conquering diseases, and educating our young to think in terms of cooperation instead of competition as a life style. 

So much of what is being debated now is silly. Why should society concern itself with the decisions a woman makes about her reproductive life? Why should a culture stand in the way of same sex marriage and adoptions or transgender choices? Why are we even considering continued use of fossil fuels as it becomes abundantly clear we can no longer use those sources of energy? Why are we still trying to keep religion out of politics? 

The fact that we are continuing to face these oppositions means we cannot be complacent in such matters. Being silent does not accomplish what needs to be done. 

The reality is, we do have to deal with these conflicts and we just as well get used to the idea of there is a mighty effort ahead to move from the Stone Age, through the Agricultural Age, Mining and Manufacturing Age, the Information Age, and now the Age of living Responsibly. 

Good post, Joan.  I’ve been saying the same thing for years, about continuing to evolve.  I’d place that 4000 number back a bit to perhaps 10,000 to 12,000 when the Agricultural Revolution changed everything.  The Egyptians were religious much further back in time.

In my High School with Rudy Giuliani, I ask the same questions about “our leaders”.    Rudy was weak in science class, you know.  Why isn’t Congress concerned about overpopulation (the world’s biggest problem, IMO) or the extinction of non-human animals which is destroying the planet?  We’re in the middle of the Holocene Extinction and none of these people even mentions it. 

As you say, they care more about gays getting married or a woman in the ghetto getting an abortion so she can manage to feed her other ten.  

Great discussion topic.  Some religions are anti-drug (the Abrahamic ones), but in others, drugs are the key to a spiritual experience.  If marijuana is, as the song goes, "a gift from God to my brothers and me," why should religious people oppose it?

why should religious people oppose it?

I'm sure you'll concede they do.  As we used to say in the '60s, grass helps us break through the conditioning.  Cannabinoids help relax the brain so we become more analytical in certain areas.  Just my opinion.  Consider in Viet Nam days, the vast majority of the protesters were heads while the pro-war flag wavers weren't. I'd conjecture that cannabis helps people reconnect with their humanity that socialization has slowly eroded.  I hope I'm right, because modern technology is turning people into unfeeling, self-alienated machines headed for self-destruction.  

Rich....I've been saying something like this for many years.  Pot facilitates introspection and questioning of rules and authority.  The govt.-approved drugs promote aggression (alcohol), focus (nicotine), and energy (caffeine, to fulfill the corporate mission).  

Precisely.  The traffic and highways are a good example of what society does to people.  Traffic is frenetic and most drivers have to constantly push the legal limits of how fast they can go and seem not to care if they live or die. 

And consider “road rage.”  What the heck is that?  Nobody is going to tell me this is human nature.  It’s the product of a sick society. 


The thought I've heard is that all the drugs that could give people spiritual experiences are made illegal, because they're competition with religion.  By Sam Harris in the quote I posted in this thread, for example.  The religions don't want drugs competing with prayer and church music. 

If anything, marijuana tends to promote a spiritual kind of thinking.  There's actually a marijuana-smoking church. 

Just an aside from the present thread, Barbara Walker’s “The Truth About Funerals” was just published in Freethought Magazine.  This is one of her many essays included in Pot Stories.  In her inimitable style, she compares funeral rites from culture to culture past and present. It’s replete with tidbits like, the Viking word ludr means “boat” as well as “coffin.” 

The common thread weaving through ceremonies past and present seems to be the belief that recently deceased lives on in some form, and the funeral is necessary to appease or comfort the newly transmogrified soul or ghost.  Nobody ever maligns or speaks badly about the dead at a funeral.  That’s bad luck and you can see why. 

From the essay,

Another requirement may be that the ghost should be flattered by maximum attendance at the solemnities.  Huge funerary processions may be staged by rich and powerful families to flaunt vast numbers of mourners -- certainly not all of whom find "comfort" in such ceremonies but rather feel coerced into attending.  One is reminded of the lavish funerals of mafia dons, rejoicing in hundreds of attendees, most of whom actually hated the deceased -- including clergy who are paid to give the routine guarantee of his "sure and certain" admission to Paradise.  And, inevitably, this guarantee is given no matter how many or how heinous his crimes; God's forgiveness is almost always for sale to those who can pay.

It’s amazing; one of Barbara’s favorite themes is how the Church always manages to get its sticky fingers in the middle of the action and always seems to make money in some way.  I’m trying to figure out how it makes money from the criminalization of pot.  I’m sure there’re priests thinking about it as I write this.  I think their best chance is the “greater being” angle in most rehab programs.  This superior entity is pervasive through just about all rehab facilities and it—to quote George Carlin—“NEEDS MONEY.” 




In reply to Sky, I called the War on Drug a holocaust.  I called those who benefited from the misery and suffering no better than Nazis.

I better explain that.  I was referring to that judge who got kickbacks from reform schools for every teenager he sent their way.  Or the Corrections Corporation of America that lobbied for stern, draconian drug sentencing to ensure a steady flow of bodies into their nightmare, state-of-the-art steel and concrete slammers. 


Would we rather see the youth finish high school and establish a life or go to prison where he or she will learn criminal behavior? I'm not in favor of placing people behind bars for experimenting with pot. A person's body does not belong to society.  

To quote  Laura <Tobacco is extremely addictive.>>>

I always liked the argument that somebody with a mild cigarette habit, say one pack per day, inhales each cig around ten times.  Multiplied by 20 cigs in a pack, that’s 200 administrations of the addiction per day.  With a bad habit, two packs per day, the number skyrockets to 400 times, just taking care of one’s addiction. 

What else does someone do 400 times per day other than breath?  One’s life is devoted to taking care of the addiction.  Yet cigs are legal and mj not.  To quote comedian Sarah Silverman, “that’s fuckin’ crazy.” 

Contrarily, as Dr. Lester Grinspoon and I once discussed in complete agreement, with “responsible” use of grass, one or two hits of good smoke is sufficient to achieve the desired effect.  To our minds, it should be used to enhance special events or social gatherings, and especially for sex.  You’re not going to get lung cancer smoking grass once or twice per month. 

Again, allow me to pitch the podcast with Lester that I arranged for more information and confirmation of these points.  This was my contribution to history because I set it up.  He was Dean of Harvard Medical School at the time. 

My Pot Stories and Humanist Essays brings out some interesting considerations concerning this.  How much money will Big Pharma lose in sales if people used grass for sex?  Estimated eight to ten billion in Cialis and Viagra alone?  How much money would it lose in anti-nausea and hangover drugs?  You can smoke all night and wake up feeling great. 

As comedian Dennis Miller states:  If marijuana went head to head in testing with Prozac and Xanax for relieving depression, Prozac and Xanax would lose.  That’s another ten billion.

Big Pharma  would not lose anything  if marijuana  was used  for  sex as far as  Cialis  or Viagra  is concerned......People with  EDF can not have sex and marijuana will not change that......Why you ask?     Mainly  because some  men who are diabetic or who are on  certain  medications  for  severe  illness  can not get an erection ....Cialis  or Viagra   actually  increases  blood flow to the penis  allowing  the person to have an erection for a short time allowing  for sex...Marijuana  may  help the person  emotionally and  certainly  may  help a healthy person  with sex but I doubt  it would  help  the men  I have   mentioned ......People  with  very high blood pressure can not  take those  drugs  any way  because  of the increased  blood pressure  that is caused  by them...How do I know?   I was a pharmacist  for  40 years.....As far as marijuana  being  better than  antidepressants and  anti anxiety  meds which  actually treat  those  conditions, I doubt  a physician would  want his patients on  marijuana all day long.....These  conditions  are serious and need a  long acting  medication  or  several doses of a drug  that is not  long acting to control them in a 24  hour  period......Marijuana does help  healthy people to get high and forget  their  troubles  and  is recognized in the medical field as quite  helpful  for treating  nausea  in cancer and Aids  patients........



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