inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #26 of 58: lifes rich pageant (izzie) Wed 16 Mar 05 18:45
    

I'm a mom.  I have been known to smoke a little weed.  My son is 11, and has
seen mom pretty damn happy from some fungal occurance, (he was in the
fulltime care of a qualified nanny at the time), and he has seen his mom
have a beer too many.  He knows I drink, knows I rarely smoke pot, and
knows I "have done other drugs."  Will I ever tell him that his mom was a 
heroin junkie on the streets of DC? I very much doubt it.  There are parts 
of my life, past, present and I'm sure future, that are My Business.  Does 
he need to know with whom I sleep/have slept or how often?  No. Then he 
doesn't need to know what drugs I have done, or will do, either.  But - 
will I ever smoke pot in front of him?  Probably not.  Same thing with 
having sex in front of him.  Being his mother doesn't mean I don't get to 
have my own private life.  

I remember being at an outdoor event where there was alot of pot being 
smoked, and some mangy kid taking a deep hit and turning to blow it right 
near the face of my then 7 year old son.  That the mangy kid survived the 
experience is testament only to the fact that there'd have been witnesses.  
but I bet he never does that shit again!  I took my son aside for a walk, 
and I figured this was a good time to talk about pot.  "Oh yeah, mom. 
That's the stuff that So-And-So smells like, isn't it?" (or words to that 
effect.)  He knows and loves adults who smoke alot more pot than me, and I 
think he'd already decided that it was okay.  I was so surprised to learn 
what my 7-yr old already know about pot smoking!!  But I still won't have 
those dear friends of mine smoking pot around my kid.  So far, everyone's 
okay with that.

My son has asked me to compare cigarettes (a recent ex-smoker here), 
alcohol and pot.  He knows cigarettes pose the greatest health risk, and 
that I rank pot and alcohol at about the same.  And he knows which one is 
currenly illegal, and what happened when They tried to make alcohol 
illegal.

My concern though, and maybe this is just me because I got so strung out 
before, is about the "gateway drug" aspect of pot.  It is culturally more 
a "drug" than alcohol, and I think the very illicitness of it makes it 
more appealing to a certain type of kid (like the type I was!), and I 
gotta admit that I see it as a gateway drug for kids.  Would I freak if my 
son, as an older teenager, either drank or smoked responsibly?  No.  But, 
would I freak if he opted to try smack or something equally stupid?  You 
bet.  I don't know how to balance that fear of the gateway with my really 
being basically okay with pot/alcohol.

and I'm sorry for such a long post!  
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #27 of 58: Public persona (jmcarlin) Wed 16 Mar 05 20:43
    

FWIW, my background was disappearing into a smoke haze for a few years in
college with side-effects of mental fog and dropping out of a PhD
program.

Two points: 

I believe that the medical issues should be evaluated from a medical
perspective. All drugs have uses and it would be beneficial to have
clinical knowledge of where THC was useful and to be able to prescribe it
for those uses.

I also believe that the current war on drugs is stupid. Throwing people
into jail for small amounts is criminal in itself. Prohibition showed that
making something illegal has very little effect on its use. I stopped
because someone showed me that some of the side-effects I was experiencing
was due to the drug (lethargy, irritability, inability to concentrate,
inability to speak clearly etc). Along with that, the person offered a
positive alternative. It bugs the crap out of me if someone is smoking
close enough to smell. I went through enough changes to quit and I do not
want to be tempted ever again. And having young kids use it could be
even a bigger problem because their brains are not fully developed.

That said, removing the hysteria from the whole issue is long overdue.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #28 of 58: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Thu 17 Mar 05 04:06
    
 I believe that the medical issues should be evaluated from a medical
 perspective. All drugs have uses and it would be beneficial to have
 clinical knowledge of where THC was useful and to be able to prescribe it
 for those uses.

DEspite the US government's best efforts to make this research impossible, 
there have been bona fide clinical trials in England with cannabis 
extract for 
treatment of pain and spasticity in MS.The results are mildly 
positive--more impressive than, say, Prozac for depression, but less so 
than penicillin for syphillis, enough, however, to gain approval if all 
other things were equal, which they are not.. 

Incidentally, this research shows prety conslusviely that THC is not the 
only  medicinal constituent of pot. There's also something called 
cannabidiol. 
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #29 of 58: Coleman K. Ridge (ckridge) Thu 17 Mar 05 08:26
    <scribbled by ckridge Thu 17 Mar 05 09:24>
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #30 of 58: Authentic Frontier Gibberish (gerry) Thu 17 Mar 05 08:53
    
I think I can see something of a "gateway" aspect, related to the
illegality.  By having to deal in the "informal" economic sector, one
is likely to come into contact with different kinds of drug
users/dealers.  Maybe.  It's probably a weak link, though.

More likely, I think, there is confusion because of what my generation
experienced.  A lot of "Reefer Madness" type propaganda was used to
instill fear in us about a variety of substances, as if all of the
substances posed equal hazards.  When we discovered that what we were
told about pot was all bullshit, many of us then made the mistake of
assuming that everything else they told us was also bullshit.  
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #31 of 58: Coleman K. Ridge (ckridge) Thu 17 Mar 05 09:34
    
In a frenzy of irritation at a malformed sentence, I scribbled,
edited, and re-posted <29> below. That puts <gerry>'s reply out of
sequence. Sorry, but that sentence had to be put out of its misery.
 

<izzie>, very nice distinction between one's private life and what one
is obliged to divulge to one's children.

I cannot make any sense of this "gateway drug" business. It looks to
me like a clumsy lie. Either there is a causal connection between
marijuana use and use of other drugs or there is not. If there is a
causal connection, it is demonstrable. If there is not, whether or not
users of other drugs used marijuana first is irrelevant. Every single
mass murderer started that day by going out the door of his home; it
does not follow that leaving one's home is a gateway to mass
murder.

I cleaned up around the time I was twenty, because that's when my
father got the word to me that the family career of drug abuse was not
obligatory after all. In thirty-odd years of living sober around drug
users, I have noticed that getting high makes people stupid as well as
happy, and that people who spend a lot of time stupid get good at it.
Also, everyone I know who gets high has done something they regretted
later while high. So, I am in a pretty good position from which to
discourage marijuana use.

But you know? It probably won't work. He has got to learn to practice
prudence on his own, and that will entail experimentation. He will
likely try marijuana and alcohol, have sex with unsuitable people,
drive too fast, climb rotten granite cliffs, walk through bad
neighborhoods late, and run the red light at 42nd Street on his
bicycle.

(brief interlude to lie down and shake with horror)

The only thing I know to do is to teach him degrees of safety.
Marijuana and alcohol are relatively safe drugs. Protected sex with
unsuitable people is infinitely better than unprotected sex with such
people. Car crashes with seat belts on are usually less bad. And so
on.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #32 of 58: Public persona (jmcarlin) Thu 17 Mar 05 12:51
    

This bears repeating and would make a good button:

> people who spend a lot of time stupid get good at it.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #33 of 58: Ron Dolce (rondolce) Thu 17 Mar 05 15:01
    
It is a clumsy lie, ck,. It just appears superficially true due to the
fact that pot's illegal, as are the drugs that it's a purported
gateway to. It doesn't stand up to any scrutiny at all, but the anti
maryjane contingent out there relies on the fact that most people
aren't willing or able to scrutinize the drug situation very much.
People have grown up with this fixed view of  "drugs" as what's illegal
and therefore dangerous and can't see that legality vs illegality and
safe vs dangerous (relatively) are unconnected issues. I've always
found it embarrassing to argue with anti's; I've cited stats and info
from the LaGuardia report, the President's report (that was Nixon , by
the way) and the Consumer's Union report  but no amount of information
seems to ever sink through. This sort of Anti-drug mindset seems
impervious to any contradictory info.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #34 of 58: Ron Dolce (rondolce) Thu 17 Mar 05 15:05
    
As to discussing anything with my children I've always adhered to the
idea ; when in doubt tell the truth. I can easily frame most of my past
drug experiences  as boring or negative experiences compared with
those I've has while straight and they seem to respect what I say.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #35 of 58: Gerald Feeney (gerry) Thu 17 Mar 05 20:00
    <scribbled by gerry Thu 17 Mar 05 20:01>
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #36 of 58: Authentic Frontier Gibberish (gerry) Thu 17 Mar 05 20:01
    
This is from my 9th grade science book:

  "Reasons for Addiction - Some addicts started to use drugs to
   relieve physical pain, or to escape facing their problems.
   Many younger addicts got their start because of curiosity,
   or a desire to make an impression upon someone.  Most of 
   them followed the same pattern of behavior.  First they 
   tried alcohol, then marijuana (mair-uh-WAH-nuh), and,
   finally, heroin."

     _Science: A Key to the Future_
     J. Darrell Barnard, Celia Stendler, Benjamin Spock, MD,
     Lon Edwards
     The Macmillan Company, New York, 1962
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #37 of 58: Coleman K. Ridge (ckridge) Fri 18 Mar 05 06:06
    
Funny how alcohol doesn't count as a gateway drug.

A problem with having this discussion in a public forum is that people
who smoke moderate amounts of marijuana and find it beneficial are not
likely to talk about it here. 

One thing that I like about this picture book is that it takes the
morally unambiguous case of a farmer who grows marijuana for himself
and a few friends. Growing marijuana for one's private use is perfectly
possible, and it does not put one in contact with sellers of other
drugs, or involve giving money to professional criminals. Insofar as it
is a gateway, it is a gateway to gardening.

I do want to know, though, how that little girl and her mother
bicycled from the Lower East Side strip park to a farm.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #38 of 58: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Fri 18 Mar 05 08:03
    
FYI-From the author

Hi Gary,

I've enjoyed the dialogue so far; thanks for your prompts.

As I mentioned to David before this process began, I have to go to Miami
this morning for a wedding (where I will likely not have internet access).
 If I can post I will, but otherwise I will be back on Monday with some
questions of my own.

have a wonderful weekend

Ricardo
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #39 of 58: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Fri 18 Mar 05 12:30
    
And this reminder: those on the Net not members of the Well are welcome to
send questions or comments to inkwell-hosts@well.com and we'll post 'em for
you. I'll note, given the remark coleman made in <inkwell.vue.37>, above,
that we ordinarily attribute those by name -- but if you'd rather we not use
your name say so.

Same offer for folks on the Well who would like to contribute to the
discussion without outing their behavior to all the world.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #40 of 58: Stewart Cauley (stewartc) Fri 18 Mar 05 15:35
    
>I do want to know, though, how that little girl and her mother
bicycled from the Lower East Side strip park to a farm.

I saw pot growing in Thompkins Sq. Park a few years ago. Perhaps TSP
just looks bigger and more rural in childrens' books about pot.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #41 of 58: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 18 Mar 05 16:54
    

Back in the early '70s I worked for a light aircraft rental company on Maui.
We had a nice twin-engine something-or-other (Piper Seneca pops into my
mind, maybe that's the correct name) that we rented out to some burly
bearded guys who flew off to Molokai for about two weeks.

Among my jobs was cleaning the planes when renters brought them back. When I
cleaned the plane after these guys brought it back I found the cutest little
marijuana seedlings sprouting out of the carpeting in front of the rearmost
seat.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #42 of 58: No hablo Greenspaņol (sd) Sun 20 Mar 05 07:21
    
I liked the book.
What beautiful artwork.
Might have to get a couple of copies for the local library.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #43 of 58: David Crosby (croz) Mon 21 Mar 05 05:40
    
I do really wish that I had known about this book ... and had given a
copy to my 9 year old son long before I got  busted in NYC .....CNN is
not the best way for your kid to find out ...it was very hard on him
and on my wife who had to explain it ......fortunately I have a genuine
medical use for it and the paperwork to match ....it gave her a place
to start but ......the book would have been better by far....thank you
for writing it
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #44 of 58: Ricardo Cortes (ricardocortes) Mon 21 Mar 05 17:49
    
Hey, I'm back.

First of all, I want to remind Well users that you can see the entire
story at a special URL I've set up during this dialogue.  Although the
computer screen hardly does the illustrations justice, you can read
"It's Just a Plant" here:

http://www.justaplant.com/inkwell

If you would like to purchase the book itself, I have it on my website
(www.justaplant.com) and it's just been picked up by Urban Outfitters.
 

Otherwise,  I'm very happy to hear from parents with their stories. 
That's been the best part of the process... keep 'em coming.

Oh.. re:the ride from TSP to the farm.  Actually, that first bike ride
is a visual reference split between a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and
a ride on a small road up the coast of Mallorca, Spain (where I made a
pilgrimage to one of my own favorite artists, Mati Klarwein).  The
'farm' is based on a view I saw in Guanajuato, Mexico.  The entire book
is a collage of different sights and photo references.

Finally, with all the 'gateway' conversations we've have about
marijuana leading to 'harder drugs', I though you might appreciate
something I heard lately (forgive me if I forget the source): "The only
hard thing that marijuana leads to is graduate school."

Again, I never make to make light of the fact that marijuana is a
powerful drug, but there's always a matter of fair perspective.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #45 of 58: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Tue 22 Mar 05 03:27
    
Ricardo, tell us a little more about yourself. What's a shemale 
skateboard, for instance?
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #46 of 58: Ricardo Cortes (ricardocortes) Tue 22 Mar 05 12:27
    
About myself?  Well, I'm a 31 year old artist working out of Brooklyn,
NY.  After finishing college in '95 I spent several years teaching in
NY, NJ and CT public schools, all the while working on forming a
creative consultancy that would incorporate my artistic skills with
some of my political interests.

In 1999 I formed the Magic Propaganda Mill
(http://www.magicpropagandamill.com), which has become the springboard
for most of my creative efforts since.  The Mill was originally a
collective of artists; it has since become a business as well.  We went
from designing t-shirts ("I Love Iraq", in the style of Milton
Glaser's I Heart NY, was a popular favorite of ours) to making
skateboards (Shemale Skateboards was my attempt to bring something new
to the skate scene.  I've been skating since I was in Junior High and I
know there hardly needs to be another skateboard company. Thus, naming
my company Shemale, with its decidely non-skateboard/non-hip-hop
approach to sexuality and gender made for an interesting compromise) to
political projects (Peace With Police was my last project before "It's
Just a Plant," through which I met many police officers who were
working to end the drug war and hence I found allies in a colaition
that many assumed to be 'the enemy'.  As I've stated before, I think
this Drug War has no enemies except for the War itself.)

To sum up, the latest project taken on by the Magic Propaganda Mill
was the publication of "It's Just a Plant."  I approached over a dozen
publishers to do the project.. no one would touch it.  I eventually
decided to put in all my savings and publish the book myself.  The
first 3000 copies were released at the beginning of this year.  No
publicist, no distributor.. everything done right here.  Somehow, word
has begun to spread and I've almost finished the first edition.  Next
step is to decide how I want to do the second (to do it again myself or
to see if I can get a publisher to pick up the responsibilities). 
After that..  I have a couple more books waiting to go once I find the
funds to get them off the ground.  If you thought "It's Just a Plant"
got people talking.. wait 'til you see what the third book will be!
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #47 of 58: David Gans (tnf) Wed 23 Mar 05 08:12
    

This is from a correspondent who would like to remain anonymous:


> I'm going to tell my daughter that in her teen years the mind is working
> out what "normal" will be, and that's an important process that she needs
> to be present for. I'll encourage her to read and work and have as many
> social experiences as possible, but I'm going to ask her to wait until-
> she's 18-19 to experiment with pot, AS I DID. I plan to abstain during her
> junior high and high school years as well, to model integrity.

> I believe, from my own experience, that the best way to enjoy marijuana in
> moderation is to wait until adulthood to try it. By establishing
> "substancefree" patterns of work, sleep and social life, we will notice
> when substances are disrupting those patterns, and take corrective steps.
> But healthy habits are not just about living a regimented life; it's also
> emotional awareness, listening to the substance, and being able to say
> "I've had enough."
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #48 of 58: David Gans (tnf) Wed 23 Mar 05 08:13
    

My comment on that comment:

> in her teen years the mind is working out what "normal" will be, and that's
> an important process that she needs to be present for.

That is just a great way of stating this.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #49 of 58: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Wed 23 Mar 05 10:00
    
Yes, absolutely. I'm going to snag it for later use.
  
inkwell.vue.239 : Ricardo Cortes -- It's Just a Plant
permalink #50 of 58: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 23 Mar 05 20:53
    

That reminds me of what a friend told me about talking to his daughter about
sex.  He said she was very independent and bold, and in middle school she
told him "you can't stop me from having sex, you know."

He said he was proud of himself for not flinching at all, though his mind 
was racing. He told her that sexual relationships make people vulnerable 
to one another physically and mostly emotionally, and that she would 
find sex more worthwhile if she waited until she was an adult.  He told 
her it was not so much about being married or committed, but more
basically about knowing how not to create situations where she would be 
used and be hurt by that.  

He says it might not work for all young girls, but it struck a chord 
with her, and gave her a context for making up her mind about how
adult she and her pals were.  He says she waited until she was out of high
school.  She's certainly a strong, grounded young woman now that she's out
of college.  
  

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