The Watering Hole, Saturday, May 16th, 2015: Holy Rollers

Karma is a Bitch…

You Reap What You Sow…

The Law of Unintended Consequences…

A Homer Simpson “D’OH!” moment…

A Simpsons’ Nelson “HA-ha!” moment…

What Goes Around Comes Around…

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Stoned?

However you want to describe it, it’s going to be a fun time in Indiana on July 1st. July 1st is the day that Indiana’s revised RFRA law goes into effect. It is also the day that the State-of-Indiana-approved “First Church of Cannabis” holds their inaugural worship service. So when July 1st rolls around, prepare your favorite snacks, roll a fattie/fill a bowl/fire up the bong/bake some ‘special’ brownies, and get ready to enjoy the circus and the fireworks.

An excerpt from yesterday’s Think Progress thread about the Church, which was formed in March subsequent to Indiana’s revised RFRA law:

“It’s going to be a standard service,” Bill Levin, the group’s leader and self-proclaimed “Grand Poohba and Minister of Love,” told ThinkProgress. He explained the ceremony will last around 45 minutes, complete with music and teachings, but will conclude with an unusual benediction: “At the end of the service … we will enjoy cannabis, because it’s how we enjoy life.

An article from the Christian Post website, written by Vincent Funaro, is also informative. (I would have posted a link to it, but pop-up ads there refuse to go away – while, yes, I DO want to look at The Home Decorator’s big Outlet sale, I got their email yesterday so right now it’s just blocking an entire paragraph – but I digress!) While the article is written in a straightforward, non-committal way, I thought the stock photo they used to begin the article, although captioned appropriately, was just a tad over-the-top, not to mention outright misleading.

Hindu holy man(Photo: Reuters/ Navesh Chitrakar)

A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, smokes marijuana in a chillum on the premises of Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu February 17, 2015. Hindu holy men from Nepal and India come to this temple to take part in the Maha Shivaratri festival annually for holiday when it is legal to smoke the otherwise illegal drug. Celebrated by Hindu devotees all over the world, Shivaratri is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and holy men mark the occasion by praying, smoking marijuana or smearing their bodies with ashes.

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An Indiana organization dedicated to marijuana that calls itself the First Church of Cannabis will host its first “worship service” on July 1, the same day that the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act goes into effect.

The organization will test the law’s ban on government burdens on the exercise of religion as it will feature a pot-smoking session that is illegal in the state of Indiana.

The cannabis group’s founder Bill Levin explained plans for the service to U.S. News and said it will open with “Amazing Grace” played on a harmonica by a popular young musician and move to a quick sermon followed by a “call to worship,” which is actually just a time for smoking marijuana.

“I’m an old-school producer,” Levin told U.S. News. “We start off the show soft and we have a build-up and then in the end we explode in glory and we all dance around the hall.”

Levin is searching for a church that will lease him space for the event and will also consider holding it on a religious campground or in a public park. It’s still unclear if local police and prosecutors are prepared to accept pot smoking as protected conduct under the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Peg McLeish, a spokeswoman for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office in Indiana told U.S. News that the Religious Freedom Law doesn’t necessarily protect people who commit crimes from being arrested.

“It’s that they could assert [their religious beliefs are] a defense if they are prosecuted,” she said.

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act says the government cannot “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow their religious beliefs, unless it can prove a compelling interest in imposing that burden and it does so in the least restrictive way.

Critics of the law contended that it could be used to discriminate against the LGBT community on the basis of religion. This would apply to Christian business owners refusing to service gay weddings based on their beliefs.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence later clarified RFRA after signing it into law in March stating that it “does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone.”

To appease detractors, Pence signed revisions into the law to remove fears that it would allow businesses to discriminate against the LBGT community in April.

However, the article fails to point out that part of the Church’s raison d’etre is the celebration of the healing and medicinal powers of the ‘blessed’ plant.

And yes, folks, there is a membership application posted on The Church of Cannabis’ Facebook page – in fact, I see that someone we know visited before I did.  😉

Hmm…is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? 😀

This is our daily Open Thread – have fun!

Sunday Roast: 4/20…almost

I don’t partake, because I’m a total weenie about inhaling smoke into my lungs, but I thought I’d take note of the day, because of the upcoming legalized recreational use of pot in Oregon.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I kind of remember that if you bought the “Up in Smoke” album, you also received a ginormous Zig Zag paper, so you could roll your own massive joint.  Anyone else remember that?

Here’s a fun fact form the 420 Wiki page:

In Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation replaced the frequently stolen Mile Marker 420 sign on I-70 east of Denver with one reading 419.99 in an attempt to stop the thievery.

Hilarious!!

This is our daily open thread — Don’t bogart that joint!  Whatever that means…

Will the Tenthers Support This?

When California voters head to the polls in November, they will decide whether the state will make history again — this time by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults.

Even if the Proposition passes, marijuana will still be illegal under Federal Law. The U.S. Supreme Court already ruled that way in a Medical Marijuana case. While President Obama has directed the DoJ to go after more serious crimes and basically leave medical marijuana users alone, a more stringent “law-and-order” president could reverse that with a swift executive order.

So, will the Teabaggers who support “State’s Rights” even to the point of secession over health care take to the streets and defend California should it legalize marijuana for recreational use?

Should Marijuana Be Legal?

The short answer for this is, yes.  Most definitely.  We’re talking about a substance which has been experimented with by at least a majority of Americans.  And yet, we have no way to regulate its production, ensure its safety — was it grown in toxic soil, or sprayed with toxic pesticides?  And ensure that any disputes over transactions involving marijuana have no legal recourse, forcing such disputes to be settled through criminal means.

The New York Times has a discussion on this very subject online today featuring the opinions of:

Some highlights:

First from Roger Roffman:

Will more people use marijuana and become dependent if marijuana is decriminalized? Probably not. A number of U.S. studies tell us decriminalization would not likely have an effect on the rates of marijuana use by adults or adolescents.

What if marijuana is legalized? No one can say for certain. Using one country’s reform example to estimate what would happen in another is very risky. How countries differ (cultural, social, political, economic) makes a big difference.

However, the Dutch “coffee shops” example might give us a little insight. The de facto legalization policy in the Netherlands did not, in itself, affect rates of marijuana use among adults or young people. But rates of use among young people increased when the number of coffee shops increased and the age of legal access was 16. Then these rates declined when the numbers of coffee shops was reduced and the age of legal access became 18.

<snip>

However, our debates need more honesty. Those favoring liberalizing marijuana policy ought to stop inferring that marijuana is harmless; it is not. Those who believe possession should remain a crime need to acknowledge that most adult occasional users are not harmed, and should be prepared to defend with data the belief that criminalizing possession is the best way to avoid harm.

From Wayne Hall:

What effect would marijuana legalization have on dependence?

<snip>

If we mean replacing imprisonment with a fine as the penalty for using marijuana then legalization would have little effect on dependence. Evaluations of this policy in 11 U.S. states in the 1970s and 1980s found little or no effect on rates of use among adolescents and adults.

And finally, some words from Norm Stamper, a former Seattle police chief:

Perhaps the biggest objection to legalization is the “message” it would send to our kids. Bulletin: Our children have never had greater access to marijuana; it’s easier for them to score pot than a six-pack of Coors. No system of regulated legalization would be complete without rigorous enforcement of criminal laws banning the furnishing of any drug to a minor.

Let’s make policy that helps, not handcuffs, those who suffer ill effects of marijuana or other drugs, a policy that crushes the illegal market — the cause of so much violence and harm to users and non-users alike.

Children for sale…

Wonkette, via Raw Story

This is frickin’ hilarious! Someone wrote Sen Tom Harkin of Iowa, asking why medicinal marijuana is still illegal, even though the American College of Physicians recommended that it should not be illegal.

It merited a hilarious reply from Harkin, which noted many of pot’s notorious doom scenarios: “the small child whose parents are so addicted to illegal drugs that they sell everything including perhaps their own children to obtain a fix.” Harkin knows the routine: smoke up, eat gyro, play Legend of Zelda, sell children to pirates for more pot, repeat.

Go over to Wonkette to read Sen Harkin’s letter, I’m laughing too hard to post it…. 😆