Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) pushed back Tuesday on a pot firm’s plan to open a recreational weed store next to the city’s largest drug treatment facility.
Burnett, a former alcoholic, said the location proposed by Wheaton-based NuMed is simply “too close” to The Haymarket Center at 932 W. Washington.
“Ideally, I would like to have a perimeter of three city blocks that surround Haymarket. But I think it’s going to be very challenging,” said Lustig.
Asked if the litany of bars in the area that serve alcohol are also a concern, Lustig said: “I’ve always had concerns, but you can’t smell alcohol” like you can smell marijuana smoke.
But Burnett said because of the availability of booze, the other proposed pot shop locations aren’t as much of a concern to him as NuMed. The Fulton Market Association, a nonprofit focused on economic development in the area, is collecting signatures for a petition against NuMed that it plans to send to city officials Friday morning.
“We support that [patients] shouldn’t be faced with a marijuana shop right in their face and perhaps be enticed into a relapse,” said the group’s executive director Roger Romanelli.
This irks me for all sorts of reasons. For one, for addicts, including alcoholics, being near bars and restaurants that serve alcohol is fine apparently, but an upscale cannabis dispensary being 1/4 mile away is a temptation they cannot resist? Really? Really?
Secondly, smoking is not permitted in dispensaries. Smoking cannabis is also not legal on the streets, though of course people have been smoking on the weed in public for decades or longer, including right in the doorway of this drug treatment facility. I can attest to this personally.
And if I were to get NIMBY1 with it, I’d rather this treatment facility was the one that moved. The clients2 often huddle in groups on the sidewalk, blocking passersby, chain smoking Newport cigarettes, blowing smoke on pedestrians. Why is this drug treatment facility located in the middle of a bustling entertainment district anyway? Haymarket Center has been there for a long time, and originally, this was not the same neighborhood as it is now. But neighborhoods change, and the West Loop has drastically changed over the last decade. The West Loop of 1975 is not the same as the West Loop of 2020.
Final thought, smoking cannabis is not a gateway drug to being a heroin addict, at least not according to modern research. The State of Illinois recognized this by granting medical cannabis licenses to opioid users, remember? Addicts need help, and consideration from the rest of us, but perhaps having the city’s largest treatment facility on 900 W. Washington is the real issue that should be addressed rather than NuMed opening an upscale storefront on Randolph Street.
As many as nine new recreational cannabis dispensaries could clear a crucial regulatory hurdle during a special meeting of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals scheduled for March 6, potentially almost doubling the number of pot shops allowed to operate in the city, according to officials.
The board will consider “cannabis-specific” applications at the first of its kind special meeting. The formal agenda for the meeting has not yet been released.
The following cannabis companies have filed applications with the Zoning Board of Appeals to open new dispensaries, according to the Chicago Department of Planning and Development:
Pharmacann, for planned dispensaries at 1001 W. North Ave. and 444 N. LaSalle St. A community meeting was held Feb. 6 to discuss the LaSalle Street proposal, and another is scheduled for Feb. 18 to discuss the North Avenue site plan.
Natures Care Company, for a planned dispensary at 810 W. Randolph St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 6.
Numed Chicago, for a planned dispensary at 935 W. Randolph St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 5.
PDI Medical, for a planned dispensary at 60 W. Superior St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 5.
Green House Group, for a planned dispensary at 612 N. Wells St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 7.
MOCA Modern Cannabis, for a planned dispensary at 214-232 W. Ohio St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Jan. 29.
The sooner the better, it’s already going to be summer before these open.
Parenthetical confession: I haven’t been inside one of the newly legal dispensaries, yet. I’m not enough of a pot-head to stand in line for 2 hours, especially in the winter, and I’ve been to dispensaries in other states, so there isn’t a novelty itch that I need to scratch. I’ll wait until the flower shortage abates, and the weather improves.
A marijuana company wants to open a dispensary in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood that would be near trendy restaurants and boutiques. It also would be on the same block as an addiction treatment center.
“This will trigger patients to relapse,” said Dan Lustig, a psychologist who is president and CEO of Haymarket Center.
NuMed wants to open its dispensary on the second floor of 935 W. Randolph St., above Floyd’s 99 Barbershop. Haymarket Center is at 932 W. Washington Blvd. If NuMed’s dispensary opens as planned, the entrance will be on North Sangamon Street, on the same block as entrances to Haymarket.
I struggle to understand this logic. Is a cannabis store more likely to be a trouble to the neighborhood than an establishment that sells alcohol? Because also within a block of the Haymarket Center are several restaurants that serve wine, whiskey, beer and so forth. There is even a proposed Jerry Garcia themed jazz club to open in the former location of Wishbone, less than half a block away on the same street. People are not allowed to consume cannabis on location, but they can drink until the room spins. Is Dan Lustig also trying to turn this area of the West Loop into an alcohol free zone? If not, why not?
In my experience, alcohol is more of a trigger for addicts than cannabis. Granted I am not the CEO of a treatment center with a vested interest to get my name in the newspaper, but come on.
After rent hikes forced beloved West Loop restaurant Wishbone to relocate from its longtime home, the space could soon be turned into a lively jazz venue paying homage to Jerry Garcia, the late guitarist of the Grateful Dead.
Brooklyn Bowl owner Peter Shapiro has been in talks to bring a Jerry Garcia-themed jazz venue to the vacant restaurant space at 1001 W. Washington Blvd., according to multiple sources familiar with the project.
The West Loop venue will be themed around Garcia, who died in 1995 at age 53, and will be a seated, traditional jazz club, a source said. The venue will also feature an accompanying restaurant.
Cannabis is legal for adults to consume in Illinois as of this morning. Amazing. I’d visited Amsterdam for a week in early 1990s, so I knew it was theoretically possible for governments to allow citizens the freedom to chose whether to consume plants, but I did not think it would happen in America in my lifetime. Happy to be proven wrong.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton purchases edible gummies as Sunnyside Lakeview opens in the first minutes of legal recreational marijuana in Illinois.
Dispensary employees at Rise took orders from customers outside in line to speed up the process. There were outdoor heaters, and free coffee hats and gold bead medallions.
The dispensary also hired a steel drum player to play outside, adding a little “Red Red Wine” to the proceedings.
and this is among the good outcomes to Democrats winning elections:
On the day before recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he was pardoning more than 11,000 people who had been convicted of low-level marijuana crimes.
“When Illinois’ first adult use cannabis shops open their doors tomorrow, we must all remember that the purpose of this legislation is not to immediately make cannabis widely available or to maximize product on the shelves, that’s not the main purpose, that will come with time,” Pritzker said to a crowd at Trinity United Church of Christ on the Far South Side. “But instead the defining purpose of legalization is to maximize equity for generations to come.”
The 11,017 people pardoned by Pritzker will receive notification about their cases, all of which are from outside Cook County, by mail. The pardon means convictions involving less than 30 grams of marijuana will be automatically expunged.
Pritzker and other elected officials said they believe Illinois is the first state to include a process for those previously convicted of marijuana offenses to seek relief upon legalization of cannabis.
They began lining up at 2 a.m. in the cold, with fold-up chairs and blankets in tow. By 6 a.m., when Dispensary33 in Andersonville opened, the line, composed of people from all corners of the city and beyond, stretched for more than five blocks.
Trevor Seyller of Lakeview was first in line to buy legal recreational weed as it went on sale for the first time in Illinois. He waited four hours in temperatures below freezing for “the fun of it” — and for history.
“It’s been a long time coming, this is an historic moment,” Seyller said.
Charlie Wells drove three hours from Madison, Wis. to be among the first few in the line. He said he skipped celebrating New Year’s Eve to take part in the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana.
“It’s the end of prohibition and it’s a lot safer than drinking,” Wells said. “I’m here because my state doesn’t have it yet.”
Dispensary33 — named for 1933, the year the prohibition on alcohol was lifted — is located at 5001 N. Clark St. To help patrons battle the cold, Dispensary33 put out a few propane heating lamps along the Argyle Street.
Personally, had plans to go join the party and photograph people in line, but decided to wait until tomorrow or even next week to visit a dispensary. My days of being an all day smoker are long gone. Don’t get me wrong, I plan on purchasing something from a dispensary in the near future, but I didn’t feel enthusiastic enough to brave the below-freezing weather to be first in line or anything. By spring, the supply shortage should be addressed, presumedly.
Kudos to Illinois! Time to queue up the Reefer songs!
MedMen buying into Illinois. But to me the bigger story is that the upcoming gubernatorial race is about cannabis legalization in Illinois…
The sale is timely because Gov. Bruce Rauner last month signed into law a measure allowing any patient who would qualify for an opioid painkiller prescription to also qualify for medical marijuana. The new law also eliminated requirements for fingerprints and criminal background checks. Those changes are expected to greatly expand a market that had about 44,000 certified customers and $12 million in monthly sales as of August.
In addition, industry leaders expect Illinois lawmakers to legalize marijuana for recreational use next year if Democrat J.B. Pritzker wins this November’s election for governor. Pritzker supports allowing and taxing adult use, while Rauner, a Republican, opposes it.
As tensions between Canada and the U.S. have risen in recent months, a quieter, slower-burning conflict has been developing along the border: Canadians associated with the cannabis industry — even if they have never used the drug — can be banned for life from America.
Despite Washington State legalizing cannabis within state boundaries, the border is under federal jurisdiction. And since cannabis, along with drugs such as heroin and cocaine, is a Schedule I substance, past or current association with the drug is considered a federal crime in the U.S.
In addition to those who have used marijuana, Canadians who are involved with the cannabis economy have been labelled “inadmissible” because they are considered to be living off the profits of the drug trade.
A Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs press officer for the U.S. State Department told The Star via email that “admission requirements into the United States will not change due to Canada’s legalization of cannabis.”
Grade A bullshit. What about the CEOs of multiple American multinationals who have invested in the Green Rush, are they to be banned too? And when other nations realize that cannabis is not the scourge the DEA claims, and remove it from their banned substance list as Canada has, what then? Seems like an unsustainable policy. But then logic and precedent to legal norms have never been a hallmark of the Trump administration and mouth-breathers like Jeff Sessions.
Breakthru Beverage Group, the alcohol wholesale business co-led by Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz, announced plans Monday to invest $9.2 million in CannTrust, a Canadian marijuana producer.
Breakthru has signed a letter of intent to become the exclusive distributor for CannTrust as recreational marijuana is set to become legal in Canada on Oct. 17. In doing so, Breakthru joins a growing number of major alcohol companies to recently invest in the global potential of the burgeoning marijuana industry. Giant beer companies such as Molson Coors — parent company of Chicago-based MillerCoors — and Constellation Brands, which bases its beer business in Chicago, are planning to develop and sell cannabis-infused drinks in Canada.
The cannabis sales brokerage operation will reside in a newly-formed subsidiary of Breakthru Beverage Group and will be entirely separate from its beverage alcohol brokerage, Breakthru Beverage Canada. It will however leverage the company’s North American business insights, strategies, technology and analytic tools to be a differentiator in the marketplace.
“CannTrust has made significant investments in both capacity and innovation with the next generation of products such as edibles and cannabis-infused beverages expected to launch in 2019. We have a nano-technology that enables us to produce cannabis infused beverages neutral in taste, and clear as water. This technology will position us to be a leader in Canada, and in future markets globally.” Rogers added.
An affiliate of Breakthru Beverage Group will be purchasing 902,405 common shares of CannTrust at a purchase price of $10.23 per share for gross proceeds of $9,231,600. In addition, the affiliate of Breakthru Beverage Group will have options to purchase from CannTrust up to an additional 2,000,000 common shares in the aggregate at a price per share equal to a 15% discount of the 5-day volume-weighted average price on the TSX immediately prior to the date the applicable option is exercised, if CannTrust exceeds certain sale thresholds.
CannTrust is a federally regulated licensed producer, who brings more than 40 years of pharmacy and healthcare experience to the Medical Cannabis industry. We apply this expertise to produce 100% pesticide free standardized Medical Cannabis for patients in need.
At CannTrust™ we are committed to research and innovation, as well as contributing to the growing body of evidence-based research regarding the use and efficacy of cannabis. Our product development teams along with our exclusive pharma partner Apotex are diligently innovating and developing products. CannTrust has been granted a Section 9 License by Health Canada under the Narcotic Control Regulations. This allows us to expand our product development and research to include pharmaceuticals in an effort to make it easier for patients to use Medical Cannabis today and in the future.
Our onsite laboratory with advanced technology and equipment for testing and research on the medical use of cannabis provides CannTrust with the ability to develop and rigorously test our products at any point.
We continue to evolve our patient and medical practitioner education program about Medical Cannabis, and have an industry leading compassionate use program to support patients with financial needs. We continue to expand to ensure we have a continuous supply of quality standardized products and superior customer service.
Our original 50,000-square foot state-of-the-art hydroponic facility is home to cultivating, processing extracts and our distribution center.
Our second facility is a 430,000-square foot greenhouse in the heart of the Niagara region. The facility is the first of its kind in the Canadian Cannabis industry to be designed and engineered using advanced perpetual growing technology. This facility is one of the largest in North America, with Phase 1 completed and Phase 2 to come on-stream in mid 2018.
The main bank serving Illinois medical marijuana companies is pulling out of the industry, leaving operators with few options other than dealing in cash.
Bank of Springfield sent a letter to its cannabis clients late last month informing them that their accounts will be closed May 21. The decision is tied to the reversal of an Obama-era policy that discouraged prosecution of those operating under state marijuana laws.
The move is a setback for the industry, which remains a pilot program more than two years after medical cannabis became legal in Illinois. Strict regulations and other obstacles have added challenges to running cannabis companies and kept patient numbers too low for some operators to recoup their investments.
Taking away the bank accounts medical marijuana companies use to pay their employees, vendors and the government is another hurdle. It also eliminates some of the legitimacy and traceability of transactions that banking added to the industry, which had $8.5 million in retail sales statewide in February, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Yet another reason to vote against Governor Bruce Rauner, as if we needed any more. His willful antagonism towards medical cannabis is undermining its growth. Illinois certainly could do better.
Republicans, Democrats, Independents, etc. all agree that money is good for the Illinois budget, why not follow the model of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and others?
From an article earlier this year, also by Ally Marotti:
As the legal marijuana industry navigates uncertainty on the federal level, state attorneys general are asking Congress to pass a law allowing banks to work with cannabis companies.
Along with Illinois, 28 other states, Washington, D.C., and several U.S. territories have legalized medicinal cannabis, and eight states and the District of Columbia allow recreational use. But in the eyes of federal law, weed is still illegal, and the cash earned selling it is drug money.
Without banks, though, operations and growth could be hindered.
The federal government has issued guidance for how banks can work with cannabis companies, but without a law, banks hesitate to enter the growing industry. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 18 other attorneys general — from 16 states, the District of Columbia and Guam — signed a letter this week saying they want that to change. Madigan was not available Wednesday for further comment.
Passing a law “would bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, and give law enforcement the ability to monitor these transactions,” according to the letter. “Moreover, compliance with tax requirements would be simpler and easier to enforce with a better-defined tracking of funds. This would, in turn, result in higher tax revenue.”
Banks that work with the cannabis industry can take further guidance from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. But, again, that’s just guidance.
“That’s not enough for the national and international banks,” said Cresco’s Bachtell, who has a background in mortgage banking. “They’re not comfortable with guidance; they want real regulation.”
The letter from the state attorneys general asks Congress for legislation to provide a “safe harbor” for financial institutions that work with cannabis companies in states where the drug is legal in some capacity. It points to a bill introduced in the Senate in May that would do just that.
More banks would likely expand operations into the marijuana industry if such a law were instituted, though it might take time for financial institutions to become comfortable with it, said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution.
Cook County’s 2018 primary ballot contained a non-binding referendum to legalize marijuana statewide. Of course, as you’d expect, it passed. By a greater than 2 to 1 margin.
Cook County voters on Tuesday voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use in Illinois, according to unofficial results.
County commissioners voted unanimously last December to put the question on the primary ballot. The state Senate earlier this month passed a measure to put the question on ballots for statewide voters in November, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The full question on primary election ballots read as follows: “Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”
Supporters of legalization point to the increased tax revenue that has come with legalization, taxation and regulation in other states. Opponents often have concerns about social costs and the fact that marijuana use would remain illegal under federal law.
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and California. All but Vermont passed the laws in binding ballot questions between 2012 and 2016.
Somehow CO, WA, AK, NV, OR, MA, ME, VT, and CA don’t seem like they are turning into chaotic, failed states. In fact, these states are all doing pretty well all things considered.
JB Pritzker Wants to legalize and tax marijuana
Oh, and the winner of the Democratic primary for Governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker, sent flyers announcing his position last week. Interesting. The current witless doofus occupying the governor’s mansion, Bruce Rauner, is very tepid, at best, in support for cannabis reform: he didn’t want medical marijuana either.
Tina Sfondeles wrote, back in December, 2017:
Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking a blunt stance, telling a Downstate TV station that it would be a “mistake” to legalize marijuana in Illinois.
The Republican governor has, in the past, said he wants more studies on the “ramifications” in states that have legalized the drug. On Wednesday, he took it further.
“I do not support legalizing marijuana. I think that’s a mistake. You know there’s a massive, human experiment going on in Colorado, and California, other places. We should see how that’s impacted lives and addiction and hurt young people before we make any decision about it here,” Rauner said in an interview on WSIL in Marion. “I do not support legalizing marijuana.”
In April, the governor called recreational marijuana “a very, very difficult subject.” He said he wouldn’t support legalizing marijuana unless there’s a study of the “ramifications” in states that have legalized the drug.
Kosher cannabis? Why not? Every company wants a competitive advantage, a way to stand out in a crowded marketplace that is rapidly becoming more crowded. But being certified kosher is more complex to verify than I thought…
Truck full of Cannabis
JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. — The rabbis had never inspected a medical marijuana plant before.
They had arrived here at Vireo Health of New York’s plant, about an hour northwest of Albany, looking for evidence that the company’s products merited kosher certification. They would eventually give their approval, but not before asking some tough questions, beginning in the room where row after row of plants hung upside down to dry.
“This is where they start getting worried,” recalled Ari Hoffnung, the company’s chief executive, because the kosher rules they were most focused on apply after a plant is dried.
Vireo, a subsidiary of Vireo Health, is one of at least two companies aiming to sell kosher medical marijuana products like tinctures or cannabis oil. The Orthodox Union, one of the United States’ most prominent Jewish groups, gave its first medical marijuana certification to Vireo in January. Another company, Cresco Labs in Illinois, is in the final stages of getting certified from a local rabbinical organization.
Smoking marijuana by itself isn’t an issue — at least not from a kosher dietary standpoint — since the rules are intended for food and drinks. Products ingested in some way, on the other hand, are another story.
Ingredients must not come into contact with forbidden foods, like pigs or insects, and the restrictions extend all the way down the supply chain.
Every ingredient in a marijuana brownie, for example, needs to be kosher. The leaves, if eaten, would need to come from a bug-free plant. Marijuana gelcaps cannot be made out of pig gelatin. There are also rules for the equipment that processes kosher food. Vireo’s products that have been certified by the Orthodox Union can have the recognizable “OU” stamp on their packaging, and must submit to periodic inspections from the group’s rabbis.
“We literally took them through every square inch of the facility,” said David Ellis, the executive vice president of operations at Cresco Labs. The Chicago Rabbinical Council visited Cresco in March and said it was in the final stages of issuing a kosher certification that will cover everything from chocolate bars to concentrates.
Representatives of the Orthodox Union and the Chicago Rabbinical Council, which inspected Cresco, said that the idea of kosher medical marijuana had stirred much internal debate, and that they would certify only medical marijuana and not products intended for the recreational market.
Deciding to go forward with the certification process “wasn’t an easy decision,” said Rabbi Moshe Elefant, the chief operating officer at the Orthodox Union’s kosher division.
But Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, the administrator of kosher laws for the Chicago Rabbinical Council, said he now expected to get more calls.
“What I thought would be, you know, maybe I’ll call it an amusing afternoon,” he said about the inspection, “really turned out to be a lot of lessons of Kosher 101.”
Multiple cups of coffee a day linked to lower risk of premature death The health benefits were seen whether people drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
Researchers have now linked three to five cups of coffee per day to an overall lower risk of premature death, according to a new review of data on more than 200,000 health professionals.
The lowered risk was associated with a moderate amount of coffee, as opposed to those who drink only a cup or two, or no coffee at all, who did not see the health benefits. When researchers adjusted for those who smoke cigarettes, the benefits of all that coffee were even greater.
The idea that coffee can prevent the development of adverse health conditions, as studies just this year have shown it is good for brain health in older people, cancels out liver damage from over-consumption of alcohol, and may improve colon cancer survival.
Ben Carson’s remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject, but never more seriously than in the past week, when he wrongly asserted that China had intervened militarily in Syria and then failed, on national television, to name the countries he would call on to form a coalition to fight the Islamic State.
Faced with increasing scrutiny about whether Mr. Carson, who leads in some Republican presidential polls, was capable of leading American foreign policy, two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect.
“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” said Duane R. Clarridge, a top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security. He also said Mr. Carson needed weekly conference calls briefing him on foreign policy so “we can make him smart.”
Clarridge was pardoned (in the middle of his trial) by President George H.W. Bush in that historic exercise in ass-covering on the way out the door in 1992. After that, he left the CIA and went into business for himself in the shadow world of private spookdom.
Hatching schemes that are something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy,” Mr. Clarridge has sought to discredit Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar power broker who has long been on the C.I.A. payroll, and planned to set spies on his half brother, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in hopes of collecting beard trimmings or other DNA samples that might prove Mr. Clarridge’s suspicions that the Afghan leader was a heroin addict, associates say. So, yeah, maybe the Doctor knows what he’s doing here.
Cats are notoriously picky eaters—and one reason may be that they’re fine-tuned to detect bitterness. Cats can’t taste sweetness, but they have a dozen genes that code for bitter taste receptors. A recent study from researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital finds that at least seven of these bitter taste receptors are functional, indicating that cats are very sensitive to those tastes.
In order to figure out whether the 12 known bitterness receptor genes actually cause cats to taste bitterness, the researchers inserted these genes into human cells and figured out which ones responded to chemicals that cause people to taste bitterness (since cats can’t tell us when something is bitter).
There’s the president of the United States, and then there’s the person who happens to be the President of the United States.
Bill Clinton served for eight years, but we were always more intrigued by Bill Clinton the Person—a magnetic charmer once described by Chris Rock as “a cool guy, like the president of a record company.” Clinton’s charisma defined his presidency, for better and for worse. He couldn’t always harness it. He couldn’t stop trying to win everyone over, whether it was a 60 Minutes correspondent, 500 powerful donors in a crowded banquet hall, or a fetching woman on a rope line.
If Clinton acted like someone who ran Capitol Records, Obama—both the person and the president—carries himself like Roger Federer, a merciless competitor who keeps coming and coming, only there’s a serenity about him that disarms just about everyone. At one point during the hour I spent interviewing him at the White House this fall, he casually compared himself to Aaron Rodgers, and he wasn’t bragging. Obama identified with Rodgers’s ability to keep his focus downfield despite all the chaos happening in front of him. That’s Obama’s enduring quality, and (to borrow another sports term) this has been his “career year.”
Archaeologists in Israel have kind of a great problem. While building a visitor center to house the Lod Mosaic, a magnificent work from 300 AD discovered near the construction site in 1996, workers uncovered another ancient treasure: a 1,700-year-old Roman mosaic.
The new find measures an impressive 36 feet by 42 feet, and would have likely paved the courtyard floor in a large Roman or Byzantine-era villa. The Israel Antiquities Authority unveiled photos of the floor, which contains imagery of fish, hunting animals, birds, and vases, this week in the Israel National News, which called it “breathtaking” and “among the most beautiful” mosaics in the country.
We have two possibilities before us. First, that House Republicans purposefully stacked their Benghazi! select committee with the dumbest, most inept, most incompetent twits they could round up. Or second, that they didn’t do that and the whole sodding Congress is just this dumb.
Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a member of the House Select Committee On Benghazi, said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid “a trap” for the committee by making her Oct. 22 appearance go “as long as possible.” Mind you, of all the people in that hearing room, the one least able to control how long the committee would sit on their behinds and ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton long, sometimes bizarre questions was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She was not allowed to just pick up and go home, even after the first four, six, eight, and 10 hours of questions proved that Republicans had absolutely no new information or questions or theories that might require her actual presence there. Republicans could have, say, limited their robust speechifying and instead asked a few more actual questions. They could have paid attention to their own rules on how long questions could go on, and perhaps gently persuaded the worst of the blowhards to give it a rest when their time had officially expired.
Not one of them can win, but one must. That’s the paradox of the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, fast becoming the signature event in the history of black comedy.
Conventional wisdom says that with the primaries and caucuses rapidly approaching, front-running nuts Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson must soon give way to the “real” candidates. But behind Trump and Carson is just more abyss. As I found out on a recent trip to New Hampshire, the rest of the field is either just as crazy or as dangerous as the current poll leaders, or too bumbling to win.
Disaster could be averted if Americans on both the left and the right suddenly decide to be more mature about this, neither backing obvious mental incompetents, nor snickering about those who do. But that doesn’t seem probable.
Instead, HashtagClownCar will almost certainly continue to be the most darkly ridiculous political story since Henry II of Champagne, the 12th-century king of Jerusalem, plunged to his death after falling out of a window with a dwarf.
Beginning in 2012, four states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalize marijuana. By this time next year, that number could well double, and then some. National polls consistently show majorities in favor of legalization, with a recent Gallup poll showing 58% support—tied for the highest level in the poll’s history.
That doesn’t mean legalization is inevitable in any given state, as the case of Ohio demonstrated earlier this month. There an initiative led by non-movement investors who sought monopolistic control of commercial pot cultivation got trounced despite spending millions of dollars.
But the Ohio result was probably a fluke, a convergence of a number of factors, including tone-deaf initiative organizers, a flawed initiative, a widely criticized mascot, and the fact that it was an off-off-year election with low voter turnout. There is no reason to believe that legalization initiatives likely next year in other states will be defeated just because the Ohio effort went down in flames.
At this point, it looks like six states are likely to legalize weed through the initiative process next year, with those efforts at varying stages, and a couple more could do it through the legislative process.
I don’t have terabytes worth of music, but I have a lot, and I’m frequently annoyed with iTunes. However, I keep with it because it syncs to my iPhone/iPad…
AT THE START of the millennium, Apple famously set out to upend the music business by dragging it into the digital realm. The iTunes store provided an easy way of finding and buying music, and iTunes provided an elegant way of managing it. By 2008, Apple was the biggest music vendor in the US. But with its recent shift toward streaming media, Apple risks losing its most music-obsessed users: the collectors.
Most of iTunes’ latest enhancements exist solely to promote the recommendation-driven Apple Music, app downloads, and iCloud. Users interested only in iTunes’ media management features—people with terabytes of MP3s who want a solid app to catalog and organize their libraries—feel abandoned as Apple moves away from local file storage in favor of cloud-based services. These music fans (rechristened “power users” in the most recent lingo) are looking for alternatives to Apple’s market-dominating media management software, and yearn for a time when listening to music didn’t require being quite so connected.
If you only own the original studio release of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” (recorded on December 9, 1964, and issued in February, 1965), then the new three-disk release “A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters” of the classic album by Coltrane’s classic quartet will be a revelatory experience.
It’s a revelation because of one particular set, one that many Coltrane fans have heard before: the live performance by the quartet from Juan-les-Pins, France, on July 26, 1965, of the entire suite of “A Love Supreme.” This set was also included the “deluxe” two-disk edition of “A Love Supreme,” issued by Impulse! Records, in 2002. By making that performance readily available to the general listener, Impulse! sparked a major advance in the appreciation, the understanding—and the love—of “A Love Supreme.” The merits of that recording shed particular light on the importance—and, strangely, the limits—of the original studio recording of “A Love Supreme.”
Despite the intelligence community’s attempts to blame NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the tragic attacks in Paris on Friday, the NSA’s mass surveillance programs do not have a track record — before or after Snowden — of identifying or thwarting actual large-scale terrorist plots.
CIA Director John Brennan asserted on Monday that “many of these terrorist operations are uncovered and thwarted before they’re able to be carried out,” and lamented the post-Snowden “handwringing” that has made that job more difficult.
But the reason there haven’t been any large-scale terror attacks by ISIS in the U.S. is not because they were averted by the intelligence community, but because — with the possible exception of one that was foiled by local police — none were actually planned.
And even before Snowden, the NSA wasn’t able to provide a single substantiated example of its surveillance dragnet preventing any domestic attack at all.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top government officials could be detained if they step foot in Spain after a judge there issued an arrest warrant stemming from a deadly 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, but Israel is dismissing the move as a “provocation.”
In the 2010 incident, a group of human rights activists — which included members affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, according to authorities – boarded several aid ships to try and break an Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Jerusalem Post reports.
In its article, the AP also wrote, “The archive had more detailed data for children and teenagers, showing 70 from those age groups killed by firearms since the Democratic candidates debated Oct. 13 – not 200 as [Clinton] claimed.”
Again, this criticism of Clinton is erroneous because it treats the Gun Violence Archive as a comprehensive source.
The botched AP fact check was subsequently touted by the National Rifle Association.
Wineries and breweries should brace themselves for some unusual competition. Colorado, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, will get its first “weedery” in early 2016. The $35 million project, Colorado Cannabis Ranch and Amphitheater, the brainchild of Christian Hageseth, is set to open in Denver. Its greenhouses represent a major shift because producers have largely cultivated marijuana indoors; there will also be a performance space, a restaurant, a rooftop bar, a gift shop and, of course, a marijuana dispensary. Mr. Hageseth, who founded the Green Man Cannabis marijuana company and chronicled his adventures in the medical and legal marijuana business in the book “Big Weed,” says he enjoys his own product but shatters stereotypes.
For instance, the Chicago Tribune published this bit of op-ed agit-prop today:
I know the dark side. I’m ambivalent about legalizing marijuana because I was addicted for 27 years. After starting to smoke weed at Bob Dylan concerts when I was 13, I saw how it can make you say and do things that are provocative and perilous. I bought pot in bad neighborhoods at 3 a.m., confronted a dealer for selling me a dime bag of oregano, let shady pushers I barely knew deliver marijuana, like pizza, to my home. I mailed weed to my vacation spots and smoked a cocaine-laced joint a bus driver offered when I was his only passenger.
Here’s the thing: I don’t doubt Ms. Shapiro had a problem with addiction; I don’t doubt her anecdotes, but I’m skeptical that this reefer madness essay should be the underpinning of national anti-drug policy. Especially since so many of her citations don’t hold up to even the quickest of fact-checks.
Cut Rate Liquors and Real Drugs
I was going to point out flaws in her argument, but in the beginning stages of researching, discovered instead a rebuttal by Paul Armentano, published in the LA Times.1
Mr. Armentano make points such as:
Many of Shapiro’s claims regarding pot’s risk potential are unsupported by the scientific literature. For instance, she expresses concerns that some cannabis products possess greater THC content today than in the past while ignoring the reality that most consumers regulate their intake accordingly. (When consuming more potent pot, most consumers typically ingest lesser quantities.) Further, THC itself is a comparatively nontoxic substance, having been approved as a medicine by the Food and Drug Administration in 1986 and descheduled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 1999 (to a Class 3 drug from a Class 2) because of its stellar safety record.
The author further asserts that cannabis “contributes” to 12% of traffic fatalities in the United States. But the purported source of this claim alleges nothing of the sort. In fact, the study in question solely assessed the prevalence of cannabis or its inert metabolites in injured drivers. (These metabolites, the authors state, may linger in the blood for up to a week following ingestion and should not be presumed to be a measurement of drug impairment.) The study’s authors make no claims in regard to whether these drivers were under the influence of pot or whether their driving behavior was responsible for an accident.
Further, studies evaluating whether marijuana-positive drivers are more likely to be culpable in traffic accidents find that the plant typically plays little role in auto fatalities. According to a 2012 review paper of 66 studies assessing drug-positive drivers and crash risk, marijuana-positive drivers possessed an odds-adjusted risk of traffic injury of 1.10 and an odds-adjusted risk of fatal accident of 1.26. This risk level was among the lowest of any drugs assessed by the study’s author and it was comparable to the odds ratio associated with penicillin (1.12), antihistamines (1.12) and antidepressants (1.35). By contrast, a 2013 study published in the journal Injury Prevention reported that drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.01% were “46% more likely to be officially blamed for a crash than are the sober drivers they collide with.”
Shapiro also repeats the specious claim that cannabis use lowers intelligence quotient. But a review of a highly publicized 2012 study purporting to link adolescent pot use to lower IQ later in life determined that once economic variables were factored into the assessment, cannabis’ actual effect was likely to be “zero.” The findings of a previous longitudinal study from Canada that tracked the IQs of a group of marijuana users and non-users from birth similarly concluded, “Marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”
One other minor point: even in Shapiro’s anecdotes, one gets the sense that if our national drug laws were more sane, she wouldn’t have to go to shady neighborhoods in the wee hours of the night to score, instead she could have just bought something that wasn’t oregano at her local organic cannabis dispensary.
I wonder if the Chicago Tribune plans on running the rebuttal in tomorrow’s paper? Probably not [↩]
Interesting. And a block from the big Sterling Bay rehab of the Fulton Market Cold Storage building, set to be a regional headquarters for Google, Inc., et al…
Prospective medical marijuana dealers made their pitches to the Zoning Board of Appeals to set up in various neighborhoods, touting their security and financial plans.
Perry Mandera, owner of a Near North Side strip club called VIP’s, A Gentleman’s Club, got the go-ahead for a permit to operate a cannabis dispensary in the meatpacking area of the West Town neighborhood, at 1105 W. Fulton Market.
The approval came despite opposition from three area residents who live around Fulton Market and said they worried about safety because of cash pickups at the dispensary, and additional congestion because of the heavy truck traffic and limited parking available near where Mandera wants to operate.
It’s one of the most anti-scientific, know-nothing provisions in any federal law, but it remains an active imposition on every White House. The “drug czar,” as the director of the drug control policy office is informally known, must “take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance” that’s listed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and has no “approved” medical use.
Marijuana fits that description, as do heroin and LSD. But unlike those far more dangerous drugs, marijuana has medical benefits that are widely known and are now officially recognized in 35 states. The drug czar, though, isn’t allowed to recognize them, and whenever any member of Congress tries to change that, the White House office is required to stand up and block the effort. It cannot allow any federal study that might demonstrate the rapidly changing medical consensus on marijuana’s benefits and its relative lack of harm compared to alcohol and tobacco.
and more history of cannabis prohibition from the NYT Editorial Board:
The federal law that makes possession of marijuana a crime has its origins in legislation that was passed in an atmosphere of hysteria during the 1930s and that was firmly rooted in prejudices against Mexican immigrants and African-Americans, who were associated with marijuana use at the time. This racially freighted history lives on in current federal policy, which is so driven by myth and propaganda that is it almost impervious to reason.
The cannabis plant, also known as hemp, was widely grown in the United States for use in fabric during the mid-19th century. The practice of smoking it appeared in Texas border towns around 1900, brought by Mexican immigrants who cultivated cannabis as an intoxicant and for medicinal purposes as they had done at home.
Within 15 years or so, it was plentiful along the Texas border and was advertised openly at grocery markets and drugstores, some of which shipped small packets by mail to customers in other states.
The law enforcement view of marijuana was indelibly shaped by the fact that it was initially connected to brown people from Mexico and subsequently with black and poor communities in this country. Police in Texas border towns demonized the plant in racial terms as the drug of “immoral” populations who were promptly labeled “fiends.”