Ball Rolling & other stories

Denver, Colorado.

Tyler Alstrup, 23, paid $100 for an eighth, two joints and an edible at LoDo Wellness.

Probably not a threat.

Overall, the day went as marijuana activists had hoped it would: In the most extraordinary way possible, it was ordinary.

“I’ve been waiting 34 years for this moment,” enthused Chrissy Robinson, who arrived at one store, Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, at 2 a.m. to be among the first in line. “I’ve been smoking since I was 14. No more sneaking around.” […]

The first customer was 32-year-old Sean Azzariti, an Iraq war veteran who campaigned for marijuana legalization and said he uses cannabis to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Under a canopy of cameras, Azzariti bought an eighth of an ounce of the marijuana strain Bubba Kush and a package of marijuana-infused candy truffles.
                — Denver Post, 01/01/2014 07:24:53 AM MST

And yet, mysteriously, civilisations have failed to come crashing down. There are no mobs of marauding layabouts forcing people to smoke pot in the streets (thank you, Ayn Rand): there has been no observable breakdown in law and order, people are still going to work, the state has not run out of pizza and no-one is trying to sell weed to children. The big news of yesterday was of course that the 2012 ballot legalization of cannabis in the US state of Colorado went into full effect as of 8am, 2014. This is the first time cannabis has been legal in an industrial state since 1961 (that’s anywhere in the world, although drug laws in a lot of sensible places are not, shall we say, rigorously enforced) and to the surprise of absolutely no-one who has been paying attention, there is a marked absence of any evidence of insanity, criminality and death. Anslinger’s lies may finally get staked at the cross-roads.

We’ve known for some time now that practically every rationalisation for keeping cannabis prohibited that any government has ever relied on falls somewhere between honest ignorance and deliberate falsehood. And I know in my heart that no government anywhere will apologise for this. There will be no mea culpa for hundreds of thousands of lives ruined or actually snuffed out simply because rich white Protestants drank whiskey and poor coloured Catholics smoked cannabis, seventy-five years ago. But now, at least, there is a realistic chance that the pointless, cripplingly counter-productive and humiliatingly racist war on weed might come to an end in America. And if it does, because the entire global war on pot is America’s fault, that gives us a fighting chance, too.

Lara Herzog at the Medicine Man marijuana dispensary in Denver

Roll on, rational evidentiary policy-making.

Fear, Uncertainty and Immigration.

The British popular narrative around immigration is wrong on so many levels, starting from the economics. Seamus Milne is making sense over at the Guardian’s Coment is Free:

New Year’s Day, we were told by rightwing politicians and press, would be the day the floodgates opened. Romanians and Bulgarians, free at last to work in Britain without restrictions, would come in their hordes. Beggars and benefit scroungers would be battering on our doors. The country would be swamped.

But when it came to it, there was no sign of them: no special coaches, no temporary camps and plenty of spare seats on flights from Bucharest and Sofia. It’s not so hard to work out why.

While Milne initially focusses on the fact that said ‘new’ immigration access has been in place since 2007, I would argue something else is at least as significant: Britain is a much less attractive immigration target since the Coalition got in, and he does cover that aspect in detail. To at least some extent, the Tory / Murdoch / UKIP / Labour narrative has worked: their policies will indeed result in less economic immigration, because we are now seen abroad as a horrible place to be foreign. I wonder if the outcomes will match their expectations.

Because NdeGT.

If you don’t know about Neil deGrasse Tyson, then it’s well worth taking a few minutes to find out about him. Partly because he has one of the best names ever, partly because he is quite possibly the most interesting person on the internet right now (and has the unusual distinction of actually knowing what the hell he’s talking about). Today he is being intelligent about books. So science. Much clever. Many clarifies. Wow.

And Finally…

Here are some words we should use more often, according to BuzzFeed.

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Per Argument Ad Astra

Politics, history, economics and rampant speculation from a victim of the Great Recession, currently at large in the West Midlands.

"When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters."
                -- Adam Smith


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