reefer sanity in Idaho: “I smoked weed and nobody died “

“Seven years before legal marijuana went on sale this month in my home state of Colorado, the drug warriors in President George W. Bush’s administration released an advertisement that is now worth revisiting.

‘I smoked weed and nobody died,’ intoned the teenage narrator. ‘I didn’t get into a car accident. I didn’t OD on heroin the next day. Nothing happened.’

The television spot from the White House drug czar was intended to discourage marijuana use by depicting it as boring. But in the process, the government suggested that smoking a little pot is literally, in the words of the narrator, “the safest thing in the world.”

Why is this spot worth revisiting? Because in light of what’s happening here in Colorado, the ad looks less like a scary warning than a reassuringly accurate prophecy.


The statements above are from an article titled “Reefer Sanity Takes Hold in Colorado” by David Sirota for Buzzflash at Truthout (January 13, 2014). 

I am unfamiliar with the Bush-based advertisement that Mr. Sirota referred to, as I didn’t and don’t watch television. I do recall reading about a televised spot that ran during Reagan’s Reign of Error: apparently, your screen showed an electroencephalograph (EEG) with a normal brain-wave accompanied by a voice-over that told you that you were watching your brain being normal. It was followed by the same EEG flat-lining, again with by a voice-over that told the listener this is your brain on marijuana.

Well, friends, a flat-line on an EEG or an electrocardiogram (EKG) means that the patient’s brain shows zero activity—that is, the brain and therefore the patient are dead. So, the War on Drugs spot lied. In fact, after a couple of hits on a joint and most people’s brain waves resemble a sine-wave. This wave normally indicates a brain that is both relaxed and focused—it is a brain at its optimum.

Sine-wave on an EEG are often found in brains that are meditating. In other words, it is the opposite of a flat-line and makes the government’s lie even more egregious. I could could go on meandering, but I shan’t—back to David Sirota . . .


“Of course, this portrait of tranquility, normalcy and pragmatism is often downplayed by the sensationalist national media in faraway Washington, DC. There, amid wild speculation about absurdly apocalyptic hypotheticals, the fist-shaking fogies are negatively caricaturing legalization in a fit of reefer madness.

For instance, there’s been tripe like Ruth Marcus’s Washington Post screed that at once warns of the supposed ‘perils of legalized pot’ and absolves herself for previously using the drug.

There was also the lament from the New York Times’ David Brooks, in which he first fondly reminisced about his erstwhile pot smoking and then claimed that legalizing marijuana harms America’s ‘moral ecology.’

You also have to wonder how many of them chatted up the ‘perils of pot’ this month while enjoying a post-workday cocktail.”


The article is followed by several comments from readers; I have selected the first such comment for a point it brings up:

“Various numbers have been published regarding taxes and retail sales. Credible numbers are $70,000,000 in pot taxes and $600,000,000 in pot sales this year alone. Those numbers will be [three to four times] higher next year most likely. Reason enough to legalize a relatively harmless natural product, not to mention the overwhelming cost savings from incarcerations, law enforcement of bullshit laws, violence of illegal distribution/sales of pot, etc.

Some states are now granting amnesty and probation to their prisoners who are in prison only for pot infractions. I believe NY state is one of them. And this is removing the burden of bullshit enforcement of laws against a trivial substance allowing peace officers to spend time on real criminals and crimes. The overall benefits of legal pot are astounding and difficult to measure they are so far reaching, on many levels both deep and wide.” – Tibetan Cowboy

Actually, the price of legal weed in idaho should be dramatically lower than the former illegal weed. This should lower the amount of spendable cash in those communities or families that cultivated and sold it. Of course, the taxes will be an enormous boon to the state and, hopefully, most of those people. Taxes should reach nine figures rather quickly, not something to laugh at in a sparsely populated state.

Also, there should be a boom in tourism throughout the state. This will put even more money in circulation and more taxes paid! For this reason, the state should see that even the smallest town in Idaho has its own corner pot shoppe.


Finally, while searching for some information on the your-brain-on-pot campaign, I came across this lovely visual metaphor on the website and urge you to take a moment and view it.

Comments and arguments welcome!