High Times

Why Hillary Clinton's Plan for Marijuana Simply Doesn't Go Far Enough

Speaking late last year at a campaign stop in South Carolina, Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pledged if elected President to reclassify marijuana under federal law from a Schedule I substance – the most restrictive category – to a Schedule II substance. 
 
Said Clinton: "The problem with medical marijuana is there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about how well it works for certain conditions. But we haven't done any research. Why? Because it is considered that is called a schedule one drug and you can't even do research in it."

She added, "I would like to move it from what is called Schedule I to Schedule II so that researchers at universities, national institutes of health can start researching what is the best way to use it, how much of a dose does somebody need, how does it interact with other medications."

Although Clinton’s call for rescheduling represents an improved willingness on her part to advocate for marijuana law reform, her newfound stance is hardly progressive. Various advocacy organizations, including NORML, High Times, and Americans for Safe Access, have filed administrative petitions over the past decades seeking to amend cannabis’ Schedule I status. Even among her peers, Clinton’s position isn’t unique. This past spring, former Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul (KY) co-sponsored Congressional legislation, The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, to move marijuana from Schedule I to II and to permit VA doctors to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans. One-time Democrat Presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley also campaigned on the pledge that he would use his executive powers to move cannabis to Schedule II. Most notably, Clinton’s leading Democrat Presidential rival Bernie Sander (I-VT) introduced Senate legislation, S. 2237, the Ending Federal Marihuana Prohibition Act, to strike both marijuana and ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ (aka THC) from the federal criminal code, thus leaving the decision of whether or not to legalize and regulate cannabis solely up to the individual states.
 
While Sanders’ proposal would significantly transform America’s marijuana policies, Clinton’s rescheduling plan would actually do little to change the existing legal landscape. Moreover, Clinton’s premise that scientists have yet to do any research on cannabis is woefully incorrect.
 
Unlike conventional pharmaceuticals, the marijuana plant possesses an extensive history of human use dating back thousands of years, thus providing society with ample empirical evidence as to its relative safety and efficacy. Moreover, despite cannabis’ modern day politicization, the plant and its compounds have nonetheless been subject to extensive scientific scrutiny. A search using the term “marijuana” on the website of the National Library of Medicine, the repository for all peer-reviewed scientific papers, yields more than 23,000 scientific papers referencing the plant and/or its constituents. Among this extensive body of literature are over 100 randomized controlled studies, involving thousands of subjects, evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabis or individual cannabinoids. A 2012 review of several FDA-approved gold-standard cannabis clinical trials concluded, “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification (for cannabis) is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.” 
 
In short, Clinton’s presumption that it is the absence of scientific research that necessitates the need to remove cannabis from Schedule I is both ill informed and unpersuasive. In truth, marijuana does not belong in Schedule I because ample scientific evidence already exists disproving the government’s claim that it is among the most dangerous substances known to man and that it lacks therapeutic utility. Moreover, reclassifying cannabis from I to II – the same category as cocaine – continues to misrepresent the plant’s safety relative to other controlled substances, and fails to provide states with the ability to regulate it free from federal interference.
 
Further, the federal policies in place that make clinical trial work with cannabis more onerous than it is for other controlled substances — such as the requirement that all source material be purchased from NIDA’s University of Mississippi pot program — are regulatory requirements that are specific to cannabis, not to Schedule I drugs in general. Simply rescheduling cannabis from I to II does not necessarily change these regulations. 
 
In addition, the sort of gold-standard, large-scale, long-term Phase III safety and efficacy trials Ms. Clinton ostensibly advocates for are prohibitively expensive. As a result, trials of this kind are typically are funded by private pharmaceutical companies aspiring to bring a new product to market. In some cases, the federal government may assist in sharing these costs. However, political reality dictates that neither entity is likely to pony up the tens of millions of dollars necessary to conduct such trials any time soon, if ever. 
 
This is not to say that rescheduling cannabis would not have any positive tangible effects. At a minimum, it would bring an end to the federal government’s longstanding intellectual dishonesty that marijuana ‘lacks accepted medical use.’ It would also likely permit banks and other financial institutions to work with state-compliant marijuana-related businesses, and permit employers in the cannabis industry to take tax deductions similar to those enjoyed by other businesses. But ultimately, such a change would do little to significantly loosen federal prohibition or to make herbal cannabis readily accessible for clinical study. These goals can only be accomplished by federally decsheduling cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, thus providing states the power to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal intrusion.
 

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Scientists Know More About Marijuana as a Medicine Than Many FDA Approved Pharmaceuticals

Opponents of legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes are fond of arguing that the plant must be subjected to the same standards of clinical study and FDA review as conventional medicines. What they fail to mention is that cannabis and its active components have already been subjected to a greater degree of scientific scrutiny than many FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.
 
According to a just-published analysis of some 200 newly FDA-approved medications, few conventional drugs are tested in multiple, large-scale clinical assessing safety and efficacy trials prior to market approval. “[A]bout a third won approval on the basis of a single clinical trial, and many other trials involved small groups of patients and shorter durations,” reports the Washington Post in its summary of the study, which appears in the January edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association.  “Only about 40 percent of approvals included trials in which the new drug was compared with existing drugs on the market.”
 
By comparison, there exists over 20,000 published studies or reviews in the scientific literature referencing the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids, nearly half of which were published within the last five years, according to a keyword search on PubMed Central, the government repository for peer-reviewed scientific research. Of these, more than 100 are controlled clinical trials assessing the therapeutic efficacy of cannabinoids for a variety of indications.
 
A 2006 review of 72 of these trials, conducted between the years 1975 and 2004, identifies ten distinct pathologies for which controlled studies on cannabinoids have been published. The review concludes that these trial data “affirm that cannabinoids exhibit an interesting therapeutic potential as antiemetics, appetite stimulants in debilitating diseases (cancer and AIDS), analgesics, as well as in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Tourette syndrome, epilepsy and glaucoma.”
 
A 2010 review of 37 additional controlled trials, conducted between the years 2005 and 2009, similarly acknowledges the plant’s efficacy, finding, “Based on the clinical results, cannabinoids present an interesting therapeutic potential mainly as analgesics in chronic neuropathic pain, appetite stimulants in debilitating diseases (cancer and AIDS), as well as in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.” The review estimates that some 6,100 patients suffering from a wide range of ailments have taken part in clinical cannabis trials over the past decades – a far greater cohort of subjects than would typically participate in clinical trials for more conventional therapeutics.
 
Most recently, a 2012 review of more recent clinical trials conducted by the California Center for Medicinal Research, involving several hundred patients, concluded emphatically: “Recent clinical trials with smoked and vaporized marijuana, as well as other botanical extracts, indicate the likelihood that the cannabinoids can be useful in the management of neuropathic pain, spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, and possibly other indications...Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”
 
The bottom line: Scientists now know more about cannabis as a medicine than regulators know about many of the FDA-approved pharmaceuticals that the plant could replace.

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The study reports that the marijuana arrest rate for residents of the District of Columbia is 846 per 100,000 – the highest total of any region in the country.
 
New York state came in a close second with 535 pot possession arrests for every 100,000 residents. (New York also led all 50 states in the total number of pot possession arrests reported in 2010: a whopping 103,698 – some 14 percent of all marijuana possession arrests reported nationwide that year.)
 
Nebraska ranked third, reporting some 417 cannabis possession arrests per 100,000 residents. Ranking fourth was Maryland, with 409 possession arrests per 100,000 residents. Illinois ranked fifth, with 389 arrests per 100,000 residents.
 
States with the lowest number of pot possession arrests per 100,000 residents were: Massachusetts (18), Hawaii (106), Alabama (115), Vermont (119), and Washington (124). 
 
The five states reporting the largest total number of annual pot possession arrests in 2010 were: New York, Texas (74,286), Florida (57,951), California** (57,262), and Illinois (49,904).  The states reporting the fewest number of annual possession arrests were: Vermont (737), North Dakota (1,162), Massachusetts (1,191), Montana (1,210), and Hawaii (1,448).
 
The data indicates that police priorities, rather than the legal status of pot, arguably plays a major role in state-by-state arrest totals. For instance, minor cannabis possession New York state is technically ‘decriminalzed’ (and has been since the mid-1970s). Nevertheless, police in New York City have a well-publicized history of ignoring the statute by engaging in stop-and-frisk shakedowns of civilians and then charging them with the possession of marijuana in public view, a criminal misdemeanor, if they find pot on their person. To date, legislative efforts to equalize the state’s marijuana possession penalties have been unsuccessful, despite the fact that the policy costs taxpayers an estimated $75 million per year. Nebraska’s elevated pot possession arrest rate is similarly vexing since first-offenses (of less than one ounce) are classified under state law as an infraction and should not result in a criminal arrest. (By contrast, subsequent marijuana possession violations are classified as criminal offenses under state law.)  
 
Conversely, among the five states with the lowest rates of marijuana possession arrests, only one state – Massachusetts – had classified cannabis possession as a non-criminal offense in 2010. (Washington eliminated minor marijuana possession penalties in 2012; Vermont decriminalized cannabis possession in 2013.) 
 
As for Washington, DC’s top status as the nation’s pot possession arrest capitol, the dubious distinction may be fleeting. In July, a majority of members of the DC City Council introduced municipal legislation to minimize pot possession offenses to that of a parking ticket. The Council is anticipated to approve the change in DC law in January.
 
** California lawmakers reclassified minor cannabis possession offenses from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction in 2010, a change that has resulted in a precipitous drop in the number of arrests reported in subsequent years.

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The Top Ten Reasons Marijuana Should Be Legal

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10. Prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. The government has tried to use criminal penalties to prevent marijuana use for over 75 years and yet: marijuana is now used by over 25 million people annually, cannabis is currently the largest cash crop in the United States, and marijuana is grown all over the planet. Claims that marijuana prohibition is a successful policy are ludicrous and unsupported by the facts, and the idea that marijuana will soon be eliminated from America and the rest of the world is a ridiculous fantasy.

9. Arrests for marijuana possession disproportionately affect blacks and Hispanics and reinforce the perception that law enforcement is biased and prejudiced against minorities. African-Americans account for approximately 13% of the population of the United States and about 13.5% of annual marijuana users, however, blacks also account for 26% of all marijuana arrests. Recent studies have demonstrated that blacks and Hispanics account for the majority of marijuana possession arrests in New York City, primarily for smoking marijuana in public view. Law enforcement has failed to demonstrate that marijuana laws can be enforced fairly without regard to race; far too often minorities are arrested for marijuana use while white/non-Hispanic Americans face a much lower risk of arrest.

8. A regulated, legal market in marijuana would reduce marijuana sales and use among teenagers, as well as reduce their exposure to other drugs in the illegal market. The illegality of marijuana makes it more valuable than if it were legal, providing opportunities for teenagers to make easy money selling it to their friends. If the excessive profits for marijuana sales were ended through legalization there would be less incentive for teens to sell it to one another. Teenage use of alcohol and tobacco remain serious public health problems even though those drugs are legal for adults, however, the availability of alcohol and tobacco is not made even more widespread by providing kids with economic incentives to sell either one to their friends and peers.

7. Legalized marijuana would reduce the flow of money from the American economy to international criminal gangs. Marijuana's illegality makes foreign cultivation and smuggling to the United States extremely profitable, sending billions of dollars overseas in an underground economy while diverting funds from productive economic development.

6. Marijuana's legalization would simplify the development of hemp as a valuable and diverse agricultural crop in the United States, including its development as a new bio-fuel to reduce carbon emissions. Canada and European countries have managed to support legal hemp cultivation without legalizing marijuana, but in the United States opposition to legal marijuana remains the biggest obstacle to development of industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity. As US energy policy continues to embrace and promote the development of bio-fuels as an alternative to oil dependency and a way to reduce carbon emissions, it is all the more important to develop industrial hemp as a bio-fuel source - especially since use of hemp stalks as a fuel source will not increase demand and prices for food, such as corn. Legalization of marijuana will greatly simplify the regulatory burden on prospective hemp cultivation in the United States.

5. Prohibition is based on lies and disinformation. Justification of marijuana's illegality increasingly requires distortions and selective uses of the scientific record, causing harm to the credibility of teachers, law enforcement officials, and scientists throughout the country. The dangers of marijuana use have been exaggerated for almost a century and the modern scientific record does not support the reefer madness predictions of the past and present. Many claims of marijuana's danger are based on old 20th century prejudices that originated in a time when science was uncertain how marijuana produced its characteristic effects. Since the cannabinoid receptor system was discovered in the late 1980s these hysterical concerns about marijuana's dangerousness have not been confirmed with modern research. Everyone agrees that marijuana, or any other drug use such as alcohol or tobacco use, is not for children. Nonetheless, adults have demonstrated over the last several decades that marijuana can be used moderately without harmful impacts to the individual or society.

4. Marijuana is not a lethal drug and is safer than alcohol. It is established scientific fact that marijuana is not toxic to humans; marijuana overdoses are nearly impossible, and marijuana is not nearly as addictive as alcohol or tobacco. It is unfair and unjust to treat marijuana users more harshly under the law than the users of alcohol or tobacco.

3. Marijuana is too expensive for our justice system and should instead be taxed to support beneficial government programs. Law enforcement has more important responsibilities than arresting 750,000 individuals a year for marijuana possession, especially given the additional justice costs of disposing of each of these cases. Marijuana arrests make justice more expensive and less efficient in the United States, wasting jail space, clogging up court systems, and diverting time of police, attorneys, judges, and corrections officials away from violent crime, the sexual abuse of children, and terrorism. Furthermore, taxation of marijuana can provide needed and generous funding of many important criminal justice and social programs.

2. Marijuana use has positive attributes, such as its medical value and use as a recreational drug with relatively mild side effects. Many people use marijuana because they have made an informed decision that it is good for them, especially Americans suffering from a variety of serious ailments. Marijuana provides relief from pain, nausea, spasticity, and other symptoms for many individuals who have not been treated successfully with conventional medications. Many American adults prefer marijuana to the use of alcohol as a mild and moderate way to relax. Americans use marijuana because they choose to, and one of the reasons for that choice is their personal observation that the drug has a relatively low dependence liability and easy-to-manage side effects. Most marijuana users develop tolerance to many of marijuana's side effects, and those who do not, choose to stop using the drug. Marijuana use is the result of informed consent in which individuals have decided that the benefits of use outweigh the risks, especially since, for most Americans, the greatest risk of using marijuana is the relatively low risk of arrest.

1. Marijuana users are determined to stand up to the injustice of marijuana probation and accomplish legalization, no matter how long or what it takes to succeed. Despite the threat of arrests and a variety of other punishments and sanctions marijuana users have persisted in their support for legalization for over a generation. They refuse to give up their long quest for justice because they believe in the fundamental values of American society. Prohibition has failed to silence marijuana users despite its best attempts over the last generation. The issue of marijuana's legalization is a persistent issue that, like marijuana, will simply not go away. Marijuana will be legalized because marijuana users will continue to fight for it until they succeed.

Bush and Blow

Before Fortunate Son was published in the fall of 1999, James Howard Hatfield spent a year researching and writing his biography on George W. Bush, which he titled "Lone Star Rising." Most political junkies knew that Bush and his father were plotting a return to power, and a massive money machine had been constructed in Texas for that purpose.

By 1998, Hatfield had been out of prison for four years and transformed his life. He'd fulfilled a childhood dream and become a published author, writing celebrity biographies and an encyclopedia on the X-Files. Now he wanted his agent to find a publishing house for the Bush book. St. Martin's Press signed a contract a few months later and told Hatfield the title would have to change. Eventually, they agreed on Fortunate Son, taken from a Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

By 1998, I'd spent a year living in Houston, attempting to investigate the Bush family. The Bush Presidential Library had just opened. I rented a cheap apartment and found a job writing for the alternative weekly The Public News.

I went to Houston hoping to uncover the truth behind President George H.W. Bush's last-minute pardon of Islam P. Adam, a Pakistani national who was caught smuggling $1.5 million worth of heroin. Why would President Bush pardon Adam on Jan. 18, 1993, two days before leaving office? The story received little press at the time. Unfortunately, the Bush Library did not have a copy of the pardon or any paperwork regarding Adam.

In Houston, there are contacts everywhere. The most fascinating source I met, Mr. Fly, had known the Bush family since 1962. Mr. Fly, a fighter pilot in World War II, was drafted into the Office of Strategic Services, and later became a CIA agent.

"The reason President Bush pardoned that heroin dealer was because he was dealing for the CIA. The drug cartels, the banks and these oil companies all back the Bush family. Look what happened in Texas since little Georgie took over. Any teenager in Texas can get all the hard drugs they want. They have this campaign in their back pocket. The real election is in the shadows of those sky-rise offices downtown."

Mr. Fly was referring to oil row, downtown Houston, were all the "big boys," Exxon, Mobil and Enron, the flashy new kid on the block, hold their board meetings. "You'll see, ain't nothing gonna stop them this time. These oil companies want to run everything. They're worse than the Nazis." The oil companies, Mr. Fly explained, rose to power on the toil and destruction of World Wars I and II, and with the help of the CIA, killed Kennedy and forced Johnson into Vietnam. What is so special about the Bush family? "It's the family network of power: Wall Street, the big banks and the CIA."

Mr. Fly met and socialized with George Herbert Walker Bush from 1962 until 1964. The reason corporate America backed Bush Sr. is because "he'll do whatever the big boys want. And so will his son."

"Infiltration is only one way to expose them," Mr. Fly informed me. "They'll only spill their guts if they trust you."

I thought about Mr. Fly's suggestion. After a few days of contemplation, I decided to give it a shot. I decided to pose as a Republican sympathizer. My father was active in the Republican Party since 1964, a Wall Street attorney and a financial backer of Reagan/Bush in 1980.

I called the office of former President Bush in Houston and requested an interview. His chief of staff, Michael Dannenhauer, called me back to give me the bad news.

"I'm sorry, President Bush will not be available for an interview," he told me.

"That's OK, to be honest I'm just floating until I find a better job. I moved to Texas because I thought it was so conservative, but the paper I got my job at might as well be the Village Voice," I replied." "They want me to find out why your boss pardoned some guy from Pakistan 48 hours before he left office. I'm sure it's all easily explained, but they see some scandal. Is there anyway you could look into it so I can get it off the table?"

"I'll see what I can do. Say, let's meet late next week for lunch?" said Dannenhauer.

Before the lunch, I smoked two joints, thinking it would make me appear relaxed, like I belonged on the inside. I walked into the parking lot of La Rochies, a Mexican café, and I saw Jimmy Alsobrook, a Public News photographer, waiting in his jeep. Dannenhauer drove up and parked his car. We shook hands and I opened the restaurant's front door ... slowly, so Jimmy could get a shot of us together.

I asked Dannenhauer if President Bush was bitter or held a grudge against Clinton for '92. We talked about a variety of issues, mostly about George W's impending bid for the White House. Dannenhauer gave me information not known to the public regarding W's use of intoxicating substances. Of course, the entire conversation was supposed to be kept "off the record."

The check came and Dannenhauer insisted on paying. As we walked out, he said I would be better off writing for a conservative magazine. He said he would make some calls "for any openings."

Dannenhauer, a loyal foot soldier for his boss, had betrayed George W. Bush. Why? The younger Bush revealed his arrogance to at least two reporters over the years. He verbally assaulted Wall Street Journal columnist Al Hunt and his wife in a Washington restaurant, and during the 2000 election he joked about executing Karla Faye Tucker to Talk's Tucker Carlson. Combine his ego with his job as "loyalty enforcer" for the Bush campaigns and you get pissed-off aides-like Dannenhauer.

Fortunate Son

By the spring of 1999, both Star Magazine and HIGH TIMES were considering the Dannenhauer story, but neither would run it, due to lack of a second source. The coke story was a buzz during the summer of 1999 and dogged George W. Bush wherever he went. "I'm not going to talk about it," he snapped at Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. Even Jay Leno was getting into the act, showing Bush stepping out of a limo with coke pouring into the street and placing his face on a mock cover of HIGH TIMES.

Late in August, George W. Bush still refused to talk about drugs. He claimed he was not going to give in to what he called "the politics of personal destruction." In Virginia he explained rather cryptically that he could pass his father's White House requirement that all employees be drug-free for at least 15 years. "Could I pass the challenge of a background check? My answer is absolutely."

The Bush campaign began to feel the heat politically. They even went so far as to try to shut down gwbush.com, a parody Website of the candidate. When asked about censorship, Bush replied that there "ought to be limits to freedom" when it comes to criticizing him personally.

That September, the Greenwich Village Gazette, a Web magazine, decided to post the Dannenhauer story regardless of a second source. They posted it on the 13th and didn't identify Dannenhauer by name. But after a phone call from one of their attorneys about a possible lawsuit due to there not being a second source, they pulled the story within hours. Nick Mamatas, a Gazette columnist who worked with me for months on the story, resigned in protest. "The coke story was all over the news, but when a real name was attached, like Dannenhauer, it became untouchable," says Mamatas.

Five weeks after the Dannenhauer story broke and was killed, a bolt of lighting hit the campaign trail. St. Martin's Press had leaked to the media that their new biography of George W. Bush, Fortunate Son by J.H. Hatfield, claimed Bush had been busted in Houston for cocaine possession. Their press release stated that Fortunate Son was "scrupulously corroborated." Publisher Thomas Dunne told a reporter the book was "carefully fact checked and scrutinized by lawyers."

In Hatfield's afterword, according to an unnamed source, "George W. was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972, but due to his father's connections, the entire record was expunged by a state judge whom the elder Bush helped get elected. It was one of those 'behind closed doors in the judges chambers' kind of thing between the old man and one of his Texas cronies."

Another source, who Hatfield named the "Eufaula Connection" and described as a "high-ranking adviser to Bush," confirmed the story, and also warned Hatfield to "Watch your back every step of the way. Without sounding paranoid I think I would be amiss if I didn't remind you that George's old man once worked for the CIA. W. has raised almost $60 million in a matter of only a few months and his corporate sponsors and GOP fat cats aren't going to roll over and play dead."

St. Martin's cut a deal with the New York Times for an exclusive cover story on Sunday, Oct. 17, and a two-day exclusive Hatfield interview for the Today Show. The Times wanted to know more about the unnamed sources. Hatfield refused to reveal their names and the story never appeared. Then the Today Show cancelled too.

St. Martins had printed 104,000 copies of Fortunate Son and shipped 89,000. News agencies were telling them "off the record" that the Bush campaign "was putting pressure on the media," and threatening to lock reporters who covered Fortunate Son out of the White House once Bush got in.

On Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 19, Hatfield took a call from Dallas Morning News reporter Pete Slover. Slover asked him about a 1987 failed car bombing, and a James Howard Hatfield who was sentenced to 15 years in the Texas prison system. Hatfield lied, "It's not me." After the conversation, Hatfield later recalled: "I had an uneasy feeling that efforts to get publicity for the book were going to succeed, but not as anyone at St. Martin's would have imagined."

Later in the afternoon, Thomas Dunne, who had spoken to Slover, called Hatfield into his office and shut the door. "I just got the strangest call. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, but I have to ask you." Hatfield again denied he was a felon." "By God," Dunne lamented, "Let's get this Slover bastard on the phone." Hatfield again denied his felony record to Slover.

That same afternoon, a Greenwich Village Gazette staffer called Michael Dannenhauer in Houston to ask about the comments he made regarding Bush's coke use. At first Dannenhauer denied ever meeting me. Then he said we met "years ago" before 1998 and before he was the elder Bush's chief of staff.

The next day, Hatfield saw the writing on the wall and flew home to Arkansas a day early to be with his wife and baby, who was born 12 days earlier. The next day, the Dallas Morning News splashed in bold headlines "AUTHOR ALLEGING BUSH DRUG ARREST REPORTEDLY A FELON." Now the media blackout was lifted, and the story about Hatfield and his felony conviction made global headlines. The Village Voice's Nat Hentoff, known as a militant anticensorship advocate, got whipped up by the corporate media mob and called for the burning of the book. But some media refused to join the mob. Time described the media as "vultures ... swooping down on the story. The cocaine allegations were relegated ... [while] new revelations about Hatfield allow the general media to pounce on the more sordid aspects of Fortunate Son."

Fortunate Son had a lot more that just a coke bust in it's final chapter. There was much more to the book than the media was letting on. Although Hatfield had written a upbeat, mainstream biography, it was scathing of W's shady business deals. It exposed James Bath, W's partner in Arbusto (Bush in Spanish) who also worked with the CIA, BCCI, and terrorist Osama bin Landin's family in Saudi Arabia. Hatfield also wrote about how W acquired the Texas Rangers, with other investors money who wanted access to his father's White House. There was also information about the SEC's investigation into W's selling of middle east oil stocks days before Saddam Hussian invaded Kuwait. Hatfield also uncovered more evidence of the Bush's family's anti-Semitism, when Bush Sr. broke off W's engagement to Cathryn Lee Wolfman, who's stepfather was half Jewish.

The explosion of media attention shot Fortunate Son up the best-seller lists, to #30 on the New York Times hardcover list and #8 on Amazon's "Top 100" list. But St. Martin's believed their credibility was on the line, and yanked Fortunate Son from the bookstores. Their legal staff claimed they had a "moral and legal obligation to make the book unavailable. The book should be pulled." To make matters worse, St. Martin's inflamed the censorship issue by stating the book was "furnace fodder." Even conservative columnist William O'Rourke was nauseated by their compliance with the Bush family's wishes, and wrote in the Chicago Sun Times, "since when are publishers on the side of book burners?"

New York Newsday was also disturbed. The media clubbing of Hatfield was "constitutionally upsetting." They questioned the idea that "allegations by an ex-convict are cause for withdrawing a book." The New York Times agreed. "People might not mind a former convict writing a book. The American dream expressed in both politics and literature is the dream of rebirth and redemption."

The one question the press did not ask, of course, was whether Bush had ever been arrested in the '70s under any pretext of intoxication?

On Oct. 21, Hatfield addressed the media circus swelling across his front lawn with "no comment," and dashed his wife and baby off to a friend's cabin. He sat in the cabin and reflected on his shattered career. He'd innocently assumed the truths in Fortunate Son would overshadow the fallout from his past.

But Hatfield had underestimated the power of the Bush family, the corporate press and the "big boys" in Texas, who were not about to let a felon-turned-author derail their chosen candidate with a coke-arrest allegation. Not only was Fortunate Son banned and burned, the press cut off all debate about Bush's coke use. There was however, one glitch the Bush family did not anticipate.

Soft Skull Press

Sander Hicks, publisher of Soft Skull Press in New York, read about the crash and burn of Fortunate Son in the New York Times on Saturday, Oct. 23. He was horrified and decided to republish Fortunate Son. "I thought if we could get this book back into print, the media would be on our side, because we were standing up against censorship," says Hicks.

Hicks began negotiating with Hatfield's agent, Richard Kurtus. Once Fortunate Son had a new publisher, Hatfield began plotting his comeback. He fought back in a press statement released to the Drudge Report. "Why does he continue to refuse to answer allegations about his past drug use? Rather than me, what is George W. Bush hiding in his past?"

Hicks, editor Nick Mamatas and I met in a rundown Ukrainian bar near the Hudson River. We talked about the absurdity of book censorship and the countless number of fraudulent Bill Clinton books published without scrutiny. "Toby," Hicks said, "I want you to write a new introduction to Fortunate Son. I want to you to write about Dannenhauer and what you know about the Bush family."

Meanwhile, on Thanksgiving, Hatfield told Hicks that one of his unnamed sources had found out Fortunate Son was going to be released again, and had told Hatfield he and his family were in serious danger.

In January 2000, Fortunate Son was released in paperback. The new edition included the controversial afterword, as well as the Dannenhauer story. The Sunday Times of London broke the Dannenhauer story, and a few days later, former President Bush removed the aide from his inner circle. For a brief moment, it felt as though the tide was turning.

Soft Skull agreed to give 60 Minutes an exclusive interview with Hatfield. Producer Jay Kernis promised the show would be fair. Hatfield told me later he'd been humiliated by the Texas Monthly's Christmas edition, which contained vicious attacks against him. Titled "BioHazard-Exposing the Disgraced Author of a Discredited Book on George W. Bush," it portrayed Hatfield almost as an evil force that needed to be destroyed.

Meanwhile, when 60 Minutes aired, Fortunate Son's new publisher was portrayed as being staffed by drugged-out minorities wearing hockey masks and listening to hip-hop. Hatfield told me the next morning he felt like a "whore in sailor town." He said he was going to "wind up in a ditch" if he continued to stay involved in politics.

Dallas Morning News reporter Pete Slover was also featured on 60 Minutes. I called Slover to ask how he'd discovered Hatfield's felony conviction. He said most of it was on publicdata.com. "But how did you get the mug shot?" I asked. He got defensive and refused to say.

Hatfield came to New York City to publicize Fortunate Son soon after the 60 Minutes show aired. He came looking for a fight. He was tired of being a media punching bag and wanted to swing back. He stood by his story about Bush's coke arrest.

When I met him for the first time, I saw the negative publicity was taking a toll. I told him if he could survive the Texas prison system, this would be easy. "I'm not so sure," he said. "But I'm not going to give up yet." But he added, "I'm a marked man." That afternoon, he gave Hicks the names of the three unnamed sources in the afterword. The next day Hatfield and Hicks were interviewed on Court TV. Hatfield talked about the death threats, Bush's coke bust and Dannenhauer.

Only weeks after Soft Skull Press republished Fortunate Son, the company and some major book-selling chains were slapped with a lawsuit. An employee at Powell's Books in Portland, OR told Soft Skull that stacks of the book were being stolen. Soft Skull's distributor, fearing they too would get sucked into the suit, squashed Fortunate Son's distribution. Once again, the book was suppressed, but this time without the publisher's approval or any media coverage. The lawsuit would eventually be settled, of course ... after the election.

Less then seven days before the election, a Fox News affiliate in Maine reported that George W. Bush had been arrested for drunk driving in 1976 and pled guilty a month later in court. At a press conference Bush admitted his arrest, but could not get the story straight.

Reporter: "Governor, was there any legal proceeding of any kind? Or did you just ..."
Bush: "No. I pled, you know, I said I was wrong and I ..."
Reporter: "In court?"
Bush: "No, there was no court. I went to the police station. I said, 'I'm wrong.'"

The ticket clearly had a court date, and a source claimed to have seen Bush in court.

According to a study by the Brookings Institute, media coverage during the election was overwhelmingly pro-Bush. One story the press got right early on was the description of the Bush campaign as a "juggernaut."

Dawn of the Dead
In the summer of 2001, Soft Skull Press published a third printing of Fortunate Son, and released the names of the alleged anonymous sources: Karl Rove-Bush's top political adviser-and Clay Johnson-also a member of W's current White House staff.

Karl Rove, who some say is the Bush family's "brain" has been in the inner circle since 1973 when he was cleared by Bush Sr. (then RNC chairman) of accusations of dirty tricks. Rove has been called by the Washington Post as a "whirling dervish" of over the top smear campaign tactics. It was Karl Rove who discovered Lee Atwater, the most notorious bad boy in the Bush league, who ripped Gary Hart's and Michael Dukakis campaign to shreds in 1988, with bimbo blondes and racist campaign commercials that forever changed the nation's political culture. Rove, who has a long history planting false stories to create political waves designed to benefit his candidate, was also apparently the unnamed source for a false leak about a photo of W dancing naked on top of a bar. Rove planted the false story in the Drudge report to raise the media's scandal bar. When the photo never surfaced the press ignored W's alcoholic past for the rest of the 2000 campaign.

Hatfield went to a Chicago book fair June 2. In his last interview, he reiterated his life was in danger. "They're gonna discredit me ... or silence me the best way they can... I'm in a very vulnerable position ... I've got two years left on parole ... they could say 'we searched your house back in Arkansas and we found weed.' And that's all it takes."

All it took was the Bentonville, Arkansas police to chase Hatfield off his property for allegedly obtaining illegal credit cards, and he was found dead in a motel the next day. On July 18, 2001, a Days Inn Motel maid in Springdale, Arkansas, unlocked a room on the third floor and found a dead body lying in bed. James Howard Hatfield had, according to police, overdosed on two prescription drugs and a bottle of vodka.

In a statement issued July 23, Sander Hicks said that Hatfield "was on the verge of collapse due to financial difficulties," in part due to the commercial failure of Fortunate Son. The publisher also blamed the American media for focusing on Hatfield's checkered past instead of following up his "piercing inquiries" into Bush's drug history.

"Jim Hatfield's death, in part, on the hands of an imperious American media establishment that reserves the softest touch money can buy for George W. Bush and all sons of privilege," Hicks concluded. "Jim Hatfield, a working-class journalist unanointed by the media elite, was viciously made into an example."

The Springdale police, along with the press, ruled Hatfield's death a suicide, but many believe otherwise, including Mr. Fly. "There is no question he was murdered. I don't care what the police say, the goddamn police are owned," said Mr. Fly. "You get close to, and turn up something bad on Karl Rove, that will get you killed right there."

What happened to Hatfield and Fortunate Son will go down in history as another chapter in the quest for power by the most powerful family in America. It started in August 1999, when Clay Johnson falsely told Hatfield about Bush's cocaine arrest and Karl Rove confirmed it. They knew Hatfield was a felon, and wanted to muddy the waters around Bush's cocaine use. When Fortunate Son was released, the Bush team blew Hatfield, as well as the cocaine charges, out of the water. It was a brilliantly executed campaign, and the people who orchestrated it are firmly back in power.

This article originally appeared in High Times Magazine.

Sex and the Stoner

For centuries, the human race has heightened carnal bliss with cannabis. In fact, many people can't imagine having sex any other way. Is that a problem?

Remember that scene from the movie Annie Hall? Diane Keaton and Woody Allen start to get romantic, but she puts a momentary hold on things so she can smoke some pot in order to more fully enjoy the experience? She can't get into it without the weed.

Woody protests. "Grass. The illusion that it will make a white woman more like Billie Holiday," he says. "I don't know why you have to every time we make love."

Reluctantly, she allows him to take the joint out of her hand. They start the process, but things go downhill. She proceeds to leave her body, get out of bed and contemplate the couple in bed with indifference from a chair across the room. Woody is hard-pressed to get a rise out of his partner.

"You seem sort of distant," he observes.
"Let's just do it, all right?" she sighs.
"Is it my imagination or are you just going through the motions?" he inquires.
"You have my body."
"But I want the whole thing!"

People who love pot love that scene, because the little drama is rooted in truth. Dr. Lester Grinspoon, the revered Harvard Medical School professor and marijuana proponent, talks about a patient he once treated "who felt marijuana was so important to his sexual experience that he no longer wanted to have sex without marijuana."

He adds, "It caused some difficulty, because his wife was very much opposed to marijuana. She liked sex, but she didn't like the idea that he needed marijuana for it. It was a question of how to work it out so he could have marijuana without her being exposed to it."

In strict medical terms, Dr. Grinspoon states that cannabis is not an aphrodisiac. However, millions of stoners beg to differ. There is certainly enough historical precedent to classify it as such. Five thousand years ago, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung -- known as "the wise healer" -- noted hemp's medicinal properties for improved sex. Marijuana was a common ingredient in aphrodisiac formulas prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine of the Hindus in 1000 BC. Pot also has a place in Tantric sex practices. The Greeks were divided on the subject of cannabis and the sex drive. Dioscorides advised using the juice of marijuana seeds for treating low libido, but Galen and Pliny wrote that too much juice could cause impotence.

But let's not get off the subject. No one is munching on pot seeds to attain a pleasure boost. It's the smoke that makes sex great (or eaten THC, take your pick) and stoners have known it for years. You can find references to pot's effect on sexuality described in Arabian Nights. In 1850, Frederick Hollick published Marriage Guide, in which readers were advised to use hashish as a sexual stimulant if their marriages were in trouble. In 1867, Louisa May Alcott, author of the American classic Little Women, wrote about the aphrodisiac properties of hashish in "Perilous Play." One character advised the "bashful man to take hashish when he wants to offer his heart to any fair lady, for it will give him the courage of a hero, the eloquence of a poet, and the ardor of an Italian." A century later, a survey conducted at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic reported that marijuana was the substance most cited as being the one most often chosen "to make sex better."

"Marijuana can be very helpful," says Dr. Peter Gardos, a licensed clinical psychologist and possibly the Internet's most popular online sex therapist, proffering advice at the Oxygen, About, Thrive and My Pleasure Websites. "Things can be so greatly changed by just loosening up a bit. That might mean lighting up. People have so many hang-ups, so many concerns. They're worried about their performance, they're worried about their partner and on and on. There is something called 'spectatoring,' which is an all-too-common situation. It's like you're in a dream state instead of being in the here and now, part of the experience. It's almost as if you're a couple of steps behind yourself, almost watching yourself. That can really detract from your enjoyment and the enjoyment of your partner. Whatever you can do that can get you in touch with the experience is helpful. Of the clients I've heard from who have used it for sexual enhancement, I've heard very few negative comments."

But pot-smokers who devoutly swear by stoned sex go even further. "It's the orgasm," claims Claire, a 22-year-old Denver college student. "The first time I got high, I couldn't believe it. It was a crashing sensation, like glass breaking in my brain. And what everybody calls the afterglow was like my own private show. I just lay there watching my mind spin random thoughts out as if they weren't even mine. I was completely unhooked from normal thought patterns. It was fabulous."

For others it's the details, the textures, the nuances of sensation they never were quite aware of when they were straight. "Oral sex is amazing when you're high," says Gary, a 30-year-old construction worker. "When I was younger, before I really got into pot, I wasn't that crazy about going down on a woman. I didn't mind receiving, but, I don't know, it just wasn't my thing. But then I was with this great girl and we were hitting it off. She had pot, I took a few puffs, one thing led to another. I don't know. Things sure changed. Now I kind of feel equal on both ends of the bargain."

Dr. Gardos says that's not surprising. "One of the funny, ironic things about people who are so concerned with pleasing their partner -- what their partners want -- is that it's actually not the best approach to pleasing your partner. Most people say what turns them on the most, what they really enjoy the most, is knowing that their partner is having a good time and that they're into it. People who are excessively focused on doing everything for their partner seem to be the people whose partners say sex isn't that fun."

It's hard to generalize about any human behavior, especially when it comes to sex, but one of marijuana's more surprising attributes is its ability to quell premature ejaculation in men. It's not fully understood why, but marijuana seems to allow the male to change pace and become more attuned to sensation and the rhythms of his body. Premature ejaculation is an anxiety response. In short, marijuana seems to reduce the anxiety.

For others, marijuana is more. It enables sex. The late, great marijuana-rights attorney Ralph Seely, who battled cancer until his death earlier this year, spoke openly about pot and its medicinal properties for sex. "I can have sex without pain after taking just a couple of puffs of pot in my pipe. This is dangerous?"

It comes down to the question of sexual satisfaction. Are we all not entitled -- male, female, young, old, healthy, physically disadvantaged or chronically ill? Isn't it a reasonable expectation? And if we can bolster our confidence a bit with a bong hit, are we truly hurting anyone?

Probably not, but it is good to remember that marijuana can induce what we can politely call "moments of the extreme" -- a little psychic mayhem. A couple who spent their honeymoon in Negril, Jamaica bought a space cake on the beach and split half of it. They retired to their room for some hot afternoon sex. The huge dose of ganja in the cake went to work. The bride recalls, "It was scary. Just scary. I don't know, it was so wild and he didn't look like himself anymore." The new husband agreed. "Man, I don't know what was going on, but it was out there. Just incredible, out of this world. I couldn't see straight. Everything was swirling."

They both collapsed for 15 hours following their mystical romp with the ganja spirits. The next day they looked at each other somewhat shyly, but in wonder. "We both knew that we had gone through this sex trip together and I think that brought us closer together," she says. "But I would never eat space cake again. Ever!"

Space cake aside, pot does not produce whacked-out, mind-blowing sex with normal doses.

Of course, it can. But it's more a matter of what you bring to the bedroom.

Dr. Grinspoon calls the effect of marijuana on the sexual experience "subtle." Dr. Gardos cites "mindset, setting, what you're expecting out of it and how you use it" as being key in creating better sex with cannabis. He continues: "Most people just need to relax and realize they're normal. It's the underpinning of eighty percent of my questions. People worry about what they're doing. They believe that what they're enjoying may not be normal. It's a prevailing theme."

But back to Annie Hall. What about those sex partners who think that stoned sex isn't "normal," those who prefer that both parties be straight when engaged in a naked romp?

"Generally, the odds aren't good that the couple will stay together," says a New York-based couples therapist. "Smoking pot is representative of a certain lifestyle, a way of dealing with life. Everyone chooses their release. But people who have issues with pot-smoking, whether it involves sex or not, seem to hold their beliefs very strongly. Maybe they know someone who has a problem with drugs, maybe someone in their family. Then there are the legal risks. These are legitimate concerns. To abstain from smoking marijuana to honor someone else's feelings is a sacrifice. It's up to the individual to make such a gesture a success."

Triple XXX Taboo

The correlations are undeniable, yet some feminists and heads just don't get it.

First and foremost, smut and sativa embody the American struggle for freedom from "orifice legislation." The government should not have the right to regulate what consenting adults willingly put into their orifices, whether it's a joint, a penis, a pot brownie or a fist. If it feels good and nobody gets hurt, what's the big deal? Everyone should have the right to pursue harmless pleasure, self-expression and profit without facing dire social repercussions and legal consequences.

"Pot and porn are both, in different ways, something that people feel very, very strongly about," declares 24-year-old businesswoman Alana Evans, basking in a puddle of California sunshine on her white Berber carpet. "I think most people believe we should have the right to make up our own minds. Unfortunately, the people who oppose pot and porn seem to be the ones making the rules."

Alana is ambitious, socially conscious -- and she's a porn star. She enthusiastically promotes Six Shooter pipes alongside her videos at trade shows and concerts, and markets a line of ultra-feminine glass waterpipes that she and her life-partner, Chris Evans, have designed to make her self-medication for a painful stomach disorder more aesthetically pleasing.

"We're both fighting for someone to hear what we think, to hear what we have to say," Alana says. "The fact is there are a lot more of us who believe porn and pot should be legal than don't."

"We try to utilize everything that we've got going on to make this collaborative effort to push both the porn and hemp issues, and the social causes we believe in," Chris reveals. He is also an adult-film performer.

It's no secret that adult-industry professionals are capitalizing on the demographic that embraces marijuana. Porn and pot consumers are generally young, open-minded men. At the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas last January, Zydot hawked detox products next to the "make your own dildo" booth. Anal diva Bridgette Kerkove and her husband, Skeeter, have a video series called Bongs and Thongs. Misty Rain and Seymore Butts both shoot in Amsterdam regularly. Last year, Hustler Video teamed up with Snoop Doggy Dogg to make pot-laden Doggystyle the first porn to hit the Billboard video charts. The promoters of the Cypress Hill Smokeout regularly court adult talent and companies to participate in their shows. Would you expect less? "Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" has been the motto of the counterculture for years.

Ironically, one of the most eloquent advocates of legalization in the adult industry doesn't smoke. "To me, the issue isn't about whether pot is good or bad, dangerous or safe, moral or immoral," says Quasarman, an online adult columnist and the director of Metro Video's "Stop! My Ass Is on Fire" series.

"To me it's about personal freedom. Should the state hold the power to dictate to its citizens what they can or cannot smoke, drink, or read or decide in which manner they should have sex? The answer is obviously no. Yet too many people are unwilling to accept responsibility for, and the consequences of, their actions."

"There are many things in our society that are far more dangerous than drugs or pornography and yet are perfectly legal, alcohol and tobacco being the two most obvious," he continues. "Personally, pot makes me paranoid, panic-stricken and causes me to feel a complete loss of control. I abstain from its use, a logical and sensible choice. If pornography offended me, I simply wouldn't watch it. Unfortunately a very vocal group of moralist crusaders have undertaken the formidable task of childproofing the United States of America."

For decades, the porn industry has been at the forefront of the war to protect the First Amendment. Pornographers like Larry Flynt, brothers Jim and Artie Mitchell, Al Goldstein and Reuben Sturmann have been jailed, fined and ostracized for expressing themselves in a controversial manner. Is it any wonder they feel a synergy with those fighting against the War on Drugs?

"Not really," says Mike South, the owner of a successful adult-video production company. "The issues are identical -- attempts to legislate that which cannot be legislated -- namely, desire," drawls the gentlemanly East Coast smut peddler. "Whether it's a desire to get high or sexual desire, if something poses no threat to another person's life, liberty, prosperity or pursuit of happiness, it should not be illegal."

"I think most people perceive pot as somewhat benign when compared to the present litany of hardcore chemicals available," says Gloria Leonard, from her home in Hawaii. This retired performer had a 16-year run as the publisher of High Society magazine and has been an outspoken board member on the adult industry's lobbyist group, the Free Speech Coalition. She is a die-hard toker. "Furthermore," she adds, "pot is certainly used more widely by all socioeconomic circles than ever. Another shared nuance of pot and porn is that most folks won't publicly cop to using either."

Chris Evans agrees: "Both pot and porn share the same hypocrisy. People will enjoy partaking in something, but will claim that they don't. Many people prefer to keep their habits in the closet."

"Many people don't know that I smoke, because I'm such a businesswoman in this industry. People know me as being sharp," Jackie Lick says while hitting a pungent doob. "I smoke, and I'm probably one of the most motivated people you're ever going to meet." When Lick isn't writing copy for her Internet radio show (ksex.com) or checking on sales figures for her personal line of whips and dildos, she teaches kickboxing. One would never suspect that the petite, conservatively dressed brunette is a Cannabis Cup regular who runs a host of erotic Web sites.

"The thing I like least about the adult industry is the way society looks at it," Lick says. "The way society treats you or sees you because of it. There's a real love/hate thing between the fans and the performers. They love you because they love to watch you, but they hate you because they can't have you or feel guilty watching you -- one or the other. It's a harsh reality sometimes."

"When I first started in the business, some people no longer wanted to be my friend," recalls Alana. "Even now we have friends whose girlfriends won't allow them to hang out with us, not knowing me at all. Sometimes I'm ridiculed," she says with frustration. "And regardless of what I might say, people stay fixed in their opinions. But sometimes I'm able to educate. The first question is always about sexually transmitted diseases. Well, I'm tested every 30 days by a PCR/DNA test for HIV that can tell me within one week of contact that the person I'm having sex with is either negative or positive. We keep as much of a tight grip on it as we can."

"The level of professionalism can be high or low depending on the individual, but we all basically follow certain etiquette," Chris elaborates. "And that includes HIV testing. If someone were positive, the whole industry would know, and everybody that had come in contact with him or her would be quarantined."

The overwhelming majority of adult performers are screened at Adult Industry Medical in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. Adult-film stars like Sharon Mitchell and Chloe volunteer their time to run the clinic, and unlike private physicians, AIM does not adhere to doctor/patient confidentiality guidelines. If an outbreak of STDs surfaces in the industry, all of the production companies are immediately notified, sometimes by way of adult Internet gossip sites. Performers who haven't been tested within the past 30 days are likewise called out.

Like an unconventional family, the porn industry polices itself. There are no secrets here. If someone in the talent pool starts using hard drugs on a regular basis, their work schedule will dwindle away. They are generally encouraged to clean up their act and conduct themselves professionally. Pot, however, is rarely an issue on the set.

"In the bigger companies, it's mostly talent and crew smoking," Raylene confides. She is an award-winning contract girl for Vivid, the largest, highest-profile American porn-production company. "But in the smaller companies, it runs the gamut from directors to the company presidents to the grips. They're all smoking weed."

"I've never been on a set where there was a problem because someone was too stoned," Alana says. "But alcohol? Oh yeah. People get belligerent, it causes longer days, people can get hurt."

"I often found pot helped me loosen up before a scene," Gloria Leonard reminisces. "Occasionally, I would offer a toke or two to the male performers who invariably passed, saying it diminished their capacity to focus and/or function. Nowadays however, drug usage by performers seems de rigueur, with many directors giving either tacit, nonchalant approval, or in some cases, even providing it."

But not everybody accepts. "I don't like it when I'm working," says Misty Rain. She and her partner, Chad, attend the Cannabis Cup every year and have their own production company. "I've taken hits now and then and regretted it. I'd get more intimidated. It heightens whatever you're feeling, and I'd be even more nervous. I need my concentration. If I have to remember lines, forget it. They want to shoot quickly and move on, so if you have to say the same thing over and over again for like an hour, they're kind of like 'Oh my God!' But hey! Everybody's different, so to each his own, right?"

"I have a funny story about pot," says Lick. "I was on a Vivid movie, on the set for hours, waiting and waiting, bored off my ass. So I cruised out to my car to smoke a little. It was the second day of filming. Right then they decided to do my scene, and they caught me smoking in my car. So I came back in and I had to do dialogue. The director kept cutting me and cutting me. Finally he accuses me, 'Did you go smoke some pot in your car?' I said, 'yeah.' He goes 'well, it's really messing your dialogue up. You did a lot better yesterday.' I replied, 'I was more stoned yesterday.' He just looked at me and muttered, 'I guess you're the exception to the rule,' and stalked off."

Marijuana on porn sets usually produces a problem of a much different nature, however, for both men and women. "I like to take the edge off before a scene," Chris laughs, "but you know, it's really funny, I actually had a girl tell me one time -- I was working with her, and went down on her. She asked, "Do you have cottonmouth?' I was like, 'Yeah, I do.' So she said, 'well, drink some water, would you!'"

"Most of the time when I'm doing sex scenes, I'm stoned, but cottonmouth is an issue. That's why you always have a PA [production assistant] standing by with water," Tom Byron says matter-of-factly. A veteran of the industry since 1982 -- the Golden Age of Porn -- Byron gleefully and intentionally pushes the boundaries of propriety and free speech by releasing some of the nastiest, most hardcore product on the market. The company that he co-owns, Extreme Associates, is the black sheep of the porn community because of their stubborn refusal to tone down their content in the face of the Bush/Ashcroft administration. He and his partner, Rob Black (who ran for mayor in Los Angeles last year) have even been accused of trying to provoke an obscenity bust so they can become the "Larry Flynts of the next generation." They may not have to wait much longer.

"Ever since Bush took office, people have been getting busted, the companies have been breaking out ridiculous rules, and the [local] authorities have come in and seized a bunch of tapes, looking for what they deem to be obscene," laments Chris. The rules to which he refers are commonly known as the "Cambria List" or the "Whitebread Memo." Around the same time that George W. was slithering into the White House, several of the largest companies -- Vivid, Video Team and Hustler among them -- met with their fire-breathing First Amendment attorney, Paul Cambria, who has represented Marilyn Manson, Larry Flynt and most of the major players in porn. His clients asked what kinds of things most frequently brought on obscenity busts, and his answer rocked the industry. What began as an interoffice memo at Vivid, outlining changes in box-cover art, was quickly misconstrued as guidelines for video production. Shoots were cancelled. Directors like Max Hardcore were dropped. Thousands of videos were recalled and re-edited. The talent was outraged.

"No pissing," the Cambria List read.

"No fisting."

"No messy facials."

And the most controversial -- no black men with white women.

"Porn stars are generally trying to break down walls," Chandler says angrily, in a departure from her normally upbeat tone. She's a girlish-looking veteran of adult films and speaks sharply about the Cambria List. "Some companies have made rules -- no interracial scenes. Why should we be condoning that? I walked off a set because of interracial comments, and I actually got a phone call from Mr. Marcus thanking me for doing it."

Like many black male performers in the business, Mr. Marcus has found his work schedule a bit leaner in the current political climate. The Cambria List was a slap in the face from which he and many others still sting.

"It's ridiculous," Chandler continues. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. There is not someone standing on the bed with a gun to your head going, 'You have to do this!' If you don't want to do something or someone, you DON'T have to do it. We all make our own decisions."

Raylene furrows her brow in an uncharacteristic display of seriousness. "You can't let anyone push you into a sexual situation, ever. EVER! It's disruptive and disturbing and it hurts your soul. You have to be very, very strong to be in this business, or it will eat you up inside."

There are other job hazards as well. Daisy Chain, another successful star, confides: "I had my first stalker. I walked out to my car in front of my house. Someone had taken a little bar of hotel soap and written on it, 'Daisy Chain, go get cleaned up.' That freaked me out a little." She tosses her long blond hair to the side, and lightly strums a guitar.

She, Raylene and Chandler are good friends, and have just formed an all-girl band. They are resilient women, but still, porn can be a lightning rod for weirdness. "I had someone e-mail me my own address once," says Raylene soberly.

Generally, the problems in the industry are of a less alarming nature. "It's a rough business to be in. It's all how you take it, how you position yourself," says Misty Rain quietly. "I kept one foot on the ground. I found my niche in it, and it was cool. I've had so many blessings in my career that I'd never want someone else's. If you can think like 'Hey, this is fun. I may not ever be the most popular one in the world, I'm never going to be a household name, but I'll still have a good time at my job and like it,' then it's not so bad. There's a lot of competition. That's the rough part -- petty, little things that come out, contract negotiations, gossip. It can tear you apart, and I think this is true in mainstream entertainment as well."

"But you know, I like the traveling," she states firmly. "I really never thought I'd travel too much. I wanted to go places, but I thought, 'Oh well, maybe not in my life.' But then I started to travel and -- wow! What a trippy world! We've been going to Amsterdam for seven years now. We shoot Worldwide Sex there about every six weeks. I've been all over Europe. That's my favorite part -- having a good lifestyle, being able to travel."

"Porn has allowed me to expand myself sexually," explains Lick. "I've had a lot of sexual experiences that I would never have had on my own. Without a director setting it up, it probably never would've happened. So I'm thankful for that."

"As with everything, it's a very individual and personal decision," Chris Evans says. "If you can deal with the difficult stuff, you can reap the rewards of having an open mind. For me it works. But both Alana and I have to deal with jealousies and insecurities."

"And he's a pervert, so that helps," laughs Alana.

But back to the issues: sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Rock'n'roll certainly hasn't gone away. Could porn and pot be the next controversial issues in American culture to become an accepted part of the mainstream?

Porn is a $10 billion per year industry and has forged major inroads, especially with the advent of video. In Southern California, the San Fernando Valley is jokingly referred to as "Porn Valley" and for good reason. Three out of five shooting permits issued there are for adult-film productions, and the industry generates millions for the local economy. The Los Angeles Times has even assigned a beat writer to cover the scene. However, the future of legal pot in America is a little cloudier.

"I think porn has a greater chance of deregulation, given its widespread availability," predicts Gloria Leonard. "Internet sites and chat rooms, videos, DVDs, magazines, cable and satellite TV, hotel rooms and the integration of steamy scenes and porn stars in so-called mainstream projects all give rise to porn as an integral part of our cultural landscape. Pot, on the other hand, as recently evidenced by the 8-0 Supreme Court vote on medical marijuana, has a long, hard row to hoe. I had always expected that during my lifetime, this would have changed, but it hasn't."

But she adds: "Hope reigns eternal in the heart of a true head!"

Ashley Kennedy has written for Larry Flynt Publications and was an associate editor at Adult Video News. She currently resides in San Francisco. This article originally appeared in High Times Magazine.

Drug Reform California Style

California's Proposition 36, a state voter initiative designed to divert 36,000 small-time drug offenders a year from incarceration to treatment, passed overwhelmingly last November. Drug reformers hailed the bill as a landmark move but, as with all legislation, the devil is in the details. When it was inaugurated on July 1, each of the state's 58 counties was charged with drafting its own implementation plan. Because control is localized, some counties are still emphasizing punishment over treatment.

At least that's the case made by the Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation, one of the main Prop. 36 proponents. In late June, the private, non-profit reform organization released a formal assessment of 11 California counties, containing 75% of the state's population, are implementing Prop. 36. The assessment uses a traditional 'A' through 'F' letter grading system. While some counties go to the head of the class -- primarily San Francisco and San Mateo -- San Bernardino received a failing grade, and Sacramento, San Diego and Santa Clara just squeaked by.

The Lindesmith Center judged the counties based on whether they followed the "will of the voters." That is, do the counties approach first- or second-time drug offenders with a public health model, or is the criminal justice tail wagging the treatment dog? The counties that got a Lindesmith 'A' or 'B,’ including Alameda, Orange and Los Angeles, sought to remove drug offenders from the criminal justice system. Counties get low grades when too much money was devoted to supervision through their probation departments.

The struggle over divvying up $660 million over the next five years in guaranteed, locked box state funds is as basic as it gets. "This is a fight over money and jobs and operational control, yes," said Lindesmith's Prop. 36 implementation director, Whitney A. Taylor. "A shift of resources from one official body to another, from law enforcement to public health."

Chronically under-funded probation departments have requested up to two-thirds of Prop. 36 monies, though they typically have marginal oversight of non-violent users. Similarly under-funded treatment providers are eager to slice the pie otherwise, mindful that one traditional way for them to access funds has been to get into bed with the criminal justice system. Speaking at the annual Lindesmith conference, held this June in Albuquerque, Dorsey Nunn, program director of San Francisco's Legal Services for Prisoners with Children declared, "That half-a-billion dollars -- it doesn't belong to the police. I don't care if the cops ever get new police cars."

California Governor Gray Davis opposed the initiative and adopted a hands-off approach after its passage, despite the fact that California's drug incarceration rate (115 per 100,000 population) is more than twice the national average. Given that incarceration costs some $24,000 a year while treatment averages $4,000, diverting 36,000 offenders annually will provide an estimated $1.5 billion savings in the law enforcement and corrections budgets over the program's five-year life. (There's also a projected one-time, $500-million savings from not having to build a new prison.)

Despite the large savings, there's been much grumbling at the county level that the $660 million will prove insufficient to the task. Dell Sayles-Owen, deputy director of California's Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) admitted that the state doesn’t know in an "empirical way" how much will be needed to effectively implement Prop. 36, "and there are fears among some of our stakeholders in the counties that it won't be enough."

The state ADP department provided scant concrete guidance in drafting the plans, though it did subsequently approve them. Given the regulatory vacuum, each of California's 58 counties was free to divvy up its share of the money. Taylor stated, "The state ADP took such a hands-off approach, we basically have 58 different plans. Even a simple state cap on the percentage allocated for non-treatment expenses would have been worthwhile."

That view was not echoed by Sayles-Owens. Referring to the division of monies between treatment and supervision, she said, "The law doesn't specify, nor do our regulations specify. Local decisions are left to the counties on how much to allocate to criminal justice versus treatment."

Therefore, this spring’s contest will be fought annually at the county level, with probation departments, the cops and the courts struggling to maintain budgetary and operational control, and Prop. 36 advocates striving to enforce what they view as voters' intent to beef up California's treatment infrastructure. As Taylor told the recent Lindesmith conference, "There are 58 different fights in 58 counties. Opponents of Prop. 36 -- judges, prosecutors, sheriffs -- in each county you have the foxes guarding the hen house."

California’s expected battles over Prop 36 bear watching as Americans grow ever-wearier of locking up their sons and fathers, mothers and daughters in a 30-year drug war that shows no signs of ending. The same troika of millionaire drug reformers -- George Soros, Peter Lewis and John Sperling -- who backed the initiative (Soros also funds Lindesmith) has indicated they intend to push similar treatment-over-incarceration ballot initiatives in Michigan, Florida and Ohio in the 2002 elections. Given that an ABC News poll found that 69% of Americans favor treatment over jail for first and second time drug offenders, similar initiatives could soon succeed around the country, as did the medical marijuana initiatives funded by the three men. Even President Bush has called for $1.6 billion in new federal money for drug treatment.

While issuing letter grades is a nice conceptual technique, appealing to the press and public alike, a private group's ability to steer recalcitrant counties in their direction remains to be seen. Sayles-Owen said that one county she declined to identify called her, concerned about Lindesmith's critique, but it was a moot point since she'd approved its plan that very day. Regardless of the response, Lindesmith certainly plans on invoking last November's huge Prop. 36 victory. Taylor said, "With 61% of the vote, you can afford to throw your weight around."

Asked about the utility of a private group trying to shape a public law, Taylor said, "We were among the original proponents of Prop. 36. We don't want to be seen as a group that helps institute new laws and then leaves without trying to guarantee success." Noting that the counties will retool their plans with each annual appropriation, Taylor added, "We want to try to help voters take action with this information." Toni Moore, Sacramento County Alcohol and Drug Administrator, declared Lindesmith's effort interesting, and said she understood their interest and motivation since they're, "in essence, the authors of Prop. 36, they want to see it as they envisioned it."

Lindesmith’s report card analyzed each county’s plans based on four parameters. The first was the proportion of money earmarked for treatment versus non-treatment costs such as probation, law enforcement and the courts. They declare that 17%, or $20 million, is "sufficient to supplement established county administrative and criminal justice systems." Money beyond that 17% figure is "stolen from treatment and endangers the success of Prop. 36."

The second parameter was the availability of various treatment options, including education and prevention, outpatient treatment and halfway houses, methadone therapy, in-patient treatment and detox. (Literacy training and family and vocational counseling are also to be provided under Prop. 36 funds when needed.)

"Docs or cops" is what Lindesmith terms the third parameter: the relative operational prominence of public health versus law enforcement. That is, do public health professionals take the lead in assessment and case management? Lindesmith asserts that Prop. 36 shifts the locus of responsibility for eligible offenders from prosecutors, judges, probation and corrections to public health officials, and that this redefinition of respective roles requires law enforcement to defer to public health. Taylor said, "We have to make sure that Prop. 36 is not just co-opted into the criminal justice system and that it doesn't just become another drug war tool."

Sayles-Owen said that responsibility will depend on the quality of the working relationship among the various public officials in individual counties. "Prop. 36 is a sentencing law change, and it's appropriate that the criminal justice system is heavily involved."

One important component of this question is whether urine testing is used as a therapeutic tool or to kick someone out of the program or revoke probation. Undue emphasis on urine tests may just mean more of the same for addicts: two or three failed tests and you're out. Taylor asserts that treatment professionals typically know when clients are still using, and that urine tests should be used, not to kick someone out of a program, but to parade their continued dependence before them. The issue provoked defiant, albeit informal, talk at the Lindesmith conference of treatment providers just plain failing to inform probation departments of failed drug tests. Treatment advocates worry that even a couple of failed tests will revoke a clients' probation and send him or her off to jail for one to three years.

The fourth parameter is community involvement, including whether publicized community forums were held and whether the task forces that drew up the implementation plans included public health officials and even "consumers." Membership on the 58 task forces and their subsequent decisions didn’t come easy. As Taylor told the conference, "Treatment professionals were on the task forces drawing up the county plans, but they lacked power compared to the law enforcement folks fighting for a piece of the money."

Extra credit, not reflected in the overall grade, was given to Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Francisco counties since their district attorneys issued sentencing guidelines which hopefully will lessen the sort of deliberate over-sentencing that makes defendants ineligible. Offenders convicted of anything from an ill-defined intent-to-distribute charge, to resisting arrest, to even loitering or trespassing in some derelict crackhouse, are ineligible for Prop. 36 diversion. As for marijuana, California potheads convicted of possession of personal-use amounts typically don't face any jail time.

Taylor told the Lindesmith conference, "It's up to the DA what constitutes personal use. If you have only two grams, but it's in two separate baggies, that can be said to be intent to distribute."

Said Doug McVay, research director for the Washington, D.C. reform group, Common Sense for Drug Policy, "California has a horribly racially biased and unbalanced criminal justice system." Given no articulated demarcation between possession and dealing, "I imagine that most Prop. 36 defendants will be white. Prosecutors have that discretion, and it gets abused."

Sayles-Owen would only say cryptically: "There is the possibility of behavior-changing effects of Prop. 36. Will DAs continue to charge cases the same way? My observation to that is we were told we'll see changes. The law says who is eligible. The big question mark is decisions regarding plea bargaining." She would not specify what changes in DA behavior she anticipates.

Dorsey Nunn, who's African-American, was less cryptic. He told the Lindesmith conference, "The DA is not going to jump up and down and sprinkle frou-frou dust on my homeboys."

By all these criteria, the 11 counties fall under a pretty classic bell curve: San Francisco got an 'A' and San Mateo an 'A-.' Alameda and Orange counties got 'Bs' and Los Angeles a 'B-.' Fresno and Riverside got 'Cs'; and Santa Clara and San Diego 'D+s.' Sacremento sleazed by with a 'D.' Finally, the sole 'F,' Lindesmith declared that San Bernardino "fails voters," and lacks any "commitment to quality treatment." Rather, with an undue "bolstering of criminal justice programs," it has "an implementation plan that is likely to fail."

Sayles-Owen did acknowledge, "The first year will be very telling, and we reserve the right to look at performance and local decisions." In reply to a question, she declared the whole effort "quite the experiment, yes."

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