Local GOP Flack Thinks The Suffering of Others is Funny

Oh, medical marijuana.  Let’s make some pot-smoking hippie jokes and then tell some lies.  Woo hoo. Won’t that be funny?

I know the audience shared by Bill Hobbs and me is very small, but, on the off-chance that you’re here after googling “Bill Hobbs” and “medical marijuana,” please, let me refute a few of his nonsense claims.

The big one:

The legislation is a big fave with the hippie pot-smokers and ’60s refugees on the Left, of course. I guess they figure that legal pot-smoking + universal health care would = a realization of everything they fought for at Woodstock: Free weed for everybody, man.You think government is expensive now, just wait ’til the Woodstock generation has an unlimited supply of weed paid for by the tax dollars of the non-pot-smokers who actually have jobs.

This will take some parsing, but let’s just start with the “Who smokes pot” issue.  The .gov puts teen pot usage at between one in four and one in five kids.  NORML says that 80 million people in the U.S. have smoked pot, which is just about one in four people.  According to them, last year, twenty million people smoked pot.

Does Bill Hobbs really believe that one in four people are hippies and ’60s refugees on the left?  No, wait, he’s talking about decriminalizing marijuana here in Tennessee.  I want to know if Bill Hobbs really believes that one in four Tennesseans are hippies and ’60s refugee leftists?

Worse yet, is this the public voice of the GOP claiming that one in four Tennesseans don’t have jobs?  Maybe it’s me, but I don’t think that’s something I’d be bragging about if I were involved in the state government in any way.

Second, do you suppose that, whenever Bill Hobbs writes a screed, that he ever goes back to look and see if it’s internally consistant?

In one paragraph he says:

As written, though, the Democrat legislation would make it extremely easy for just about anyone to get a prescription from their doctor allowing them to grow marijuana – which is, you know, the real goal of the bill. [emphasis mine]

and in the paragraph I quoted above he says

You think government is expensive now, just wait ’til the Woodstock generation has an unlimited supply of weed paid for by the tax dollars of the non-pot-smokers who actually have jobs. [again, emphasis mine]

I hate to even spell it out, it’s so obvious.  But, if pot-smoking hippies can grown their own pot, no tax dollars need go towards paying for that supply.  I know the GOP, over the last eight years has claimed to be the party of smaller government and less spending, while at the same time actually spending money like it was going out of style and growing the government to unprecidented proportions, and I know that, as we work our way back to sanity and to a place where words have their agreed-upon meaning, there’s going to be some cognitave dissonance while folks on the right get back in touch with reality, but please!  This is just too much.  If a person is paying for his or her own treatment, there is no cost to the tax payers. 

That’s why you righties claim to stand opposed to universal healthcare in the first place–so that tax payers will not have to pay for the healthcare of others (never mind all the ways in which we already do).  If the GOP in this state is confused by the concept of “money coming out of my pocket to pay for things I need” not being the same as “government subsidized healthcare” y’all have some deep problems you might want to get straight amongst yourselves.

But let’s also discuss this claim of Hobbs’s, because with this claim, he reveals himself to completely lack in compassion or, actually, any understanding of what the stakes are among normal people who advocate for medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana is completely unnecessary of course as there already is a legal “medical marijuana” drug called Marinol which has the same active ingredient as pot – a chemical called THC. Marinol has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration after rigorous medical testing and it is often prescribed for cancer patients to relieve nausea during chemotherapy.

Well, holy cow!  If Marinol is just the same as marijuana, why are all these “hippies” still complaining?  Let me lay it out for you.  It’s not the same.  First of all, Marinol is a pill and marijuana is usually inhaled.  You can feel the effects of marijuana in minutes.  It takes an hour or more for Marinol to kick in.

Second, there’s no agreement among scientists that THC is the only active ingredient in pot.  Yes, everyone knows it’s an active ingredient.  No one is sure that it’s the only one.  Pot has more than 60 cannabiniods, all of which may have beneficial effects on the body and the brain.  Marinol has only THC.

The kind of nausea that cancer patients going through chemotherapy feel is not just “Oh, I feel like I might throw up.”  It’s the nausea that says, “I am going to throw up, over and over and over again.”  And you do. 

Pray tell, Compassionate Hobbs, if you’re repeatedly throwing up everything in your stomach, how much good is a pill that has to be ingested, that takes an hour to kick in, going to do you?

What about the multitude of patients who complain that the effects of Marinol are too strong?

And, let’s be honest here folks, because Marinol has such strong side-effects (in other words, you’re going to get a lot more stoned from taking Marinol than you are from taking a hit or two off your bong), a lot of people take it recreationally.

So, if you have two substances that do similar things–pot and Marinol–and one, if legal, would be cheap or free and the other is under the control of Big Pharma, one allows the patient to determine her dosage and the other comes only in a dose that many people find has unpleasant side effects, one works immediately to suppress nausea and the other takes an hour to kick in, if you can keep it down, one works immediately to relieve pain and increase people’s appetites and the other, again, takes an hour, and both are also used recreationally, why aren’t Republicans advocating for the substance that’s inexpensive, plentiful, and costs tax-payers nothing?

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

***********

For the record, I have smoked pot.  I didn’t smoke pot until I was in grad school and I didn’t really get it.  Which makes me a nerd, I know, but I want to be honest with you.

Since then, I’ve used it maybe five times and only once, when sitting on a backporch of some actual Tennesseans with jobs and no connection to Woodstock and being handed something that tasted like smokey lemons and made me feel like I was well-loved by the universe and everything in it did I ever understand what the hubub was about.

Sadly, it’s not all like that and I have shitty lungs to begin with, so my career as a pot-smoking hippie was short-lived.

Still, even if it’s not for me, if it eases the suffering of very sick people, what’s the harm?

21 thoughts on “Local GOP Flack Thinks The Suffering of Others is Funny

  1. I addressed this over at Carter’s. My mom could have used this when she was sick after chemo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a human being suffer as much as she did after treatments.

    This whole argument is just incredible to me.

  2. Yeah, I know. I’m not a pot smoker either. I’ve tried it and said “enh.” The world didn’t flip over into paradisical reverberations and I didn’t immediately become a heroin junkie (which were the two outcomes that 1970s TV prepped me for). The two main effects were sleepy and hungry — pretty pedestrian stuff. But it must be said that I was fully employed (working two jobs, even) and I didn’t miss any work because of it — unlike my coworkers from the same party that were too hung over from drinking Jack to make it in the next day.

    If you read newspapers from places other than middle Tennessee, though, you might read about all manners of health breakthroughs that suggest the active ingredients in marijuana (you’re right — there are more than 60 cannabanoids, with THC only one of them) taken orally in concentrated forms have positive therapeutic effects not just on treating nausea symptoms, but cancer itself. And Parkinson’s. And IBS.

    Like this:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7098340.stm

    Or this:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6338173.stm

    Or this:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4728605.stm

    Smoking for pain relief and appetite stimulation is still going through trials. Anecdotally, many patients swear by it — not sure whether that’s because it’s something they can do for themselves to have some control over the pain that’s non-addictive or some other reason, but if it works for them, it works. Some trials suggest it isn’t as effective as other pain therapies and may increase pain, others suggest it does work as hoped. To me, this seems like part and parcel of our society’s increasing unwillingness to give people the pain drugs they say they need because we’re afraid somebody somewhere might be faking a kidney stone so they can get high. I’ve seen too many people I love suffer because of this “punish them all” attitude. It’s unconscionable to advocate suffering when we have the means to alleviate it.

    Of course, smoking pot does have some health downsides besides creating the inability to move off your older sister’s couch. While oral doses of cannibidol and other cannibanoids cut inflammation and seem to help fight cancer, smoking increases the risk for lung cancer (esp. when combined with tobacco use).

  3. Who knew that akismet didn’t like the BBC? Well, live and learn. I hope that it doesn’t seem like I’m knocking Marinol or other concentrated forms of different cannabanoids. I just am right with you that this seems more about punishing everyone because some people, somewhere, might be having fun.

    And, tee hee, to the unspoken couch tragedy of pot smoking!

  4. Well, while we’re fisking, can I just point out that if 20-25% of Americans have smoked pot, but only 6.67% of Americans smoked it even one time last year, that would indicate that even most of the Woodstock-era hippies have given it up.

  5. Pingback: Volunteer Voters » Big Pharma And Marinol Dependency

  6. Wouldn’t this actually make the state money? The drug tax insures that the state gets its cut, and this would certainly encourage more pot use.

  7. Anecdotally (I know, not evidence), I had an acquaintance who died of cancer who had experience with both Marinol and the real thing. Said acquaintance said the real thing worked much, much better.

  8. I think you hit the nail on the head, Aunt B., if gently (as is your way):

    But let’s also discuss this claim of Hobbs’s, because with this claim, he reveals himself to completely lack in compassion or, actually, any understanding of what the stakes are among normal people who advocate for medical marijuana.

    On several occasions, Aunt B., I’ve seen you express respect for Mr. Hobbs. But I am feeling nothing but contempt for this individual, sight unseen. In one brief blog post, you cover all the reasons why marijuana prohibition (especially against medical use) is both counterproductive and inhumane. Your quotes of Hobbs show how well he represents the heinously infantile nature of contemporary right wing politics. The suffering of millions of people is nothing compared to the chance to urinate on old political straw men. Who is helped by his snide, ignorant belligerence? No one, except for the profiteers of the prison-industrial complex.

    Godwin be fucked; I’m a student of history, and the last hundred years bear unequivocal witness to the danger of people like Hobbs. Petty, psychopathic tyrants can’t become notorious mass murderers without the tireless efforts of droves of ‘decent’ citizens who help pave the way by normalizing eliminationism one rhetorical excrescence at a time. Today he’s dragging out and flogging moldy old straw men in service of a sadistic political agenda; tomorrow he’s proudly justifying the incarceration and extermination of thousands of his fellow citizens. You can respect him, Aunt B., but I won’t wait for their brown shirts to become official government issue before I tell him and all his kind to go fuck themselves.

    I was almost willing to let my piss and vinegar subside silently, but his use of the childish GOP shibboleth “Democrat” (when the appropriate– and grammatically correct– term is “Democratic”) is too much. Maybe the cool, comfortable, liberal San Francisco air is affecting me.

  9. My favorite part is the part about them not having jobs. Hahahaha.

    And, if I remember correctly, Hobbs once expressed long ago his support of loosening marijuana laws. Is he speaking now as a GOP flack or as a blogger. Hard to say…

  10. Hobbs is wrong on this one.
    I can’t help but get a little righteously angry about this argument because I was the caretaker of my mother.

    Put it on the market, tax the shit out of it and let’s go on.
    To make this a “dirty hippies” argument just pisses me off. My mother was a hippie but she was surprisingly clean.
    Go figure.

    And Brittney, I remembered that too but couldn’t recall (and didn’t feel like hunting for it.)

  11. Ooops. Reality again intrudes. According to the federal government’s Office on National Drug Control Policy, marijuana use rates have been dropping for the last eleven years among both teen and adult users; moreover, the older you are, the less likely you are to smoke pot. Finally, to answer W’s question, the government’s research indicates that recreational use has decreased for all ages in states with med marijuana laws. So no, there hasn’t been a “OMG, let’s all get stoned on Granny’s stash” effect.

    There are other groups who put out even rosier numbers (like the Marijuana Policy Project), but I figure that Hobb’s folks would be more likely to believe the fed data than a bunch of pot-smoking hippies.

  12. Nothing can get me to drag myself out of my sickbed like discussion of marijuana law.

    So.

    I guess the days of Bill Hobbs describing himself as a “pragmatic libertarian” are ended, huh?

    There is no sane reason in the world for pot to be illegal as long as alcohol and tobacco are legal.

  13. Coble, are you back in your sickbed? That sucks.

    CS, I think you may be mistaking Bill Hobbs for Bob Krumm or even Ned. I try to be respectful of Hobbs, but I wouldn’t say that I respect him.

  14. [re. sickbed: just from the tests yesterday]

    re. Twinkies

    Hate twinkies. Now Zingers and Ding Dongs on the other hand…those are ALL mine.

    (note: the key ingredient is frosting. Cake+Frosting=YUMMY; Cake-Frosting=bread)

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