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Paraphernalia Post-Decrim.

MedicineWhite HouseGoogle Inc.Ronald ReaganNancy Reagan

I understand weed is decriminalized in Connecticut, but what about possession of drug paraphernalia? Wouldn't it be safer to smoke joints because rolling papers are not “dirty paraphernalia” and a roach can be disposed of easily, as opposed to a pipe?

Here's what the bill says, word for word: “No person shall use or possess with intent to use drug paraphernalia, as defined in subdivision (20) of section 21a-240, to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain or conceal, or to ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body, any controlled substance, as defined in subdivision (9) of section 21a-240, other than a cannabis-type substance in a quantity of less than one-half ounce. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor.”

Basically, what it's saying is that the paraphernalia will be judged in conjunction with the drugs you're caught with. If you have less than half an ounce of pot, there's no problem. If you've got more than that, or different drugs, then you can still be in some trouble. (Warning: Stay away from schools! The law gets significantly tougher when you're within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school. This loophole hasn't been widely publicized.)

As for joints being safer during run-ins with the po-po, because the evidence disappears as you smoke 'em, that would've been better advice a couple of months ago than it is now, but yeah, I guess you're still right. No evidence is better than some evidence. It's just that now you don't have to stress out about it as much 'cause you're only going to get a ticket anyway, for a single bowl or joint.

Go to and search for bill 1014 to read the text in full for yourself. It's not too long and it's surprisingly readable. Knowledge is power, as they say.

If weed has medicinal value, why aren't there more scientific studies proving it?

ABecause the U.S. government won't allow it. There are such studies out there, but most of them you'll find were conducted overseas. In the White House's 2011 National Drug Control Strategy (and a recent NORML newsletter that highlighted the problem), it was revealed that only 14 researchers in the entire country are legally permitted to conduct studies that assess the effect of inhaled cannabis on human subjects. Fourteen researchers. Millions of Americans are smoking the stuff, but only 14 are legally allowed to research it. It's completely absurd. And of these, the research is primarily to assess the drug's “abuse potential, physical/psychological effect, [and] adverse effects.” They won't legalize medical marijuana on a national level because the research isn't there, but then they won't allow the research. (DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart recently denied to even consider lowering pot's status as a Schedule I substance, insisting that it's still as bad as heroin and crack as far as she is concerned, because there are “no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy.”)

There could be any number of reasons this remains the case, but in situations like these you can almost always follow the money to learn the true story. The War on Drugs launched an infrastructure filled with stuffy, conservative jerks that get paid good money to keep the status quo, and to not admit that the war isn't working. They're used to being well-respected, well-paid and first-class members of society. These people are fighting for their livelihood, and who knows, maybe even what they believe is right, in a weird Ronald and Nancy Reagan sort of way. Read the White House's 2011 National Drug Control Strategy (Google it) and it will be evident from the language alone how out of touch they are. But eventually they'll have to admit that it's wrong to deny science the chance to prove something that seems to be true: That marijuana is not harmful, and that it can in fact be beneficial. If they really believe they are right, why not allow the research to prove it? They are just delaying the inevitable, trying to milk the system for all it's worth before they have to find new jobs (possibly at a dispensary). They are no longer heroes — they are the enforcers of a new dark age, in which hard science is repressed. And they're not going to accept this change in social status gracefully. It's up to public outcry to accelerate the healing process, socially and medically, so that sick people can finally get the medicine they need, despite the egos of the drug warriors.

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