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April 20, 2016

It's 4/20, So Here's All The 4/20 News You Need

PORN VALLEY—As we may have mentioned before, there are apparently one or two adult industry members who smoke pot—and today, April 20 (aka 4/20) is their day! So here's a wrap-up of some 4/20-related news items to help while away the time between tokes. We start with the revelation of a film we didn't know existed: Weed, by classic adult filmmaker Alex de Renzy, famous for such award-winning hits as Baby Face, Nicole Stanton Story 1 & 2, Pretty Peaches 1-3, Long Jeanne Silver and Femmes de Sade. Turns out that Weed is now available as a download from the late Mike Vraney's Something Weird Video—and the movie's description is provided by none other than horror comedy director Frank Henenlotter (think Frankenhooker and Basket Case): "In 1971, President Nixon created the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse to debate 'The Great American Grass Problem' and decide whether marijuana should be legalized," Henenlotter writes. "In response, adult filmmaker Alex de Renzy—who exploded on the scene with the landmark porno Pornography in Denmark (aka Censorship in Denmark)—countered with Weed: 'It’s not that we don't trust this distinguished group of men, but there's a lot more to the grass story. So, as a public service, just in case the President's Commission might miss something, we thought we’d take our cameras outside of the Federal Court building to talk to the people and check out some of the numerous rumors about Killer Weed!' "Doing double-duty as the onscreen interviewer, pony-tailed de Renzy not only goes 'outside the Federal Court building,' but travels around the world in search of 'True Marijuana Facts.' For instance.... de Renzy and a conservation warden tour a field of marijuana growing wild in Missouri: 'It’s everywhere in the county....' A variety of customs agents discuss drug smuggling, and Mr. Walter Potts, the chief chemist of a customs lab, shows us Vietnamese vases, a Buddha from Korea, and a crucifix from Israel that all had weed hidden in them.... In Vietnam, de Renzy learns how easy it is to score grass—just ask for 'Number One cigarettes!' A detour into Cambodia, where marijuana is legal and used for soup, turns up some legendary Cambodian Red.... A drug-dealer—whose face is (occasionally) censored with a big black dot—discusses why his biggest worry is not getting busted but getting ripped off.... And in Nepal, de Renzy visits a government authorized shop catering to tourists which advertises: 'Best Quality Mustang Hashish at Cheapest Rate....'" There's a bit more in that vein, but you get the idea. It's also probably not a coincidence that the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) chose 4/20 to release its "Congressional Scorecard," a compendium of how our federal legislators felt about—and often voted on—issues surrounding marijuana legalization. "Now more than ever there exists majority public support for ending America's nearly century-long experiment with cannabis prohibition and replacing it with a taxed and regulated adult marketplace," the NORML report's Executive Summary reads. "Sixty-one percent of American adults believe that 'the use of marijuana should be made legal,' according to nationwide polling data provided by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Four in five US adults (81 percent) favor legalizing cannabis as a therapeutic treatment option, according to a 2015 nationwide Harris Poll, and 67 percent of voters believe that states, not the federal government, ought to be the ultimate arbiters of marijuana regulatory policy." The report goes on to analyze each member of Congress, assigning to each a letter grade, A-F, depending on whether that politician has expressed support for legalizing weed for adults or, in the alternative, has expressed "significant and vocal opposition to marijuana law reform." (In case you were wondering, CA Sen. Diane Feinstein gets a "D" for statements like, "There may very well be a place for medical marijuana [but] to take a federal position on this before the research is done ... is putting the cart before the horse,” while Sen. Barbara Boxer gets a "C" for stating officially that, "Senator Boxer is a strong supporter of California’s medical marijuana law and she believes that patients, doctors and caregivers in states like California should be able to follow state law without fear of federal prosecution." Sadly, the only federal House members to get an "A" are Jared Huffman, Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell and Mike Honda—all Dems, of course—though there are a number of "B" grades in there as well. The California delegation's grades can all be found here.) And finally, when we wrote last November about Bernie Sanders' Senate bill S. 2237 to remove marijuana (or, as the government calls it, "marihuana") from the federal Controlled Substances Act, where the weed is currently considered to be as toxic as opioids and amphetamines, we didn't realize how much official support there appears to be for legalizing (or at least decriminalizing) the bud. Besides Sanders' bill in the Senate, there are currently no less than five bills in the House that would bring more legality to the substance. These include one that would expunge the criminal records of those convicted of possessing less than an ounce of pot in a state where its use was legal at the time of the bust; one that would levy a tax on producers, retailers and importers of pot; two that would prevent the government from interfering with legal pot sellers' ability to hold business bank accounts; and our favorite, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, a federal decrim bill. But that's not all that's happening on the legalization front. Seems that the United Nations has just completed a "Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem"—its first such meeting in over 20 years—and more that 1,000 world leaders have signed a letter to that group pushing for "real reform" of international drug policy. According to TheWeedBlog.com, "The unprecedented list of signatories includes a range of people from Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to businessmen Warren Buffett, George Soros, Richard Branson, Barry Diller, actors Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda, Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, singers John Legend and Mary J. Blige, activists Reverend Jesse Jackson, Gloria Steinem and Michelle Alexander, as well as distinguished legislators, cabinet ministers, and former UN officials." Also on board with reform are former President Jimmy Carter, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, CA Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, San Francisco D.A. George Gasçon and so many more! The full list of signators can be found here. Marijuana legalization: Its time has come—and even though, back in the early '60s, Lenny Bruce was assuring his audiences that it would be legal in 10 years "because most of the law school students I know smoke it," possibly sooner than most people currently imagine.

 
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