1. Thanks to everyone who followed along with my live-tweeting of Tuesday night’s WSLCB meeting for establishing rules in the upcoming legal marijuana market. It’s fascinating to watch this process unfold and it gives me greater appreciation for the job that the WSLCB is doing.
Today, my dim-witted Congressman, Dave Reichert, made the following comments about our state’s new law:
“I think it was a bad decision,” Reichert said. “I think it’s going to crumble here in the state of Washington.
“I’ll be very clear: I am not going to assist the federal government in any way in finding a solution to the conflict between the state and federal law — I can’t do it.”
This is about as profoundly irresponsible as you can imagine. The state that Dave Reichert represents voted by a comfortable margin to set up a legal market for marijuana. But instead of working with his fellow Washington representatives to stand up for his voters, he’s just going to sit with his thumb up his ass and watch it “crumble”.
Personally, I don’t think it will crumble. There will be problems, in particular with how new businesses do their banking, but the fact that people would much rather buy marijuana in regulated stores will eventually bring us to a stable system. But the important point here is that these are problems that Congress has the ability to fix. So Dave Reichert’s position is: I could do something about it, but I’d rather watch it crumble and let criminal gangs continue to run the market. He really does fit in with his fellow House GOP buffoons.
2. I’m delighted to witness Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s evolution on understanding medical marijuana. Despite all the noise about people abusing medical marijuana programs to get recreational weed, people who’ve followed this issue have always known about the remarkable stories like this one, where the staunchly anti-pot parents of a 5-year-old in Colorado eventually discovered that medical marijuana was able to stop her seizures after no other medicines worked. And that appears to be one of the centerpieces of Gupta’s special on CNN Sunday night. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
But if there’s one particular aspect of this story that I find fascinating, it’s the reactions that people have had to NSA’s spying overseas in friendly countries. For many who are old enough to remember the Cold War, the reaction is mostly a shrug. But for younger folks (particularly those close in age to Snowden), there’s far more outrage and concern.
Two things have really made a big difference in this shift. The end of the Cold War is one. We no longer face a military threat on the scale of the Soviet Union. America’s supremacy in the world isn’t challenged by anyone. And global terrorist networks kill fewer Americans than toddlers with guns. The fact that we’re spying on Germans, Brits, and Australians in response to this threat looks absurd, especially if you’re too young to even remember the Berlin Wall coming down.
Second, the internet age has greatly changed the perceptions that we have about borders, and about how different we are from those across the globe. This is one of the most monumental cultural shifts the world has gone through. A generation ago, few people in this country had any social contact with people across the globe. Today, we regularly converse and interact in real time with people all over the world.
Much of the existing law that currently governs what NSA is allowed to do makes distinctions between domestic and foreign surveillance targets. But in a world where America can wield power in largely unchallenged ways, it makes little sense to most young people why the privacy of their friends in foreign lands is worth less than theirs. And these revelations are a big part of why the rationale for the NSA’s activities is starting to crumble.