Streams

Following Up: Where NYC Pot Comes From

Friday, April 15, 2011

Danny Danko, senior cultivation editor of High Times Magazine, discusses where the pot in NYC comes from and if pot smokers should feel complicit in the Mexican drug war.

Listeners: Do you think pot smokers should feel complicit in the Mexican drug war? Or should anyone who consumes any illegal drug question the morality of their consumption for any other reason? Call us up or comment here!

Guests:

Danny Danko

Comments [52]

Jimi Rufus from Buffalo, NY

I do care which is why I use JustBlow™.

Because I Wanna Get High But I Care How I Get There!

http://vimeo.com/807582

Apr. 18 2011 11:05 AM
Jennifer

Legalize drugs! The War on Drugs has clearly exacerbated the problem the policy set out to eliminate Legalization is a subject that many people on both the right and the left agree. It would have a transformational effect on inner-city neighborhoods where far too often young people opt for more lucrative drug-running rather than doing an honest day's work. Perhaps most importantly it would help to focus the attention on the causes of substance abuse (depression, maltreatment, etc.) and how to help those who abuse drugs and/or alcohol rather than blaming growers and dealers. The War on Drugs has empowered pathological thugs, while leaving the most vulnerable in society at their mercy. Take away their profits! Legalize!

Apr. 16 2011 10:01 AM
Mike from Inwood

You want to know whether I feelguilt or how I deal with the 'morality' of smoking pot?

The answer is that I feel absolutely NO guilt. I think any presumption that I should is ridiculous. And Brian wasting the airwaves on a slow news day posing the question won't change that.

If you're so concerned about your effect on the larger world, try burning less oil. No one needs to drive an SUV or a pickup truck anywhere. No one needs to fly anywhere for vacations or very little else. And if you're really worried about your footprint, have fewer kids.

When Brian's issues are no more than the purview of his white, liberal guilt, it reveals more about him than shedding light on anything larger and it's just a real turnoff.

Apr. 16 2011 12:47 AM
AC from NYC

Blaming pot smokers for the drug violence in Mexico is the same as blaming Mexican workers for illegal immigration in the U.S.A.
If you employ these hard working people they will come. Blame employers for giving them jobs, and often taking advantage by no benefits and low wages or give them easier work visas if they truly do the jobs that no one wants. ((Flip side of this))) Make pot legal and tax it and take this harmless plant out of the hands of organized crime. Instead of outgoing (wasted) money on a bull$h1t drug war - tax cannabis and use the funds for good. Blame big pharmaceutical lobbyists for keeping a "PLANT ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH" illegal and making murderous gangsters rich. Thank you US govt for protecting me from a little green plant and not from banks and credit card companies who have my best interests in mind. (Hopefully), in the future they will laugh when hearing about these stupid laws & look at them like we look at the old theories of "the world is flat". Remember they threw people in jail for saying that years ago. We are still that stupid. peace.

Apr. 15 2011 02:23 PM
AC from NYC

Blaming pot smokers for the drug violence in Mexico is the same as blaming Mexican workers for illegal immigration in the U.S.A.
If you employ these hard working people they will come. Blame employers for giving them jobs, and often taking advantage by no benefits and low wages or give them easier work visas if they truly do the jobs that no one wants. ((Flip side of this))) Make pot legal and tax it and take this harmless plant out of the hands of organized crime. Instead of outgoing (wasted) money on a bull$h1t drug war - tax cannabis and use the funds for good. Blame big pharmaceutical lobbyists for keeping a "PLANT ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH" illegal and making murderous gangsters rich. Thank you US govt for protecting me from a little green plant and not from banks and credit card companies who have my best interests in mind. (Hopefully), in the future they will laugh when hearing about these stupid laws & look at them like we look at the old theories of "the world is flat". Remember they threw people in jail for saying that years ago. We are still that stupid. peace.

Apr. 15 2011 02:15 PM
peter from vancouver

if users are complicit in the mexican drug war, i have to wonder about complicity of american taxpayers in iraq, afghanistan, vietnam, central america, etc. that strikes me as a more important question if death and suffering are the criteria.

Apr. 15 2011 01:59 PM
Vincent Domeraski

Is it wishful thinking to envision the US giving up one of its many wars, when it has been so much fun and so profitable for its enthusiasts?

Apr. 15 2011 01:04 PM
Elmer Fudd from just over there, next to that other person

Since I can legally make my own booze (which I don't), I would like to be able to grow my own weed.

I quit drinking a while back, and it's nice to smoke a bowl once in a while.

I do not have the problem with weed as I did with booze.Other people get to have their booze, I'd like to take a toke once in a while. I'm nearly 60, and after 40+ years of smoking, I don't really think it will lead to other things.

I know it's an artificial means to relax, but we all sure get enough artificial stress!

Apr. 15 2011 11:39 AM
Red from Staten Island

I remember reading that the gov't of Mexico was about to legalize MJ until the US gov't made a lot of noise and they squashed the idea. Seems to me that the guilt should lay at the door of the US justice and State Depts.
Since this country has already had the experience of alcohol prohibition, and all of the social ills that that episode produced, why are we repeating the same bloody historical phenom, that we see in Mexico?
And lastly, this prohibition is making money for somebody, I don't know who, but I can see how a product that ANYONE can make, would be a threat to the present powers that be, like big pharma, law enforcement, the alcohol and tobacco industries for starters.
Legalize it, Tax it, Regulate it. It's a no brainer.

Apr. 15 2011 11:26 AM
Anonymous

For the pot smoker, the solution to this moral quandary seems to be: Know where your pot comes from.

The SUV and "blood diamonds" rationalizations don't stand up to logic, because they are based on an assumption that NO ONE takes the consequences into account when making buying decisions. And of course, many do. For every SUV you see, there could be three other drivers who chose a different type of car based on environmental concerns. I'm sure some diamond shoppers actually do look into where their rocks came from. So, as a pot smoker, do you want to be one of those people? It's up to you.

And maybe pot *should* be legal. I don't know. I do know that some people, particularly some adolescents, have a very hard time using it with balance/self-control. It can compound already-present problems of depression, lack of motivation, etc., especially in boys. (You might guess I have a personal experience here.)

Apr. 15 2011 11:24 AM
Steve from Soho,NYC

New York City pot laws are Stupid. I should be able to grow my Herb in my garden along with my tomatoes and cucumbers without fear of the DEA and NYPD locking me up.
The truth is there is to much Money being made in busting,locking up and prosecuting pot offenders.

Apr. 15 2011 11:17 AM
moose from nyc, at the intersection of love & hate

(i just wish the goodstuff wasn't so danged expensive!)

Apr. 15 2011 11:14 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Just a quibble, Brian, but before taking calls you asked, among other things, if we thought drug smuggling had anything to do with Mexico's gang wars. Given how little most Americans know about other countries, isn't it your job to inform us about that?

Apr. 15 2011 11:14 AM
Cesar from Manhattan

Blaming the pot user for Mexican drug crime is like blaming the investor in the CDO and mortgage markets for the collapse of US and international financial markets. The problem is not with those who bought what was available; it is with the system that created the availability of the product.

In the case of the financial market, the problem with the system is the careful dismantling of regulatory agencies that inexorably led to rampant corporate greed.

With regard to pot, the problem is the manipulation of the legal system by the tobacco companies to make pot illegal, which benefits Big Tobacco.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Apr. 15 2011 11:08 AM
dboy from nyc

It should still be legal regardless of how many use it.

PROHIBITION IS IMMORAL AND EXPENSIVE.

Apr. 15 2011 11:02 AM
Jonny Goldstein from pittsburgh, pa

It's fine to try to guilt trip people---we do it with tobacco, diamonds, fur, and so on. What is *not* OK: criminalizing people who consume cannabis.

Our criminalization of otherwise law abiding citizens creates a black market which drives the violence in Mexico and the US.

Additionally, prohibition enmeshes otherwise law abiding citizens in the criminal justice system.

Thanks for doing this program Brian. And how is the High Times Softball team? Are they good?

Apr. 15 2011 11:01 AM
dboy from nyc

@ avinl from Park Slope:

FYI:

MOST of us DO NOT smoke pot.

Fact.

Perhaps MOST in your immediate circle...

Apr. 15 2011 11:00 AM
dboy from nyc

Amy from Manhattan...

Why do you need a diamond, "conflict-free" or otherwise???

Apr. 15 2011 10:57 AM
MIke from Tribeca

I thought it was funny that many of the callers didn't actually address the topic. Comes with the territory, I suppose.

Anonymous -- I would assume that an editor for High Times would be more knowledgeable about the subject of reefer than many others in the press.

Apr. 15 2011 10:56 AM
avinl from Park Slope

Legalize Marijuana in New York. We all know of its theraputic abilities, relieving depression, and headaches that we all get from the stressful NY life we lead.

Lets face it, privately most of us smoke it! What we deny publically is just a front because of the government’s punitive action, and societies false face.

By legalizing MJ we will have so much more public money to use to:
fight poverty, improve education, and the list goes on, on and on.

Apr. 15 2011 10:54 AM
Mike from Inwood

I think Brian asks the wrong question. The real question is: "Doesn't the violence in Mexico really make drug prohibition, not drug use, immoral?" Perhaps if Brian had a quicker wit he might've asked the Mexican graduate student the same question.

Apr. 15 2011 10:50 AM
Amy from Manhattan

One caller mentioned the issues involving diamonds from some African countries that are funding wars or exploitation from diamond profits. It's possible to get certified conflict-free diamonds, & that has happened because enough people were concerned about the situation & demanded them. Other products can be labeled the same way (although I doubt the fair trade organizations would be willing to certify marijuana...).

Apr. 15 2011 10:48 AM

Anonymous
not "an objective source" an expert

Apr. 15 2011 10:46 AM
Peg

"you" do NOT need to drive a car. That's a choice just like using drugs. So many of the extreme negative consequences of using illegal drugs is that they are illegal.

Apr. 15 2011 10:44 AM

Edward from NJ
making it a crime drives the price even more

Apr. 15 2011 10:44 AM
Nick from UWS

What nonsense. The US fights FULL SCALE WARS for YEARS over OIL. Kills thousands of people, their own and foriegn! Decimates the US economy over it and bankrupts their own population! Over OIL. Who are the killer cartels here?

EVERY MASS CONSUMED NATURAL PRODUCT WITH A HIGH PROFIT MARGIN IS REAPED WITH COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

Apr. 15 2011 10:43 AM
dboy from nyc

Drug use is NOT going away. It has always been here and every kind of prohibition has NEVER worked.

Prohibition is EXPENSIVE and DEADLY.

Stop the ridiculousness!!!

Legalize, tax, regulate and educate and treat.

Apr. 15 2011 10:43 AM
Anonymous

Is an editor for High Times really an objective source?

Apr. 15 2011 10:43 AM

Best pot is hydroponic - which has it's own environmental problems.

Apr. 15 2011 10:43 AM
jm

Thank you to the caller who mentioned the diamond industry!

Most of the marijuana I've seen lately among my peers is grown by friends, or acquired from CA (medical grade). I use it once in a while, and feel no guilt. In any case, nothing is better for the symptoms of that first day of menstruation!

Apr. 15 2011 10:42 AM
Liz

I find the argument that the issue is prohibition somewhat disingenuous. While I agree with the guest that marijuana should be legalized, it's still illegal. And in buying illegal drugs, you are financing organized crime. No matter if you buy it home grown or from Mexico.

If you truly believe that these laws are misguided, disregarding the law as illegitimate and justifying your actions that way is not going to help. Maybe you could run for office, start a grass roots campaign, or write a letter to the editor. Just ignoring the law doesn't seem like an effective route to change.

I remember when Christopher Coke was in a standoff in Jamaica, it was mentioned that a lot of his empire was built on the marijuana trade to NYC. Any comment on that from your guest?

Apr. 15 2011 10:42 AM
cwebba1 from Astoria

I wish that I could call in for this. Your call line is not on the website.

I am nine years sober and recently I have been looking for a new apartment in NYC.

My wanting a smoke-free space has been a sticking point for roommate acceptance.

I think about the people of mexico all of the time.

Why did we invade Libya when we should be helping Mexico?

Americans have a distorted idea of freedom that is very self destructive.

Our (white, corporate) concept of freedom is about individuality.

People of color's experience is that freedom is collective.

You need to post your call-in line or repeat it often

Apr. 15 2011 10:42 AM

mid east oil money goes to al qaeda

Apr. 15 2011 10:42 AM
Roger

We can make the argument that the problem is that drugs are illegal, but the net result is death of thousands of innocents. Mainly poor people trying to make a meager living. Users are complicit in this no matter how they try to justify it.

Apr. 15 2011 10:42 AM
Jerry Mulnick from Staten Island, NY

Pot is being grown right here on Staten Island, NY. There was a big bust just the other day as reported in the SI Advance.

Apr. 15 2011 10:42 AM
Togusa from Washington Heights

Prohibition has not succeeded in either decreasing usage or crime in this country. Whole underground cash economies within our borders run on marijuana. If this resource was brought into the main stream, regulated market, not only could the product be better controlled, monitored, taxed, but so could the conditions under which it is produced.

I support the repeal of marijuana prohibition, it is a 'gateway' into the an illicit underground. Legalization will cut youth crime and gang activity severely.

Apr. 15 2011 10:40 AM
Edward from NJ

Even if all the marijuana consumed in NY is domestically grown, the level of consumption drives the price. Where it comes from is sort of irrelevant -- it's a commodity.

Apr. 15 2011 10:40 AM
dboy from nyc

Personally, I've done it all. Currently, I don't do drugs and don't think folks should.

At the same time, I believe it should all be legal. Get these idiot social conservatives out of my bedroom and out of my choice to do drugs, if I want to!! Take the profit margin out of the illegal trade. Tax it, regulate it and put the money that is collected and saved from reduced enforcement and put it into treatment and education.

If the current supply is blood-tainted, it's on your conscience. You're definitely complicit!

Apr. 15 2011 10:39 AM

Please, don't take my wine away! I have NO interest in weed as my poison!

I say chronic MacDonalds eating is worse than all of it!!!

Apr. 15 2011 10:39 AM
Melissa from NYC

I doubt casual users think about it, but they should. And they should stop, unless it becomes legalized. But addicts can't stop--and don't be fooled. MJ IS ADDICTIVE and many addicts need help. THEY are going to use no matter what until they get help--if they want to. There IS help out there. I've gotten it for myself and have been clean for 12 years. Addicts can't consider a moral issue. But now that I'm clean I'm grateful that I don't have blood on my hands. But I'm sure that I did for many years.

Apr. 15 2011 10:38 AM

Smoking pot is better than drinking wine.

Apr. 15 2011 10:37 AM
Claudia from Upper East Side

I don't use illegal drugs, although I did when I was younger.

However, in an analogous issue, I absolutely no longer purchase knock-off products from Canal Street precisely because of similar moral concerns about supporting illegal trade, and the shady organizations who are profiting from this business.

Apr. 15 2011 10:37 AM
Anonymous

I'm not against pot, but not a smoker...I think it would be hard for a pot smoker to acknowledge it, but yes: I do think that if you are putting your money toward anything, you are helping support the system that got it to you.

That goes for those involved in gun trading too. So, I'd piss off both sides!

But, in discussing the origins of marijuana in the US, what about states that are closer to the border?

Apr. 15 2011 10:37 AM
RLewis from the bowery

Are you running out of topics or something? This one is like asking people who live in freedom, if they feel guilty because soldiers are dieing in Aghanistan.

Apr. 15 2011 10:36 AM
Jeb from Greenpoint

Is there a single consumable product that isn't somehow morally compromised and doesn't in some way make the consumer complicit in unsavory realities? Beef? Petroleum? Consumer electronics? Why single out marijuana?

Apr. 15 2011 10:36 AM
Bobby from NYC

Smoking a joint is not immoral—whats immoral are the prohibition policies of the US govt that causes the black market that creates the crime and violence. if it were legal people would just grow it, not buy it from cartels

Apr. 15 2011 10:36 AM
Jordan from Long Island

Most potheads I know regard the "Mexican Brick Weed" as complete garbage. Domestically produced pot has a much better reputation, and is much more desirable.

I personally try to find domestic because it is better. The moral question is a difficult one, but I feel by sticking to domestic stuff, I avoid most of the moral quandry.

Apr. 15 2011 10:35 AM
Marco from NYC

Typical left wing garbage...pothead slackers.

Apr. 15 2011 10:35 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I'm very much inclined to think that users of illegal, mind-bending drugs are not that interested in the political, ethical or legal implications of what they are doing. They tend to be fairly self-absorbed, which is why they use drugs to begin with, so the premise of this question is ridiculous.

Apr. 15 2011 10:34 AM

hjs: reaaaally? wow.

Apr. 15 2011 10:32 AM
Moose from Manhattan

I always ask where my marijuana comes from, and it has always been either from the US (many regions) and Western Canada. Of course, this is very high quality stuff.

Apr. 15 2011 10:31 AM

in williamsburg one can buy it from the hasidics

Apr. 15 2011 10:10 AM

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