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Reefer Madness

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Back in the 60's college film societies used to show a l930's film called Reefer Madness as a joke. The film was reminiscent of another jeremiad the famed Olivia de Havilland film about asylums, The Snake Pit In one a drug caused insanity and a host of attendant horrors. The other dramatized the horrors of institutionalization and the medieval attitude towards mental illness that was prevalent in the l940's, when the film was made. And then there was masturbation. Some just on the cusp of baby boomerdom might remember being threatened with the warning that masturbation caused insanity. The problem is that it's all true. Does Colorado's legalization of recreational marijuana use mean that the very strong marijuana sold these days has no deleterious affects both with respect to affect (motivation) and brain chemistry? It's one thing to argue that making marijuana legal is tantamount to the repeal of Prohibition, but it's another to justify legalization by claiming that marijuana doesn't affect the brain. Now what about the masturbating marijuana user? Again no one is claiming that anything is wrong with masturbation. But let's face facts. Marijuana and masturbation have one thing in common: fantasy. And there are people who have so much trouble living in the real world that they would rather smoke pot and jerk off then navigate the shoals of human interaction. Yes isolating from others by smoking pot and masturbating on a prolonged basis might both be both a prescription for and description of insanity.

This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}