That would have been a good tweet during the campaign

I posted this with a release advocating medical cannabis, and James saw it and told me to take it down NOW. So I did, and I saw his point. But I had liked it, and whatever I substituted it with was boring…

Y’all may or may not remember that back during our campaign in 2018, James and Mandy supported medical cannabis. James knew veterans who would benefit from it, and Mandy had co-sponsored the bill in the House that would have legalized it.

I myself was kind of neutral on the issue, but my job as communications director wasn’t to push my views, but theirs. So I wrote a release or two about it. Here’s one, if you can read it. (I can’t link you to it because the website is long gone — or at least, I can’t find it.) That one was taking Henry McMaster to task for his coldly facile dismissal of the idea — I certainly believed he was wrong about that, however undecided I may have been on the larger matter.

Why undecided? Well, to quote from the release, Henry had been asked “whether the substance should be legalized for the limited use of sick people who have no other recourse for relieving their suffering.” In Henry’s position, I’d have said “yes,” but would have gone on to say I would need to educate myself more to feel persuaded that there were conditions nothing else would cure. It seems couterintuitive that would be true, given the huge variety of pharmaceuticals available in the world — but I had heard repeatedly that it was uniquely effective and I was at the “I need to learn more” point.

Doug Ross doesn’t need that, being a libertarian. So he supported our campaign, based at least in some part on that position. I very much appreciate that support. But I’m not a libertarian, and have no problem with the government saying “no” to people when there’s a reason. And to me, the reason has always been that I need to be persuaded that an intoxicant that is currently illegal needs to be made legal. I might be halfway there in this case, but not quite all the way.

But I might have been closer to a conclusion back then if I’d seen what Mandy retweeted the other day. This was impressive…

42 thoughts on “That would have been a good tweet during the campaign

  1. Robert Amundson

    2018 and the Campaign. Where did time go? Mandy for Governor!

    Navigating the intricate realm of cannabis, I’ve witnessed the ongoing debate surrounding THC’s “high” and its potential therapeutic benefits. As a veteran and long-time cannabis user, it’s intriguing to see CBD emerge as a promising alternative, offering therapeutic potential without the intoxicating effects. Research is diligently exploring the delicate balance between these compounds, aiming to unlock benefits while preserving cognitive function. In my experience, cannabis, especially in a legalized environment like New York, has become a beacon for open discussions. Many, including myself, now openly acknowledge its efficacy in stabilizing moods and managing pain.

    Adding another layer to this exploration, emerging research suggests that micro-dosing hallucinogens like psilocybin and LSD hold promise in addressing issues like alcoholism, depression, and anxiety. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider our reliance on pharmaceuticals and the inundation of this pill will fix _______________ type commercials. A shift toward holistic, natural healing methods appears increasingly plausible. This holistic approach aligns with the evolving conversation around cannabis, fostering a broader understanding of its multifaceted contributions to mental well-being and pain management.

    Moreover, there’s recognition that, at times, the intoxicating benefits, when not extreme, can be a helpful aspect in navigating the struggles of day-to-day life as a survivor. It’s a nuanced perspective that underscores the potential role of these substances in providing relief and resilience in the face of life’s challenges.

    I smile more when I am “high.” I should try to smile more.

  2. Robert Amundson

    In the midst of my diverse and adventurous lifestyle, cannabis has become a trusted companion. Whether navigating the scenic landscapes of an RV Park in rural New York, finding solace in the historical embrace of an 1860 2600 sq. ft. home in my hometown, or tending to the serenity of a horse farm in the middle of urban sprawl in Utah, cannabis intertwines seamlessly with my day-to-day experiences. Both of my parents were alcoholics.

    Adding a personal touch to this journey, my fiancée from the Philippines and her two children, aged 17 and 6, bring warmth and laughter to the narrative. Life in our lives, with a mix of cultures and ages, is a delightful blend of responsibilities and shared moments. Amidst the whirlwind, there are times when, thanks to both cannabis and the sheer diversity of my lifestyle, I find myself in a light-hearted state of not being entirely sure about the time or my exact location. It’s a humorous nod to the richness of my experiences, where cannabis adds its own unique flavor to the tapestry of my vibrant, multifaceted life.
    In this modern, virtual era, much of my life unfolds in the digital realm, a contemporary riff on Kerouac’s explorations. Living this virtual modern lifestyle is my way of embracing the ever-evolving landscape of existence, where the boundaries between physical and virtual realities blur, creating a dynamic and exhilarating narrative that is uniquely my own.

    Anil Seth argues convincingly that we are all hallucinating, as consciousness, for each of us, is all there is. Without it, there’s no world, there’s no self, there’s nothing at all. And when we suffer, we suffer consciously, whether it’s through mental illness or pain.

    I am rewatching Band of Brothers. Perhaps I should watch THE MATRIX.

      1. Robert Amundson

        Jefferson Airplane and Surrealistic Pillow lead to a White Rabbit which then lead to Hot Tuna. Chaos reigns. Behind Blue Eyes: “If I swallow anything evil, stick your fingers down my throat. If I shiver please give me a blanket, keep me warm, let me wear your coat.”

        The Ramones are all dead, never really existed. Of course, “I Wanna Be Sedated.”

    1. Ken

      “Without it, there’s no world”

      Seems rather anthropocentric to me. Man is the measure of all.
      Though, actually, the world and with it the rest of the universe could get along quite well without us. And did for a long stretch of time.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          If she is, she should say so. I’ll wait a few minutes. But if she doesn’t speak up clearly and make a compelling case, I’m going to do what I can keep humans in the equation. It’s nice to have someone around you can converse with…

        2. Ken

          Mother Earth tired of humans? Seems rather the other way round.

          But, anyway, I’d rather “trip out” on the written word than on any nepenthic concoction. So let’s not be so quick to jettison the human element.

  3. Doug Ross

    At least 24 states have legalized pot over the course of many years.. I don’t think we’ve seen any state decide to reverse that decision. As usual, South Carolina will allow moralistic and religious zealots to rule over the majority of people who want to see it legalized.

    We should have legal sports gambling as well. It’s legal in at least 20 states and brings in significant tax revenue. Casinos in Myrtle Beach would be attractions in the winter months.

    1. Robert Amundson

      Doug’s take on the slow pace of marijuana legalization, particularly in South Carolina, reflects his libertarian viewpoint. He’s notably frustrated with what he sees as the influence of moralistic and religious forces in the decision-making process. In Doug’s eyes, and I AGREE, it seems like a waiting game for the day when personal freedoms trump (TRUMP!) these influences.

      My perspective, as a more “modern” libertarian embracing enlightened self-interest, adds another layer to the conversation. Viewing government regulation as a complex mechanism involving a transfer of wealth between different groups aligns with my nuanced take on individual liberties. It highlights concerns about potential consequences and intricacies of government intervention, all while considering a more enlightened approach to self-interest.

      In both cases, the frustration with the current state of marijuana legalization and the broader discussion about government regulation offers a glimpse into the ongoing debate about individual liberties and the role of government in shaping societal norms. It’s more than a political stance; it’s a personal reflection on the challenges of finding a balance between freedom and order in the ever-evolving landscape of societal dynamics.

  4. bud

    Waaaaaay past time to legalize pot for whatever the reason. There just isn’t a defensible argument against it. It is certainly less harmful than alcohol, cigarettes or even bacon.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Not the way I look at it. I look at it in terms of the actual reality of the world we live in.

      Here’s the reality… the following things are legal, and I see NO chance of them being declared illegal, certainly within my lifetime:

      • alcohol
      • cigarettes
      • bacon (which doesn’t really relate to what I’m about to say, but hey, who can ignore bacon?)

      Given that situation, do I want to legalize another thing that interferes with brain function, however mild, and which is currently illegal?

      I’m not like you and Doug. I’m not inclined, as a default position, to declare everything legal. I need a reason. You’ve got to make a case.

      That’s what this post is about. I’m about halfway there, but would still need someone to make a firm case before I would vote for Mandy’s bill (sorry, Mandy). I think that case is makeable. I just haven’t seen all the data.

      And no, I’m not going to spend days searching for it now, because the issue isn’t before me. If it were before me as a lawmaker (or if I were back at the paper and we had decided we MUST take a position on it for some reason), I would take time for it.

      That, by the way, is the way representative democracy is supposed to work — something that increasingly, folks across the political spectrum fail to understand. They think people are supposed to go into office with a fixed position, and if that position changes (and mine on this issues is highly susceptible to change), then the politician has been “corrupted by the system.”

      But it’s all about living in a large, complex modern society. Hunter-gatherers were all pretty much the same in terms of their knowledge of the things that mattered to them. Not today. We rely on doctors, lawyers, optometrists, electricians, plumbers, meat-packers, and all sorts of other people to be experts in what THEY do, because we don’t have time — we’re too busy working on understanding what WE’RE doing.

      And if you’re elected to join a legislative body, it is your duty to go to the Statehouse, or Congress, or whatever, and study the issue intensely, AND (here’s a practice that’s almost entirely extinct) listen with an open mind to people who disagree with you, and arrive at an informed decision. Because that’s your job now.

      Anyway, I’d have to go through that to know for sure how I would vote on what Mandy proposed.

      As for “for whatever the reason,” no. I’d listen to your arguments and see if they had merit, but they’d have to be way better than the arguments I’ve heard over the past 70 years. Because I see no reason to open the door any wider to yet another intoxicant. As you say, beer is bad enough. And it’s not going away. We tried that. Didn’t work.

      This goes, of course, way deeper than a difference over a single issue. You and Doug take the libertarian position. I do not. That’s because I don’t think in terms of what this or that person who just wants to do something gets to do. I think in terms of what is best for society as a whole. I’m not talking fundamental rights, here. I’m talking recreation. We have enough beer heads driving around. I’m not interested in having even one person out there who’s too high to operate heavy machinery.

      But there I go getting off on a tangent, as usual. I just shared this because I thought Mandy was making a good point…

      1. Barry

        What else do you need to know Brad? Mandy’s video isn’t convincing to you?

        This issue has been studied to death- much more so than many other issues. Do we need the 10,000th study on this to convince one more person? Will the 10,001st make a difference?

        The children and adults that take this in other states and are helped immensely by it doesn’t sway you at all?

        if your a grandchild was afflicted by something like this and her pain could be relieved by this, would that do it?

        Personalizing this seems to be the only way people are moved to actually take a position. It’s sad it has to get to that point for some, but that’s the way it works

        Tragically, there are children and adults in South Carolina suffering this very second that could benefit from this. Today, it might not be our children or our family member. Tomorrow- who knows.

        Thankfully, some people that can benefit from this take it anyway and aren’t going to stop- legal or not.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I don’t think I’m communicating clearly. Some things to consider — things I thought I had clearly explained:
          I advocated for the people who were pushing for this — and were at that time in a position to do so.
          I am no longer in a position that requires me to take any action. My own considered opinion in the matter won’t give anyone access to anything. As I said repeatedly, if that were the case, I would take the week or so necessary to study this complex matter (work that’s not just about reading something, and certainly not just looking at a short video, but would include — and this is the thing people have trouble engaging with these days — talking to people on all sides of the issue, and listening respectfully), and make a decision.
          Once again, as I’ve tried and tried to explain over the years, most matters — and this is one of them — are not simply about yes or no, on or off, up or down, or, to use the phrase that irritates some of you, ones and zeroes.

          I’m trying to encourage Mandy here in this quest. I tried to get her elected lieutenant governor, when this was something she advocated. But I am not EVER going to let people delude themselves into believing that I agree with them 100 percent when I can’t yet say that I do. I’m going to be honest…

          And no, I’m not going to stop and spend the time deciding this issue, which remains far from an easy decision to me, just because I wanted to encourage Mandy. But being me, I needed to do it in a way quite different from the way people do it when all they care about is getting the crowd out there to go, “YAY our side; BOO their side!”…

          1. bud

            OH. MY. GOD. This issue has been analyzed to death. Just make a decision already. OK maybe this isn’t a full on “one”. But its damn close, perhaps a 0.99. Pot (that’s the proper term for it 🙂 ) does have some medicinal value. Aside from that it really isn’t particularly harmful if used responsibly, as many studies have demonstrated. The American way is to value individual freedom unless some compelling reason dictates government intervention. That premise applies whether history brought us to a position where something has been illegal over some period of time or whether it has always been legal. A really useful comparison are Blue laws. They had existed for centuries yet it was crystal clear they worked against the public interest. Pot is the same. The public interest is poorly served by laws that have no merit, which they clearly do in the case of pot. Time to put this anti freedom tyranny behind us.

      2. Doug Ross

        What I also don’t like about the government deciding what is “legal” to put in your own body is the rank hypocrisy of those lawmakers.. you would have to be extremely naive to think that those same lawmakers haven’t used or continue to use or have someone choose to them who uses pot in some form. I bet random drug testing of politicians would yield some interesting results.

        And the whole law enforcement aspect of pot is abominable. How can there be anyone in prison for using a drug? How can there be people in prison for pot while the President’s son is an admitted crack addict who hasn’t ever been arrested for using far worse drugs and did far worse things while on crack than any stoner?

        And I’ve said it before, I’ve never touched pot.. but I don’t care if anyone else wants to. It’s better than Zoloft, Valium, and other legal mind alerting drugs…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “Mind-alerting?” Nah, more like mind-calming. For “alerting,” you might need LSD, peyote, psilocybin, DMT… or something in that category.

          Or some kind of speed, if you want to be REALLY alert…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Mind you, I’m not prescribing.

            I’ve always had a sort of academic, or perhaps literary, interest in drugs. I took enough drugs prescribed by doctors when I was a kid that I didn’t want any more.

            But I was interested in the stories. I was fascinated by The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and Brave New World and The Doors of Perception by Huxley, and R.D. Laing’s The Politics of Experience. And Hesse’s Steppenwolf. And of course, Carlos Castaneda’s books about Don Juan.

            I didn’t want to mess with my brain, though. I feared ending up like Merry Prankster Sandy Lehmann-Haupt. That stuff really messed with him.

            Also, I think of Huxley’s experience with mescaline which I’ve mentioned before. He found himself staring at this thing that he perceived as the Last Judgment, and it was “only after a long time” and “with considerable difficulty” that he recognized it as a chair.

            I knew what he meant. I’d been to similar places in dreams. And I didn’t want anything to trap me in such a state while I was awake…

            1. Robert Amundson

              It’s fascinating to delve into stories that explore altered states of consciousness, like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (and The Right Stuff – ironic Wolfe spoke at my college commencement between writing the two) and Huxley’s works. However, I couldn’t help but notice a certain hesitation towards direct experiential exploration. The mention of not wanting to “mess with the brain” and concerns about potential adverse effects reflects a more cautious approach. It’s reminiscent of Huxley’s experience with mescaline, emphasizing the importance of balance.

              Reflecting on your past blog posts about Meyers/Briggs, our contrasting experiences become more evident. While you approach these realms with a more intuitive understanding drawn from literature, my perspective involves actual experimentation. Balancing these perspectives, as you’ve suggested, could offer a more comprehensive view—one that combines intuitive insights with firsthand encounters for a richer understanding of the psychedelic landscape.

              “Got to Get You Into My Life” – Stoner Beatles music. Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women” and “everybody must get stoned.” Cultish Stoner tune but actually Zimm says Biblical.

              Happy Thanksgiving to all y’all, youse guys in areas of New York.

  5. Barry


    “what if he becomes addicted? What about if random teens see this and decide they have to take a drug?”

    said un-named Conservative Christian Republican

    said Christian Republican politician in the South Carolina General Assembly

    Better that he take 34 “approved” pills that don’t work……………….

    (Except – Except – if it’s the loved one of said un-named Conservative Christian Republican- then it’s ok for them)

    Rules for me, not for thee

      1. Barry

        Well, I either fall on the side of

        1) don’t think that’s fair

        2 or I side with with reading what self proclaimed good Christian Republican patriots and members of the General Assembly have said on their social media pages about medical cannabis.

        That’s not a tough choice.

      2. Barry

        You forget Brad- I use to work in the General Assembly.

        I saw elected politicians- family values politicians who couldn’t stop from talking about how Christian they were- holding hands with their spouses when they visited the state house in front of their fellow politicians- and I saw who they were going tout to dinner with at night.

  6. Barry

    “He’s notably frustrated with what he sees as the influence of moralistic and religious forces in the decision-making process. In Doug’s eyes, and I AGREE, it seems like a waiting game for the day when personal freedoms trump (TRUMP!) these influences.”

    Doug is 1000% right.

    if someone’s elite morals and super religious abilities are too impressive for mere mortals, they aren’t required to partake in medical cannabis.

    Brad seems to forget that we can see social media posts by politicians – and too many of them post their opposition to medical cannabis is specific moral and religious terms- as if we are looking to them for morality or spiritual guidance.

    I can’t think of any group of people less able to lead on spiritual matters that disgusting, unethical, rotten politicians.

    There are people death row that’d I trust more than a stinking politician telling me about how religious they are….

  7. Barry

    Medical cannabis – too risky. too scary. Too un-Christian for a Christian state like South Carolina.


    Common antibiotic azithromycin can cause fatal heart rhythm disturbance. Raises risk 2.5 fold. People with diabetes are at even higher risk even though many doctors regularly prescribe azithromycin anyway, as well as pharmacists recommending it.

      1. Barry

        You and are or very, very, very different people with different values.

        and I don’t need to consider something 4,502,901 times to make a decision.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Oh, I’m still considering if for the first time. Once I’m done, assuming I get there, I’ll be very definite in sharing my view.

          In fact, I think that’s what makes people frustrated when I say, “I don’t know yet.” That’s because they’re used to ol’ Brad being VERY definite about a lot of things.

          What they don’t see is the years I spent making up my mind about each of those things, and considering all the objections to that position….

      2. Robert Amundson

        A hostage deal seems imminent THANK GOD!

        However, I listened to my Mother and ate carrots to improve my eyesight. As I turned orange, I must suspect 45 eats too many carrots.

        “Eating carrots in moderation is good for your health. Eating carrots in excess, however, can cause a condition called carotenemia. This refers to yellowish discoloration of the skin because of the deposition of a substance called beta-carotene that is present in carrots.”

        Explain the hair?!

      3. Doug Ross

        Yeah, it’s only been 5 years since the guy you were working for said it was time to legalize it.. take your time.. meanwhile, how many black teenagers will have their lives ruined because a zealous cop thinks he smells weed in a car?

        You’re just being stubborn when you know you’re wrong.

          1. bud

            Sorry Brad but you’re just being stubborn and lying to yourself. There is just no other way to read this, especially when it comes to medicinal marijuana. Seems like more than adequate research to associate it’s use with positive health benefits. I’m sure this stems from some well meaning belief that government should interfere in personal decisions for the public good. Further, that belief in regard to marijuana developed over decades by indoctrination by well meaning mentors. It’s hard to shake pre-conceived beliefs even when confronted with overwhelming evidence. That’s why so many good people still support Trump.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Sorry that I keep failing to explain what I mean — a personal failure that seems obvious based on the ways you construe what I have said.

              But to say it again… I posted this to give what Mandy was saying a little boost. And what do I end up doing? Defending myself against the charge that I fail to be a 100 percent onboard member of the appropriate team.

              We’re really far gone on this business about beating people over the head and shoulders if they fail to agree with us on EVERYTHING…


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