Is it ever a good idea to get your dog or cat stoned? California veterinarian Doug Kramer says the answer depends on whether your pet could be classified as a medical marijuana patient.
"I do think there are therapeutic benefits to it," says Kramer, who some years ago found that his homemade pot tinctures helped his own dog, a husky named Nikita, fight pain and regain her appetite after she came down with cancer.
Despite the spread of medical pot laws around the country, marijuana still remains taboo within the veterinary establishment; its medical journals won't publish anything about it, and Kramer is one of the few veterinarians even willing to discuss using medical marijuana for pets. He points out that a slew of medical studies on the effects of pot have relied on rats and dogs as substitutes for humans, suggesting that "mammals have the same cannabinoid receptors as humans do" and "would benefit in the same ways."
The collapse of the Senate's gun control efforts last week has left parents to wonder what, if anything, might protect their children from another Newtown-style massacre. The world's leading high-fashion bulletproof clothing company has an answer: discreet kid-sized body armor woven into school backpacks, t-shirts, and puffer vests. The new line of clothing from Miguel Caballero, a Colombia-based company best-known for outfitting celebrities, executives, and political figures, is aimed specifically at the US market as a response to the number of mass shootings here. Watch:
The months since the Newtown massacre have seen an explosion of gun and ammo giveaways on Facebook. For some gun enthusiasts, scoring a free AR-15 assault weapon has been as easy as clicking a "like" button on the Facebook page of a firearms marketer such as 556 Tactical, Pittsburgh Tactical, or AR15News.com. Since December, the number of gun and ammo giveaways on the social networking site has increased seven-fold, according to research by the media startup Vocativ:
Facebook has allowed companies to give away guns as sweepstakes prizes since 2011. However, a Facebook spokesperson told Vocativ that the sweepstakes in question are technically ads, and therefore still violate a Facebook policy banning "the promotion and sale of weapons." As of yesterday, the Facebook pages of the three major firearms marketers had been taken down, though Facebook apparently still allows assault weapons giveaways as long as they aren't used as tools for selling guns.
The author tests an AR-15 at the Alameda County NRA Members Council "fun shoot."
"By now it's well known," a grim-faced President Obama intoned last Wednesday after the Senate killed a package of proposals aimed at curbing gun violence, "that 90 percent of the American people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun. We're talking about convicted felons, people convicted of domestic violence, people with a severe mental illness. Ninety percent of Americans support that idea."
Those Americans, however, were in short supply on a recent evening at Rickey's Sports Theatre & Grill in San Leandro, California, in whose parking lot one could spot jacked-up pickup trucks with bumper stickers like: "Liberal: A person so open minded that their brains have fallen out."
I showed up at the bar to check out the monthly meeting of the NRA Members Council of Alameda County, a county that swings liberal, to say the least: the Free Speech Movement. People's Park riots. Anti-war protests. The Black Panthers. Barbara Lee. Occupy Oakland. Berkeley. Quasi-legal pot. Alameda County has it all. If it were any further to the left, it might fall into the Pacific Ocean. Which is why it struck me as an unlikely home base for the National Rifle Association's most prolific grassroots recruiter—by a long shot.
Few ideas have more support from voters and less from national politicians than legalizing marijuana. While major polls now show that most Americans back the concept, the president and leaders in Congress won't touch the issue except to laugh it off.
Like pothead soccer dads in the sitcom Weeds, however, some of the biggest backers of legalization are turning up where you'd least expect them. Take, for example, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who last week introduced a bill designed to prevent the feds from arresting pot growers and tokers in states where the drug is legal. "This approach is consistent with responsible, constitutional, and conservative governance," the 13-term congressman from California's ultraconservative Orange County told me.
"The federal government's total prohibition of marijuana has been neither effective nor efficient."
Until recently, Republicans who supported ending pot prohibition were about as common as unicorns. There were US Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), and, well, some prominent former Republicans such as New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo. After ditching her Alaska governor job for a Fox News gig a few years ago, Sarah Palin finally stuck her neck out: "If somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm," she said on Fox's Freedom Watch in 2010, "then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in, and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society."
Back then that was crazy talk. Now it's mainstream enough that Rohrabacher's new marijuana bill has already attracted two other Republican cosponsors: Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Don Young of Alaska.
Rohrabacher got turned on to marijuana activism about 10 years ago, when he had to spoon-feed his dying mother because she'd lost her appetite. He learned that medical marijuana might help her eat. "My interest has evolved from there," he says.