NEWS CLUES: Like The Medical Marijuana Of Truth

TIMES A-CHANGIN’: Obama Halts Fed Medical Marijuana Raids

medicalmarijuanathugfreeamerica.jpgSupporters of programs to provide legal marijuana to patients with painful medical conditions are celebrating Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement this week that the Drug Enforcement Administration would end its raids on state-approved marijuana dispensaries. Federal raids on medical marijuana distributors continued at least into the second week of Barack Obama’s presidency, when federal agents shut down at least two dispensaries in California on Feb. 3. Holder was asked about those raids Wednesday in Santa Ana, Calif., at a news conference that was called to announce the arrests of 755 people in a nationwide crackdown on the U.S. operations of Mexican drug cartels. He said such operations would no longer be conducted. “What the president said during the campaign … will be consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement,” he said. “What (Obama) said during the campaign … is now American policy.”  [via MSNBC]

NJ Weedman Goes West, Opens Medical Mary Jane Store, Lives Long And Prospers

weedman.jpgWhen the New Jersey Senate voted last week to legalize marijuana for medical use, the first person I thought of was Ed Forchion. You may remember Forchion by another name: NJ Weedman. He’s that patriotic pothead prone to arrest for lighting up – and speaking out – in public. A Rastafarian rebel who has won court battles using a considerable intellect undiminished by his indulgence. A perennial political candidate on his own Legalize Marijuana Party ticket. I used to talk to Forchion all the time. But we had lost touch since his 2005 promise to stop fighting The Man and start acting like A Man. “My daughter just turned 10,” the Browns Mills activist explained at the time. “Her whole life I’ve been the Weedman and we’ve been poor.” A trucker by trade, Forchion figured he’d improve his family’s fortunes behind the wheel of his big rig. But then he saw the light. Bright lights, to be exact. Last year, the NJ Weedman moved to Los Angeles. Last week, I reached him at the legal medical-marijuana dispensary he runs on Hollywood Boulevard. “In New Jersey, I got hassled, fired from my job, and attacked by police,” Forchion recalled by cell phone. “Out here, nobody bothers me. I’m becoming a celebrity.” Like the rest of Tinseltown, the Weedman wants to be a star. “I’m looking for great revolutionary people,” producer Bobby Razak explained in a break from filming a reality-TV pilot at Forchion’s pot shop. “Someone needs to show viewers what this guy is all about.” [via INQUIRER]

FINITE JEST: New Yorker Publishes Excerpt Of Unfinished Wallace Novel

wallaceillustration.jpgWhen David Foster Wallace killed himself last September, his death shocked and saddened the literary world — and provoked immediate speculation about what posthumous work might emerge. This week’s New Yorker offers at least a partial answer to that question. In a pile on Wallace’s Claremont, Calif., desk when he died were nearly 200 pages from an unfinished novel called “The Pale King,” on which the author of “Infinite Jest” had worked for years. Much more material related to the novel turned up in Wallace’s files. The magazine, due on newsstands today, is publishing a short excerpt from the novel as well as a long article on Wallace by D.T. Max that tells the story of the unfinished work. […] In a Wallace letter to novelist Don DeLillo — which he’d obtained earlier for another article — he noticed a line he hadn’t paid attention to before: “I believe I want adult sanity,” Wallace had written, “which seems to me the only unalloyed form of heroism available today.” “This was going to be the theme of his novel,” Max said. Sanity is also a theme of Max’s piece, as it must be of anything written about Wallace. After his diagnosis of depression as an undergraduate, he had been on medication ever since. He decided to wean himself from the antidepressant Nardil — a decision that may have had fatal consequences, though nothing about suicide is ever certain — in part, Max writes, because he thought the drug “might be getting in the way of ‘The Pale King.’ ” Whether that was true or not, Wallace had a bigger, non-clinical problem with the novel: He was trying to evoke a way of being in the world that he himself had not achieved. ” ‘The Pale King’ had many ambitions,” Max writes. “It would show people a way to insulate themselves from the toxic hyperactivity of American life. It had to be emotionally engaged and morally sound, and to narrate boredom while obeying the physics of reading. And it had to put over the point that the kind of personality that conferred grace was exactly the kind that Wallace did not have.”  [via WASHINGTON POST]

[Wallace illustration by PHILLIP BURKE]

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