The Problems of Intermittent Marijuana Use

There is a pond close to my house that is stocked with goldfish. I visit often, but only occasionally do I feed the fish. After awhile, the fish seem to recognize my footfall and gather close to the feeding area. This intermittent reward has found to be the strongest kind of conditioning for both animals and humans.

That is what lotteries and slot machines are all about. Occasional rewards trigger the reward and pleasure centers of our brains.

The same sort of conditioning can be used to influence other aspects of our lives. When Obama came in, it was a great relief that he started de-emphasizing the war in Iraq and promised to draw down troops. There is the reward. Then he ups the ante in the war in Afghanistan, allows the Honduran coup to establish itself- there are the disappointments. He is active in taking steps to recognize and slow climate change, but mountaintop removal mining continues. The reward for marijuana users were his statements regarding the DEA raids of dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal. But the reality is, the DEA is still coordinating raids all over California.

I am looking in from the outside as someone who was never quite been enraptured by his oratory because I was aware of his voting record in the Senate. I can see how Obama is using this conditioning technique to keep together his fragile coalition of liberals and progressives, while at the same time appeasing hard-line warmongers and modern day robber barons.

The problem with this technique is that at some point in time, the tire meets the road, and if your life is slipping away by low wages, no job, threat of losing your house, if you have to tell your kid that even though they expected to go away to college like you did, it is just not affordable, then somehow that reality comes to the forefront. The only thing you have going for you, Mr. Obama, is that there is no progressive opposition; the other side (if you can call them that, since you are the other side, so I mean to say the Republicans) are a bunch of loonies with no ideas or concept of how to get the U.S. out of this morass.

Has this turned into a world populated by Aleister Crowley characters? Where “Do what thou wilt” is the rulers prerogative? Watch out! The intermittent reward-juggling act doesn’t work forever when reality sinks in.

How about these realities; a majority of American voters are opposed to the war in Afghanistan and think that it should be ended. After 8 years, Congress is starting to question the war in Afghanistan. State after state are allowing medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. More than half of Californians are in support of full legalization. And …mirror mirror on the wall, who is the most popular of them all? In Michigan, marijuana was 10% more popular than you were, but there is a big difference- it has retained its popularity. Yours has been on a slide.

Barack we have a solution for you. We know what the problem is? We empathize with you, we sympathize with you, enough for us to have sent you thousands of joints, both virtual and real. We want you to find relief so that your brain is properly oiled and functioning in positive gear! Get out of the clutches of your combination of loser advisors and robber baron financiers! Come back to reality! The world is in your hands and a joint should be in your fingers! Get real with the people! You sound so real! Make it real, and in your case, as you have written in your own books, pot makes it real!



  1. Anonymous on


  2. Anonymous on

    Either way, the littler fishes get fucked over, don’t they.

  3. Lygeia on

    Aleister Crowley actually said “Do what thou wilt, harming none.” A world populated by Aleister Crowley-like characters would actually be an improvement. But your point is well-taken. Are we in a world populated by evil, uncaring people? I think the dominant culture (which is slipping, by the way) feeds itself off of suffering. Seventy-two years of marijuana prohibition have created an insane world of cannabinoid-deficient people who worship death because the basis of life — cannabinoids — are no longer present in their bodies. They delight in toying with things that could kill them, because that is the only thing — flirting with death — that makes them feel alive. The rich and currently powerful thought they could substitute money and the things that it buys for cannabinoids, but it isn’t working, for them or for us.

  4. Troy on

    Good article, Ed. The political discourse in this country is so screwed up that progressives have to take whatever we can get. I’d have loved to have a choice between several candidates that approximated my views, but Obama was the only one that was both electable and within my range of acceptable political positions. Since his refusal to speak out against the CIA/NSA’s spying on American citizens, I’ve been worried that he doesn’t have either the political capital or personal conviction to follow through with the promises of his campaign.

    If I had to pick one thing about our infrastructure to change, it would be campaign finance and our commitment to the two-party system. In order for our political discourse to be more than just left vs right, progressives vs conservatives, freaks vs squares, we need more than just two real choices. In addition, we need to break big business’s hold on our electoral process. No amount of money should be able to buy special consideration from an elected official for any person or any industry. If we fix the way we approach our political process, turning it from a war between two armies to a discussion between 275 million people, we take power away from the brainless talking heads that are leading us into a culture war.

  5. Space Jogger on

    Ed, I have your Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, which has helped me greatly.

    I believe in marijuana legalization.

    Obama is a weak president with no prior executive experience to begin with. This is evident through his poor approval ratings and his ineffective and unfocused leadership on almost every issue. Examples would be his announcement to close Guantanamo Bay in a year without a cohesive plan to do so, a six month health care push with no consensus or specifics, and a $700 billion stimulus package with less than 10% distributed – essentially stimulating nothing.

    Al-Qaeda 9/11 attacks were planned from Afghanistan with a Taliban controlled government. The United States needs to be on the offensive until further attacks can surely be prevented, as ugly and horrible as it is. I’m sure you can sympathize with New Yorkers who have suffered from 9/11 and do not feel comfortable with a wild and loose Taliban/Al-Qaeda operating in Afghanistan.

    Obama will not spend his political on the drug war with so many other issues at the forefront of American’s lives.

    Would smoking weed help Obama? I’m not sure about that, but it seems like anything is worth a try at this point. Let’s pray for Obama and hope he makes the right decisions for all of us.


  6. Anonymous on

    they do it for nurishment not to fuck over the little fishes dick head!

  7. Anonymous on

    Goldfish eat littler fishes, don’t they?

  8. Patrick McReary on

    I agree with you on the fact that goldfish and humans have simallary developed brains. The one differnce between humans and goldfish however is the goldfish’s brain is far supior because they have no money, therefor they have no reason to constantly fuck eachother over like humans do.

  9. Anonymous on


    I’d vote for Kinky Friedman if he ran. Republicans are bad, Democrats are worse and Independents are anything but. Kinky is the only real politician.

  10. Anonymous on

    It sounds to me as though people are starting to see our president for what he really is… a typical politician.