Smoking gun: Bell a callous enforcer, say pot reformers

news-bell-video2Delegate Rob Bell, right, votes against marijuana reform bills in committee and becomes the subject of a YouTube video.

Supporters of two bills on marijuana–- one to decriminalize possession of small quantities and one amending Virginia's on-the-books medical marijuana law–- accuse Delegate Rob Bell in a YouTube video of leading the charge to derail legislation that might have provided relief to cancer victims.

Michael Krawitz, with Virginians Against Drug Violence and Patients Out of Time, complains that Bell ignored human suffering and used "straw man" arguments during a January 27 subcommittee hearing by alleging that the measures would lower the penalties for an adult selling pot to a third grader–- an "inflammatory" allegation bearing little connection to the real world, says Krawitz.

Bell, however, says he remembers a respectful hearing, and that he questioned a witness who claimed decriminalization would save $75 million a year by keeping Virginia's 20,000 pot arrestees out of jail for 30 days.

"That was inaccurate," says Bell. "I can't recall a case where anyone spent 30 days in jail for pot."

House bills 1134 and 1136 were carried by Republican Delegate Harvey Morgan from Gloucester, and have been tabled for a year.

The makers of the video "had an agenda," says Bell. "I am not as important as they think."


I take it back "Name" maybe everything is a plot! Hook, post my comments! I used nice, non-disparaging language and the only potentially libelous thing I said was that the Kennedy rise to power was an unintended consequence of Prohibition. But I winked! ;) Freedom of speech! Freedom of speech!

legalize it, don't critize it!

PS - tax it.

Hello hamadryad,
It is tempting to answer you in the style you seem to be accustomed to writing but I try to be a gentleman
so suffice it to say you are dramatically uninformed.

First, Cannabis use goes back at least 10,000 years and is not just part of human cultural expression but also is part of the evolution of the human body as we each have an endogenous Cannabinoid Receptor System which allows us to survive, Look it up!. I encourage you to spend an hour or ten reading some of the massive amount of literature on the subject. Start with

Second, the two bills that we are talking about would allow Cannabis to be treated as cocaine and morphine are now, not exactly a liberal approach!! and the other would remove criminal sanctions from marijuana allowing us to use our jails and cash for better things. Again not a liberal approach. The sponsor is a conservative republican and the chairman, the Republican Party Leader in the House of Virginia's General Assembly, was the author of the medical marijuana provision.

Bell is not conservative. Bell is not on the side of law and order, Bell is not on the side of fiscal conservatism, Bell is not trying to protect our kids!! How do I know? Because we are working on those things and Bell has stepped up as our chief opponent!!

Thanks for nothing, Rob.

Oh, DRAT! The system stripped out a link and an email address.
The quote from the Code of Virginia may be found online at:
AITCH TEE TEE PEE COLON SLASH SLASH leg1 DOT state DOT va DOT us SLASH cgi-bin SLASH legp504 DOT exe?000+cod+18.2-251.1

As for the email address, Google me.

Ole' Rob's got an agenda too. He's angling to be AG one day. Boy, wouldn't THAT suck.

Deleted by moderator.

It happened again! I tried to post maybe two paragraphs and it disappeared. What's up Hook?

"I did not swallow! er.. Inhale!"

Take "the" from in front of "organized crime", I am writing too fast. Cannabis receptors: Even if we have receptors which match a chemical in marijuana that does not mean we should be partaking of marijuana. Those receptors were originally there for a chemical that our body naturally produces. (Hi Mr. Michael, thanks, very good idea, for now I am posting these little bits.)

To think otherwise would be to say that we had evolved in symbiosis with marijuana plants. And though pot may have a long history, to this day most people have neither inhaled nor ingested it. So those receptors are there for another reason.

Dear hamadryad,
You may want to write the message in an email to yourself and then copy it into the forum that way you can't lose it so easily. I know how it feels when you get something finally written the way you like it and then poof it's gone. Michael

Now Roy, I did google you and found that you are a fairly well known libertarian. That means we agree on some things (gun control) and obviously disagree on others (marijuana legalization) since I am more of a traditionalist/conservative.

You seem a pretty intelligent fellow, but I ask you, if you hadn't been smoking pot lo these many years, what might you have accomplished? What "sounds" might you have heard? What "melodies" of erudition and creativity might have sprung forth? I will state again, those receptors were meant for something besides pot. I believe marijuana stimulates a kind of intuition, another "consciousness" that we are supposed to achieve NATURALLY. (And yes, it was long ago, but I personally know of what I speak here.)

And the "personal experience of detrimental effects of marijuana use on young people" is this: As a teacher I have noticed that those kids who are "potheads" are a dreary, sad, lethargic sort, with all their vibrancy and energy muted. From a purely empirical stand, pot can't be good for kids if it makes them act half-dead.

Aaaand boo! goes the dynamite.

Laws: We were talking about Rob Bell originally and state laws. I think that for medical use both federally and at the state level it should NOT be banned. And I don't want jails filled with nonviolent marijuana offenders. We agree more than you realize on laws. Too many nonviolent offenders in jail make for no room for the murderers, rapists, and molesters who really should be there!

The reason I haven't addressed all your points is that I am still doing so even as we speak! I lost everything, as I mentioned before, and am now posting in dribs and drabs.

The end.

Dear hamadryad,
As I am still in Vienna, Austria wrapping up meetings with our US drug czar and others at the Commission on Narcotics Drugs meetings I don't have alot of time to participate in this interesting discussion but I want to answer one of your points. In reference to your comment "My point on subcultures if something is undesirable, it is easier to eradicate when it is not mainstream." It is precisely that you can identify these individuals activities as being tied to a distinct sub culture that eradicating them for the stated purpose of inducing the sub culture to disappear is an act of violence, a crime against humanity a loss for all time of the strength that we draw from such diversity and an act that is thankfully a violation of our anti-genocide conventions. All the best, Michael

my new hero: Roy B. Scherer

Please point me to the statistics for Hemp related traffic accidents versus Alcohol?

Pot was an issue of timberland versus hemp. Timber won, but hemp is better for many things including paper. Just follow the money. Those that had timberland made hemp the demon.

Monomaniac at work again. I won't tell you how delicious dinner was (homemade spinach-cheese calzones, manicotti in fresh tomato-basil sauce, rolls, spring salad) because that would be exhibitionistic and I disapprove of that modern, narcissistic trend.

Oh, as a side example let me tell you about someone close to me who smoked pot in his teenage years, then left it. He had, and still has, phenomenal musical ability. He noticed that when he smoked marijuana he was not as creative, couldn't "hear" sounds and melodies as well as when he was not smoking regularly. And the effect lasted for days, not just when he was high. He stopped and as a man in his twenties never partakes for two reasons: it is the law, and he doesn't think it's good for him.

Don't know what problem you were having, H. I concur with Michael's suggestion of first writing your complete post in Notepad, or your email client, then cut-and-paste into these boxes.

You haven't answered a number of points I made, nor given any indication that you're willing to do even elementary research. Wish you would do both.

Glad to hear that you're in favor of medical use -- too bad most of the Rs on the subcommittee are categorically opposed. Glad that you don't support jailing kids for it, or burdening them with a criminal record.

Enjoy your meal, soak your typing fingers in hot Epsom Salts solution, go to the library and read up on the subject . . . and then get back to me. My email is rscherer AT infionline DOT net.

Also, read the current (or perhaps previous) issue of CHARLOTTESVILLE magazine for a good review of this issue.

An example of a cultural phenomenon that was impossible to eradicate was alcohol use. Prohibition did not work because alcohol use, though it can be very harmful, was endemic, and attempts at prohibiting it had harmful unintended consequences.

The unintended consequences were increase in the power of the organized crime and the rise of the Kennedy dynasty. :)

I think Rob Bell is hiding something in his past or present. He waves the moral/religous flag so often it makes me think he is trying to detract from his own secrets. Anyone that says they are more moral than others is definetly a troubled soul. I hope he is exposed

Only checked this today. I see I got a rise out of a few people. OK, first off, I said I am not in favor of severe penalties. Perhaps Rob Bell is in favor of penalties more severe than I would call for, but I still do not support total legalization of marijuana. It IS still a sub-culture in America, and I hope it stays that way. Kids, and grownups for that matter, do not need to smoke more pot. I teach History so I know that there are many cultural phenomena that go back more than 10,000 years and are now scorned--let's see, cannibalism, slavery, hallucinogenic mushroom use (OK I scorn that, perhaps you don't), human sacrifice, prostitution--just because people have done something for a long time is not at all a sign that what has traditionally been done is a good thing. (And of course I know cannibalism is much worse than partaking of marijuana. These are examples. It seems the human race has a fatal bent for things that are not good for them or others.)

And to the man, or any person for that matter, who is helped with nausea or pain by using marijuana, I say, let a real physician prescribe it. However, this excuse of "medical" usage is put forth mostly by people who just want to get high. And it is true that our brains have receptors with which drugs interact, but the receptors are not there because it is a natural thing to do drugs. It is not. Natural activities like exercise, prayer, meditation, sex, and just socializing, laughing, and having a good time are what they were really made for. If there is a major problem like disease, pain, etc., by all means, use drugs, but the regular use of mind-altering substances is a sign to me that someone does not know how to really LIVE.

And now for all those hamadryad comments. Hamadryads do not "live in trees" per se. They ARE trees, trees who have spirits and can sometimes appear as people, other times as trees. But when they are people, they are rather leafy people, and when they are trees, they have a remarkably human aspect. (Read Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, it's all in there.)

joe, absolutly averyone has something they're ashamed of.

Unfortunaltly for us, Mr. Bell was most likely ripped off a lot when he was a young lad or wasn't cool enough to partake with the ones who were doing it in high school/college. You know, you're everyday noob. I could see how a scorned bunch of those guys would want to ruin it for everyone else...

This is my 4th point/response: hamadryads: I don’t mind half so much as you might think being called a tree-dweller. Right now a large hollowed out tree seems not such a bad alternative to the mortgage I am shelling out. And we could all be a little kinder and gentler in our language. I, after all, called those first posters ââ?¬Å?1d1ots”. Which wasn’t very nice!

Mr. Roy, if I have time I may do research, but I am very, very, busy, and I have too much personal experience of detrimental effects of marijuana on young people to change my mind. Here I stand: Don't make it legal, don't punish too harshly, everybody LIVE rather than dope yourself up.

(OK, I realize after spending a quarter of my day posting it is also ironic that I should say I am too busy. Hey, maybe this posting thing is addictive, maybe we should make too much posting illegal, maybe... JUST KIDDING!)

Did I forget to answer some of your points? I think I was going to address that comment about the world being able to afford losing a few people because there are billions more. I thought that was callous. I believe every individual is unique, precious. And I was going to say that you probably wouldn't be against seat belt laws and helmet laws although they did take away some liberty, but that was before I found out you were a libertarian, and you are very likely against those kind of laws also. I am not, and I feel that way because I don't think people are replaceable, and the loss of a little liberty is OK if there is a much greater good that comes. We do have responsibility one for another, we just have to know where to draw the line. I can't be a libertarian because I think the line is drawn in that philosophy way too close to a state of anarchy.

You are all idiots. Marijuana use is part of a "subculture", not a longstanding cultural phenomenon like alcohol. There still are very good reasons for trying to suppress its use, and there is a much better chance of success in a marijuana prohibition than with alcohol. I am not saying penalties should be severe, but legalizing it would DRAMATICALLY increase its use and that is in no sense a good thing. Huzzah to Rob Bell for standing up for what is right. If he was not "cool" enough to do pot in high school, I would say "coolness" is highly overrated. (I am a high school teacher and I know what I am talking about here. Too often the "cool" kids are delinquents.) Good for Rob Bell and I will vote for him again!

My Dear hamadryad,
I would like to know what you would like to say to my two sons that absolutely know that Marijuana saved their father's life. I would also like to know what you would say to my two sons if it were up to you to refuse me the Marijuana that saved my life.

I am here for the past 13 years because after losing 94 pounds in three months from constant projectile vomiting I was given Marijuana and I stopped vomiting. Prior to trying the Marijuana I tried everything I even tried suppositories, but my liver was failing and they were too powerful and made me hallucinate. I was finally able to keep food down thanks to the Marijuana. That lead to my doctor prescribing me the chemotherapy and my being able to keep down the pill part of the chemotherapy down. And for the twenty months I was able to stay on the chemotherapy.

In the states where Marijuana is recognized as medicine, all those states allow it's use for Hepatitis C. Except for Virginia. Virginia Only allows it's use for Cancer and Glaucoma. Delegate Bell was instrumental in keeping it that way. Many Virginians will suffer due to Delegate Bell's actions on that day. I heard of his joking attitude and the brownies and his Cheech and Chong jokes. Not professional in such a serious subject, in my opinion.

I would like to know what you would say to those citizens of Virginia with Hepatitis C and and to their kids especially since it raised the success rate from 11% to well over 65%.

Hamadryad -
Nice screen anme, since it seems that in spite of being a high school teacher you seem to have been living in a tree all these years.

Marijuana use is indeed a "subculture", but is absolutely longstanding -- at least 5,000 years, arguably more than twice that.

You say, "There still are very good reasons for trying to suppress its use, and there is a much better chance of success in a marijuana prohibition than with alcohol."

Would you care to list those reasons, AND estimate the costs associated with them? It's all well and good to say that in a perfect world, no one would use drugs of any kind, but in case you've been living in a tree, I need to inform you that we do not live in a perfect world. In the real world, people get sick, and need medicine, and some of those medicines cause other problems which in turn require more medicines to treat them. In the real world, people use various ways to give themselves a temporary break from the humdrum day-to-day life with its cares.

Every society of which we know has some means of escape -- with the possible exception of the Eskimo. Even grade-school children, without drugs, engage in breath-holding maneuvers and spinning maneuvers to give them a short-term break from reality. Can you say -- and if so, with what evidence? -- that any behaviour so widespread is abnormal?

You say, "legalizing it would DRAMATICALLY increase its use", but again you show no evidence for that, and for that matter "legalizing" was not at any point under consideration. HB1134 would have lowered the penalty for possession to A $500 civil fine. The maximum penalty for 1st-offense possession under current law is MAXIMUM 30 days, and $500 CRIMINAL fine. Not a very big change, and would prevent thousands of young Virginians from having a criminal conviction on their records. As far as that change dramatically changing the rate of drug use, you obviously have not paid any attention to the twenty years and more of evidence of what's happened in those states which have made this change. Too much time in the tree, I suppose.

The other bill (HB1136) which Rob Bell, Todd Gilbert, Ben Cline, et. al. killed would have very slightly expanded the possibilities for physicians to prescribe marijuana to their patients when, in their professional judgment, it would be appropriate. You know, just like cocaine and morphine. You have a problem with that? If so, for what reasons?

If I may, I would gently suggest that you get out of your tree and actually do some research before you spout off in the future.
-- Roy B. Scherer
-- Oh, by the way, please notice that SOME of us do not hide behind screen-names. The reason for that is that we post truth, and we are willing to defend our views against any anonymous attacks from idiots on either side.

Oh, for heaven's sake "Name", not everything is a PLOT.

Oh Leafy One, allow me to deal with a couple of points you raise.

Let me first say that I'm aware of the nature of hamadryads. I admit taking the easy shot at you for being a tree-dweller, because it was so appropriate concerning both your screen name and your attitudes -- and because I can't resist a straight line. "It was the hamadryad's fault, Lord. She tempted me."

Now, I agree that marijuana users are a subculture, but don't see the significance. Chess players are a subculture, as are sky-divers and oenophiles. None of the latter are illegal, and none have been around as long as marijuana use. Are you suggesting that America should attempt to eliminate all subcultures? Wouldn't that make the melting-pot a bit bland?

People don't need to smoke pot? No, of course they don't, in most cases. They don't need to read books, or watch movies, or add spice to their foods, either.

We're human. To live, as opposed to merely existing, means more than merely breathing, taking sustenance, excreting, possibly breeding, and eventually dying. Yes, some of the things we do are not good for us, and may well harm us. That's all right, Hamadryad. Some people climb Mount Everest, some people jump out of airplanes, some people smoke marijuana. It's all right. We have billions of humans on the planet; if some of them kill themselves, there are plenty of replacements, and the death will provide a useful object lesson for others.

As far as medical use is concerned, you quite obviously do not understand the current state of Virginia and Federal law, or you would not prattle about "let a real physician prescribe it".

Virginia law theoretically allows medical use, "pursuant to a valid prescription issued by a medical doctor in the course of his professional practice for treatment of cancer or glaucoma",
The trouble with that is twofold. First is that use is limited to those two specific condition(unlike the case with any other substance whatsoever, and second is that it requires a "valid prescription". That last would be no problem at all, were it not for the fact that the Feds have marijuana classified as a "Schedule I" substance, which means that any prescription written for it is INvalid on its face.

The Feds, of course, finally admitted (in January) that they have been systematically blocking research into the therapeutic uses of marijuana for decades. In spite of that, there's good evidence that it has multiple medical uses, and that specific components have more.

As to whether or not "this excuse of ââ?¬Å?medical” usage is put forth mostly by people who just want to get high", that's first of all merely your opinion, and irrelevant even if true. EVEN IF 99 percent of medical-necessity claims were false, that would say nothing about the ethics of allowing genuine medical use. After all, merely because junkies fake symptoms and forge prescriptions to get morphine does not keep it from being a vital part of the pharmacopeia.

Regarding brain receptors, I'm afraid that once again you reveal that you haven't done too much research in this field. All the things you cite are indeed good ways to feel good, but they do not excite the same receptors used for cannabinoids.

Finally, you may have a sort of point about drug use being a sign that someone doesn't "know how to really LIVE", but according to the studies that have been done, use of marijuana is much more likely to be the RESULT of physical/mental/psychological problems than it is to be the CAUSE of them.

Seriously, Hamadryad, I understand your concern, and (as a certified geek and nerd), I completely agree that "ââ?¬Å?coolness” is highly overrated". However, you have failed to do the research. I'd suggest that you start with what is still, in my estimation, the best layman's book on drugs that I've ever read: LICIT AND ILLICIT DRUGS, by Edward Brecher and the Editors of Consumer Reports (1972, Consumer's Union). You might follow that up with the report of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, volume 1, MARIHUANA: SIGNAL OF MISUNDERSTANDING (1972, Government Printing Office). Once you've read those, drop me a line at .

Good heavens! I wrote a whole page of the most lovely cogent prose in response to Roy S. and hit submit and it disappeared! Where did it go! It was so pointed, so pithy, so, I don't know how to describe it. Hook! Where did it go!

The above is an actual question for the Hook staff. Do you have my submission somewhere?

Did I surpass some sort of length restriction? It was long, but I don't think any longer than the other long postings here. I feel slightly faint. I composed that comment with such care, such craftsmanship...

OK Mr. Roy, they are only letting me post 2 or 3 lines at a time. The short posts may not contain the devastating argument of the originals, but I will try to be succinct. My rejoinders were on the topics of 1. subcultures 2. cannabis receptors 3. laws 4. hamadryads and 5. I forget, maybe it will come back to me.

My point on subcultures was that I don't disapprove of them per se. I am an avid book reader and that has become a subculture in today's electronic world. My point was that if something is undesirable, it is easier to eradicate when it is not mainstream.

Something can be illegal and not merit jail time. I think we could be much more creative in punishments--community service, etc. I want to discourage people, especially young people, from using it, not slam them in jail. (OK guys I am sorry for all these posts with HAMADRYAD as the header. I like my nom de plume but even I am getting nauseous seeing it this many times.)

Last point about laws. Those communities internationally and nationally who have opted to legalize marijuana are now rethinking it because pot-shops are "attractive nuisances" and bring down a community. No, this is the last point. As a teacher I care what happens to young people. And I don't want them put in jail, but as they get older, the typical thing that happens is that kids spontaneously leave pot because it is not sanctioned by society. That wouldn't happen if it was sanctioned.

OK I am going to eat dinner. Someone (Michael? Roy?) please post. I am beginning to look like a monomaniac. And I don't even do this very often!

Hey, I figured out why they didn't post my comments! I was apologizing (sort of) for calling the first posters "1d1ots" and the same comment posts when I substitute "1"'s for ""i's"! But my original, not so nice comment got through! Life is full of irony.

OK it's not the end. I wanted to respond to you saying that marijuana use doesn't cause problems, but people take marijuana because they have problems. That is no argument for its use. That is called self-medication, and people with for example, depression, or bipolar syndrome, often self-medicate with things that are horribly wrong for them, like alcohol.