Saturday, May 31, 2014

Meaning of the word "ayahuasca", from my point of view

You know, I'm gonna weigh in here on the word Ayahuasca and its meaning. The Quechua language was not a written language. It was only verbal, which means it was very fluid. My thoughts are that Hoasca, or Huasca actually were adapted from the German soldiers of fortune who came for the rubber boom and for whom "wasser" meant water. Hoasca or Huasca, in my mind, are bastard versions of that. Aya means soul in thousands of dialects from the Panoan language group to Quechua to the Ayamara. So to me, ayahuasca means "soul water",  not vine of the dead or anything else. Just: "Soul water", which is good enough for me.

Monday, May 26, 2014

What the heck is the complaint with Obamacare?

 I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the ACA, aka, Obamacare. What I don’t understand is this: 
The passage of the ACA guarantees that everyone in the country who has medical insurance, not just those who signed up, but everyone, now has an insurance company that has to prove it’s spending 80 percent of its money on actual health care, not dividends, salaries, advertisements, etc.
No insurance company, whether you have it on your own, through your company, via Obamacare, can turn you down any longer for pre-existing conditions.
No insurance company, whether you have it on your own, through your company, through Obamacare or any other way, can now tell you you’ve used up your lifetime amount of insurance.
No insurance company can cut you off for any reason except not paying your bill. No threat of medical bankruptcy if you can make the payment.
All kids, regardless of how their parents happen to have insurance, can now stay on their parents insurance until they are 26 years old.
In other words, there have been five major, unprecedented changes in how medical insurance is provided to everyone in the United States who has insurance, regardless of how they happen to have it–all of which are benefits that cost nothing to the consumer.
What is the complaint? Everyone, you won. You’re now winners. You were able to complain about Obamacare and still came out a winner. What’s the darned issue? Why are people so angry about getting a better deal? I’ve been trying to figure it out for five years and still can’t see the argument against it.
If I were a democrat running for office, I would crush my opponent on these points alone. There is no rational argument against reining in an out of control industry that was leaving people to die. I would crush my opponents. And if the dems don't do that, if they distance themselves from the brilliance of this, well, they will only have their own sorry asses to blame for their losses in the mid-term elections.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My upcoming column in Skunk Magazine

So here's a tasty new column that I feel like sharing. The magazine is Skunk, published in Canada, a pro-pot magazine; my column is called Drug War Follies and it's been running about 9 years now. Wow! How lucky did I get?

Drug War Follies #76

Life for Pot Brownies? That ain’t sweet, but it is Texas. Oh, and the Rev. Roger Christie just got 5 years for his church work in Hawaii. And then there’s a family of Medical Marijuana users in Washington facing federal charges that carry 40-years. Goddamn! Now that’s the good ol’ USfuckingA, eh?

By Peter Gorman

It’s a pity that in this freaking day and age we still don’t have to look very far to find people who are being crucified by drug laws. Thirty years ago, having a joint got one poor sucker 40 years in a Texas prison. And while I was working for another marijuana magazine, I regularly covered cases where people with little or no marijuana were killed by police who’d been given false information by informants looking to buy their way out of their own problems. Others were locked up for 20-30 years on the word of those informants who claimed to have been in a criminal conspiracy with the defendants—often when there was no marijuana to prove even the slimmest connection between the informant and the poor bastard on the other end of the stick.
    But hey, pot’s legal in Colorado and Washington states, and medical marijuana is legal in more than two dozen, and hell, even in Texas they’ve gone soft: simple possession of less than 2 ounces gets you a max of 180 days in the county jail. So like, things are fucking cool now, right? Not for the illegals, of course, where a joint will get you up to five years in a private prison cell while you await deportation.
   But for the rest of us, it’s like no biggie these days, right?
   Well, no. Not right. People are still getting screwed left, right and center. One of them who popped up onto the radar recently was Jacob Lavoro, from Round Rock, Texas, who’s facing possible life for making pot brownies.
   He probably made a zillion and sold them to kindergarteners, I bet. He deserves what he gets, the bastard!
   Not exactly. In fact, Lavoro only had a couple of grams—but it was hash oil. His recipe evidently called for the oil rather than pot—and in Texas, hash and hash oil is considered much more serious than marijuana. A gram of third-rate Moroccan still gets you two years in Texas. But then here’s the twist: When using hashish in making food, the entire weight of the food is counted. Remember that carrier-weight thing with LSD, where the paper was included in the weight of the LSD you were charged with? Well, paper is bad enough. But in Lavoro’s case, there was butter, flour, a couple of egg yolks, sugar and chocolate all going into the pound-and-a-half batch of brownies he was making when busted. So he’s been charged with possession with intent to distribute 1 ½ pounds of hashish—which carries 5 years to life. Damn, and he’s gonna have to have that heard in front of a Texas jury, notorious for going for the max.
    I feel like getting real snarky here, but the other part of me just feels awful for Lavolo. And ashamed and angry at the prosecutor who would go that route with a couple of grams of hash oil. And embarrassed to be living in Texas and not having fixed this. Just a bad bad deal. Good luck, Lavolo.
    Yeah, okay, but like that’s not happening anywhere else, right? I mean, everybody knows Texas is a state where stupid people rule the roost, right? The rest of the U.S. is better than that, right?
    Well, no. Not really. And even in places that are cooler than Texas—everywhere but other parts of the South—federal law can come in a totally fuck things up. In Washington State, which, like Colorado has not only legalized medical marijuana but recreational pot as well, a family of four and a close friend are facing up to 40 years each for a legal medical pot grow. Yes, you heard that right: 40 years each for a freaking legal medical pot grow.
    Larry Harvey, 70, his wife Rhonda, 55, their son Rolland Gregg, 33, and his wife Michelle, 35—along with Jason Zucker, a family friend, had a legal med-mar grow on Harvey’s land, way out in the boonies next to a national forest near the Canadian border. Legal, in this case, means that all five had a legit medical reason for smoking pot, doctor’s recommendations for it, and a license to grow it.
   The shitstorm started when a flyby from the state’s Civil Air Patrol noticed the grow in 2012. When state law enforcement paid the Harvey’s a visit shortly afterward they counted 74 plants—the law allows for 15 plants per patient—but told the Harvey’s they would have to remove a few as collective grows had a limit of 45 plants, regardless of how many people were part of the collective. The officers removed 29 of the plants and left. No charges were filed.
   Unfortunately, a week later the DEA showed up and weren’t nearly as nice. They seized the remaining plants, dried marijuana and some pot edibles. And an old car, a motorcycle, a shotgun, a hunting rifle and a legal handgun—which they use for protection and hunting in an area where cougars and bears abound. A couple of months later, they were charged with six felony counts each, including manufacturing, possession, and distribution of marijuana, along with the kicker: possession of a firearm in the furtherance of drug trafficking. And the feds upped the manufacturing from the 45 plants they had to “more than 100” by claiming there was evidence they’d grown previously and added those imaginary plants to the real ones.
    All defendants have turned down plea deals—which can backfire badly since they won’t be able to discuss medical marijuana and their legal grow in federal court. So five people acting well within the law on a state level are facing an aggregate 200 years in the big house.
    Way to go U.S. You really suck sometimes.
On a more positive note, though still sad, Reverend Roger Christie, minister of the THC Ministry, which utilized marijuana as a sacrament, has taken a plea deal which might have him out of prison in the next several months.
    Christie has been held since in the federal lockup in Honolulu since July, 2010, when he, his wife and a dozen others were indicted for possession and distribution of marijuana and a litany of related charges. The plea deal, for five years plus four more years of supervised parole and drug testing, will give him time served, so he should only have to do several more months. His wife Shere, who has been out on bond, is expected to get 27 months when she’s sentenced in her plea deal. A dozen other church members were also busted and took a plea.
    Hard to imagine calling it a “more positive note” when we’re talking about a good guy and his wife who never hurt anyone and helped an awful lot of people getting five years in prison. How is it that we live in a world where that really is good news because it sounds so reasonable compared to the 5-to-life for a couple of grams of hash oil or facing 40 for a legit medical marijuana grow?
    This is really a mess, people. This needs fixing and it needs fixing fast. We’ve lost millions of man and woman years to the pot war. We’ve created a monster with the private prison industry that thrives on the souls of non-violent pot and drug users. We’ve allowed the unfettered growth of militarized police forces that storm houses where pot is suspected to be grown with military assault tactics.
    This needs cleaning up now more than ever. Inroads have been made and that’s good. But the backlash is severe. We’re gonna have to stick it out till a whole new paradigm is in place, one that does not punish good people whose only crime is preferring to get high on pot instead of beer.
    The Drug Enforcement Administration won’t like seeing their numbers halved once pot is really legal. They will drum up monstrous horror stories about the new and stronger pot, the killer pot, the whatever marijuana to justify keeping cannabis on their Schedule One list and themselves in business. And local law enforcement is not going to like seeing their easy pickin’ forfeiture monies, the monies that pay for all that military equipment they’re sporting these days, disappear. They will fight tooth and nail to keep those funds rolling in as well. And even if some politicians come around because they can see the potential of marijuana’s tax revenue, that money won’t go directly to the policing agencies like forfeiture money does.
    So keep moving the ball down the field, but know that resistance from the private prison industry, from police agencies, from the DEA is coming. And do your best not to let them come for you.

It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day, all you moms out there

Happy Mother's Day all you moms out there. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting for the rest of us.
    I got to go mow some lawn before the storm comes--the whole way back yard across the creek hasn't been done in nearly three weeks!!!! But I was checking the blog today and noticed, like I do almost every day, that today's visitors included at least a couple of people each from Russia and the Ukraine. So for you who are reading: I'm sorry about the current troubles. I wish you could all somehow get along peaceably. I mean, if you few are all reading this blog, then you guys/gals would obviously get along on at least some level. So what about your pals, and their pals.
   I'm pipe dreaming, I know. But aggression and holding grudges, nationalism and fear have never produced anything positive--yeah, I know things like the Volkswagon came from wartime, but you know what I mean--hate spawns hate. Time to eviscerate hate. Time to overcome it with peace and love and you're gonna need to be at least as aggressive with those as others are with their negativity if you're going to make a dent. Be brava--which, in the Peruvian jungle meaning of that Spanish word, means Aggressively brave.
   I wish you peace.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Upcoming June and July Amazon Jaunts

Step right up! Step right up! Sign on the dotted line for an amazing, provocative, wild, exhilarating, life affirming medicine trip! See the Amazon in all her glory! Risk your life for an adventure worth living! Suffer mosquitos to be rewarded by a chance at an entirely new and more rewarding life! Step right up! Step right up!
     I've got two jungle jaunts of 9 1/2 days each coming up in June and July. Both were pretty full. These are the trips where you get dirt under your fingernails, get to drink ayahuasca, utilize the Matses medicines sapo and nu-nu, maybe enjoy a few local magic mushrooms while on an overnight riverboat ride on the Amazon; go night canoeing, some high jungle hiking, swamp walking and anything else we can fit in. These are the jaunts that have a touch of magic and real, no-fooling deep Amazon jungle. These are fantastic.
    And, unfortunately, several people have moved their trips to next January or February, leaving me slightly in the lurch for guests, particularly for June. The June trip starts on Saturday, June 14, and runs through the morning of Monday, June 23.
    The July trip starts on Thursday, July 10 and ends on the morning of Saturday, July 19.
    Cost for each trip is $1900 and that includes everything except your airfare and walking around money. We pick you up at the airport, we outfit you head to toe with what you need for the jungle; we pay the hotel in Iquitos, the riverboat, my staff, the ceremonies, your food in Iquitos and, of course, in the jungle. We serve great food, can accommodate any dietary needs and still keep it delicious.
    These are great trips and they were both near closed until this unexpected shakeup has opened some slots. So feel free to take one or two. You can reach me at peterg9 at
    A lot of people forget the 9. If you do, the note won't reach me.
Thanks for listening. This is really an outstanding trip.
Peter G