June 21st, 2016

Marijuana Policy News: data on teen use in Colorado post-legalization

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/21/colorado-survey-shows-what-marijuana-legalization-will-do-to-your-kids/

It's a provocative headline and actually true: it does show the effect of legalization on teen use. It's just not in the direction that people who fear legalized marijuana expected.

"In 2015, 21 percent of Colorado youths had used marijuana in the past 30 days. That rate is slightly lower than the national average and down slightly from the 25 percent who used marijuana in 2009, before legalization. The survey was based on a random sample of 17,000 middle and high school students in Colorado.

"The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally," the Colorado health department said in a news release."

The article makes clear that any teen who wanted marijuana before legalization in Colorado basically could get it, just like the rest of the country. The article fails to mention that now that middle-aged parents of teens are using MJ, it's Just Not As Cool any more, but I feel that has to be at least a small factor.

Years ago, on a particularly beautiful Sunday morning, I got up early and walked from my condo on Cap Hill down to Etta's in Pike Market for breakfast (my then boyfriend drove down sometime later and we drove back). I said hi to nice black families walking to church. I marveled at people walking home from whatever they'd been up to since the night before, in costume that look real different in the brilliant summer sunlight. And for several blocks, I walked alongside a guy delivering drugs -- not then legal -- on foot. Nice shoes, very, very inconspicuous and comfortable for running in clothes. He was chatty and I learned a variety of things. Like, he had regulars he made deliveries to, and one of those regulars was coming off a heroin addiction with the assistance of MJ.

I got to thinking about that after reading the Colorado article, googled and, indeed, people really do that.

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/opioid-addiction-treated-medical-marijuana-massachusetts/

I don't want to be a big ole meanie and take people's pain meds away. Really. I want to help people Not Die. And I think legalizing marijuana and treating it as a gateway OUT of more serious drug dependency (and as a way to treat the problems less effectively and more dangerously treated with opioids) may make a lot of sense.

Last week of regular school year

This last week of the year is full of half days, so today is the last full day of school for both kids. Tomorrow is half day for both and A.'s last day; then Thursday is T.'s last day and slightly less than a half day for him. They'll start their summer programs after the holiday weekend.

In the meantime, the schools are sending lots and lots of things home every single day. Yesterday, A. came home with a full grocery bag in addition to everything in her backpack. Some of it was immediately "filed", and I've been sorting through more of it today. Along the way, I took the time today to sort through a lot of happy meal toys and similar and move some of them along as well.

I feel like, given how much just went out in bags, that it should be a lot more apparent that I've been decluttering. Alas, it doesn't look much different. I suppose the good news is that should minimize complaining from the kids.

Molly Harper Jane Jameson and Half-Moon Hollow series collective review

I've been reading books by Molly Harper. They are humorous, romantic paranormal novels set (mostly) in Kentucky, in Half-Moon Hollow, a small town. I read the spinoff series first, then backtracked and read the four books about Jane Jameson.

If you were to read them in order, you would first encounter Jane Jameson, recently laid off from her position (which she has an appropriate degree for) as children's librarian at the public library in Half Moon Hollow. Instead of severance, she gets a low value gift certificate at Shenanigans. The librarian has laid her off in order to give a job to a family member, a decision which over the course of the next few books she will come to regret, and eventually attempt to reverse. (And at some point, there is a reference to the librarian being in rehab, which just goes to show how badly that went for her.)

Jane takes her gift certificate and spends it on wildly colored alcoholic beverages at Shenanigans and some crappy pub grub. She is joined by Gabriel Nightengale (<-- no I don't want to hear about that spelling), who then follows her as she drives her aging vehicle -- left her by her great-aunt, just like River Oaks, the house she lives in -- home. Alas, the car breaks down, Jane staggers towards home and a drunken idiot thinks she is a deer as she falls and gets up. He takes a shot at her, thinks he missed and drives on. Gabriel stops and concludes that medical help will not be adequate to save her and instead turns her into a vampire. When she rises 3 days later, further shenanigans (er) ensue. (None of this is spoilers, actually.)

While vampires have been "out" for a while in the world of the series, substantial friction continues between vampires and humans -- and other supernatural creatures such as Jane's best friend Zeb's (HEY SPOILERS) girlfriend, then fiance, then wife and mother of twins Jolene -- are not out of the closet. The who-knows-what-and-how-much-do-they-really-believe is exploited for maximum plot and humor value throughout the series.

Jane and Gabriel's relationship develops across the four novels, culminating in their marriage and honeymoon in book four, after they have dealt with problems such as older adults' (well, not older than Gabriel!) expectations that Jane and her best friend Zeb should get married, instead of Zeb and Jolene. Other problems: Gabriel's (HEY I WARNED YOU) earlier childe Jeanine is a scary stalker. And she is just one (and not the first one) in a series of people trying to kill Jane. It takes a while for Jane's family to come around, some longer than others (and Grandma Ruthie -- I DID WARN YOU -- is a psycho not only right up to the end but well past it). I liked that Jane's father came around early, not only because he's generally one of the sanest members of the family, but because he saw the potential in vampires as a history buff.

The spinoff series takes side characters from the Jane Jameson books and develops them more fully. Andrea's back story and how she and Dick got together is developed in a novella. Iris gets her own book -- and her younger sister Gigi gets a book as well, both of which give a lot more insight into the inner workings of the council (also, you get to see more of Jane and Georgie interacting, which is always simultaneously chilling and hilarious). Ophelia going to college was a little disappointing, but part of that is because Ophelia is only starting to loosen up a bit by the end of the book -- it is really well constructed, but Ophelia is a problematic viewpoint character.

More books appear to be on the way. Not all of the viewpoint characters are particularly present in the original series. For example, Dick's line turns out NOT to have ended with Wilbur after all, and once his descendant has her book, she is around often enough to play a role in Geeg's life later on. And the violently puckish chef is just amazeballs, as is her paramour, the vampire contractor.

Sometimes, I get to thinking that I really don't care for reading as much as I once did. I'd really rather play Farmville 2: Country Escape most days. But then, I run across a new author like Molly Harper and diligently consume a dozen of her books in less than a month. I _really_ enjoyed these. I'm looking forward to more in these series. And I'm thinking of branching out into her more tenuously connected series (the Alaskan series seems to be mentioned as placing orders online at Specialty Books, for example). I have no idea if you would find these entertaining. But I laughed. A lot. Even in parts of the mom-with-leukemia-gets-turned-to-raise-her-son book, in which the protagonist has to deal with a truly epic level of bullshit from her father-in-law and various members of the PTA, but is rewarded by a relationship with a really great guy with awesome tats. Oh, and all kinds of weird family drama when it turns out dear old dad who she never knew is not only undead, he had a hand (sort of) in her raising. (ahem)

Reading order can be found at:

http://mollyharper.com/faqs/

Ms. Harper refers to the Jane Jameson books as the "Nice Girls" series, and the Half-Moon Hollow series as the "Nice Girls Spinoffs".

ETA: Oh, I should mention. My sister bought the Iris Scanlon book for $1.99 based on a SBTB rec. She didn't get very far in it. I later read the same rec, went to go buy the book, and was confronted by that lovely message saying I already owned it. I saw she'd stopped, went back to the beginning and rattled right through the whole book. So, it really is not a sure thing whether this will be your kind of trash or not. SBTB liked it, my sister liked the review but found it dull. And I loved it. It looks like I started the series on or around my birthday at the end of May and am just now wrapping it up.