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History on Drugs


My brother Isaac Campos is a history professor at the University of Cincinnati, just across the river from Brother Farley’s great state of Kentucky. Isaac has just started a Substack called History on Drugs, which is both hilarious and informative, if you’re not familiar with things like “hotboxing” etc., and even if you are:

Is your city full of the tell-tale stench of marijuana smoke? Mine is. Especially on the roads. Whenever I ride my bike I almost get a contact high. I also regularly witness parents picking up their kids at my daughter’s elementary school in cars that absolutely reek of the sticky icky. It’s nuts. People are hotboxing and it’s out of control!

What is hotboxing, you ask? Let’s consult the Urban Dictionary:

Go read the post for the definition.

In any case, hotboxing is a practice nearly as old as cannabis science. Here are some images from experiments conducted during the 1930s by legendary Mexican psychiatrist and drug-policy reformer Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra:

Is that a hotbox designed specifically for dogs?

Yes! And here are some before and after pictures of one of Salazar Viniegra’s furry subjects.


And after:

Looks like that dog’s in an ideal state of mind to pick up the kids from puppy school!

Perro Numero Dos is definitely the name of my next punk rock band.

At this point you probably want to know more about this hotboxing of dogs and the mastermind behind it. I promise I’ll get to that eventually. I’ve got so much to write about Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra that you’ll surely be sick of him by the end.

But for the time being, we’ve got much more urgent concerns, namely, figuring out what the hell is happening on the streets of Cincinnati and probably in your zip code as well.

I bet I know what you’re thinking right now: “Obviously it’s marijuana legalization, dumb-dumb.” And, I’ll admit, that is likely a factor. I’ll also admit that sometimes I’m a dumb-dumb. But are we really sure it’s that simple?

For starters, I live in Ohio. Southeast Ohio. That is, so far south in Ohio that Kentucky is a convenient, seven-minute drive from my house. It’s where you go when you want to gamble on the ponies, or need a vastly superior bourbon selection, or cheaper cigarettes, or you want to make out with your best-looking cousin. I kid! That last one is just a vicious stereotype! I love Kentucky!

The point is that Kentucky doesn’t have legal marijuana either. And neither does Indiana, which is only about twenty minutes from here. In other words, legal weed is not conveniently located nearby. You’ve got to drive three hours north to the great state of Michigan for that.

Yes, we have medical marijuana in Ohio, though even with a prescription you’re not permitted to smoke your medicine. Only edibles and vapes allowed. And last time I checked, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is supposed to be prosecuted aggressively around here. Indeed, this summer Ohio was part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. According to one news source, “Law enforcement agencies across the state are doing everything they can to get impaired drivers off the road.”

Clearly not everything.

Isaac discusses something that’s come up a couple of times recently here at LGM:

Almost literally every time I’m out on the streets here, a car drives by billowing plumes of pungent smoke, and the cops don’t seem to care.

I suspect that this has less to do with legal weed than with a more generalized lawlessness that seems to have become the norm on the roads of the Queen City. This is, it turns out, a national trend. If you know me personally, you’ve heard my rants on the topic. My young neighbor was almost killed while out on a jog last year by someone who egregiously ran a red light at eight in the morning. I am not exaggerating when I say that almost every time I’m on the road now I see someone driving like a maniac, whether racing on the highway at 100 mph, or running red lights, or tailgating dangerously. This is all very new. It didn’t used to be this way.

So I strongly suspect that all the hotboxing has more to do with our current “fuck you” political culture than with our cannabis laws, though, admittedly, the normalization of cannabis has probably also played some role.

The broader point I’d like to once again make here is that drug use is complicated. Fluctuations in use rates, or in drug-use cultures (from edibles, to smoking, to fogging down on the way to pick up the kids from elementary school) are not always easily explained.

If this kind of thing isn’t worth five bucks a month to you then get a job, you stoner slacker.

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