Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Blue State Blues

None of it should come as a surprise. If you're a New Yorker, you will probably find the news redundant. As the city builds and builds, as it attracts more and more high tech millennials, members of the upper middle class talk ceaselessly about leaving town. The high cost of living, especially but not only of real estate... along with what must surely count among the nation’s highest tax bills… whatever New York offers seems hardly to be worth the price. 

Now, with the new tax reform bill, upper income New Yorkers, especially those who own property, are being hit with an extra tax burden. More and more New Yorkers are deciding that it's time to go.

Increasingly, New York has become a city of the rich and the rest. As the middle class hollows out, we are left with armies of very poor people and a smaller contingent of very rich people. The subway system is an embarrassment. It is ugly and dirty and noisy; it often fails to run on time. New York is not as dangerous as parts of Chicago. It is not as appalling as parts of Los Angeles and San Francisco. And yet, how long before it becomes unlivable, except for those who can lay down heavy money to shield themselves from its underside.

In a column for The Hill, New Yorker Kristen Tate describes living in New York City:

Am I the only one moving through the greater part of New York City boroughs and seeing an inexorable march of urban decay matched with the discomfort of crowding and inexplicable costs? I know I am not.

New York is the most expensive city in America. Its lower-cost neighborhoods are riddled with crime and homelessness. Its public schools, some of which are among the worst in the nation, look more like prisons than places of learning.

For the record, New York’s upper middle class and even many members of its middle class l never send their children to the city’s public schools. The might live in a studio apartment; they might eat ramen noodles three times a day. They will do anything to keep their children out of New York's public schools.

This produces a de facto segregation, to the point that the Economist remarked that only 15% of the city’s public schools are racially integrated. New York is filled with liberal minded progressives who will march in the streets to demand racial justice, but who will never, ever send their children to a racially integrated city public school. Their attitude: for thee, but not for me.

Quality of life is a major problem for many New Yorkers. Bringing up their children is another. And yet, as Tate and many others point out, another major problem is taxes. People leave town to escape punitive taxes. No one knows where all the tax revenue is going, but for sure it is not going into the subway system:

Eventually, city and state taxes, fees, and regulations become so burdensome that people and corporations jump ship. More people are currently fleeing New York than any other metropolitan area in the nation. More than 1 million people have moved out of New York City since 2010 in search of greener pastures, which amounts to a negative net migration rate of 4.4 percent.

The new tax reform has made life more expensive for wealthy New Yorkers, especially those who own high priced condos. As of now, construction is booming. And yet, prices at the high end of the market have been declining.  Repealing the state and local tax deduction will cost people significant amounts of money. And it will make that mass of new condos more difficult to sell. At some point the construction boom will bust. It's inevitable. No one knows when or how bad... but it will come.

Tate explains:

The recently passed tax bill, which repeals the state and local tax (SALT)deduction, will only speed up the exodus. Thanks to the bill’s passage, many New York taxpayers will save little or nothing despite a cut in the federal rate. The state’s highest earners — who have been footing an outsized share of the bill — will pay tens of thousands of dollars more in income taxes in 2018. In New York alone, loss of the SALT deduction will remove $72 billion a year in tax deductions and affect 3.4 million residents.  

Republicans will tell you that the new tax reform ends an injustice. When New Yorkers were allowed to deduct state and local taxes they were paying less federal taxes. Thus, their profligacy was being subsidized by states that did not have their own income taxes. Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore explained it today in the Wall Street Journal:

For years blue states have exported a third or more of their tax burden to residents of other states. In places like California, where the top income-tax rate exceeds 13%, that tax could be deducted on a federal return. Now that deduction for state and local taxes will be capped at $10,000 per family.

Consider what this means if you’re a high-income earner in Silicon Valley or Hollywood. The top tax rate that you actually pay just jumped from about 8.5% to 13%. Similar figures hold if you live in Manhattan, once New York City’s income tax is factored in. If you earn $10 million or more, your taxes might increase a whopping 50%.

And that’s not all, folks. Tate explains that these high tax cities are being mismanaged and poorly governed. It's not just that they collect too much. They waste a great deal of it. In her words:

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago — the places where power and capital have traditionally congregated — have become so over-regulated, so overpriced and mismanaged, and so morally bankrupt and soft on crime that people are leaving in droves. Of course, these high-tax cities are the same places hit hardest by the removal of the SALT deduction.

The situation in California is just as bad:

In fact, in 2016 the Golden State lost almost 143,000 net residents to other states — that figure is an 11 percent increase from 2015. Between 2005 and 2015, Los Angeles and San Francisco alone lost 250,000 residents. The largest socioeconomic segment moving from California is the upper-middle class. The state is home to some of the most burdensome taxes and regulations in the nation. Meanwhile, its social engineering — from green energy to wealth redistribution — have made many working families poorer. As California begins its long decline, the influx outward is picking up in earnest.

As you know, and as Laffer and Moore remind us, this has been happening for at least ten years now. States like Texas and Florida have been profiting from the great exodus our of blue states:

Since 2007 Texas and Florida (with no income tax) have gained 1.4 million and 850,000 residents, respectively, from other states. California and New York have jointly lost more than 2.2 million residents. Our analysis of IRS data on tax returns shows that in the past three years alone, Texas and Florida have gained a net $50 billion in income and purchasing power from other states, while California and New York have surrendered a net $23 billion.

And also:

We estimate, based on the historical relationship between tax rates and migration patterns, that the pace of out-migration from California and New York will soon double—with about 800,000 net out-migrants each of the next three years. Our calculations suggest that Connecticut, New Jersey and Minnesota combined will hemorrhage another roughly 500,000 people in the same period.

Of course, there’s a fly in the ointment. When blue state citizens move to red states, will they bring their blue state values with them? Will they cling to their bad attitudes and vote for the same policies they championed in their blue states?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

When Women Give It Away for Free

When you have gotten into the habit of giving it away for free, and someone comes along and offers to pay for what you have been giving away for free, you are going to be tempted. If you are not tempted, you should at least ask yourself why you have been giving it away for free.

Obviously, I am talking about sex. In particular, I am talking about women who give it away for free. They go on dates, they pay their own way, they have sex with their dates and they often do not want to see said dates again, unless for another hookup.

Aimee Lutkin described her own experiences in the New York dating scene for Jezebel:

A series of wasted evenings flash through my mind. Most women who have given dating men a shot have probably experienced what it’s like to date guys they’re not into, without a guarantee those guys will respect their boundaries or personhood, for whom they may have changed some aspect of themselves. And they probably had to cover their own drinks the whole freaking time.

Only a week before attending the summit, I was ranting to a friend about how many men message me on regular apps asking for what amounts to, in my mind, free sex work. They don’t want to spend money on a professional, but they also don’t want to invest the time and energy connecting to a regular date before asking for explicit sexual favors.

Back in the day men who followed the code of gentlemanly behavior would never have treated young women as sex workers who give it away for free. Wherever did they get the idea that they could? Wherever did they get the idea that they could get away with such rude, crude and lewd advances? Could it be that they have had success treating women like sex workers, and that many women consent to being used for sex?

Obviously, I did not recommend that they do it. I am old school. I believe that women who respect themselves do not give it away for free. Other forces in our culture have told women that giving it away for free makes them liberated. They are doing it to make an ideological point. They are compromising their dignity in order to advance what they think of as a cause.

To be fair, feminists promised women that once they became financially self-sufficient men would love them so much more because they would not be needy. It was a big lie. A lot of people bought it. A lot of young women sold themselves for nothing because they wanted to affirm its truth. It was still a colossal lie.

Aimee Lutkin continued:

In the past year, I’ve done a considerable amount of dating and I’m honestly exhausted. Dates are not only frequently disappointing, they’re also expensive—I always insist on paying for myself.

This being the case, she finds the prospect of becoming a Sugar Baby to be strangely enticing:

Well, after being introduced to the world of Sugaring, I may never do that again.

This tells us that giving it away for free makes you a cheap courtesan, one who expects nothing in return, who accepts that she is worth so little that she deserves to receive nothing in return, not even the price of dinner and a movie, certainly not a commitment.

Becoming a Sugar Baby changes the equation. The women who attended the Sugar Baby Summit were not aspiring concubines. They were aspiring entrepreneurs. They were willing to trade an occasional sexual favor— the kinds that they had been giving away for free— for financing and business connections. Compared with giving it away for free, it feels like a better deal.

I briefly attended a panel on the main stage called “Sugar For Entrepreneurs,” where both Babies and Daddies answer questions from moderator Alexis Germany, who hosts a podcast dedicated to the lifestyle called Let’s Talk Sugar, and is PR manager for Seeking Arrangements. A speaker asked audience members to raise their hands if they’re interested in starting their own businesses. Arms shoot up across the room. This was my first moment of surprise—the scope of the Sugar Baby ambition. I thought it stopped at cocktails and Louboutins, but some hopefuls want a Daddy to provide seed money for a whole company. Both a branding specialist and Baby, panelist Christina Friscia built her business with the assistance of her Daddy. She told the assembly it’s important to see your Daddy as a partner, not a wallet, and that frequently, older successful men have more to share than cash, like experience and connections. In a way, that sounds much harder to find than someone with money.

Of course, the first thought that pops into your dirty mind is this: if many women are willing to trade sex for professional advancement, how’s a man to know whether or not the women who work for him, who have not signed up with Seeking Arrangements, will make the same deal? He doesn't. That's the problem. Too many women seem to think that they can exchange sexual favors for career advancement and then they cannot understand why men do not treat them as respectable professionals.

What does a Sugar Daddy offer? At the least, he offers respect. Apparently, modern men, especially those who are woke, have been taught that it is bad to respect women:

Sugar Daddies are at least recognizing that what they’re asking for has value. Women’s time has value. Looking good costs money, far more money for women than men. If you want a woman who looks good to you, help her the fuck out with that. And if you can’t afford it? Then you better be a damn good listener! I’m usually paying to dye my hair in a salon, using fancy skin cream, and waxing my legs to be smooth to the touch just to sit across from some guy who could as easily be talking to a sack of potatoes, given the amount of interest he has in my responses.

Lutkin seems slightly turned off by the prospect of becoming a Sugar Baby. Or else, she feels the need to tell the world that she’s not that kind of girl. And yet, she gets the appeal:

Still, it clearly works for some people. I respect the Sugar Babies who figure out how to use the effort they put into finding love to a secondary purpose, whether it’s paying for college applications, travel, a new handbag, starting a business, or just finding someone who can afford to show them more of the world than a split bill at a dive bar. As one Sugar Baby told me, “I’d never had oysters until a Sugar Daddy introduced me to them. Now I order oysters for myself all the time.”

That’s it: oysters all the time! You’ve come a long way, baby!

Ethnic Cleansing of Jews in France

Meanwhile, back in Paris, a group of 300 thought leaders have declared that French Jews are being ethnically cleansed by radical Islamists. By their lights, nation’s political elites have been largely complicit. 

To my knowledge the American press has ignored the story. We read the account from the Times of London (via Maggie’s Farm):

More than 300 political leaders, intellectuals and celebrities have signed a manifesto claiming that French Jews have fallen victim to a form of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by radical Islamists, amid the indifference of the country’s elite.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president, Manuel Valls, the former prime minister, Charles Aznavour, the singer, and GĂ©rard Depardieu, the actor, are among those who have thrown their weight behind the document.

It says that France has become “the theatre of murderous antisemitism” with 11 Jews having been “assassinated” because of their religion since 2006.

“French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their Muslim counterparts,” it adds. “Ten per cent of the Jewish citizens of the Paris region . . . have recently been forced to move because they were no longer secure in certain council estates. This is a quiet ethnic cleansing.”

Note the fact, French Jews are 25 times more likely to be attacked than their Muslim counterparts. Presumably, that’s why elites are more concerned with Islamophobia than anti-Semitism.

The signatories claim that the French media has been silent and the French political establishment has merely paid lip service to the problem:

France has Europe’s biggest Jewish community, with more than 500,000 people, and the biggest Muslim population, with about eight million people. More than 3,300 Jews left France for Israel last year, more than from any other western country.

The signatories say that radical Islamists are being allowed to act without restriction by the political establishment in France, thanks in part to the “silence of the media”. In a denunciation reminiscent of the criticism facing Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, the manifesto claims that historical far-right French antisemitism has been joined by that “of a part of the radical left which has found in anti-Zionism an alibi for transforming the executioners of the Jews into the victims of society”.

Why is this happening? Simple, the Muslim population offers far more votes than the Jewish population. It’s the democracy, stupid:

Politicians have made the “lowly electoral calculation that the Muslim vote is ten times bigger than the Jewish vote”, they say.

The Case of Travis Reinking: Failing to Treat Mental Illness

The most depressing coda on Travis Reinking— the Waffle House shooter— comes to us from James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal. To Freeman, it was:

... another story involving years of red flags on mental health that did not result in necessary treatment. 

Ought we not to ask ourselves what our licensed credentialed mental health professionals are doing with their time? If something in the culture prevents them from doing a good job, we ought to know about it. At a time when psychiatry possesses a veritable pharmacopeia to treat mental illness, why did its practitioners fail to treat Travis Reinking?

Reinking’s history shows clear signs of mental illness. TheWall Street Journal reports:

Mr. Reinking had an extensive history of mental issues, according to law enforcement in Tennessee and the Illinois county where he lived before moving to the Nashville area.

Federal and local law-enforcement agents said Mr. Reinking was arrested near the White House grounds last July, after entering a restricted area in hopes of getting an appointment with the president and refusing to leave. He said that he was a “sovereign citizen” and had a right to inspect the grounds, court records show.

And also,

In May 2016, he was convinced that singer Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone, and that his family was in on it, according to reports from the sheriff’s office in Tazewell County, obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

His family informed officials that he’d been having such delusions since 2014, according to the reports. Ms. Swift’s publicist didn’t respond to a request for comment.

When sheriff’s deputies in Illinois tried to get him to a nearby hospital for evaluation, Mr. Reinking resisted until he was told that he didn’t have a choice.

A spokesman for the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department said it was unclear if he was diagnosed with a mental illness.

And there were the auditory hallucinations:

In August, Mr. Reinking approached the sheriff’s office, saying he believed 20 to 30 people were tapping his phone and that he was hearing people “outside his residence barking like dogs,” according to the report from August 2017.

It ought to have been enough. Apparently, it was not.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Happy Tenth Anniversary

I'm a bit belated, but I do want to celebrate the fact that this blog has just reached its tenth anniversary. Think of it… ten years of posts… some good, some bad, and some ugly. Some have even been readable. As for the number, I am approaching 6,000 posts.

To celebrate the occasion, I will repost my first post, a short philosophical disquisition about lying. It might not seem to be a blinding insight, but, take it for what it’s worth.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, regardless of when you hopped on the train. I am deeply appreciative of those who have kept up with the blog and who have contributed to the lively discussions in the comments section.

Expressions of support, in the form of donations, are always welcome, even more so on this anniversary. Please use the Donate button tot he left of this post.

Here is my first post, reprinted verbatim, called: Why Lie?

I cannot guarantee that this story really happened. Call it apocryphal, if you like.

A student walks into a philosophy final exam and looks up at the blackboard to read the question he is going to answer. That question is: Why?

While he is considering his answer another student walks up to the professor, turns in his bluebook, and walks out of the room.

The professor opens it and instantly judges that the student should receive an A. The bluebook contains two words: Why not?

So, ask yourself this: Why not lie? This might help us to understand the recent incident where a much-admired politician got caught in a whopper of a lie.

Some people lie to gain an advantage. Some tell small lies to avoid offending friends and family. Others lie because they are afraid of the truth. Still others lie because they can get away with it.

Finally, there are people who lie because they are rewarded for it.

In that case, why not lie?

Imagine that you get caught in a lie. Some people are appalled, but others come forth to defend you. They say that it was only a minor distortion, that it was not relevant or germane, that you were in touch with a higher truth, and that those who denounce you have a darker purpose.

And besides, who is to say that lying is not therapeutic. Isn't a liar merely rewriting his or her life story. Isn't that what therapy is all about?

Of course, you might have to own up to your lies. If your supporters have been properly acculturated they will see this as a challenge to their capacity to offer unconditional love.

As you bask in the glow of this impassioned defense, you might say to yourself that lying is not so bad after all. Perhaps fiction is closer to the truth than mere facts. Besides, if lying has brought you fame, fortune, and power... why not lie?

Why not, indeed?

America's Opioid Crisis

No one will dispute that today’s opioid epidemic is a crisis. Yesterday, the New York Times published an extensive and thoughtful analysis of the situation and offered some prospective solutions. Strangely, perhaps, the article appeared as an editorial.

How bad is it? The Times presents the facts:

Today’s opioid crisis is already the deadliest drug epidemic in American history. Opioid overdoses killed more than 45,000 people in the 12 months that ended in September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The epidemic is now responsible for nearly as many American deaths per year as AIDS was at the peak of that crisis.

Experts say that the death toll from opioids could climb for years to come. Millions of people are dependent on or addicted to these drugs, and many of them are increasingly turning to more potent, illicit supplies of heroin and fentanyl, which are cheap and readily available on the street and online. Yet only about 10 percent of Americans who suffer from substance abuse receive specialized addiction treatment, according to a report by the surgeon general.

The paper notes that we have been here before. In the late 19th century many Americans were addicted to morphine and opium. It adds that China suffered its own opium addiction crisis in the 19th century. And, it’s worth mentioning, the British fought a war in China to keep the nation addicted to opium from its colony in India. It was not the British Empire’s finest hour.

One of the more distressing truths of America’s opioid epidemic, which now kills tens of thousands of people every year, is that it isn’t the first such crisis. Across the 19th and 20th centuries, the United States, China and other countries saw drug abuse surge as opium and morphine were used widely as recreational drugs and medicine. In the West, doctors administered morphine liberally to their patients, while families used laudanum, an opium tincture, as a cure-all, including for pacifying colicky children. In China, many millions of people were hooked on smoking opium. In the mid-1800s, the British went into battle twice — bombing forts and killing thousands of civilians and soldiers alike — to keep the Chinese market open to drug imports in what would become known as the Opium Wars.

The Times continues:

As many as 313,000 people were addicted to injected morphine and smoked opium in the United States in the late 19th century, according to David Courtwright, a history professor at the University of North Florida who has written extensively about drugs. Another scholar, R. K. Newman, estimated that as many as 16.2 million Chinese were dependent on opium and smoked the drug daily.

We are not surprised to learn that the fault lies with our medical community, with the pharmaceutical manufacturers who have been pushing the drug, the physicians who have been prescribing it and the government bureaucrats who downplayed the risk:

In the 19th century, like today, the medical community was largely responsible for the epidemic. Doctors did not fully appreciate the risks these drugs posed. In the 1800s, many doctors viewed morphine as a wonder drug for pain, diarrhea, nerves and alcoholism. In addition to getting homemakers, Civil War veterans and others addicted, many doctors became addicts themselves. The drug was overused in large part because there were few alternatives; aspirin, for example, didn’t become available until the late 1890s.

It continues:

Today’s opioid crisis has its roots in the 1990s, when prescriptions for painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin started to become common. Companies like Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, aggressively peddled the idea that these drugs were not addictive with the help of dubious or misinterpreted research. One short 1980 letter to The New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Hershel Jick and Jane Porter said the risk of addiction was less than one percent, based on an analysis of nearly 12,000 hospital patients who were given opioid painkillers. That letter was widely — and incorrectly — cited as evidence that opioids were safe.

Surely, our government regulators should have known better. They might, as the Times notes, have been swayed by the pharmaceutical companies, but what is their job if not to evaluate the evidence… objectively. As for the physicians, they will say that they were following the guidelines laid down in scientific journals and accepted by government officials. But, couldn't they see the dangers in their own patients?

Federal regulators, doctors and others were swayed by pharmaceutical companies that argued for greater use of opioids; there was increasing awareness that doctors had become too unresponsive to patients who were in pain. Patient advocates and pain specialists demanded that the medical establishment recognize pain as the “fifth vital sign.”

Mr. Courtwright says that this was not a simple case of historical amnesia. In the earlier epidemic, doctors “made mistakes, but it was a bad situation to begin with,” he said. “There was no equivalent of Purdue Pharma flying you off to the Bahamas for the weekend to tell you about the wonders of these new drugs.”

As for what can be done, the Times emphasizes pharmacological solutions. On the lines of methadone clinics and greater availability of a drug called buprenorphine. Happily, it does not pretend that the addicts should all be in therapy. Congress and recent presidents have failed to act:

Leaders in both parties are responsible for this crisis. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and members of Congress did too little to stop it in its earlier stages. While Mr. Trump talks a lot about the problem, he seems to have few good ideas for what to do about it. As we’ve learned the hard way, without stronger leadership, the opioid epidemic will continue to wreak havoc across the country.

And also:

Lawmakers so far have fallen far short of such a vigorous effort when it comes to opioid addiction. Congress has taken what can be considered only baby steps by appropriating a total of a few billion dollars of discretionary opioid funding in recent years. This funding amounts to a pittance relative to what is needed: substantial long-term funding for prevention, addiction treatment, social services and research. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University, says at least $6 billion a year is needed for 10 years to set up a nationwide network of clinics and doctors to provide treatment with medicines like buprenorphine and methadone. Those drugs have a proven track record at reducing overdoses and giving people struggling with addiction a shot at a stable life. Today, large parts of the country have few or no clinics that offer medication-assisted treatment, according to an analysis by  amfAR, a foundation that funds AIDS research.

Apparently, the bureaucrats who signed off on addictive opioids are slow walking approval of buprenorphine. I will not offer a comment on matters I know nothing about, but I will signal that France has used the drug for more than two decades, reducing heroin overdoses:

Next, lawmakers need to remove regulations restricting access to buprenorphine, an opioid that can be used to get people off stronger drugs like heroin; its use is unlikely to end in an overdose. Doctors who want to prescribe the drug have to go through eight hours of training, and the government limits the number of patients they can treat. These limits have made the drug harder to obtain and created a situation in which it is easier to get the kinds of opioids that caused this crisis than to get medicine that can help addicts. France reduced heroin overdoses by nearly 80 percent by making buprenorphine easily available starting in 1995. Yet many American lawmakers and government officials have resisted removing restrictions on buprenorphine, arguing it replaces one addiction with another. 

As I said, I am not qualified to offer an opinion about pharmacological treatments of opioid addiction. I think that the Times has addressed the problem seriously, to its credit. At the least, it has offered some guidelines for addressing the problem. They are not the last word, but they ought to provoke a serious discussion of what we can do.

Is Marijuana a Dangerous Drug?

Is marijuana harmless? If you follow the opinions of the radical left and the libertarian right you would certainly think so.

Now comes to the news from Great Britain… more than 90% of those who are being treated for drug addiction are addicted to weed. Not just any old weed… a new, more potent version, called: skunk. Apparently, it is four times more powerful than regular weed.

The Daily Mail reports the news:

Cannabis is responsible for 91 per cent of cases where teenagers end up being treated for drug addiction, shocking new figures reveal.

Supporters of the drug claim it is harmless, but an official report now warns the ‘increased dominance of high-potency herbal cannabis’ – known as skunk – is causing more young people to seek treatment.

The revelation comes amid growing concerns that universities – and even some public schools – are awash with high-strength cannabis and other drugs.

Importantly, “skunk” damages developing adolescent brains.

The findings also back up academic research, revealed in The Mail on Sunday over the past three years, that skunk is having a serious detrimental impact on the mental health of the young. At least two studies have shown repeated use triples the risk of psychosis, with sufferers repeatedly experiencing delusional thoughts. Some victims end up taking their own lives.

The Daily Mail provides us with treatment statistics. Note that these numbers apply to adolescents who are under age 18:

  • Over the past decade, the number of under-18s treated for cannabis abuse in England has jumped 40 per cent – from 9,043 in 2006 to 12,712 in 2017;
  • Treatment for all narcotics has increased by 20 per cent – up from 11,618 to 13,961;
  • The proportion of juvenile drug treatment for cannabis use is up from four in five cases (78 per cent) to nine in ten (91 per cent);
  • There has been a ‘sharp increase’ in cocaine use among 15-year-olds, up 56 per cent from 16,700 in 2014 to 26,200 in 2016.
I trust that those who are reading this while high on weed will dismiss it all as a bunch of media-driven hysteria. And yet, how well do we know what weed does to the developing brain of an adolescent? And how can we prevent the more potent forms of the drug to make their way into children’s bodies… especially when their parents and adult authorities are telling them that smoking weed is harmless?