Some light groping at O’Hare

August 11, 2023 • 9:00 am

I wasn’t thoroughly groped this morning at O’Hare, but I was “randomly selected for extra screening,” so even though I had TSA Pre-check, I was frisked. Thank Ceiling Cat, no “suspicious” areas appeared on my arms and back, and the frisker stayed away from the naughty bits.

On the way to my gate after going through security, I noticed this box before the exit:

But why is there an amnesty box (a place where you are supposed to deposit weed) given that marijuana is now legal in Chicago and all of Illinois? Perhaps it’s a place to put your cannabis on the way OUT, in case you forgot to dispose of it before going to a country or state where it’s not legal.

I am cooling my heels at O’Hare, as we arrived way early. I reserved an Uber, far cheaper than a taxi, and the nice driver showed up 15 minutes early. Combined with light traffic in the early morning on the usually crowded Dan Ryan Expressway, we got here in a record 24 minutes from my crib.  Now I’m sitting here with a large Starbuck’s dark coffee ($4.30) and a plug for my computer.

I have a six hour layover in Miami—not the world’s most comfortable airport. I’ve contemplated taking a cab to the Versailles Restaurant, not too far from the airport and home of great Cuban food (excellent mojitos and ropa vieja), but I’d have to go out and back through security, and, besides, there’s a branch in the airport.

I also have a book to read: while pondering what to take to the Galápagos, I got a book in the mail from a friend: Inside Story, an autobiographical novel by Martin Amis. It’s supposed to have a lot about a character very like Christopher Hitchens, Amis’s BFF. It’s long and should last a while.

After finding noms in Miami, I’ll be off to Guyaquil, the port of egress to the Galápagos, where we’ll presumably be flying tomorrow morning With a 10:30 arrival time in Ecuador, I expect I’ll get little sleep. (I slept like a baby last night.)

I’ll report on my adventures as I have time; internet may be spotty in the archipelago. Please don’t send readers’ wildlife, or too much email while I’m gone, as emails may get lost in the deluge. I’ll be back home on the 21st, with a short break before I take a 3-week trip to Israel.

Meanwhile in England, an antique sailing ship is about to retrace Darwin’s Beagle voyage on a two-year trip around the world. Now that would be an adventure! (h/t Pyers).

Wish me luck: finches and marine iguanas await!

28 thoughts on “Some light groping at O’Hare

  1. Weed may be legal in Illinois, but the airport is federal jurisdiction and weed is still illegal at the Federal level. I had to use one of these at — of all places — Hoover Dam, which is again federal.

    1. It’s so ridiculous that marijuana is still a Schedule I drug by Federal Regulation (No recognized medical use). This has not been ACTUALLY true as a matter of science or medicine for at least a century, if not for practically as long as people have known about marijuana. Such facts make it very hard to respect the FDA/DEA in general, though I know they do good and important things.

        1. Yup, he should do it some time in 2024…I’ve been saying this since he got the job. A no brainer, to be sure.

      1. There remains no convincing evidence that smoked or edible cannabis is therapeutically useful for any medical condition.

        Cannabis for smoking is fully legal for adults to possess in Canada, since 2018. It can be sold legally only through government-licensed cannabis shops (which despite an intense marketing effort have underperformed because the black market provides stronger product at lower price. Stoners already had their preferred “guy”.) The government found that it can’t tax it as a lucrative revenue stream, like liquor, and simultaneously undercut the illegal suppliers, which was the claimed rationale for legalization. People reporting daily use have increased since it was legalized, and this has been also the experience in U.S. states. (Canadian provinces and municipalities have no authority themselves to legalize any controlled substance, or to direct the police not to enforce federal law.)

        Legalization of smokable cannabis for recreational purposes has undermined the elaborate charade of the medical marijuana business. Health Canada has not licensed any cannabis product as medically beneficial. The permission for medical use had been mandated by court rulings, not by any evidence that it was effective. Consequently the self-regulatory Colleges imposed onerous documentation expectations to ensure quality of care by doctors willing to be “weed doctors.” Now most people wanting a marijuana prescription can just be directed to the local pot shop instead.

        A recent review of Canada’s story is here:

        The Canadian College of Family Practice recommends the prescription only of pharmaceutical cannabinoid derivatives like nabilone, for a small number of clearly diagnosable “niche” problems where benefit has been demonstrated, (i.e., not backache, headaches, and “nerves.”) It advises against prescribing smoked cannabis because of the poor quality of unblinded studies with motivated participants and the risk of habituation and abuse. (Edibles remain illegal in Canada.)

        Public service announcement, not be taken as medical advice, is that aging hippies should be careful with rediscovering modern marijuana which has been bred to contain much more THC than in our college days. Its anticholinergic effects can precipitate psychosis in anyone, and delirium and falling even at low doses in elderly people, not to mention the risk of poisoning of grandchildren if gummies are left around the house. The problem of detecting drivers impaired by cannabis has not been fully solved.

        1. I think we can all agree that it has more benefits than alcohol or tobacco, and fewer drawbacks when used in moderation (I myself cannot tolerate it at all–it makes me throw up, though for many it and its derivatives can be useful against nausea and anorexia). I don’t think it’s any kind of panacea, and I am not a proponent of its regular use by any means. However, compared to many drugs that are schedule 2 and later, it is comparatively benign. That may not be saying much, but it does point to how ridiculous the scheduling system is.

  2. Enjoy the views over the Caribbean…I love that flight from Miami to Ecuador, looking down on turquoise tropical reefs near Cuba and elsewhere, and then a beautiful Caribbean sunset lighting up the thunderheads below.

    1. Guayaquil is one of the worst places, very dangerous. Jerry, I hope you stick with your hosts and do not go anywhere except in hotel-approved taxis. Street taxis are often involved in express kidnappings there..

  3. Perhaps it’s a place to put your cannabis on the way OUT, in case you forgot to dispose of it before going to a country or state where it’s not legal.

    Or rather a place to put your cannabis regardless, given that airplanes are under federal jurisdiction in the US (and possession of ganja is still a federal crime).

  4. Maybe that box is an unofficial “weed bank” for those of us too poor to afford to buy enough weed for a meaningful life. 🙂

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