Author Archives: Juan

About Juan

I'm from El Paso and don't have a major. I hope to someday be a lawyer.

Blog Post 4: Synthetic Marijuana

Belville, Russ. “Synthetic Marijuana Epidemic Can Only Be Cured By Legalizing the Real Thing” Marijuana Politics. 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

Russ Belville’s article “Synthetic Marijuana Epidemic Can Only Be Cured By Legalizing the Real Thing” discusses the recent rise in synthetic marijuana and why it had become popular. A large chunk of Belville’s article is spent discussing the various cases that have happened in recent years and how synthetic marijuana became the popular drug that it is. This is done by the author to argue that the only thing that can stop the spread of marijuana as shown by the title.

The article explains several examples of the effects of synthetic marijuana such as NYPD Commissioner Bill Brantton calling it a “weaponized marijuana.” Furthermore, he describes how  a man in Washington DC was arrested for a robbery and fatal stabbing; the man was said to have had that mentality due to synthetic marijuana. He then moves on to explain why and how people buy the man made drug. He explains that the false aura of legal status surrounding synthetic is why people purchase it. He then follows up with saying that although cities have started to make the drug illegal it is very difficult to do so. He states, “as soon as officials define one particular synthetic cannabinoid as illegal, Chinese chemist just the molecular structure until it no longer matches the illegal definition.”

Belville uses to manipulate the audience into supporting his claim that the only answer to the synthetic marijuana epidemic is legalizing natural. He does this by pointing out the negative effects that synthetic marijuana has and how they have lead to many problems. While I agree with the problems that Belville states, he blinds himself with his own evidence. One example would be how he talks about the problem in Washington DC. This in turn is detrimental since marijuana is legal in the capital city. If legalizing the real thing is the answer and Washington DC have already done how come they are a part of the experiment. Belville defeats himself, he sets up all this evidence to make this big claim yet his own evidence contradicts his own statement. The authors own internal problems is something that could detract from a reader believing his claim.

Another thing that Belville brings up before his argument is this analogy, “Only marijuana prohibition could lead people seeking a natural high…like spike…just as only alcohol prohibition could’ve led to people seeking a buzz to drink denatured methanol.” While at face value the analogy seems true enough there are actually two different ideas. The rise of synthetic marijuana did stem from prohibition of natural marijuana but it is different than alcohol. Prohibition of alcohol was made illegal in the 1920’s but many still continue to drink because they liked drinking. In this part Belville links an article stating that the government poison some of the illegal liquor from being consumed. This is where the two cases differ, synthetic came in as solution to the weed problem but in reality has nothing to do with natural marijuana. On the other hand, the alcohol was still the same thing, alcohol. It wasn’t some man-made product that had no correlation to what people wanted. The author here is trying to compare peaches and bananas just because they were both in the fruit salad.

The most detrimental part of Belvilles argument that is flaw is his diction. The moment that he uses the word “only” he immediately shuts off the possibility of synthetic marijuana having many problems at the root or he is saying that just cutting one root will kill the tree. This certain by definition excludes other problems that come with synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is cheaper, as the author himself notes, but doesn’t dive into how this is a factor as to why people solve. People who wouldn’t be able to afford the real thing would instead settle for synthetic because of them wanting to seek that high. Furthermore, he makes no mention of the fact of another synthetic buyer, teens. Teens have also been affected by the rise of synthetic and if weed were legal teens wouldn’t be able to buy. Belville is so buying trying to convince the audience that natural marijuana should be legalized that he paints it as the solution to a problem that has multiple roots.

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Research Summary 4: Pot Economics Comments

Richardgrabman, “Web Log Comment” Alternet. 2014. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

Article was originally posted to

The controversy that I am doing is the economic benefits of pot legalization. For my paper 2 I am analyzing the articles “Pot Economics” the source that I am summarizing is a comment posted on reposting of the story. This is a direct comment to the story and will help teach me about the audience that has read the article.

In regards to the credibility of the writer there is barely any. There are  two main pieces that help give the Richardgrabman credibility is that his comment is grammatically accurate which shows that he took consideration when posting the comment. The second would be the credibility of the audience. Given that he has posted a well written comment there is little denying that Richardgrabman has read the article and put his opinion in it. Moreover, Richardgrabman is a frequent commentator on Alternet stories amassing close to 2000 in his 6 year stint. The website itself is a website that targets the people that follow alternate media so it is probably well respected within that community.

Richardgrabman makes notes of some of the arguments of the article. He argues that while Schneider gives a nod to the potential problems with legalization in regards to Mexico and United States relations, there still the question of exportation. Richardgrabman asks what if the legalization would really help the Mexican agriculture crop as he sees it more as a grab for corporate executives (like Vicente Fox, which Schneider brought up in the article.) He then points that it would better if it didn’t happen as it would pressure the growers to want to grow excessive amounts in order to make a profit. He then follows this up with a point that marijuana crops are take a lot of water to grow and could effect Mexico hard as it has limited water resources. Furthermore, Richardgrabman addresses the comment made by Schneider about the cheapness of Uruguayan marijuana noting that the two things have nothing to do with each other. As a reply to another comment, Richardgrabman says that Uruguayan marijuana is targeted more domestically instead of for export. He emphasizes that the legalization was more so created to combat the Paraguayan marijuana problem.

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Research Summary 3: Pot Economics

Schneider, Dan. “Pot Economics: What’s the Future of the American Marijuana Market“. Dollars & Sense, Mar./Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Jul. 2015.

“Pot Economics: What’s the Future of the American Marijuana Market.” by Dan Schneider is an article that discusses the controversy of the economic benefits of marijuana legalization.  This source is important to the controversy as it explores the various points and options that could be taken from legalizing marijuana. In the article Schneider highlights certain aspects such as the illegal market, how it would be grown and the legal commercialization of marijuana.

Schneider seems to be a credible source as the article is full of different points all backed up by reliable sources. He includes a source such as the trade journal Medical Marijuana Business Daily to bring up the potential of what the market could look like. Schneider, although a freelance writer, is part of the Dollar and Sense Collective. Moreover, Schneider is not passionately involved with the whole marijuana scene but seems to argue for many aspects of the legalization, such as the failure of the Drug War and the giant stimulation of marijuana to the economy. One citation that Schneider uses is the article “The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars wasted on Racially Biased Arrests” sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union. Furthermore, I believe that Schneider is a credible source as he never presents a one sided argument. He is able argue while acknowledging some questions to the controversy such as noting that while a source says that the marijuana industry can become a “46 billion dollar industry” that other’s say it could anywhere between “10 billion to 40 billion.” The text is also found in an appropriate place, an economic website. The website would most likely be respected for it’s economic analysis instead of having a natural bias towards something.

In his article, Schneider questions the possibility of Colorado’s and Washington’s legalization opening the door for other states to legalize it. One concern that Schneider describes is the importation of marijuana in which he notes that Uruguay who legalize the use of marijuana and selling it for 1$ a gram as opposed to the United States in which it is closer to 15$ a gram. Moreover, Schneider brings up the point made when he cited Steve DeAngelo, co-founder of Oaklands’ Harborside Health Center, that it will come to a point where where marijuana would just be sold by “indifferent cashiers” instead of specialized dispensers. The main take away that Schneider makes is what will happen when marijuana becomes more legalized in other places not if. He encourages independent sellers, non-profits and oriented organizations to jump on the cannabis bandwagon.

Schneider is able to build up credibility for argument through various ways. He first appeals to his audience, he alludes to a possibility of legalizing marijuana but doesn’t deviate from the main reason of the website, economics. He also covers question the audience would be wondering such how would the money part work by citing that percentages that both Colorado and Washington are using for their selling. Furthermore, Schneider backs up his argument by dropping big names such as Jamen Shively and Vicente Fox who opened their own weed shop; weed magazine High Times also started its own privately own equity fund. Schneider also adds credibility by bring up Brian Laoraungroch who was trying to use the incoming “green rush” to collect funds in 2013 to which it is conceded that many people will want to jump on board for the money. Although arguing the economic benefits of marijuana legalization, Schneider is able to put a level field of information from many credible sources, historical analysis and statistics. The sources being organizations like the ACLU, the historical analysis is the effects of prohibition from 1919-1933 and statistics about the money around marijuana.

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My Communities

The two communities that mean the most to me are my Mexican-American heritage and tennis. Although these things are two different worlds these are where I have grown to become the person that I am today. I selected my Mexican-American heritage because it’s something that I was born into and have to live with. This is something that is a part of my life and can’t, this where my morals and beliefs stem from or where I saw beliefs and morals that I don’t want in my life. Tennis on the other hand is something that consciously choose to join and there is I have made many friends, had great times and which I had various problems. Tennis is something that change my life for the better but it also thought more lessons that just playing the sport.Mexico-Flag-lAs a Mexican-American I would normally be considered a minority but I have not grown up being a minority. My hometown of El Paso is predominantly Hispanic so I have never felt out of place. Growing up though I was thought many thought many things that I still carry with me today and others that I discarded after a lot of consideration. One main value that I associate with being Mexican-American is family. One thing that my mom is adamant about is that family is important and that’s why she would do anything for her children and her mom. I, however, don’t have that mentality which is why I don’t get along with my older brother and younger sister. Another value that I associate with being Mexican-American, at least from what my mom has taught me, is hard work. My was a single mother of four but she word hard to make sure that we always had food, clothes and supplies for school. My mother always felt that her children should either work or go to school which is why she is working hard so that she can pay for my school. In turn that’s why I work hard, to succeed in school and get a good job to maintain her.

With these two values I carry myself with pride for who I am. Although I know many people would not like me because of where my family is from, I have rarely had cases where I been stereotyped for my heritage. The only two small instances that I can think of come from family and from my other community, tennis. The first one comes from mostly the majority of my Aunt Dora’s, who is my mom’s twin sister, family. They all see me as some sort of “nerd” and have always hinted that I shouldn’t strive for school. Not a single one of them has ever been to college and never liked school and see it beneath them to ever try to go to one. One time they even said, “when have you seen a Mexican at college.” The other instance was at tennis tournament and as things were wrapping up we saw some guys with a soccer ball playing basketball so we ask to play soccer instead. They said yes but then all the other schools teamed together and when we complained they said, “you guys are from Horizon, you all know how to play soccer.” This seemed fair to them because most of schools that banded together were the more “better” ones as our school was seen as the place where immigrants usually tend to go, they seemed to view as a bunch of soccer players that are just in tennis because they couldn’t cut it for the soccer team. These are two small things but still times where my heritage seem to some sort of indicator of who I am as an individual.

In tennis is where I was able to create many friendships and learn many things about myself. If there was one thing that I took out of the tennis is the importance of friendship. That’s the one true thing that I learned from playing during high school. Tennis is one part of my that I feel more incline to as the idea of “my tennis” instead of the sport because what I associate tennis with is my friends. Other people do not share the same feelings and just see it for what it is, a sport. That’s fine as you can’t really hold attachment to something that you have never experience. There was on instance in which I felt truly stereotype  just for the sport I played. One time the team was walking towards to a friends house for a cook out. On the way there we crossed paths with a rowdy group and as we were passing by one guy screamed, “look it’s the tennis p*****s.” He called me and my friends “p*****s” just because we played tennis. What they saw us were some unfit losers that stand there and whack at a ball. I think that the guy wouldn’t have said anything if we were the football team or the baseball team. In his eyes we were just some “p*****s”

5925_171473483029852_1954611469_nI found that UT has Club Tennis which is just a tennis program for players of all levels to practice and compete. The other one that kind of interest me is the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students’ Association which is group that not only look at legal problems that affect that Latino community but also help Latino law students. That would be something that I would really consider during my time at UT.

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Research Summary 2

Gray, Eliza. “The Drug Threat in Plain Sight.” Time. 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Jul. 2015.

K2-Brand-Synthetic-MarijuanaEliza Gray, a Time Magazine reporter, investigates the substitute for pot which is synthetic marijuana.  Gray covers the the creation of the the designer drug, the various reason for it’s use and the harmful effects it has on people. More importantly, she highlights the law’s losing battle with keeping the drug of the street.

A claim made by Gray, synthetic marijuana is a becoming the most complicated drug problem beating out others such a cocaine and heroin. Gray attributes this to the drug being able to be sold in public because variants aren’t illegal although they attempt to mimic the “high” of cocaine and marijuana. To properly illustrate the harmful effects of synthetic marijuana Gray tells the story of Jesse, an 18 year old, that was smoking on the various names of synthetic marijuana, K2. According to the story Jesse’s mom notice there was something weird about her son but disregarded it when he told her it was “like legal marijuana.” Gray’s point here is that many young people think that it is a form of legal marijuana but don’t know all the chemicals that are sprayed into it. Along with this Gray marks the fact that these things along with the cheap price and not showing up on a drug test as the reason teens buy synthetic marijuana. Inversely, Gray remarks that while people argue about the status of marijuana as a gateway drug that it is relatively safe and a reason that the Colorado and Washington movements were successful. The author brings this up in order to emphasize the harmful effects such as vomiting, nausea and excessive heart rate.

Symptoms-of-Synthetic-Marijuana-Weed-UseGray also gives insight into how law enforcement struggles to keep the harmful substance off the streets, such as outlawing things that replicate the effects of marijuana and the many things that sellers do to keep it “legal.” What Gray is saying that while the government is making the chemicals that comprise the drug illegal the chemist tweak it so it can purport to be “legal.” Furthermore, Gray points out that most of the people buying synthetic marijuana, under names such as K2, Spice or anything else, are young teens that could not buy cigarettes or alcohol. Gray makes light of how even if marijuana is made legal it still wouldn’t be accessible to teens so they resort to the designer drug. Gray also noted that many people aren’t aware of the difference between pot and synthetic pot. Grey affirms this by saying that a man in Colorado, where weed is legal, bought some synthetic brand that had the same name as real brand. Gray  remarks that dealers are using the rise of legal, natural marijuana in order to push their deadlier version.

This article is helpful to me because I am going to write about the how synthetic and legal marijuana interact. In the article Gray writes about the harmful side of synthetic marijuana and how it’s troublesome. This article would not only be help to my peers seeking to write about synthetic marijuana but also to those looking to write about how other drugs effect and are effected by the legalization of marijuana.


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