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A question for the people on this list:
Can you name any significant study of the drug laws in the last 100 years that supports marijuana prohibition?
I have asked this question of every US Drug Czar since William Bennett (under Reagan). I got a personal reply from each. Not one of them could name any significant study of the drug laws that supported marijuana prohibition. In fact, it was quite apparent that they had not read any of the major commission reports.
In 1973, President Nixon's US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse completed the largest study of the drug laws ever done. At the end of their study, they said the real drug problem was not marijuana, or heroin, or cocaine. The real drug problem, they said, was the ignorance of our public officials who have never bothered to read the most basic research.
These public officials prove that what they said is still true. The full text of every major government commission on drugs from around the world over the last 100 years can be found at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer under Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy.
I will bet that not one of these public officials have ever read any of them. I will bet that, even though they are posted online, they will never read them. If they haven't read the major research, then they are ignorant. If they refuse to read it, then the ignorance is deliberate. That is the real problem.
Why was marijuana outlawed in the first place?
Marijuana was originally outlawed for two major reasons. The first was because "All Mexicans are crazy and marijuana is what makes them crazy." The second was the fear that heroin addiction would lead to the use of marijuana - exactly the opposite of the modern "gateway" idea.
Only one medical doctor testified at the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The representative of the American Medical Association said there was no evidence that mj was a dangerous drug, and no reason for the law. He pointed out that it was used in hundreds of common medicines with no significant problems. In response, the committee told him that, if he wasn't going to cooperate, he should shut up and leave.
The only other "expert" to testify was James C. Munch, a psychologist. His sole claim to fame was that he had done an experiment where he had injected mj directly into the brains of 300 dogs, and two of them died. When they asked him what he concluded from this, he said he didn't know what to conclude because he wasn't a dog psychologist. He also testified in court, under oath, that mj would make your fangs grow six inches long and drip with blood. He went on to say that, when he tried it, it turned him into a bat. He then described how he flew around the room for two hours and found himself at the bottom of a 200-foot-high inkwell.
Mr. Munch was the only "expert" in the US who thought marijuana should be illegal, so he was appointed US Official Expert on marijuana, where he served -- and guided policy -- for 25 years.
If you read the transcripts of the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act you will find that the most common question is "What is this stuff?" It was the cannabis plant -- common hemp that had been grown throughout the US since colonial days. Even the hemp farmers who grew it were surprised to hear that a dangerous drug could be made from the plant.
Shortly after the law was passed, Harry Anslinger, then head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and promoter of the MTA, walked out on a bridge over the Potomac River. He saw before him a field of cannabis that stretched as far as the eye could see. He said he knew then that the law was completely unenforceable. Therefore, he reasoned, the only possible hope was to wage a campaign of such stupendous lies that people would be scared to even touch it.
The laws were absolute lunacy, passed by lunatics, from the very beginning.
For reference, see the short history of the marijuana laws at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm
See also the complete transcripts of the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/taxact/taxact.htm
See also, the other histories and historical documents at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/history.htm
If your editors are still unsure about the marijuana issues, then read the following:
The short history of the marijuana laws at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm This is funny and fascinating. Try to find the point in history when the marijuana laws were based on anything but absolute lunacy.
Licit and Illicit Drugs at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm This is the best overall review of the drug problem ever written. It has been used as a basic college textbook for decades. You will find surprises on every page.
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding, the Report of the US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm This is the largest study of the marijuana laws ever done, commissioned by President Nixon.
Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer This collection includes the full text of every major government commission on drugs from around the world over the last 100 years. They all reached very similar conclusions.
The evidence on what to do about drugs is simply overwhelming. There is simply no real argument among people who have read the above research.
"Legalization of marijuana will not rid us of illegal drug dealers or organized crime."
According to the US Federal Government itself, it will cut the revenues of the drug gangs in Mexico by about 60 percent. That won't eliminate them but it will put a huge dent in their power.
"Dispensaries were a stepping stone used to legalize marijuana and I am wondering which presently illegal drug will be next."
The laws on the other drugs were just as lunatic as this one. Believe it or not, these drugs were not considered to be a major problem in society until they were outlawed. You can read an excellent history at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm
"That a person, company or industry is making $100 billion or more doesn't necessarily equate with what is good for or with growth and prosperity for our country (the multi-billion dollar pornography business for example)."
It means that $100 billion will either go to the good guys or the bad guys -- take your pick. It is the same choice we had with beer.
"There are good doctors and bad ones, but the good ones will be ethically minded and care enough to research patient background, assess perceived pain according to expected standards, ask questions, order tests, offer precautions and alternative treatments, and do follow up."
How much justification does a doctor need to recommend a drug that is safer than aspirin?
"Bottom line, I think we need to start working on solutions to the problems we're creating (ADHD, anxiety, etc.) instead of writing more prescriptions. I understand there is a new non-narcotic pain medication that is being tested now, and I wonder if it works how many MM patients would be interested."
Not many. There aren't many drugs out there that have the same kind of safety margin and minimal side effects that marijuana does.
"After all is said and the blah, blah, blah is done, common sense and the nativegirl are correct. Its our town, our choice."
Yes, it is your town and your choice. You can choose to have beer sold by regulated, licensed distributors who follow rules like age limits, pay taxes, and generally recognize that they must be good citizens to continue doing business.
Or you can turn your beer business over to people like Al Capone -- people who do not follow rules, do not have licenses, and sell to anyone who comes along, including kids. In fact, they recognize that kids make good couriers so they get them started in the business early. They have no incentive to follow rules.
At the same time, you can give organized crime a monopoly worth tens of billions per year and trust that they will spend all that money to the benefit of the community.
You know, just like you have now chosen to be a part of shipping perhaps $30 billion in marijuana revenues to the drug lords in Mexico. But for your attitude, they would go broke.
As for Robert DuPont, you may be interested in his history. He was head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse back in the 1960s. At the time, he wrote some major articles explaining why marijuana should be legalized completely.
Then, he changed his mind on the subject. He got together with Peter Bensinger, former head of the DEA, and they formed a drug-testing company. They lobbied their friends in Congress to pass laws promoting drug testing and they got instantly rich.
Naturally, drug testing doesn't work real well on anything but marijuana. With just about any other drug, a person can be blitzed all weekend and still test clean for work on Monday, even though they are in no shape to work. But marijuana is detectable in the body a long time. If marijuana was legalized, it would knock the bottom out of his drug testing business.
Therefore, ever since he formed the business, he changed his tune and now opposes legalization.
As for why so many posts? -- simple, it requires some explanation, and they don't allow long posts.
You are actually taking a site on "Evidence for God" as proof? Oh, please. It isn't even related.
As for the claims in the article, yes, most of the research has been done on the pure form of THC. That's because the US Government has basically forbidden all but the pre-approved research on marijuana since 1944. So they did the research on Marinol, the pure form of THC. Marinol is in Schedule III and marijuana is in Schedule I.
That is, the US Government admits that the primary active ingredient in marijuana has a medical use and is safe enough to be in Schedule III (same as Vicodin, etc.) but claims that the plant that contains the drug must be in Schedule I. This would be equivalent to making Vitamin C tablets Sched. III while oranges are Sched. I. That clearly makes no sense.
But that isn't really the point, anyway. The major point is that it doesn't make any sense to punish sick people who have done nothing more than to try to relieve their own suffering -- even if you disagree with their choice of medicine.
And, BTW, one of the most interesting items to come out of the research on California's medical marijuana users is that many of them -- who look perfectly healthy -- are using it to treat anxiety disorders. Many of them had hard drug abuse problems before they took up the regular use of marijuana. When they started using medical marijuana, 90 percent greatly reduced their use of harder drugs, and ten percent quit completely. So the "perfectly healthy" person you see smoking pot may be a recovering drug addict, or someone with similar anxiety issues.
As for the measure not being well thought out, the problem lies with the fact that the laws were lunacy from the beginning, and the lunacy continues in Washington. Take a few months to do a complete review of the Federal law, and the facts surrounding medical marijuana. The truth is that it never should have been outlawed in the first place. At most, it should have been regulated like beer, but even that was probably unnecessary.
How big is the marijuana market? It is about $100 billion per year. That is about the same size as the beer market. So, every time you see beer on sale in your community, make a mental note that somebody, somewhere in your community is selling the same amount of marijuana. You don't see it because it is an underground economy but it is there, and it is just as big as beer.
So you really only have two choices for a solution. Either the pot will be sold by legal, licensed dealers, who follow rules and pay taxes, or it can be sold by organized crime that does not follow rules and pay taxes.
You really don't have any other choices. The marijuana is going to be there and be sold whether you like it or not. The only choice you have is in who sells it and the rules they follow. You can have honest business people, or you can have organized crime. Take your pick. Do you really think that organized crime should get a guaranteed monopoly on a business the size of beer?
Now, knowing all of that, and the fact that marijuana is illegal at the Federal level, try to write a sensible law. If you can do it, I am sure that everyone in the drug law reform movement would love to hear from you.
Add to that the fact that marijuana is a very good anxiolytic (anxiety reliever) and many people use it for anxiety-related disorders such as ADD, ADHD, PTSD, etc. (It is quite a bit safer than most anxiety drugs, too.) Someone with one of these conditions may look perfectly normal but be suffering from conditions legitimately requiring medication. Does a soldier returning from a war zone deserve medication for PTSD just as much as the 90-year-old with cancer? Absolutely. But the soldier going into a pot store will probably leave you with the impression that they are fakers, just wanting to get loaded.
The bottom line is that you can't tell what is medical and what is recreational, and it wouldn't be your place to interfere in their medication, even if you could. Morally speaking, the best thing you can do is butt out. (Just as the best thing I could do about your medical situation is butt out. You just don't need my help to make private medical decisions, even if your decisions are foolish ones.)
Nativegirl, let's put a little thought to that medical-recreational thing. How do you tell the difference?
Let's say you go to the doctor and tell him that you have migraine headaches and the pain on a scale of 1 to 10 is a 10. How can your doctor determine that you really have that level of pain?
The fact is that he can't. There is no meter the doctor can hook up to you to tell whether your pain is a 1 or a 10. Ultimately, he just has to take your word for it.
Then suppose you tell him that you have tried all sorts of remedies and the only thing that helps is eating carrots and milk. That's pretty bizarre, but again, the doctor has no real way to verify what you say. He doesn't have a meter that can measure pain, either before or after carrots and milk.
The only thing the doctor can do in the long run is to determine whether carrots and milk might be harmful to you, and advise you to use them with care.
Therefore, the determination of whether marijuana use is "medical" or "recreational" is really up to the patient -- in consultation with their doctor. This is the standard established by the courts in California. If the patient can get a doctor to believe them, then the use is "medical" for all legal purposes.
Likewise, you -- as a concerned citizen -- can't tell whether they have any pain, either. In fact, you have even less knowledge about the patient's condition than the doctor does. You can't tell just from looking at the person whether they are "medical" or "recreational" and it isn't your place to even try. Consider, for example, how you might feel if some unknown third party with no knowledge of your medical history tried to dictate which medicines you should not be allowed to use.
Therefore, by everything that it is legal and moral, if the doctor says that the use is "medical" then you are pretty much bound to take his word for it. You may not think that some person looks sick, but it wasn't any of your business in the first place. You don't live in their skin and have to suffer whatever they suffer.
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