A Bad Trip for Democrats

89


TUESDAY’S election was a victory for the marijuana lobby: Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize recreational use, while Massachusetts will now allow doctors to recommend it as medicine.

It’s a movement around which many Democrats have coalesced. In Colorado, legalization was part of the state party’s platform. And last year, in Montana, Republicans voted to overturn the state’s medical marijuana law, but the Democratic governor saved it with a veto.

But Democrats should think twice about becoming the party of pot. I’m a lifelong partisan Democrat, but I’ve also spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers, and I know their games. They’re excellent con artists.

Take, for example, medical marijuana laws. They were sold to more than a dozen states with promises that they’re only for serious illnesses like cancer.

But that’s not how they work in practice. Almost all marijuana cardholders claim they need it for various kinds of pain, but pain is easy to fake and almost impossible to disprove. In Oregon and Colorado, 94 percent of cardholders get their pot for pain. In Arizona, it’s 90 percent. Serious illnesses barely register.

It’s possible that they all really do need pot to help them. But consider this: pain patients are mostly female, whereas a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that adult cannabis abusers were 74 percent male.

So which one do marijuana patients resemble? Though only two states release data on gender, a vast majority of medical-marijuana cardholders are male. In Arizona, it’s 73 percent, and in Colorado, it’s 68 percent. The best explanation for such skewed numbers is that most medical marijuana recipients are drug abusers who are either faking or exaggerating their problems.

Written By: Ed Gogek
continue to source article at nytimes.com

89 COMMENTS

  1. This guy is missing the point.  People should be able to do whatever they want as long as they are not hurting anyone else.  Put whatever you want in to your body, as long as you don’t go off and hurt someone else (like you might with alcohol, btw).  Why should that be illegal?  Discouraged , maybe.  But not illegal.  That’s the point.

  2. This article is naive.

    The wink and nudge of medical marijuana was not a con by highly-functioning dopeheads, but just business as usual in America. Politics is dirty business, and the prohibition is deadly. It must be ended by any means necessary, even lies and murder are acceptable means of ending this atrocity. If a bit of chicanery is what it takes to stop lives from being ruined by the racist prohibition, so be it. That cancer patients were being denied medicine was so immoral, that’s where prohibition began to fail.

    Only when recreational marijuana use is accepted without stigma, can we have reliable education on its harms.

  3. 1 scan of 1 page of a magazine is not enough scientific research for me. This is more prohibition propaganda. Show me the scientific study  that proves “No other drug, not even alcohol, affects academic performance like marijuana.” Any kid abusing any drug, alcohol included, is going to effect academic performance period.

    I don’t see any link to this study in the article. There is not one documented case of someone overdosing from pot anywhere. And if you don’t agree send me a link because I have never seen one. But I personally know people who have died from alcohol poisoning.

    Am I a pot smoker. Yes I am, it helps the pain when I have IBS and I also enjoy it. I also hold a good job, pay all my bills and am a contributing member of society. If you saw me on the street you would never guess I was a pot smoker.  Also there is no documentation or study to prove that it is addictive. I can go months without it without ill effect and I don’t freak out, there is no withdrawal.

    I say congrats to Washington and Colorado. I see no reason why it cannot be regulated the same way alcohol and tobacco are. I do not agree that kids should be using, but I don’t agree that underage kids should be drinking or smoking tobacco either.

    Pot has been legal in the Netherlands for years and they are doing fine. What you do in the privacy of your own home is your own business. And I think responsible adults should have the right to choose to use it if they please.

    Just as you’re not allowed to walk around the streets drunk out of your mind with open alcohol in your hand, the same can be done for weed.

  4.  “Only when recreational marijuana use is accepted without stigma, can we have reliable education on its harms.”

    I agree 100%. It’s been so illegal for so long that no REAL studies have been done because scientists can’t get any of it to test with.

  5. The problem is that there aren’t any studies to back up the fact that cannabis is more dangerous than alcohol, and to circumnavigate having to get it illegally, they cite pain for a script. Calling a recreational marijuana user a drug abuser is equivalent to calling someone who drinks alcohol an alcoholic. It’s just not so. We really need to start looking at intoxicants as what they really are and what they actually do, rather than grouping everything into a “good” and “bad” lump category. This article may have well been written by a high-schooler at a private school in The Bible Belt under the supervision of conservative, right wing parents. I’m actually disappointed this article is on this site. 

  6. I’d like to know what the author would consider abuse of marijuana rather than normal recreational use. 
    Also, a great deal of the article deals with its harm to children.
    I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting that it should be available to  children any more than alcohol should be.

  7. Sistanis,

    I totally respect your anecdotal dismissal of addiction claims, but a huge problem of prohibition is that your claim is just as valid as anyone’s, and you happen to be 100% wrong. Imagine if we were to apply the same standard to alcohol. Lots of people feel no withdrawal from booze, even those who do go through withdrawal. Meanwhile, histrionic hypochondriacs make faulty claims of addiction in regards both booze and pot. However, there is a way to scientifically verify addiction and harms, beyond subjective claims of individuals.

    We can observe biological mechanisms at play in addiction, even develop drugs to treat it. Studying drugs scientifically is highly ambitious, but over the centuries we have figured out many ways to do it. In the environment of prohibition, research is limited and even corrupted.

    My point is not to argue your claim about addiction. Perhaps if we argued we would come to a tedious agreement through semantics. My point is yours is not a scientific claim, though I bet you would accept science on the matter and understand your own experience through it, as people do with alcohol.

  8. The point is even if marijuana is more harmful  and addictive than alcohol (which it’s not), as long as you are NOT HURTING ANYONE ELSE, the it is no business of the police or the government.  Suck down arsenic and cyanide if you want, it shouldn’t land you in jail. Maybe your freinds and family should get you into treatment, but not arrested!

  9.  ” My point is yours is not a scientific claim, though I bet you would
    accept science on the matter and understand your own experience through
    it, as people do with alcohol.”

    I do agree with you. I would gladly accept the science, I want to see the Science I really do. The issue is there is no real science and all we have is anecdotal at this point. I also realize, that it won’t be the same for everyone like any other drug or medication it can affect different people differently. I guess the only point I was making was the one you made my claim is no more correct that the author’s claim that it is addictive.

    We know alcohol can be addictive, it could be the same with pot. But not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic. But until the Stigma is removed and real studies can be done we can’t say one way or the other.

    I want to know what makes pot so much worse than tobacco and alcohol scientifically. We need to strip away all the stigma and just look at the plant. The arguments that are being made right now to keep it illegal are weak.

    As I said, the Netherlands has had it legal for a long time, I wonder if they have any real scientific studies on the subject?

  10.  It makes me like the site more. I love the resounding cry of “Bullshit! He’s a homeopath! Show me the science!”

    Ending prohibition should be on the Rationalists agenda. It is irrational. Support for it is contrary to evidence. To quote Dawkins, ‘We must favor verifiable evidence over private feeling, otherwise we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would obscure the truth.”

    Evidence shows prohibition began as a racist policy, continues to be racist, funds terrorism and organized crime, normalizes criminality, and ultimately increases the harm, use, and variety of drugs (crack, crystal meth, krokodil). Decriminalization and legalization in different communities provides us evidence of how to deal with what is actually a health problem. The strategy of incarcerating people for drugs is as barbaric, racist, and obsolete as the moral code that conceived it.

  11. This article would make sense if marijuana were a harmful drug. Or even a drug at all. Marijuana should replace alcohol as a recreational drug, if need be. We have room for both, however. We should be free to control the contents of our minds, as long as our altered minds don’t cause harm to others. And marijuana does not do that. End of argument.

  12. The thing is, like alcohol, cannabis is bad for *certain* people. People who have poor impulse control and can’t regulate their intake should stay away from it, just as alcoholics shouldn’t drink. The rest of us should be treated like adults exercising self-determination. Notably Dr Gogek says he treats drug “abusers” – what about people who are just responsible “users”? Or does he not believe there is such a thing?

    There should be more and better studies into the health effects, for sure. But when he says things like this:

    “Indeed, marijuana activists use phony science, just as global warming deniers do…”.
    and
    “They’ve even produced their own flawed scientific studies…”.

    I can only laugh when he himself promotes homeopathy. That is just too rich.

  13. The OP hit this right on the head. I am amazed at the
    number of people posting here that are willing to use any dumbass excuse to keep
    using weed. It’s pathetic. What the hell is wrong with reality? It should be
    OBVIOUS to anyone that sucking smoke of any kind into the human body is harmful.
    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that. This bullshit attitude of, “Well
    so long as the user isn’t harming anyone,” is one of lamest comments of all. How
    many Mexicans have died along the border because weak-minded people have to get
    high? Lighting up a joint kills innocent women and children,
    period.

    I read an article about how the cost of treating diseases
    from cigarette smoking cost more than the combined profit of all the tobacco
    companies combined. Health care is already stretched to the limit. What on earth
    makes any sane person think that pot isn’t going to severely aggravate the
    situation?

    Off course “getting high” doesn’t bother your ability one
    little bit to operate machinery right? Get real people. When I was in my early
    twenties aboard an aircraft carrier, we lost 17 good men. All because one
    asshole decided to get high. Doesn’t hurt anyone? Horse shit. Stop living in
    denial, step outside the issue and look at it for what it truly is. Just another
    way for weak-minded people skip off into la la land. Just like
    religion.

    No doubt many of you will nick pick my comments apart. To which I say, “have a ball.” It will not change the FACT that alcohol, religion and mind altering drugs of any kind, (except for genuine medicinal purposes),  are bad for the human race.

  14. Ok here goes.

    “What the hell is wrong with reality? It should be OBVIOUS to anyone that sucking smoke of any kind into the human body is harmful.”

    There are many things that are harmful in this life, smoking, drinking, eating too many fatty foods etc. The point is, it’s not for you to dictate how an adult lives their life and treats their own body. Also, I might add that smoking is not the only method of ingesting cannabis.

    “How many Mexicans have died along the border because weak-minded people have to get high”

    Not sure what you’re saying here. If it’s about drugs smuggling, then legalization will put an end to that. Like ending alcohol prohibition shut down the crime associated with bootleggers.

    “I read an article about how the cost of treating diseases from cigarette smoking cost more than the combined profit of all the tobacco companies combined”

    Agreed, tobacco is a problem. However, responsible regulation of it including restricting advertising and creating better public awareness of the health factors involved is the way to go. Otherwise, when you make it illegal you just get a black market, crime, and you stifle discussion and research.

    “When I was in my early twenties aboard an aircraft carrier, we lost 17 good men. All because one asshole decided to get high”

    That is tragic and horrible obviously. But how are the actions of one ‘asshole’ relevant? Clearly he shouldn’t have been using it on duty, just as motorists shouldn’t drive tired. It’s not the weed’s fault the guy was an idiot.

    “It will not change the FACT that alcohol, religion and mind altering drugs of any kind, (except for genuine medicinal purposes),  are bad for the human race.”

    Define bad. Many people (probably the majority of users) enjoy the recreational effects and live good, productive lives. What is your experience with mind-altering drugs? Would you stop shamans and tribal cultures from practising their traditions, who are you to say this would be improve their lives? The only fact here is that abuse of the things you mentioned is bad, ordinary use by responsible people is not necessarily so. Anything else is just an opinion.

  15. Come now, I would expect a little less naivete from someone writing for an educated viewpoint. Who are you to classify who is a drug abuser and who is just a recreational user of a simple plant that has never been shown to cause harm? I’m rather upset with you at the moment. 

  16. If all the terrorists in the world would just smoke some weed and chill, the world would be a better place. Proud of my fellow Washingtonians. I don’t smoke anymore, quit 6 years ago( too expensive)  but I will always be a stoner at heart. I have never been arrested, never hurt anyone, never stole from people, and have held a job since I was 15, now 37. Pretty much every stoner I ever met, were the nicest, most peaceful people. Marijuana is nowhere near as dangerous as alcohol yet which one is legal? Our society is out of it’s mind. By the way, I quit easy, with no withdrawals  after smoking pretty much everyday for 16 years. PEACE!

  17. Okay HolySmokes. This will be simple.

    The problems you list are not eliminated by prohibition. Some of the problems you list only exist because of prohibition.

    You have not refuted prohibition. Your statement support reasons to repeal prohibition. The repeal of prohibition is not a pro-drug stance. You seemed to have missed the point of an article by a homeopath, woo peddler, whom also missed the point of the issue. You’re on a different planet.

    Speaking of planets, Carl Sagan said marijuana benefited him as a scientist, allowed him to contemplate things deeper. I tend to give Carl Sagan more credence than your bizarre notions about how the world works.

    http://azarius.net/news/306/Ca

    ‘If you want to make marijuana brownies from scratch, you must first invent the Universe.’

  18. I respectfully disagree. I think stopping someone from hurting themselves is a good thing.  Plus, if you think smoking marijuana can never, ever hurt a second or a third person from you, you’ll be surprised that you might be wrong.

  19. Well, so what. You seem to be under the mistaken idea that medical Marijuana was ever about anything but getting it legalized. This site is about rational thought right? Well the only irrational thought we are talking about her is the absolutely stupid idea that you can or should declare a naturally occurring plant illegal and then try to make it extinct. Ed Gogek, you have most certainly come down on the side of irrational thought with your piece. Humans are a part of nature and as such we don’t get to chose what lives or dies in the world except in the case of sustainable production of food. It’s a plant, and regardless of any psychoactive effects it may cause it remains a plant. I am a chemist so I know all about natural products their extraction, purification and modification. We are not talking about any of that. It is used as found and as long as its not a GMO I don’t care if it has been bred to be stronger. Let me be clear, I do not use Marijuana since it remains illegal in my state. However I do suffer from chronic back pain that can be debilitating at times, confirmed by MRI, and insomnia both of which can be relieved or treated by marijuana in a way that I consider safer than my current Rxs. If I enjoy it as well so what? I should be allowed that choice since it is a plant!

  20. How do you determine if its hurting someone else?
    Getting wasted and ignoring your children?
    By damaging your lungs( just like tobacco does) and having medical resourses and tax dollars wasted that could be better spent on treatment and research for unavoidable illness?
    I could make a list as long as your arm.
    We all do Dumb things.
    It is how ever irresponsible to make more dumb choices available.

  21. As someone who has never eaten meat, I would like to remind you that if you do eat meat, you are needlessly harming yourself and others. You are also contributing to greenhouse gases. I get by just fine without meat, and thus have a much lower carbon footprint. I also do not cause the suffering of animals, as meat eaters do. Do you think beef should be illegal?

    No one is saying marijuana never hurts anyone. That would be ridiculous. Why are you debating a ridiculous argument no one has raised? That’s a strawman.

    Does prohibition stop anyone from hurting themselves? Does prohibition inspire harm? Organized crime syndicates, terrorist groups, and drug cartels all thrive on prohibition. If marijuana were a thousand times more harmful that it is, it would not justify the harms of prohibition. It is easier for a 16 year old to get a bag of weed than a bottle of alcohol. That’s what happens with prohibition, no regulation. Do you support children smoking marijuana? That’s what your endorsement results in, more children smoking marijuana. Good job.

    Your feelings do not matter. Look at evidence. It exists. There’s tons of data on this. Prohibition causes massive harm to society, far worse than drugs ever could. It’s like bleeding people to cure diseases, an antiquated practice that never helped anyone and only caused harm.

  22.  Well the only irrational thought we are talking about her is the absolutely stupid idea that you can or should declare a naturally occurring plant illegal and then try to make it extinct.

    Were you opposed to us making the smallpox virus extinct?

    If I enjoy it as well so what? I should be allowed that choice since it is a plant!

    What on earth does it matter that it’s a plant ? If it’s dangerous it’s dangerous — the fact it’s “natural” is irrelevant.

    Michael

  23.  This guy is missing the point.  People should be able to do whatever they want as long as they are not hurting anyone else.  Put whatever you want in to your body, as long as you don’t go off and hurt someone else (like you might with alcohol, btw).  

     

    And as long as you don’t make yourself sick and require medical treatment on my tax dollar. 

    Michael

  24.  What you do in the privacy of your own home is your own business.

     

    This is not true.  There are lots of things you cannot do in the privacy of your own home because they harm other people.  The argument has to be that smoking marijuana is not one of them. 

    Michael

  25. Are you serious!? What is this person doing writing for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science?? I think he needs to check into the people working and speaking for his organization…

  26. people who don’t know what they are talking about need to stfu.  there are numerous reliable studies that have been done involving cannabis.  cannabis  does not damage lungs or cause cancer and can actually  slow the growth of tumors.  there is also some evidence that it can limit or prevent alzheimers

    http://healthland.time.com/201
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re
    http://news.harvard.edu/gazett
    http://healthmad.com/alternati

    as for the supposed “impairments”. . . different substances work differently for different people.  saying all cannabis users are slow-moving, dim-witted, munchie junkies is like saying that all alcohol users are belligerent, violent, domestic abusers.  generalizations like this are stupid and so are you if you use them.

    oh, and as for anecdotal “evidence” . . . i once saw a stoned guy save seventeen sailors from a sinking ship.  did it really happen?  who cares?  it is irrelevant.  the navy guy who was “high”(according to “holysmokes”) could have just as easily been drunk or on prescription or over-the-counter medication or just tired.

  27.  Are you serious!? What is this person doing writing for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science?? I think he needs to check into the people working and speaking for his organization…

    Are you serious ?? !!  He wrote for the New York Times and RDF linked to his article.  RDF links to all kinds of articles.

    Michael

  28. This article illustrates a key difference between liberals and conservatives. The world is full of trade-offs, such as between making sure those who need something get it and making sure those who don’t need it don’t get it. The marijuana case is a special case of the more general issue that the harder you make it to prosecute the innocent, the easier you make it for the guilty to avoid prosecution. The two political groups differ in what their priorities are in numerous matters like these – welfare, abortion, affirmative action, you name it. That’s why this article boils down to, “but if you had conservative priorities, you’d disapprove of what the Democrats are doing here”. Well, duh. But historically society has repeatedly made permanent moves in a liberal direction.

  29. Agreed. And I would offer the idea that anything can become addictive. Even chocolate, television, or online commenting can become addictive. But, the real question behind delving into addictiveness is, is it harmful? And harmful in the way that alcohol, heroin, and cocaine are harmful. The answer, without valid question, is no.

  30. Reading the comments here is like listening to an episode of
    Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer.  I have
    read nothing but rhetoric and opinion.

    Usually on this site when people state research we get links
    or reference to an article in a relevant journal.  So if anyone can provide some that would be
    good.  I would like to make an informed
    decision on which side of this I might lean.

    I have a personal experience of smoking hash, it was both
    long and quite heavy and it ended in me suffering from rather bad anxiety
    attacks which took repeat prescriptions of Diazepam to help me cope with.

    Now this personal experience has not influenced my attitude
    towards Cannabis at all, I am neither against it or for it, mainly because I
    have yet to see any conclusive evidence either way.  One persons bad experience is not a good
    reason to ban something, neither is another’s happy experience a good reason to
    legalise it.

    There is a case in the UK at the moment of a young boy who
    had a very bad allergic reaction to a Ibrobufen, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.u

    Should we ban ibuprofen based on this? no of course not.

    What has to be weighed up though is this, is there good
    enough medical/scientific evidence to show that Cannabis should be legalised
    under the banner of healthcare, or that it is harmless.

    I do not however hold with the it occurs naturally so it
    should not be banned argument though. 
    Ergot occurs naturally, should we allow Ergot bread onto the breakfast
    table?  I know this example appears extreme,
    but we know the effects of Ergot through science, let us have the same
    information on Cannabis.

    So this brings me back to the beginning, please provide
    reference to scientific evidence on Cannabis either way.  I can then read and make an informed choice.

     

     

     

  31. Why must it be one of them?  Copious amounts of studies have shown Marjuana to be of minimul harmful effects on health, if used moderately in particular (any thing is harmful if used obsessivley).  Tobacco and Alchohol have far more harmful effects, studies have proven time an time again, there are even warnings on cigarette packets!  In fact, looking at your avatar picture, I assume you are drinking a Caffeine based product, are you awware that Caffeine IS quite harmful, mentally and physically? I dont suppose you advocate making Caffeine illegal do you??

  32. “He wrote for the New York Times and RDF linked to his article”

    Your point? This doesnt mean the author is of any particular credibility. As for RDF linking to the article, what does this show except for creating discussion, it certainly does not say RDF lends its agreement and support to the article…

  33. I dont suppose you advocate making Caffeine illegal do you?

    Nope and I’m not advocating marijuana should be illegal either.  I am disagreeing with the statement 

     What you do in the privacy of your own home is your own business. 

    as an argument for being allowed to do something.

    Tobacco and Alchohol have far more harmful effects, studies have proven time an time again, there are even warnings on cigarette packets!

    I don’t find this kind of argument very persuasive either. Tobacco is incredibly dangerous with absolutely no benefits. I quite expect to see it illegal or prescription only in my country in the next couple of decades. Assuming that I live that long and are not poisoned by my coffee addiction of course. Comparing marijuana to something as dangerous as tobacco is not a good argument in its favour.

    Personally the only argument I find persuasive is the one that prohibition causes more damage than legalisation.

    Michael

  34.  And harmful in the way that alcohol, heroin, and cocaine are harmful.

    Do you mean pure heroin and cocaine or what’s on the street?  I thought pure opiates were medically reasonably safe although definitely addictive.

    Michael

  35. Today, I love Colorado!

    1 -A state should not have the right to tell you what you put in your veins or not. That’s your freedom and responsibility.

    2 -Prohibition just doesn’t work, never did and never will. Drugs do exist ; prohibition adds mafia, dangers and misinformation. The only way of dealing with drugs is the adult and courageous way of freedom.

    3- If US governements wanted to prohibit everything that is potentially “dangerous”, they could start with guns.

  36.  Your point? This doesnt mean the author is of any particular credibility. As for RDF linking to the article, what does this show except for creating discussion, it certainly does not say RDF lends its agreement and support to the article…

    Agreed. That was my point.  That is why I said “RDF links to all kinds of articles.”  I was responding to someone who said “What is this person doing writing for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science??”

  37. “Alcohol Tobacco Cannabis And Firearms”.

    It’s gonna be a rocky road. I don’t know what this doctor is on about anyway. Substance abuse is always bad. Let it be alcohol, tobacco, (firearms), Prozac, … 

    Simple fact. People want to get high. But not behind the wheel. Not when pregnant. Not at school. Not at work. Especially if your job involves firearms and hazards. Is Marijuana safe for getting high responsibly? From experience, yes. I found alcohol far more potent anyway.

  38. I’ve known any number of people who’ve shown clear signs of addiction to the smoking joints; but, they used tobacco in them as well as dope, so I suspect the dependency was on the former and not the latrter.

    However, that was a long time ago and I understand that there’s been a great deal of change in the strength of the weed since then, so perhaps it is now addictive.

  39. There’s nothing worse than conversation with a stoner, they’re easily the most boring people on the face of the planet. But if weed is what they want to do then as long as if/when treatment is needed all costs are met by revenue from its sale I don’t really care.

  40. Were both initiatives only about using marijuana simply to deal with pain?

    So what if it’s used recreationally?

    You know who the best con artists are? Doctors. Somehow they’ve managed to convince almost everyone that they always have something valuable and important to say regarding just about everything.

  41. ” People should be able to do whatever they want as long as they are not hurting anyone else.”

    But what if it does cause harm to others?  alcohol clearly does. The question should be of responsible useage.

  42. whenever i see the word “trip” in connection with a story about cannabis it makes me think i’m about to read something by an uneducated populist bigot. maybe it’s the connection with part of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vagas” (know your dope fiend…). like all “drugsarebadmmkay?”articles, it fails to make any point whatsoever. There is no debate on whether prohibition is an effective way of dealing with drug (and alcohol) use. the data are clear; decriminalise and usage and associated social problems reduce.

    no amount of concern about health can have any relevance in a country where tobacco is legal. no amount of concern for children has any relevance in an environment where illegal drugs are easier for children to get hold of than alcohol. As for the suggestion that medical use might be subverted for recreational use, so what? if a treatment for cancer made people happy what do you say to people dying? “sorry, we can’t offer you this treatment. apparently it makes you feel better than expected”

    the arguments here are an utter waste of time. they’re rehashed (excuse the pun) old reactionary attitudes made to sound authoritative but based on nothing but personal opinion. this hack needs to kick back with a blunt before the 50′s call to sue for breach of copywrite

  43. Ornicar wrote:”1 -A state should not have the right to tell you what you put in your veins or not. That’s your freedom and responsibility.”
    Like seatbelts, would you advocate that the wearing of seatbelts be “your freedom and responsibility.”? Or do you accept that states should have the right to impose penalties for not doing so (bearing in mind that if you agree then your accepting the government telling you what to do)?
    Or how do you feel about raw milk? Should states have the right to make raw milk illegal. If not, then what happens to the parent who gives their child raw milk and that child dies as a consequence?

    One does not (not) wear a seatbelt or drink raw milk because it is fun, which is why I smell personal bias and not sound reasoning with ‘freedom and responsibility’
    The bottom line is that most governments do not make laws just for the fun of it, they are there to protect you and everyone around you. You might not like it, but you are one amongst millions.

  44. If I enjoyed reefer, maybe I could chill out and not care about the irrationality of uneducated, highly opinionated, sophist fuckwits that endorse prohibition, so lemme just get this outta my goddamned system. Hopefully it amuses, maybe educates, no unkind comment is inspired by or directed at anyone here. If it is deleted as a rant, I wont be butthurt. It’s been years since I wrote on prohibition, so this interests me as a personal exercise. Any details are coming right from memory without being looked up, so don’t believe a word.

    Talking to prohibition supporters is like talking to hippies about economics. They have not spent any time studying it, are completely driven by sophomoric idealism, and at best they reinvent the wheel but refuse to admit their premise is wrong.
    for example:

    A:Prohibition results in mass death from drug cartels.
    B:Then people should stop buying drugs.
    A:How do you propose we do that?
    B:Prohibition.

    A:If a young person can be sentenced to prison for years, that does more harm than the drug.
    B:That’s an incentive not to do drugs.

    A:If we end the prohibition, it will defund terrorist organizations and crime syndicates.
    B:Then people should stop buying drugs.
    A:How do you propose we do that?
    B:Prohibition.

    A:Prohibition disproportionately harms the Black community.
    B:Black people be more opposed to drugs.

    Prohibition comes from an era when being openly racist was politically empowering. People built their careers fighting inane issues like “race mixing” (the same people that now fight against gay marriage). The demise of this era is well documented, thanks to technology, and the racist opposition to rock ‘n’ roll is a quaint feature in public memory. This antagonism was far more virulent during the rise of jazz music (before advanced recording technology), and the terms in which it was discussed was very clear. Jazz and melanin could not be outlawed, but reefer could be. Selective enforcement was designed into the Marihuana Tax Act, but that is not why it was stuck down as unconstitutional.

    Many people are familiar with the Harrison Narcotics Act, Marihuana Tax Act, and the notorious Anslinger (if you don’t know who Anslinger is, you know nothing about prohibition). I haven’t read too much in the way of attributing the Mann Act to our current situation, but here I offer my own historical analysis. The Mann Act, born of Anthony Comstock’s Neo-Puritan movement, sought to eliminate a problem that didn’t exist, White women being taken by Black men to Chinatown where they would be addicted to heroin and thus be made into sex-slaves. The Mann Act spawned the predecessor agency to the FBI, given authority under the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution, to arrest and prosecute Black men that drove across state lines with their White girlfriends. They were
    basically the sex-police, and heroin was all but forgotten about. They targeted one Black celebrity in particular, repeatedly, with no illusions about the exclusive purpose of prohibiting interracial sex. This was a significant step in the federal regulation of people’s
    personal lives, complete with agencies dedicated to the task.

    The Mann Act was an exercise in hysteria, an unabashed codification of selective enforcement in the name of mythical drug harms. All Anslinger did was ride the wave. He slummed around winter sessions of congress, which were informal gatherings, basically because the Chamber was a nice, heated building. At times these were outright bacchanals where representatives would give farcical speeches and cast satirical votes. It was a place to schmooze and lobby. Anyone could get floor time, so there was no fact checking or any seriousness given to what was said. Anslinger said a lot. He decried the evils of reefer with fictional horrors, even blamed it for mass murder, and of course tying it all together with racist rhetoric. When the snow melted and congress came back into formal session, the seeds were planted and Anslinger gave sober appeals for federal marijuana prohibition.

    The debate lasted just over a minute. Two questions were asked, what is marihuana, and does the AMA support prohibition. The AMA was against it, but Anslinger tricked the AMA representative into being on the other side of town (ah, the good ol’ days when that could be done). A lie was entered into the record, someone claimed the AMA supported prohibition, and that was that. Not a speck of reason or logic was involved in passing this legislation, and not much was even thought of it at the time; just another bill. Much of it was ushered in under the influence of alcohol, proudly created as a means to racist ends.

    Leviticus is an antiquated code based on tribalism and myths, and so is the prohibition. There is no more a rational reason for prohibition of drugs, then for a prohibition against homosexuality, or prohibition against women in the workplace. All evidence refutes the claims of prohibition supporters. All prohibition supporters argue with is fallacies, falsehoods, and puritanical idealism. It is an issue as pure in its polarity as creationism and evolution. There is nothing in prohibition arguments.

    The biggest confusion tactic deployed by prohibitionists is discussing the harms of drugs. The harms of drugs are irrelevant, just as the harms of crime is irrelevant when discussing the death penalty, or the harms of homosexuality when discussing gay-rights. Should we distribute condoms, lubricant, and information to homosexuals, or prosecute them? Focusing on drug harms is an emotionally manipulative change of topic. Does prohibition benefit society? No, and there is tons of evidence. Does prohibition cause harm? Yes, there is tons of evidence. The question is, is prohibition a rational policy?

    I don’t go in for conspiracy theories about Hearst and DuPont. They might be true, but fall below my epistemic standard for what I take interest in. We need look only at the proud, open actions, the stated reasons for prohibition made by its architects, the people who put it into law with absolutely no science, no logic, and zero reason.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  45.  The Netherlands were mentioned in this thread. Being a Dutch pothead, allow me to shed some light on what’s going on down here.

    - Although pot is available for every adult person, there are no big problems. Usage (both among adults and children) is below many other countries that have strict prohibition of marihuana. There are no reports of binge-smoking, traffic accidents, work-accidents, violence or widespread disfunctionality. All those problems exist for alcohol, but not marihuana.

    - A stricter policy, installed last may, has resulted in an increase in violence, crime, easier access to other drugs, and easier access to pot for children.
    This strict policy (scrapped last week) was meant to deter tourists. No one has a problem with Dutch natives smoking pot – except for the usual suspects: Christians.

    - Although THC-levels have been rising in the past, they have actually been dropping for several years now, leveling off at 15-18% THC. Marihuana with that strength has replaced hashish with the same potency, which has been available for decades. In that light, potency has not increased.

    The Netherlands show that decriminalization is the way to go.

  46. Not sure if anyone has linked to this yet, but this is a good way to get a clear and accurate overview of  the marijuana issue:

    http://www.druglibrary.org/sch

    It is a transcript of a lecture by Charles Whitebread called  “The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States”, it is an informative and entertaining read.

    Charles Whitebread was a professor of law at the USC Law School, here is some information on him:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C

    And, in my not too uninformed opinion, this article by Ed Gogek is garbage. If it is linked here in order to promote discussion, why not post some sort of disclaimer?

  47. I’m willing to make a sizable bet that students who smoke tobacco or drink alcohol at school also do less well.

    There’s a secondary aspect to this too – that is the other products that become available through growing hemp eg paper and textiles from the fibres, oil from the seeds, fuel from the woody core, hemp as food for animals etc.

  48. To me this is a really easy question to answer.  What does the science say about the harm caused by using marijuana compared to using alcohol or tobacco?  Its obvious that tobacco and alcohol are far more dangerous yet no one but the most intrusive big government loving nanny state loving liberals wants to outlaw those drugs. So marijuana should be legal as well. Done.

  49. nateborgen
    good links
    especially the Time piece that has this in it …

    “In some ways, marijuana smoking is really a lot like doing a pulmonary
    function test,” Pletcher says. This “practice” or “exercise” might
    expand lung capacity and account for the unusual results.

    So therapeutic!

    You’ve done your homework well.In the end, weed is like atheism. Subversive.

  50. Veggiemanuk : if it were proven that masturbation makes you die younger (as E. Kant thought), would you approve of your government prohibiting you do to it? I wouldn’t! If male homosexuality transmited more STDs, should it be prohibited? I don’t think so! What I do with my body in my intimacy (may it be committing suicide or trying magic mushrooms, or even praying) is my own right and my own concern.

    And the comparison with masturbation is not innocent because the ban on marijuana is neither a public health problem nor an economics concern . It’s a social and moral issue. Governments sometimes make laws for very bad reasons:

    NOAM CHOMSKY wrote : “
    Marijuana use was peaking in the late ’70s, but there was not much
    criminalization. You didn’t go to jail for life for having marijuana
    then because the people using it were nice folks like us, the children
    of the rich. You don’t throw them into jail any more than you throw
    corporate executives in jail – even though corporate crime is far more
    costly and dangerous than street crime. But then in the ’80s the use of
    various “unhealthy” substances started to decline among more educated
    sectors: marijuana and tobacco smoking, alcohol, red meat, coffee, this
    whole category of stuff. On the other hand, usage remained steady among
    poorer sectors of the population. In the United States, poor and black
    correlate – they’re not identical, but there’s a correlation – and in
    poor, black and Hispanic sectors of the population the use of such
    substances remained pretty steady.

    So take a look at those trend lines. When you call for a War on Drugs,
    you know exactly who you are going to pick up: poor black people. You’re
    not going to pick up rich white people; you don’t go after them anyway.
    In the upper-middle-class suburb where I live, if somebody goes home
    and sniffs some cocaine the police don’t break into their house.”

    http://rinf.com/alt-news/contr

  51. @OP

    I’m a lifelong partisan Democrat, but I’ve also spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers, and I know their games. They’re excellent con artists.

    @OP:disqus 

    Argument from authority.  I wonder if Gogek considered that drug users in treatment constitute a selection bias and aren’t representative of the overall population of drug users. 

    The best book I’m aware of on this topic is ‘Saying Yes’ by Jacob Sullum.  It’s a very well researched and argued. 

    One thing not yet mentioned on this thread is that this is a wedge issue for the Democrats against the Republicans as far as the Religous Right favor prohibition and the folks with a more Libretarian slant favor legalization. 

  52. As another fellow from the Netherlands who doesn’t smoke, I can attest that decrimalizing weed is the right way to go. We have less people who smoke pot (percentagewise) than the US, which heavily regulates it. Stoners hardly ever make the news, while those who get drunk certainly do. 

    In fact, right now in the Netherlands we seem to be having more problems with the availability of caffeïne than we do with the availability of weed.

  53. As a rugby player who inflicts himself with severe pain, every Saturday, throughout the summer, I can’t say that pot helps with pain. It also doesn’t make me hungry, if anything it has the opposite affect. I do; however, have great experience taking advantage of pot’s ability to help me concentrate without turning me into a creatively barren robot. I have tried other prescription options but the turn my creative juice into sludge. It’s like having a clamp on the mind. It was very uncomfortable and creepy; I felt like a robot.

    It is true that I can remember much more, focus much better and take greater interest in a wider range topics when I am on the prescription option but I can’t do anything with it. Pot enables me to slow down, focus and take in what I am witnessing, it also gives me avenues toward creative ideas that help me keep my Creative Director job.

    For most, I expect pot slows them down far too much to be effective in their day to day job. I have friends who become completely useless on pot and I just don’t share their situation. It is different for everyone.

  54. “The higher potency of today’s pot”.

    To me this is such a red herring.  A non issue but constantly thrown around in the press and in a few posts on this thread as well.

    Yes, pot in 1970′s was weaker than most of today’s variants.  So what?   You would buy an ounce of garden variety Columbian for ~ $40 and smoke much more of it to get the same desired effect as compared to paying 4 or 5 times as much for a like quantity of Sincimillian or Hawaiaan (I’m probably dating myself with these refernces) but then you’d only need 2 or 3 tokes to get the desired effect.

    Weaker pot, smoke more of it to get high.   More smoke inhalation in one’s lungs required

    Stronger pot, smoke  less of it to get high.  Less smoke inhalation required.

    Now which is worse again?

  55.  Or do you accept that states should have the right to impose penalties for not doing so (bearing in mind that if you agree then your accepting the government telling you what to do)

    If not, then what happens to the parent who gives their child raw milk and that child dies as a consequence

    You see the difference between the two scenarios, don’t you?

  56. Not really, as if you reject seat belt laws then you are putting your children at risk and the responsibility falls on you as a parent. The seat belt campaigns of the 70s and 80s  worked so well that it has become second nature to put them on. But you still get idiots who refuse because they don’t like the idea of being told what to do or think that it will never happen to them. Seat belt laws are there to force people to use seat belts or face penalties.

  57. I’m probably dating myself with these refernces

    Perhaps, but your username is also a variety produced by a popular American grower, and that should help keep you in good standing with any whippersnappers  interested in these things. :-P 

    —-//—-

    The plant itself is remarkable, and it is a shame that prohibition has made it difficult to share a passion for it, and knowledge of it without being stigmatized.  Thankfully things are changing for the better.  

    Please don’t take that comment to mean that not being able to be open is what I think is the worst part of prohibition.  Blacks representing over 50% of the prison population serving time on drug convictions despite not being more likely than whites to use drugs would be a good place to search for that.  

         

  58. Bottom line: Why do people generally use
    weed? To escape reality. Why do people use religion? To escape reality.
    Coincidence? I think not.

    I see people in here posting articles about the pros of
    pot use. They remind me a little of the religious right who do the same thing
    with global warming. Coincidence? Again, I think not.

    Purposely screwing your head up with mind altering
    chemicals cannot be a good thing. Screwing your head up with religious
    propaganda cannot be a good thing. Coincidence? Well, you see where this is
    going.

    People use drugs because they WANT to. Right or wrong is
    irrelevant to them and they will find ways to justify it. I  hoped that true
    people for science and reason would recognize that.

    To borrow a quote from “Slim Pickens” in Blazing Saddles,
    “I am depressed.”

    Hey but that’s ok, I’ll get over with
    arsenic …or should we debate the merits of consuming that all-natural
    substance as well?

  59. Bottom line: Why do people generally use weed? To escape reality. Why do people use religion? To escape reality. Coincidence? I think not.

    People use for a variety of reasons. Some people even use for religious reasons.  Would you care to clearly define what you mean by using to escape reality, and why you think in general this is what is going on? 

    I see people in here posting articles about the pros of pot use. They remind me a little of the religious right who do the same thing with global warming. Coincidence? Again, I think not.

    There are pros.  However I’ve never been too happy about some of the people seeking the medical route to decriminalization, and I am thrilled to see the dealers in sheep’s clothing being exposed by their opposition to other forms of legalization.

    Purposely screwing your head up with mind altering chemicals cannot be a good thing. Screwing your head up with religious propaganda cannot be a good thing. Coincidence? Well, you see where this is going.

    Look, just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean I’m going to be swayed by non-arguments that amount to saying some of my behavior is just like the religious, therefore I should stop.  For one, not all religious behavior is bad, and I’m not religious.

  60. For a lighter look at the war on drugs and why it’s one of the worst ideas, ever, try this Penn & Teller Bullshit episode.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    I didn’t watch it again but I remember it was pretty funny, the main arguments being the obscene amount of money that would be saved through not harassing, prosecuting and jailing perfectly decent and peaceful members of the public just for a little bit of weed. It’s shocking really that a little weed can get you a permanent criminal record which can devastate a person’s future job employment prospects possibly for the rest of their life. It really gets on my tits that we have this massive police force that spends it’s 99% of it’s time chasing minor motoring transgressions and recreational drug users because they’re easy targets to fill up their days quota. If they stopped wasting their time trying to enforce draconian laws that just make things far worse via crime syndicates and gangs they could spend more time chasing the people that do deserve to go to jail, and then maybe people wouldn’t hate them so much too.

  61. veggiemanuk wrote ” Not really, as if you regect seat belt laws then you are putting your children at risk and the responsibility falls on you as a parent. [...] Seat belt laws are there to force people to use seat belts or face penalties.”

    Well, that’s parternalism for you. 

    Nodody is talking about making children smoke marijuana! What the devil are you talking about?

    The point is, if consenting adults want to smoke it, who are you to tell them they can’t? And your problem is, as you smartly mentioned, precisely Pleasure.

    It’s not a matter of cost (prohibition costs more than health care and prevention, and is less efficient).

    It’s not a matter of risk (Fast cars and/or tobaco kill more than pot).

    It’s not a matter of behavior (alcool causes more trouble, more violence).

    It’s not a matter of children( children get easier access to prohibited pot than to controled alcool).

    It’s even less a matter of car accidents or crashing planes (I never heard or saw a prevention campaign agains pot while driving. Because this drug is… not supposed to exist!).

    It’s a matter of pleasure, morale, guilt, traditions, politics, social markers and intolerance. More or less like masturbation and homosexuality. And that is why it is going to be legalized all over the free world within the next 20 years. But probably way too late for the thousands of poor people sent to jail in the meantime for doing nothing wrong but having private fun.

  62. [quote]“Purposely screwing your head up with mind altering
    chemicals cannot be a good thing. “[/quote]
    That’s “good” in its religious definition, right? If, on the other hand, you define “good” as “enjoyable”, then getting stoned can certainly be a good thing.

  63.  
    Bottom line: Why do people generally use 
    weed? To escape reality. Why do people use religion? To escape reality. 
    Coincidence? I think not 

    This strikes me as a sweeping generalisation.  In particular I’m curious as to what you mean by “escaping reality”, and whether this is a term you would apply to activities such as losing oneself in a work of fiction such as a film or novel. Certainly a common reason for pot use is to alter perception, but does that automatically make it a form of escapism?  If I go out for a walk in the countryside or travel abroad, am I just “escaping” from my home?

      
     Purposely screwing your head up with mind altering 
    chemicals cannot be a good thing. Screwing your head up with religious 
    propaganda cannot be a good thing. Coincidence? Well, you see where this is 
    going.  

     

    When you put it like that, “purposely screwing your head up” sounds like a destructive activity however it is done, I guess that’s why you chose the language that you did.  I doubt many pot users do so with the intention of “screwing their heads up” as you put it.  If this is a euphemism for temporarily altering one’s brain chemistry, then I’m curious to know what makes you so certain that this “cannot be a good thing”.  Do you believe that our brain chemistry is in some kind of perfect natural state, to the extent that nothing can be gained by temporarily disrupting it in any way?

     People use drugs because they WANT to. Right or wrong is 
    irrelevant to them and they will find ways to justify it 

     
     I can agree with the first part.  People watch television, use drugs, have sex, masturbate, practice extreme sports, go for walks in the countryside etc because they want to, and ideas of “right” and “wrong” don’t come into it, I suspect because such ideas are totally irrelevant to the activity.  But do they find ways to justify it?  Why would someone need to “justify” a personal activity that they enjoy and don’t see as harmful?  And just out of interest, what standard of right and wrong do you think they should be applying to their actions and why?

  64. veggiemanuk : You are still missing the point. You could prove it kills on first inhalation, it would still not be a reason (other than good old partenalism) to prohibit it.

     You can legally buy arsenic here : http://www.alibaba.com/product

    or here : http://www.goodfellow.com/cata

    Would you try and prove it can cause harm ? Everybody well knows it does. But there’s no bloody bigotted puritan prohibition on it, because it doesn’t cause any pleasure. You can eat it raw and still die a saint.

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