"If A Measured, Rational Debate Over America's Extremist Drug Policies Can Take Place In Time Magazine, Then It Can Take Place Anywhere."

Just weeks after Time‘s Joe Klein declared “legalizing marijuana makes sense,” the magazine is once again extolling the virtues of liberalizing cannabis prohibition.
Writing in the Sunday edition of Time.com, author (and frequent media critic) Maia Szalavitz asks, “Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?
Citing statistics from researcher (and frequent Salon.com blogger) Glenn Greenwald, Szalavitz reports that Portugal abolished all criminal penalties regarding the use and possession of cannabis (and other drugs) earlier this decade — opting instead to treat drug use strictly as a health problem. So what happened?

“Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success,” says Glenn Greenwald. … “It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does.” (NORML Note: You can listen to audio comments from Greenwald on the NORML Daily Audio Stash here.)
Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal’s drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

Writing on his own blog, Greenwald comments on the significance of his findings, as well as the fact that they are finally being recognized by the mainstream media.

Few political orthodoxies have more of a destructive impact than our approach to drug policy. Our harsh criminalization framework results in the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of American citizens, breaks up families, burns tens of billions of dollars every year, erodes civil liberties, turns our police forces into para-military units, and spawns massive levels of violence and criminality — all while exacerbating the very harms it seeks to address. If a measured, rational debate over America’s extremist drug policies can take place in Time Magazine, then it can take place anywhere.

Of course, to those who reflexively demand that we maintain pot prohibition, the very suggestion that eliminating (or softening) criminal penalties will not lead to an exponential explosion in use (much less be associated with a potential decline in drug use) is an anathema. Writing in the drug prevention and treatment newsletter Join Together, Jim Gogek offers the same tired allegations: facts be damned!

Legal marijuana would mean more access to marijuana. The number of marijuana users would spike, including teens. Problems related to marijuana use would spike. … Right now, there are 127 million alcohol users and 14 million marijuana users in this country – because one is legal and the other isn’t. But, most alcohol users don’t get intoxicated. … With marijuana, you get intoxicated every time you use it. That’s the whole point. … It severely hurts your ability to perform at school and work. It saps initiative and drive. It increases confusion. In other words, it makes you stupid. … Marijuana is the loser drug: That’s the big problem with it.

To their credit, the editors at Join Together have allowed me the opportunity to rebut Mr. Gogek’s claims, which I do here. Feel free to join the discussion.

0 thoughts

  1. My question is this. Why are politicians who have never smoked herb (or say they haven’t Which we know is a bold faced lie in itself) allowed to make policies against our sweet mary? Why are these people allowed to imprison our kind? Does anyone remember Johnathon Magbie, the man in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the chin down,who went to jail for a joint and died there? How much more will we allow to happen? how many more lives have to be ruined? how many families have to be destroyed for our so called government to listen and take the right path for our people?
    It’s time for a revolution. It’s time for Obama to live up to his word. Was this “change that we can believe in” another load of political crap or ARE WE GOING TO HOLD HIM TO HIS WORD. When will we be truly free. When am i going to be able to toke on my front porch without fear? When will GOD’S GIFT to mankind be given back to us?
    Speak up America, know your rights, and be heard!

  2. How about the cripples with cerebral paulsey who lack adequate healthcare and housing– while the politicians still find money to borrow/print to pay for the U.S. ‘non-violent’ prison-state which is larger in size than the rest of the industrialized world has for violent prisoners?
    How about the industry and economy of the U.S. which is crippled by the deficit spending of the us treasury?
    And now a politician wants to borrow and spend more on some of the nice things which the tax percentage they have already taken should have been paying for.
    Is there anyone else who feels like it would be nice to move to portugal?
    The politicans and police already know which policies their own criminologists show work better, such as those in portugal, but those policies have long been brushed aside in favor of crime-increasing policies which both divert tax dolars to politicans campaigns through special intrest groups and promote job security for the justice ‘business'(aka pseudojustice).
    And lastly, where does corperate media stand? some might say they stand like a pregnant panda chained to political platform of one of the two political parties endorsed by the advertizers–both of whom get a substancial percentage of their campaign contributions from the justice business.
    >> So on behalf of the cripples with cerebral paulsey who get neglected for lack of funding, and on behalf of those who do not realize they are crippled economically but who have seen their working hours increase and the buying power of their wages decrease:
    self-serving degenerate policitians and your justice business puppets, bow down and eat your own fecal matter, and wash it down with your own urine–you are devoid of integrity.

  3. Read this on another blog a few moments ago. Not sure if it’s true, if there’s someone who reads spanish perhaps they can go to the newspaper listed below and check it out.
    Please note what the Mexican Senate did today:
    From the Mexican newspaper La Nueva Reforma of today.
    Senate approves the law which allows for a personal dose of mind altering drugs and psycotropics.
    The approved law permits the possession for individual consumption of 2 grams of opium, 50 miligrams of morphine or heroine, 5 grams of marijuana, 500 miligrams of cocaine, and .015 miligrams of LSD
    As Mexico sinks into a world of death and disease caused by swine flu, the Mexican Senate acted decisively to legalize the personal consumption of all drugs, meaning especially cocaine.
    By passing this law they move closer to the legalization of drugs in Mexico. Enough people in Mexico have died in the attempt to make drugs illegal in their country.
    If Americans want to buy cocaine from Mexican drug dealers, they can, because they have the money to do it. But if drugs were legalized on both sides of the border, both in the United States, and Mexico, the killing in Mexico would stop. Just yesterday 7 police officers in Tiajuana were killed and 3 were wounded.
    Americans who buy cocaine are responsible for those deaths. Do Americans have a conscience?
    Daily in Mexico the drug dealers kill innocent people caught in the crossfire, between rival gangs, as they try to control the zones for drug sales.
    Politicians, police officers, army officers, and judges are threatened by the drug cartels, to accept bribe money or see both themselves and their families killed by drug dealers, by gangs like the Zetas, which includes x police officers and x army special forces. The drug dealers have the money to buy bazookas, handgranades, machine guns, etc.
    And they run an extortian ring, which threatens business owners with death if they do not pay protection money.
    And they run gangs of kidnappers, to kidnapp an average of 3 mexicans per day.
    Mexican senators know the only hope is to legalize drugs, and stop this disaster before more innocent Mexicans are killed.

  4. The war on drugs has failed, is failing, and will fail. The blood of the thousands of slain mexicans are on the prohibitionists hands. Not the users.

  5. One more thing. I would rather be a martyr than a slave. If you give in to the fear mongering, stop smoking the devils lettuce or we’ll throw you in jail prohibitionists, your a slave. And one more step to a police state. become a johnny appleseed and start planting em all around. they dont have enough funds if the whold country is covered in a sea of green 🙂

  6. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN28349522
    “MEXICO CITY, April 28 (Reuters) – Mexico’s Senate approved a bill on Tuesday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of narcotics for personal use, in order to free resources to fight violent drug cartels.
    The bill, proposed by conservative President Felipe Calderon, would make it legal to carry up to 5 grams (0.18 ounces) of marijuana, 500 milligrams (0.018 ounces) of cocaine and tiny quantities of other drugs such as heroin and methamphetamines.”
    ….happy dance 🙂

  7. “you don’t get intoxicated every time you drink”? where is this guy from? perhaps a physiology class would be beneficial

  8. How does alcohol effect the brain? When alcohol reaches the brain, it immediately has a depressant effect. People who drink alcohol may describe the change as relaxing. What they actually experience are physical changes such as loss of sensation and a decrease in sharpness of vision, hearing, and other senses. Alcohol also affects the parts of the brain that control muscle coordination, which is why drinkers may loose their balance or stumble.
    If drinking continues, alcohol depresses the part of the brain that controls breathing and heart beat. Breathing rates, pulse rates, and blood pressure, which initially increased, now decrease. A drinker may loose consciousness, slip into a coma, or die from alcohol poisoning
    Heavy drinkers and many first-time drinkers may suffer blackouts. Other people recall seeing the drinker walking, talking, and in control. The following day however, the drinker has no memory of some events the day before.
    “most alcohol users don’t get intoxicated.” Gogek, you fucknut….read the above.

  9. I am 54 years old , I have smoked pot everyday sence I was 16 and I mean 3.5 grams a day , I own my home (paid for) and I retired at 45 as a electronics engineer , worked at a local tv station tell I retired and still getting “high” everyday , yeap your right it sure screwed me up didn’t it? lmao
    prohibition didn’t work on alcohol and it dam sure won’t work on pot , the problem is the government has preached it’s a killer drug for so long they don’t want to admit they were wrong all these years and there not sure how to make money off it yet , after all that is the ONLY reason the government is there for , to stick it to we the people and grab all the money they can

  10. Today marks President Obama’s 100th day in office and overall his marks are good. There are a number of blogs concentrating on the subject and the President does indeed deserve credit for getting a lot accomplished. He did after all inherit a Nation in disarray and in dire need of new policy.
    Unfortunately we haven’t heard a thing from the “People’s House” about cannabis legalization, other than a new look at how we deal with crime in general. Those of us who want to pay a fair tax on cannabis have been marginalized by the powers to be and the mostly special interest pandering mass media.
    The fact that we spend upwards of $140,000,000.00 per day on the failed war on drugs, when we could instead collect roughly $38,350,000.00 per day to the tax coffers is laughed at by those entrusted to govern our Nation!
    Senator Webb (D-VA) has introduced S.714, a bill to form a commission to address the problem of rising crime and the ineffective way we are dealing with the problem. This effort deserves your support.
    President Obama apparently feels safe in ignoring us and making snide remarks about the online audience in his on line town hall in March. This on line audience is in part responsible for his incredible election war chest as well as turning out record numbers of voters in his support, most of them young, first time voters. It is no secret that many of them support legalizing cannabis, in fact many of them support ending the failed and wasteful war on drugs.
    While President Obama has accomplished a lot in his first 100 days in office, he has made a number of boners, besides the rather dumb way of addressing cannabis legalization. Some of his appointments failed muster and his waffling on investigating those who have committed torture come to mind.
    Nobody in the pro cannabis movement expects the President to micro manage the issue of legalizing cannabis, or for that matter nobody in their right mind should expect him to micro manage any issue. What he needs to do is to give direction and get those in various positions to carry out that direction. When it comes to our issue he has failed miserably!
    Attorney General Holder has said, that the raids on cannabis dispensaries in States that have legalized medical cannabis would stop, yet days after the announcement, the raids continued. This is not the change we voted for, this is simply business as usual and is not acceptable.
    In the 5 minutes spent writing this, the failed war on drugs has cost us another $10,000.00 and 9 more people arrested for cannabis!

  11. I am 54 years old , I have smoked pot everyday sence I was 16 and I mean 3.5 grams a day , I own my home (paid for) and I retired at 45 as a electronics engineer , worked at a local tv station tell I retired and still getting “high” everyday , yeap your right it sure screwed me up didn’t it? lmao
    prohibition didn’t work on alcohol and it dam sure won’t work on pot , the problem is the government has preached it’s a killer drug for so long they don’t want to admit they were wrong all these years and there not sure how to make money off it yet , after all that is the ONLY reason the government is there for , to stick it to we the people and grab all the money they can
    During the 35 years that I smoked , I never once got sick , not even a cold ,, nothing! but I was forced to stop smoking ( by the law) for 7 months , during that 7 months I got the flu and had to go to the hospital to get antibionics to clear it up

  12. “But, most alcohol users don’t get intoxicated. … With marijuana, you get intoxicated every time you use it.”
    Does anyone else find this statement to be completely retarded?
    In my experience I have seen the exact opposite. People who drink generally do so until they are drunk. Once they are drunk they are useless for more than a day.
    Part of why I chose marijuana over alcohol is because I don’t like feeling intoxicated. One beer makes me feel out of control, dizzy and uncoordinated. One beer also drastically changes my personality.
    Marijuana never makes me feel intoxicated in any way. It doesn’t alter my personality or put me at risk of behaving badly. It also wears off quickly so using it doesnt mean you have to write off the rest of your day.

  13. boycott alcohol and watch how fast it marijuana became legal. as for not getting intoxicated all the time you drink, whats his iq ? 7? even kids know that alcohol gets you drunk.

  14. if pot is legal, less alcohol will be consumed, and the alcohol pushers know this will be the case

  15. I’ve still yet to have it explained to me, on these pages or anywhere else, why we can’t organize a voting bloc.
    I still don’t see any progress on a voters guide to MJ reform.
    I still don’t understand how so many think they can change the minds in Congress when we offer neither votes nor money. Yet the prohibitionist like Mr. Gogek offer an abundance of both.
    If we could command 10 percent of the vote in congressional elections, MJ would be legal EVEN IF ALL THE LIES THEY SPOUT WERE TRUE.
    Congressional elections are less than
    Today’s fun link

  16. I’ve still yet to have it explained to me, on these pages or anywhere else, why we can’t organize a voting bloc.
    I still don’t see any progress on a voters guide to MJ reform.
    I still don’t understand how so many think they can change the minds in Congress when we offer neither votes nor money. Yet the prohibitionist like Mr. Gogek offer an abundance of both.
    If we could command 10 percent of the vote in congressional elections, MJ would be legal EVEN IF ALL THE LIES THEY SPOUT WERE TRUE.
    Congressional elections are less than 19 months away. Where the Hell is that voting guide
    Today’s fun link

  17. Mexico’s battle with the drug cartels is, in no small part, America’s fault. Not the federal government. Not the policies of Barack Obama, George Bush, Bill Clinton or any other President since the “War on Drugs” began. The fault lies purely on the shoulders of Americans who use drugs and Americans that enable those users.
    According to government figures, over 19 million Americans are current drug users, while only 7 million are estimated to be dependent or addicted. That means that MOST drug users in America willfully, deliberately break the law. That’s right, 12 million of your friends and neighbors provide money to drug dealers, which is then filtered through gangs and criminal enterprises to the very drug cartels causing violence in Mexican cities. That money buys corruption of government officials and police. It buys weapons and ammunition. It lures Mexican children away from school, and adults away from legitimate work. It is individual American choice that is fueling the drug cartels’ violent escalations.
    The reason drug cartels are successful business enterprises is because there is a market. A market filled with people who choose to use illegal drugs instead of the already legal drugs like alcohol, which are problematic on their own. They aren’t forced or coerced into drugs. They aren’t tricked into it. They voluntarily go there because they don’t care about the law. They want to get high and that’s a good enough reason as far as they are concerned.
    So let’s stop blaming government policies and take a hard look at where the blame truly resides. These clever folks will distract you with many different arguments to sidestep the fact that they willfully violate the law. From addiction to legalization to medicine to rationalization, the pro-drug arguments will make impassioned pleas and evade their own culpability. Their arguments are red-herrings; distractions from their lack of personal responsibility.

  18. #56 NoStressKid: Thanks for the confirmation on what I thought might be a ‘troll remark’ on a health blog I go to. As you can see I posted the question on #53.
    This appears to be good news to me and a turn in the right direction ! Good going Mexico.

  19. Here in the north country after a long cold snowy winter a dog turd turns white being bleached from winter. This is what will happen to the DEA when MJ is made legal.

  20. thank you norml for giving us the tools to come together and become stronger. i have been a responsible partaker of the remedy off and on for thirty two years.i know when i can use it and , when not to. i have worked for the same company for thirty of those years. they have asked us all not to use drugs or alcohol while working . i dont, even though i dont have a problem with a little buzz and working, i respect their wishes without issue . it has been a great company to work for. two years ago, they began drug testing,with hair samples randomly. this past feb, they did a 100% that busted a large number of us. those who had five years or more got thirty days off without pay, anyone under that…got the axe. i have been herb free for damn near two months and…it sucks! i feel real moody and have lost much insperation for doing the daily tasks . loss of motivation. it kills me that something that can be such a benefit to people as opposed to alcohol which just drags one down ,must remain illegal. i have written the governor and, the reply isnt even worth the mention. ill not stop . we must make some sense to the ignorant some how. marijuana is a benefit to the healthy as well as the sick. and if it could be grown and sold in country….we all would benefit weather one used or not. thanks again to norml and all the indulgers of the remedy. it is good to finally belong.

  21. rohair-
    What you are experiencing is called withdrawal. It means your body has become dependent on the marijuana that you smoke. You prove the point that marijuana is a DRUG and it has ADDICTIVE qualities. A physical will likely also turn up additional medical problems possibly caused by the smoking.
    Who can keep arguing that marijuana is “harmless”? I’m joking about that, because I know you will continue to argue despite the evidence on your own site.

  22. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said the administration believes Congress’ goal “should be to completely eliminate the disparity” between the two forms of cocaine. “A growing number of citizens view it as fundamentally unfair,” Breuer testified.
    Breuer said the best way to deal with violence is to severely punish anyone who commits a violent offense, regardless of the drug involved.
    “This administration believes our criminal laws should be tough, smart, fair,” Breuer said, but also should “promote public trust and confidence in the criminal justice system.”
    Walton said, “We were mistaken” to enact the disparity. “There’s no greater violence in cases before me.”
    If they can see the mistake in the sentencing laws, and instead of lowering the sentence for possesion of crack they could have raised the sentence for cocaine… That is a positive sign for them to hopefully re-evaluate their position on marijuana.

  23. matt-
    jesus,i suppose that is what it sounds like but, i meant that more in the attitude sense. it bothered me most that my job now lives with me. because of the law, they tell me how i must live. and yes, your right, i will continue to argue about its effects because ive been through this a few times in thirty two years and i know first hand.in the past,i chose to give it up and had no problem. this time, im forced to stop.its how i react when im told by someone else to stop something i enjoy, especially in what i consider moderation, and in the privacy of my own home. hope that will explain things a little better. i should have worded that differently. lol, thanks for pointing that out and have a great day.

  24. Gee Matt, can you explain the St Valentine’s Day Massacre next. This Bud’s for you.

  25. #67 Matt says
    April 29th, 2009 at 1:34 pm
    – I agree that “Mexico’s battle with the drug cartels,
    IS, in no small part, America’s fault”, however,
    NOT for the reasons you’ve stated, though.
    – I would, instead, fault America for NOT being MORE scientifically-literate,
    for being WAY too easily deceived by sensational scare-tactics, fallacies and circular-logic
    concerning the real and imagined dangers of SOME drugs,
    for American-citizens NOT having greater influence toward ameliorating* injudicious,
    ruinous, outdated, baneful policies, largely postulated upon xenophobic presumptions,
    rapacious motives in the early 1900’s.
    (i.e. racism and greed).
    (“It must remain illegal because it’s an ‘illegal-drug’, and illegal drug-use will increase if it’s legalized!”,
    “Alcohol’s bad enough, we don’t need to legalize ANOTHER mind-altering substance”,
    “People should use the more problematic ALCOHOL, because it’s LEGAL…”),
    (Even though CANNABIS is NOT as LETHAL!)
    – The word ‘drug’ is a term having arbitrary meaning:
    (Even water, consumed to excess, could technically be considered a ‘drug’)
    – – Give anything a FRIGHTENING name,
    (by making it illegal),
    especially ANYTHING medically, biologically and or nutritionally useful,
    and there will be those who will seek to profit from the ‘shortage’.
    – Based upon their brief, arcane, (obscure-named), and limited descriptions below,
    which of the following are illegal, & / or ought to be, & / or should remain so if they already are?
    1) 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, (a.k.a TMX)
    (Shouldn’t the fact that the word ‘meth’ appears in TMX’s chemical-name be
    sufficient cause for concern, in itself, to avoid this insidious poison and anyone who uses it ?!?)
    – A bitter, white, crystalline alkaloid
    that acts as a psychoactive stimulant drug.
    – Is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants,
    where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects
    feeding on the plants.
    – TMX users quickly develop tolerance to the drug,
    developing certain, specific, descriptive, painful
    withdrawal-symptoms upon abrupt cessation of their TMX intake / TMX addiction-behavior…
    – Researchers have found that long-term consumption of
    low dose TMX slowed hippocampus-dependent learning
    and impaired long-term memory in mice.
    (Therefore, MICE should not consume TMX in any form).
    – TMX consumption for 4 weeks also significantly reduced
    hippocampal neurogenesis compared to controls during the experiment.
    – The conclusion was that long-term consumption of TMX could inhibit
    hippocampus-dependent learning and memory partially through inhibition
    of hippocampal neurogenesis.
    – In March 1911, the U.S. government initiated a legal case against
    a certain medicinal tonic manufacturer, hoping to force them to remove
    TMX from its formula by making claims, such as that the excessive use
    of the tonic at one girls’ school led to
    “wild nocturnal freaks, violations of college rules
    and female proprieties, and even immoralities.”
    – Two bills were introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1912
    to amend the Pure Food and Drug Act, adding TMX to the list of
    “habit-forming” and “deleterious” substances which must be listed on a product’s label.
    (This was the prevailing attitude in the early 1900’s…
    Just imagine what the consensus is NOW!) 😯
    2) ?-D-fructofuranosyl-(2?1)-?-D-glucopyranoside
    – In its purified, concentrated form,
    it is a fine, white, odorless, crystalline powder…
    (This ought to provide sufficient reason in itself…to never use this junk!)
    – In combination with potassium nitrate,
    it is used in the manufacture of an amateur rocket-motor propellant.
    – Can contribute to obesity, diabetes, vitamin and mineral-deficiencies from consuming foods contaminated by it.
    ?-D-fructofuranosyl-(2?1)-?-D-glucopyranoside is
    generally isolated from natural sources, however, it
    can also be produced synthetically,
    thus avoiding its crude, botanical form.
    is utilized as one of the precursors in manufacture of
    the organochloride-based, non-caloric, artificial-sweetener sucralose.
    3) methyl hydroxymethane (a.k.a. MHM, hydroxyethane)
    – MethylHydroxyMethane is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid that is
    often used as a depressant, psychoactive drug.
    – MHM can be produced synthetically from other chemicals,
    however, for its psychoactive use as a drug,
    it is usually obtained as a
    microbial-generated waste-product.
    4) dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO)
    – Dihydrogen Monoxide, or DHMO, is a colorless and odorless
    chemical that kills or maims thousands each year,
    primarily through accidental inhalation.
    – Excluding the the inherent deadliness of DHMO itself,
    it is the MOST pervasive, ubiquitous and insidious of the
    ‘dangerous-substances’ I have mentioned,
    since DHMO is used for manufacturing ALL of the
    CHEMICALS listed above, as well as EVERY illegal drug.
    – Other dangers of DHMO:
    – – Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage.
    – – Gaseous DHMO can cause severe burns.
    – – DHMO has been found in biopsies of pre-cancerous tumors and lesions.
    – – DHMO is a major component of acid rain.

  26. Lets see now. Obama says he smoked pot and did a little coke. He attended and got good grades at Ivy league schools. Became a U.S. Senator and then President of the United States. Doesn’t seem like weed hurt him much. I’m 62 years old and smoked weed for about 40 years. I’ve been happily married to the same woman for 42 years. I retired after 35 years with the same employer and always got good performance ratings. When I retired, I was supervising 8 people and was responsible for over $850 million dollars in Federal and State grants. We were always audited and never got an audit exception in all those years. I pay my bills on time and pay my taxes. I’ve voted in every election since I was 21.
    I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life and I rarely drink alcohol. I know a lot of people that smoke weed and I’ve never seen any of them get nasty while getting high. I can’t say the same for alcohol.The idea that I could be put in jail for sitting in my home taking a few tokes and watching the travel channel REALLY annoys me. For those of you that don’t want to smoke weed, I say fine, don’t.
    Finally, in 2007 over 400,000 people died from using tobacco and over 25,000 died from alcohol use. Zero people died from smoking weed. Numerous people have benefited from medical marijuana including several of my friends. If all the people that smoke weed would vote for candidates that support us and against those that do not, we can make the politicians finally serve us and get rid of the ones that do not.

  27. For years my daughter and I would argue over my smoking weed.While I wouldn’t smoke in front of her, as you all know, the smell is quite noticeable and in the house, even more so. I mentioned,and she knew, that I never smoked a cigarette in my life and very seldom drink alcohol. I explained that I read every thing I can on weed and most of the research showed it to be fairly harmless. In fact current research indicates it might even reduce or prevent a brain chemical that leads to dementia. I also told her of a friend of ours that came down with testicular cancer and told us his chemo treatments were so bad that he would have told his doctor to stop the treatments and he would except the consequences if he didn’t have cannabis to stop the projectile vomiting. Tragically he had a recurance and died years later.
    Finally, I asked her what exactly did I do when I was smoking weed that was so bad. She thought about it for a moment and then said I ate a lot and I laughed a lot. I was stunned and for a moment so was she. Then we both started to laugh and although she doesn’t smoke, she isn’t worried for me any more.
    The idea that I could be arrested and put in jail for smoking cannabis in the privacy of my own home is outrageous.

  28. I am not arguing that alcohol and tobacco are not bad–I will even concede that they may be worse than marijuana. I honestly don’t know which is worse because there is suprisingly little actual research done on effects of pot. At the very least, there have been studies that show an increase in lung-related diseases and schizophrenic disorders from chronic marijuana users that are significantly higher than for non-users. Ohio recently reported that drug overdoses have surpassed traffic accidents as the leading cause of death in that state. Amsterdam’s statistics indicate increasing cannabis related health problems, due in part to the increasing potency of today’s marijuana. We should fund additional research into the truth about marijuana’s impact on health. That knowledge would enable continued dialog from an informed populace.
    I think you should join a campaign to lobby congress to legalize marijuana–its your right as an American. But in the meantime its illegal….despite what some of you think you don’t get to choose which laws you follow no matter how sure you are that you know better. If its not addictive, why not start a campaign to stop buying pot just to strangle the Mexican drug cartels who are profitting from your choice?
    With them out of the way, and it would not take long if you all actually stop, the case to legalize American grown marijuana might be easier to make. And you would certainly have a good platform from which to speak.
    #1 You have proved Marijuana is not addictive because millions stopped for X months (I would bet 2 months would do it)
    #2 You helped the “war on drugs”
    #3 You have shown that marijuana users are active citizens in our democracy.
    Its easier to continue to blame the government, but I think the above would be much more effective. Join me!

  29. Matt-
    Ohio may have more drug overdose deaths then traffic deaths but not from marijuana. There is no lethal dose of marijuana. That can’t be said of alcohol or many prescription drugs. The people in the study on chronic users and schizophrenic behavior smoked an average of 20 joints a day for over 20 years. I know a lot of people that smoke cannabis but I don’t know of anyone smoking twenty joints in one day let alone every day for twenty years. I’m guessing but that level of cannabis use is probably the equivalent of drinking a quart of hard liquor a day which would probably kill some and certainly incapacitate most of the rest. I don’t think you would want to put adults who drink alcohol responsively in jail because some drinkers abuse it and go on to cause accidents that kill people.
    While it is illegal, so is driving 56 MPH in a 55 MPH speed limit. I would expect that you have driven over the speed limit on occasion but I don’t think you would feel it is justified to arrest you and possibly put you in jail for driving one MPH over the limit.
    I watched a documentary called Marijuana nation where they went to Amsterdam and interviewed people in the coffee shops that also sold marijuana. One shop owner stated that he sold liquor and cannabis in his shop and never had a fight or any problems with the smokers in over twenty years. How does that compare with most bars in this country?
    You’re correct about the drug cartels profiting from cannabis but the solution is to let me legally grow my own or let local farmers do so and the cartels won’t get another penny from me. In fact, the money I save and the farmers earn will go into our economy and help the recession.
    Finally, there’s actually a fair amount of research on the physical and mental effects of marijuana use and most of them show that the method of ingestion, combustion, is the cause of the few negative side effects of using marijuana. Vaporizers are a way to eliminate the few potential health problems of consuming cannabis.

  30. Re-legalized cannabis would result in less access for teens, not more, as current cannabis vendors are only profit motivated and do not “card” underaged customers. When again legal, adults would continue to have access to cannabis, but without the current criminalization which violates the Constitution of the United States. The perception of a spike in use will largely be due to the fact that those surveyed will feel more free to respond honestly about their use. It is literally true cannabis users get intoxicated with each use, and this is as true with ethanol users. It is true most ethanol users do not get “intoxicated,” but, again, this is also true for cannabis users as well. Both ethanol and cannabis are only used voluntarily for their effects, be those minimal effects from one or two drinks, or one or two puffs, to too much more which is over indulgence. If ethanol or cannabis users were not seeking the effects of those mind altering substances, which biologically occur with even the smallest perceptable doses, people would not use either. Please note the significant difference between the two drugs, one actually being several mostly related drugs prevalent in the flowers of a common shrub, and the other some of the excrement of suffocating yeast cells. Cannabis is a relatively mild toxin, the overdosing of which causes virtually no physical harm, particularily if it is eaten rather than smoked, as smoke is a known carcinogen. There has never been a death from injesting too much cannabis. Alcohol on the other hand is very physically addictive, and unsupervised and unmedicated addiction withdrawl can and does kill. Ethanol will eventually destroy your liver, give you a “wet brain,” and can and does kill after only one over indulgence. Irresponsible consuption of ethanol and cannabis, and all other mind-altering recreational chemical compounds for that matter, can in fact degrade performance and “sap initiative and drive,” and “increase confusion.” Here the problem is not the recreational drug choice, rather it is irresponsible consumption. Anyone who thinks cannabis use makes you “stupid” needs to read some of Carl Sagan’s books. As far as cannabis being a “looser” drug, that could only be true if you consider our President and Michael Phelps to be loosers. Speaking of loosers, I never noticed that many winners in a neighborhood bar, which is of course an ethanol users version of an opium den. The truth is that cannabis prohibitionists’ position is on the wrong side of the objective facts, the Constitution of the United States and God’s will for mankind to live free with liberty and justice. Prohibitionists are much like those who were once very sure the earth was flat. But the main problem with prohibitionists’ position as expressed in our current drug policy is not just that they are wrong, it is actually counter productive. For example, prohibitionists are now directly responsible for many dangerous drugs being readily available to our children. Prohibitionists had their chance for some 70 years and have managed nothing better than chronic failure at a cost of more than a trillion dollars, millions of damaged lives and the degradation of the domestic tranquillity of several allies nations. Also, prohibitionists created and guarantee huge un-taxed profits for drug cartels, fund terrorists and promote gang violence. It is past time to stop doing what does not work, and trust the adult citizens of this nation to live their own lives as they see fit, while fully respecting the God-given rights and responsibilities of others.

  31. I e-mailed the Tn. Nurses Association and they replyed that they had not taken a position on the med.mj. Who else do I contact and how often do I contact them befor they have me blocked???? I smoke a pack a day sometimes more. I spend $200.00 a month on marlboro.( Thats includind giving to the ones that are running a little short at work.)
    Just think of the money I could save if they would let me have my drug of choice. I dont drnk so I can get a buzz from one beer. Ive seen alot of bad stuff happen to those that drink. SAD,SAD things. I have watched my uncle shake all over because his body was craving that stuff. If I was going to have a choice between the alcohol or the weed, I would choose the weed hands down.

  32. Mr. Gogek must get all his information from the federal government. He is just, quite simply, another talking head, putting out misinformation, to which the dumbed-down American public, who rarely do their own research, will take as the gospel. Alcohol makes me completely stupid, unable to carry on an intelligent conversation, let alone funtion in today’s society – ’tis why I do not imbibe in the fire water. However, I have no problem wityh anyone who does. But I’d like to know the difference between the alcohol user, who comes home after a terrible day at work & has his drink of choice to relax, and the god-awful, criminal (you know I’m using SARCASM here!), loser pot-head who chooses to come home after the same terrible day at work and smoke a bowl full of that scourge of the arth, Marry-wanna? I see no difference, except that weed is illegal. Due to so much government misinformation! Weed is definitely the kinder, gentler “drug.” It’s time to completely legalize the recreational use of weed by responsible adult, who, in fact, are much more responsible than adults who choose to drink alcohol. Free the BC Three, and peace, folks!

  33. Well, I am late to the debate, but I hope someone still sees my post.
    For decades, the Federal definition of marijuana has prohibited the people from growing cannabis to make useful products, and has impeded the recognition of its medical properties.
    Much of the discussion is about legalizing, decriminalizing, or rescheduling marijuana. This misses the point.
    Cannabis is a plant with a myriad of uses, while marijuana is a definition with sinister connotations which is conflated with cannabis.
    The time is right for a reasonable definition of marijuana which permits the States to tax and regulate the many uses of cannabis.
    There is a simple definition which clears up the confusion, and maintains the popular historical understanding of marijuana.
    It is just a restatement of Section 802, Item 16 of the Controlled Substances Act:
    The term ‘marihuana’ means all parts OF THE SMOKE PRODUCED BY THE COMBUSTION of the plant Cannabis Sativa L. Period.
    Of course, this will require congressional action, thus political support, but that is the body which disregarded reasonable advice, and made it illegal in the first place.
    With this new definition in place, we can engender the ideals promised in the Preamble of the US Constitution.

  34. #88 Jack Elam Says:
    May 8th, 2009 at 7:26 pm
    Well, I am late to the debate, but I hope someone still sees my post.
    For decades, the Federal definition of marijuana has prohibited the people from growing cannabis to make useful products, and has impeded the recognition of its medical properties.
    Much of the discussion is about legalizing, decriminalizing, or rescheduling marijuana. This misses the point.
    Cannabis is a plant with a myriad of uses, while marijuana is a definition with sinister connotations which is conflated with cannabis.
    The time is right for a reasonable definition of marijuana which permits the States to tax and regulate the many uses of cannabis…
    Mr. Elam,
    – It bothers me everyday that a PLANT with a 5000-year safety-record,
    (Gift of Nature, Creation of God, Product of Favorable Evolution, etc),
    is considered to be, (inherently), criminal,
    whereas humanly-altered, (trans-species genetically, chemically modified),
    questionably-safe and artificially-contrived foods and food-additives
    are given the Government’s greatest blessing, despite their departure from NATURE.
    (OrganoChloride-based sweeteners, hydrogenated vegetable-oils, genetically-modified crops
    containing animal-DNA, for example…).

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