New York Times' Blog: If Marijuana Is Legal, Will Addiction Rise?

[Editor’s Note: This interesting and informative exchange of ideas, provided by experts on cannabis regarding the future of America’s cannabis policy, was originally published July 19 on the ‘Open for Debate’ blog found at the New York Times’ webpage.] If Marijuana Is Legal, Will Addiction Rise?
By The Editors
July 19, 2009, 7:00 pm
A New York Times article on Sunday discussed the debate over whether more and more potent types of cannabis affect the levels of addiction to the drug. This particular issue has become part of the larger debate over whether marijuana should be legalized or decriminalized.
Antidrug activists say that if the drug is legalized, more people will use it and addiction levels, made worse by the increased potency, will rise too. Legalization advocates note that pot addiction is not nearly as destructive as, say, abuse of alcohol. What would be the effect of legalization or decriminalization on marijuana abuse and addiction?
*Roger Roffman, professor of social work
*Wayne Hall, professor of public health policy
*Mark A.R. Kleiman, professor of public policy and author
*Peter Reuter, University of Maryland professor
*Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief
—————
More Honesty Needed
Roger Roffman
Roger Roffman is a professor of social work at the University of Washington.
Marijuana dependence occurs in 9 percent of Americans who have ever used the drug, and between 33 percent and 50 percent of those who smoke it daily. Approximately 3.6 million Americans are daily or near daily users. In 20 years of marijuana dependence counseling studies at the University of Washington, those who’ve sought help averaged 10 years of daily or near daily use and had unsuccessfully tried to quit more than six times.
Surveys indicate increasingly positive attitudes in the U.S. for liberalizing marijuana policies. Two ways of doing this are: (1) legalization, which would involve lawful cultivation and sale of marijuana, and (2) decriminalization, which would retain criminal penalties for cultivation and sale while removing them for possession of small amounts.
Will more people use marijuana and become dependent if marijuana is decriminalized? Probably not. A number of U.S. studies tell us decriminalization would not likely have an effect on the rates of marijuana use by adults or adolescents.
What if marijuana is legalized? No one can say for certain. Using one country’s reform example to estimate what would happen in another is very risky. How countries differ (cultural, social, political, economic) makes a big difference.
However, the Dutch ‘coffee shops’ example might give us a little insight. The de facto legalization policy in the Netherlands did not, in itself, affect rates of marijuana use among adults or young people. But rates of use among young people increased when the number of coffee shops increased and the age of legal access was 16. Then these rates declined when the numbers of coffee shops was reduced and the age of legal access became 18.
A cautious conclusion, as I see it, is that any consideration of legalization should include careful planning for how those who are most vulnerable to harm from marijuana use, children and adolescents, can be protected.
I support finding alternatives to criminal penalties for marijuana possession. Those penalties have costs (being jailed, having a criminal record, barriers to employment, loss of scholarships, to name a few) and may accomplish little in deterring use.
However, our debates need more honesty. Those favoring liberalizing marijuana policy ought to stop inferring that marijuana is harmless; it is not. Those who believe possession should remain a crime need to acknowledge that most adult occasional users are not harmed, and should be prepared to defend with data the belief that criminalizing possession is the best way to avoid harm.
—————
Mitigating Dependence
Wayne Hall
Wayne Hall is a professor of public health policy at the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland in Australia.

What effect would marijuana legalization have on dependence?
Some people remain skeptical about whether marijuana dependence exists but let’s assume that it does and that it affects around 1 in 10 of those who use marijuana. The effects that legalization has on marijuana dependence depend critically on what we mean by the term.
If we mean replacing imprisonment with a fine as the penalty for using marijuana then legalization would have little effect on dependence. Evaluations of this policy in 11 U.S. states in the 1970s and 1980s found little or no effect on rates of use among adolescents and adults.
There is more debate about the effects of allowing a de facto legal marijuana market as the Netherlands has done since 1983 in tolerating the sale of small amounts of marijuana in coffee shops. Marijuana use increased in the Netherlands in the 1990s, but this was also the case in the rest of Europe, and policy analysts disagree about whether rates of use increased faster in the Netherlands than elsewhere.
If by legalization we mean making it legal to use, grow and sell marijuana then our task becomes more speculative because no modern country has adopted this policy. It seems common sense that legalizing marijuana use and sales would lead to more people using it regularly and this would probably mean more marijuana dependence.
Nonetheless it is difficult to say how much use may increase because there are options for reducing use under a legal market that are not now available. For example, we could tax marijuana to set the price at a level that discourages casual use, regulate its THC content, restrict sales to minors, include a health warning on packs and advise users on ways to reduce dependence risks (e.g. by using less than weekly). These possibilities make it difficult to predict the effect that a legal market would have on rates of marijuana dependence.
Marijuana dependence should be taken into account in considering whether we should legalize marijuana in any of these ways. But this concern also needs to be weighed against the costs of current policy, that is, the creation of perverse incentives to produce more potent marijuana, the widespread disregard of legal prohibition on marijuana use that could contribute to a decline in respect for law and policing; the unregulated access of minors to marijuana; and the social and economic costs of a large marijuana black market.
—————
Not Your Grandfather’s Pot?
Mark A.R. Kleiman
Mark A.R. Kleiman is a professor of public policy at U.C.L.A., the editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis and the author of ‘Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results’. His new book, ‘When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment’ will be published later this summer.

One of the standard arguments against the legalization of cannabis is that ‘this is not your grandfather’s pot: cannabis, say the drug warriors, is much stronger now than it was a generation ago. It is, therefore, much more dangerous, and must remain prohibited.
That argument is a few bricks shy of a full load. Here are some of those bricks.
1. The average gram of cannabis sold today contains much more 9-trahydrocannabinol (THC) than the average gram sold in 1970, though there has always been some highly potent product available.
2. Emergency-room visits and treatment admissions related to cannabis have increased, though the number of self-reported cannabis users hasn’t.
3. If the only change were in potency as measured by THC content, users could (and do) compensate by smoking smaller quantities.
4. But contemporary cannabis also has a much higher ratio of THC (which tends to induce anxiety) to cannabidiol (CBD, which tends to relieve anxiety). That would be expected to create a higher rate of panic attacks.
5. Whether high-THC, high-ratio pot is also more habit-forming than other pot remains unknown. Increased treatment admissions might come from increased enforcement pressure against users. Or perhaps a cannabis habit is harder to live with than it used to be because the cannabis experience is more disturbing.
6. If cannabis were made legal, restrictions could be put both on potency and on the THC/CBD ratio. So rising potency makes no sense as an anti-legalization argument; if anything, less-potent legal pot would be expected to substitute for the more-potent pot that would remain
illegal.
7. Any sort of flat-out legalization would risk a large increase in the number of very heavy users. A legal cannabis industry, like the legal alcohol industry, would derive more than half its revenue from people with diagnosable substance abuse disorders. Telling marketers they can get rich by creating disease is dangerous.
8. Instead we could choose a ‘grow your own’ policy that would allow production for personal use or by small nonprofit cooperatives, but forbid commercial sales.
Cannabis policy is fascinating because so many people smoke the stuff, but whatever we do about cannabis will leave us with most of the nation’s drug abuse problems, which center on alcohol, and most of the nation’s drug-market and drug-enforcement problems, which center on cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.
—————
Lessons From the Dutch
Peter Reuter
Peter Reuter is a professor at the School of Public Policy and the Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland.

Experimenting with marijuana has long been a normal part of growing up in the U.S.; about half of the population born since 1960 has tried the drug by age 21. Perhaps one out of six has used it for a year or more.
This statement is increasingly true of other Western countries such as Australia and Britain.
Over the last decade most of these countries have seen three trends; sharp increases in the number of marijuana users seeking treatment, in the potency of the marijuana consumed and in the number of arrests. For example, in the European Union the number of people entering treatment programs for marijuana dependence tripled between 1999 and 2005. In the U.S., the potency of seized marijuana has steadily increased since the late 1970s, while arrests for simple possession have tripled since 1991 to 750,000.
Are these trends connected? Given that marijuana research is almost as scarce as drug-free communities, all that is available is moderately informed speculation. A recent book that I co-authored, ‘Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond the Stalemate,’ identifies five other factors that may play an influence in this. There is also no direct evidence that potency makes a difference to how much the drug hurts users’ health; most users titrate their dose with higher THC.
What would happen if the drug were legalized? The Dutch de facto legalization of sale through coffee shops is the closest available experience. The most striking observation is that marijuana use in that country is lower than in many other European countries and a lot lower than in the United States; 6 percent of 15- to 64-year-olds in Holland had used marijuana in the past year, compared to 11 percent in the U.S.
Legalization in the U.S. might be a much more commercial matter than in pragmatic Holland, where the government created a legally ambiguous regulatory system with minimal court oversight. The U.S. might find it hard to prevent producers from using their First Amendment rights to actively promote the drug. A way of avoiding this would be to remove prohibitions on growing for your own use and for gifts to others. No doubt there would still be a black market but it would allow access to marijuana without creating a full commercialization. Probably this would lead to a modest increase in the number of people who use the drug, which needs to be weighed against the elimination of 750,000 arrests for simple possession.
—————
The Tobacco Precedent
Norm Stamper
Norm Stamper was Seattle’s police chief from 1994 to 2000. He is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the author of ‘Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing’.
Any law disobeyed by more than 100 million Americans, the number who’ve tried marijuana at least once, is bad public policy. As a 34-year police veteran, I’ve seen how marijuana prohibition breeds disrespect for the law, and contempt for those who enforce it.
Let’s examine arguments against legalizing marijuana: use and abuse would skyrocket; the increased potency of today’s marijuana would exacerbate social and medical problems; and legalization would send the wrong message to our children.
It’s reasonable to expect a certain percentage of adults, respectful or fearful of the current prohibition, would give pot a first try if it were made legal. But, given that the U.S. is already the world’s leading per capita marijuana consumer (despite our relatively harsh penalties), it’s hard to imagine a large and lasting surge in consumption. Further, under a system of regulated legalization and taxation, the government would be in a position to offer both prevention programs and medical treatment and counseling for those currently abusing the drug. It’s even possible we’d see an actual reduction in use and abuse, just as we’ve halved tobacco consumption through public education–without a single arrest.
Potency? Users, benefiting from the immutable law of supply and demand, have created huge market pressure for ‘quality’ marijuana over the past few decades. Legalization opponents are correct that today’s weed is not your old man’s weed. But the fear-mongers miss the point, namely that stronger strains of marijuana are already out there, unregulated by anything other than market forces. It’s good that responsible consumers know to calibrate their consumption; they simply smoke less of the more powerful stuff. But how about a little help from their government? Purchase booze and you have access, by law, to information on the alcoholic content of your beverage, whether it’s .05 percent near-beer or 151-proof Everclear.
Perhaps the biggest objection to legalization is the ‘message’ it would send to our kids. Bulletin: Our children have never had greater access to marijuana; it’s easier for them to score pot than a six-pack of Coors. No system of regulated legalization would be complete without rigorous enforcement of criminal laws banning the furnishing of any drug to a minor.
Let’s make policy that helps, not handcuffs, those who suffer ill effects of marijuana or other drugs, a policy that crushes the illegal market–the cause of so much violence and harm to users and non-users alike.

0 thoughts

  1. Say what you want, but I liked alot of what I read. I like the middle of the road approach to this. And YES, I smoke! Since 1969, so don’t judge me. Politically, I’m a Moderate. Extremism from either side just clouds the issue. Being an old farm boy, I would rather enjoy growing my own. Right now, we are all political prisoners of the “War On Drugs”. We won’t be free until the mood of the voters catch up with the political class in D.C.Once it does, only then can we declare victory.

  2. I don’t see how having a vaporized bowl of marijuana instead of a few beers after a hard days work is affecting anyone except for my personal happiness. It relieves everyday back pain and makes me very happy. I am a responsible, educated, tax paying American; and I want to enjoy this natural product without constant fear of persecution.
    Also to all advocates; Stop making us look like lazy, uneducated, slackers and carry yourself with respect and don’t lower your standards. It’s called spell check. Thanks.

  3. WHY DO YOU THINK ITS ADDICTION?
    AND WHY DO YOU CARE THAT I GET HIGH IN THE PRIVACY OF MY OWN HOME?
    SEEMS TO ME PROHIBITION OF ANYTHING IS COMMUNISM!

  4. Off course addiction will rise but it is nonetheless less harmful then alcohol by a wide margin. I think we should go ahead and legalize it. Ive been heavily blogging about the legalization of marijuana as I think we should get it out of the way and focus on getting rid of coke,meth and all those chemical drugs.

  5. Do we really want, I means REALLY WANT, the War on Drugs to go away…or…do we just want the War on Cannabis to go away?
    Do we really want our kids, no matter what their age, to be addicted to hard drugs, and watch them die because of it? I sure the hell don’t. I am very anti-drug. However…Cannabis is not a drug. The DEA, and our “SAVIORS” have a losing battle to fight, and I fail to see where they are going to have funds, or personnel denied them to fight that battle. So! what the hell are they bitching about? Give them all the money they need to eliminate hard drug use, but lay off cannabis. Besides, it’s a Health and Human Services issue. not drug enforcement. By the way…
    if you think that alcohol and tobacco aren’t hard drugs. try to break those addictions. Talk about self abuse.

  6. This is very interesting. It is my first time here and I have enjoyed all the posts.
    I was a regular pot smoker for years, but I had to give it up because of my job.
    No,I never had any withdrawal symptoms and that after smoking daily for 30 some odd years.
    Like someone above mentioned, my IQ is not affected.It’s still as high as I used to be! LOL
    But, I must share that since I quit and began drinking rum after work instead of burning one, 1-2 cocktails a night has packed 40 pounds on my tiny height, and the arthritis in my old sports injured knees and ankles (which rarely needed so much as a tylenol before I quit smoking) is now so bad, that I take OTC’s daily just to walk without a limp!
    Furthermore, now my blood sugar is getting whacked because of the sugar in alcohol and the weight gain.
    So I am faced with having to give up all of it. If pot was legal…..well, do I need to say it?
    I have a friend with MS and because of her insurance and job, she too, had to quit smoking the only thing that gave her complete relief. Now she uses prescription drugs that don’t do half as well to help her.
    It is IMHO, that the pharmas that are making billions on selling us antidepressants and pain killers will be the biggest hurdle to leap across. They will throw billions to fight legalization.
    Also,I would like to add,I am not particularly well educated in cultivation, so I may be wrong (feel free to correct me!) but it is my understanding that MJ can grow even without the help of pesticides! The person who made the Al Gore reference is right…this is the green of all greens.
    There is almost no waste to the plant be it the loaded THC variety, or industrialized hemp.
    For those who proclaim the danger of it being more potent, I say: “Well, I sure hope it is! Back in the day, you could smoke 3 in a row. God Bless the grower that made 2 toke pot….save money, time and space!” We’re not idiots, you know….if it is stronger….you smoke less.
    The changing laws in CA have me so very hopeful that we can finally drive the cartels out and bring in good, honest money. And that, for those of us like me, who are now developing other medical problems because we QUIT smoking, that we can return to a more natural method of stress relief.

  7. 56 Luanne……Pesticides is the “P WORD!”
    Infestation and pesticides will give your crop the deep six.

  8. Arguments for/against legalization:
    It enters your brain and makes you insane,
    But as it does, it gives you a buzz.
    Head Poet

  9. #1 High East Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 2:25 pm
    “Are we at a point in the arguments where we can say
    “so what” to marijuana addiction?
    I am addicted to caffeine but I’m not complaining about it.
    I love my coffee.
    Marijuana is safer, and less addictive,
    than coffee so can’t we just say “so what”?
    What is the harm caused by marijuana addiction?”
    RE:
    – Here’s the problem,
    here’s the harm, High East…
    – Marijuana is the GATEWAY to caffeine and cocoa abuse.
    – A sordid, possibly-debasing,
    TRIPLE-ADDICTION to COFFEE, CHOCOLATE and CANNABIS!
    (Three great tastes that taste great TOGETHER!) 😉
    – Even though caffeine is more addictive than pot,
    I would classify cannabis as a ‘coffee-equivalent’ relaxant,
    (Having MUCH MILDER, less toxic, gentler
    sedative and dis-inhibitive effects than alcohol).

    Booze is just plain-scary by comparison. 😯

  10. #55 Anonymous Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 2:57 pm
    “Do we really want, I means REALLY WANT,
    the War on Drugs to go away…or…
    do we just want the War on Cannabis to go away?”
    RE:
    – A:
    (1) The War On ALL Drugs to go away…
    – Prohibition is Prohibition is Prohibition…
    Engendering said-same corruption, violence
    and unregulated, underground markets…
    (Naturally-occurring plants, especially…ought NOT ever be prohibited…)
    Addiction,
    addictive-tendencies are more of an individual, personal matter;
    – The choice to partake or abstain from
    any particular psychoactive, likewise, ought to be, as well…
    (Specifically-avoiding those which become
    too much of a preoccupation for one’s self,
    and / or are notably-toxic / have a low LD50…).

    – Though NORML’s official mission
    exclusively pertains to the repeal of cannabis-prohibition,
    some of us believe that prohibition against all presently-illegal psychoactives
    need to be lifted, brought above-board, as well.
    LEAP Forums:
    cops say LEGALIZE
    ENDING THE WAR ON DRUGS:
    1. Stop drug raids. Immediately. Disband and disarm ALL police drug task forces.
    2. Disband the DEA, the ONDCP, the Partnership for an un-Free America and all of their arms, branches and spin-offs. Let the FDA regulate quality, purity, weights and measures and truth in labeling. Let the market determine price and availibility.
    3. Pharmaceutical companies already produce opiates, amphetamines and methamphetamines. Let the free market take over.
    4. To ensure ongoing research and development, allow pharmaceutical companies exclusive rights to market new drugs for specified amount of time. (I believe this is done already.) Make all other drugs available, over the counter, along with honest, up-to-date information about effects and possible dangers of use. If we need medical advice, that’s what doctors are for.
    5. Having thought about it, I still believe that there should be age restrictions on buying drugs; I’m thinking 18; individual states may choose to make it lower but no higher. Meanwhile, consider drug use by minors a disciplinary issue left to the parents. Keep police and their guns and their drug dogs away from children. In fact, get rid of drug dogs completely; we won’t need them anymore.
    6. Give foreign and domestic producers of currently banned drugs amnesty and a chance to comply with the same standards and compete in the same market as producers of other commodities meant for human consumption. Give drug law makers and enforcers a one-time, blanket immunity from civil and criminal suits arising from drugwar damages. In the furture, hold individuals accountable for their own, and only their own, actions.
    7. Drop all pending drug charges, expunge convictions and vacate sentences. Release everyone who is on probation, parole or in local jails for drug law violations, then start releasing drug possessors, dealers and users from state and federal prisons.
    8. Release those charged or convicted of other crimes — DUI and child abuse come to mind — whose charges and/or convictions were based solely on the presence of an illegal drug in someone’s home, vehicle or body. Re-release on probation those convicted of other crimes whose probation or parole was revoked because of drug law violations. Let those convicted of other crimes but whose sentences were aggravated because of drug use or prior drug convictions petition the courts for early release.
    9. Put an immediate end to all government-required drug testing. Put an immediate end to zero-tolerance school drug policies. Put an immediate end to that poster child of government waste, the DARE program. Allow individual school districts to choose to offer honest drug education or no drug education.
    10. Take the money we’re saving and reinvest it in communities, to help reunite families and provide housing, job training and/or placement as needed. Make participation in these programs strictly voluntary; no longer should anyone be forced at gunpoint to accept Big Brother’s tender loving care. Unemployed drug warriors, substance abuse counselors, probation officers and their staffs can join the effort to repair the damage they’ve done or they can line up for unemployment. (They get a choice, which is more than they’ve given any of us.)
    11. Without the constant, overwhelming flood of drug law violators, and minus Big Brother’s treatment/drug court/minimum sentence mandates, our courts will have time and resources to dispense real justice. With the release of close to a million inmates, conditions inside will improve dramatically, and our prison system can begin to function the way it was meant to — to protect the public from wrong-doers and rehabilitate those wrong-doers when possible.
    The function of government should be to protect the public. Stop passing the buck, stop making excuses and just do it.

  11. Personally, my response to any comment/question regarding drug use has been and always will be “so what”. If someone wants to fire up a bowl, so what? If they chose to have a cocktail, so what? If someone want’s to pop a needle in their arm, so what? If someone wants to be an addict to something, be it alcohol, coffee, nicotine, opium, cocaine, or any other addictive substance, so what?
    This country was founded on the principal of freedom. As long as someone is doing something THAT DOESN’T HARM ANYONE ELSE, so what. Who the he77 has more freedom or power than I, in a free nation, to decide what I can do to my own body. Tattoo’s, body piercing, tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, etc.. There’s a lot of things out there that can harm you. If you make an informed decision to do/use something that may cause you harm, and it doesn’t harm anyone else, so fuqing what?
    As long as people in this country are willing to roll over and take it up the xxx, there’s going to be someone willing to put it up there.
    Inform people. Educate people (with the truth). Teach them to make an intelligent, informed decision. Then let them make that decision. There’s way too much ‘decision making’ being done in our ‘best interest’. Who besides me is to say what is in my best interest. Stay out of my bedroom, keep the h… out of my house, and don’t mess with my bong!
    And lastly, nearly to a person, every one I have ever met that used any kind of drug (tobacco, alcohol, whatever) says they drank milk at some point. Hence, milk is a gateway drug! Ban milk!

  12. 60 Neurogenesis1:29
    It gives me great understanding of you, because I too come from medicine. I also have great faith in Harm Rdeuction. I view cannabis as a effective anesthetic.
    But…do you really think that all schedule I subsatnaces should be legalized? Sure they were all legal at one time, and used with the physician’s script, but that was under the physicians control.
    By the way, I firmly believe that any medication can be introduced to the body if prescribed by a doc, not a drug dealer.

  13. Something I find interesting is that when a pharmaceutical manufacturing company makes a new drug, it goes through a couple of clinical trials, is then submitted to the FDA, and then either approved or not for use as a medication. Many of those medications have severe side effects, and many of them even have DEATH as a possible side effect! However, Cannabis doesn’t get THAT luxury! Cannabis has to be cleared not only through double blind tests by MD’s, but the DEA the FDA The FBI the CIA the ONDCP and even the PTA! ….all I can say is WTF!!!

  14. #52 Andrew Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 1:40 am
    “…To all advocates:
    – Stop making us look like lazy, uneducated, slackers
    and carry yourself with respect and don’t lower your standards.
    It’s called spell-check.
    Thanks.”
    RE:
    In addition…Andrew,
    – There’s also free web-resources,
    such as an online dictionary, thesaurus.
    – Appropriate grammar, punctuation, indents and
    paragraph-breaks, vastly-improves readability, credibility…
    (Have noticed that certain news-sites ALSO separate each sentence with a blank line).
    – Rudimentary HTML coding-skills are also helpful…
    – Since this blog doesn’t have a ‘preview’ function yet,
    pre-composing messages on a word-processor FIRST is a MUST.

  15. 60 Neurogenes1:29
    62 Big D from Wa
    Don’t get me wrong…I agree with both of you. I just prefer the Dutch program/Harm Reduction…not drug cartels and their vast organization of street dealers.
    I don’t intend to roll the ambulance up to your front door…but…how many have died because of a bad dose of shit. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,
    it’s our Constitutonal right to introduce any substance to our body, IF PRESCRIBED BY A PHYSICIAN.
    It is my full commitment to protect our Constitution, but also to “DO NO HARM.”

  16. If people are so worried about medical problems caused by marijuana why dont they vaporize it…..

  17. futhermore with all the benefits of marijuana being medically used and facts that help support Decriminalization it becomes more and more obivous that prohibition of Marijuana serves a political agenda.

  18. #63 Anonymous Says:
    July 23rd, 2009 at 9:34 pm
    60 Neurogenesis1:29
    It gives me great understanding of you,
    because I too come from medicine.
    I also have great faith in Harm Reduction.
    I view cannabis as a effective anesthetic.
    But…do you really think that all schedule I substances should be legalized?
    Sure they were all legal at one time, and used with the physician’s script,
    but that was under the physicians control.
    By the way, I firmly believe that any medication
    can be introduced to the body if prescribed by a doc, not a drug dealer.
    RE:
    – I believe that all presently Schedule 1 PLANTS
    ought to be re-legalized.
    (Should NOT have been made illegal / ‘scheduled’ in the first place…).
    – These never required a doctor’s prescription,
    however…
    ancient wisdom, rituals and customs,
    (which are, overall, sadly-lacking in our modern-day culture…),
    provided safeguards against potential problems / dangers.
    – Ancient, arcane-knowledge can be rediscovered / relearned by
    those of us who truly desire to educate ourselves.
    Ethnobotanical Shamanic Psychonautic certification / degree?
    (For those of us in the know; Responsible enough to safely partake of
    plants containing mescaline, psilocybin, LSA, DMT…) .
    – Powerful synthetic and semi-synthetic medications,
    concentrated plant-extracts;
    I believe these should also be available to any responsible adult,
    albeit, in a limited manner, as retail-purchase of certain OTC cold-meds are…

  19. 69 Neurogenesis1:29…anonymous MM here.
    I certainly get your picture. I practice “certain ancient wisdom, rituals and customs myself.” These are provided for in the Religious Fredon Restoration Act. I am also sworn to protect and defend “individual freedom.” My only real concern is that any addictive, certainly excluding cannabis, can kick the living shit out of you…including the most responsible adult, and for sure, any ireesponsible and unmature person.
    But, if drug dependency is an “individuals choice”…so be it. What a King does in his own castle…or his own body…is his business.
    I have always, and still do, look forward to your comments.

  20. What I really struggle to understand is: WHY is there this dialog of “dependence” surrounding cannabis? Do we not have the scientific means to determine if there is a physical component of addiction to cannabis like we already know exists with alcohol? From anecdotal experience and everything I have read on the topic, there is only the potential for MENTAL addiction. People have mental addictions to many things that are not deemed “harmful” such as food, sex, etc. (when moderation is adhered to of course.) When that enjoyment surpasses “normal” consumption amounts, then you determine if there is addiction. But, the consequences of the substance’s use must then be weighed. Cannabis might make you hungry, horny, or tired, but those are relatively benign consequences compared to virtually every other substance.
    Let’s talk science. Even these authors who are supposedly versed in the chemical compounds of cannabis curiously leave out the science of physical addiction. Mental addiction, and only 1 in 10 people at that, hardly screams “drug dependence epidemic.”
    Can’t people agree that even if some people “abuse” cannabis that it’s far less devastating than alcohol which kills hundreds of thousands of people each year? There is shareholder value in alcohol, however, which seems to be the “Be all, end all” in America these days.

  21. 71 can we say
    There is “no discussion” about cannabis dependency. It’s a food…and…has “no addictive factors” unles in the hands of one who is predisposed to addiction and abuse of any kind. The discussion is about hard drugs, which is addictive,and creates dependeny. I think we can all agree to stick to the subject of cannabis and its vast medical effecacy. Message received.

  22. All 3 articles make some good points. I’m just glad to see that the issue of legalization is being discussed openly and it does seem like out country is on the breach of some big changes in respect to marijuana. I also want to thank all the people who speak in support of legalization, should it be here on a blog in a room fool of friends or even at work.
    More people need to be made aware of what pot really is, there still seem to be a lot of people who think weed is this killer drug that will destroy your life.
    Also, for all fellow pot-heads out there, get off your lazy smoked out butts and speak up. We all want to enjoy jail free smoking. If cigarettes and alcohol can be regulated, if antidepressants and painkillers can be prescribed, then there’s got to be a way government can fit marijuana in this whole picture.
    Keep up the good fight everyone. Peace.

  23. What the hell happened to our great nation, we used to have freedom and liberties, but those freedoms and liberties are slowly being eroded every day and have been for years by lawmakers who keep passing laws.
    YOU LAWMAKERS STOP IT!!!
    I have been a toker since 85, but have had to give it up to keep from losing my job because of some draconian sets of laws on a state and federal levels that states that if I use cannabis I will be prosecuted (my state has some shitty laws relating to cannabis-Oklahoma)and that in turn could possibly lose my families main source of income because my company has the usual drug policiy.
    I want to sit at home after a stressful day at work and burn a bowl without worrying about losing my job or having a fucking SWAT team kick my door in and busting my ass. No family should have that happen over a PLANT.
    WE SHOULD ALL BE ABLE TO TOKE DOWN IN A WORRY FREE ENVIRONMENT.
    I know this reply is irrevalent to the story, but this is my first posting on the legalize subject, sorry.
    ps. I have never felt like fighting or being a macho asshole on weed, NEVER…
    But it has been a different story on alcohol.

  24. 73 Dima…”Get off your lazy smoked out butts, and speak up.”
    That pretty much says it…doesn’t it? But…what if you can’t vote…because…you’ve been fellonized for the very thing you would like to vote for? Well!…if you haven’t been fellonized and you have the ability to vote…why not vote for your brother or sister who is doing time, your time. Be their proxy, their voice, be their vote pal!…so their time spent means something…so their time has purpose.

  25. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE ADDICTED TO POT. PROVEN FACT!!!! SO JUST LEGALIZE IT ALREADY AND BE DONE WITH IT. IT WOULD SOLVE SO MANY PROBLEMS WITH THIS WORTHLESS COUNTRY AND SO MANY PEOPLE WOULD GET ALONG.

  26. please do not get rid of the dea. they need to focus their attention on the meth, coke, crack, heion users. but please support what the netherland have done with pot. i think being able to buy very small quantities at a “coffee shop” is one heck of a good idea for so many reasons. just take a litte time to think about it and you will see it address most if not all the issues on both sides of the issue

  27. yes I think addiction would rise,though I also believe
    the tax money benefits would be very helpful,in 1935 if you were to tell the american public that the program of alcoholics anonymous would be as large as it is today ,no one would believe you,it is that large,and the 12 steps have been borrowed by many other self help groups with great success.including MA
    or marajuana anonymous,my point is that eventually the whole world will have a oppertunity to find a higher power through the steps,and the last group that I feel
    will be working steps are the so called normies,this movement is devinely inspired and in another 100 years
    we may have the whole world working steps and taking a dailey inventory to become a better more efficent human beings , imagine a whole world finally on the same page.wow I hope this is not a pipe dream!!!

  28. Thanks for the post. If pot is more readily available that I am guessing that more people will be smoking pot. Maybe some people will become addicted that would not have been otherwise. I think there is strong possibility that will happen. But I think most of the people that will be addicted are ones who would be addicted to drugs and alcohol whether pot was legal or not. I think rather than this war on drugs we should have a ‘path to recovery’. Resources that help people get clean and sober should be made readily available to everyone. People are going to drink, use, get addicted, etc no matter what. And there will be people who don;t do any of that. It is just the natural way of things. We need to go about all differently. We should have help available and stop condemning people. I got help from a place called New Life House. Check out their site if you are looking for help. New Life House – A Structured Sober Living in Los Angeles

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