The pure, unadulterated, distilled essence of Reefer Madness, courtesy of California Assembly Candidate, Republican Paul Chabot:
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Let’s tear this thing up, shall we?
- It’s not “a few million here and there”, unless you count one-thousand, four-hundred millions as “a few millions”. The California Board of equalization has estimated that $1.4 billion dollars would be raised by regulating marijuana.
- Also, you’re absolutely right that every $1 in tobacco taxes is subsumed by $8.50 in health costs… because smoking tobacco is really, really bad for you! 400,000 Americans die annually from tobacco-related illness, compared to how many for cannabis? Oh, right, ZERO! I can walk into any hospital and find you a dozen people there solely because of tobacco smoking; I dare you to find me just one in the hospital solely for cannabis smoking.
- If there is any social cost from cannabis use, it is going to be far less than that of alcohol, tobacco, or even caffeine in our society, and we’re already paying those costs now and taking in ZERO tax dollars to mitigate those tiny costs. 22 million Americans smoke pot now, and an estimated 4 million Californians smoke pot now. In order for the social costs argument to make sense, $1.4 billion worth of new pot smokers would have to take up the habit following legalization. Even if pot smokng went up by 20% (a stretch to imagine), each of the 1 million new California tokers would have to cost California $1,400 annually to just break even on the tax revenue. For comparison’s sake, a recent study in Canada found the health costs of every smoker to be $800 annually, for drinkers it’s $165 annually, and for tokers it’s just $20 a year.
- Any burning vegetable matter – tobacco, cannabis, and a campfire – share some of the same carcinogenic hydrocarbons. That’s why so many patients now prefer to vaporize or eat their cannabis medicine. However, what tobacco and campfires don’t have are THC and CBD, both of which are non-toxic and have been shown to have anti-tumoral properties.
- A recent study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research concluded that “10 to 20 years of marijuana use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of [head and neck cancers].“
- Dr. Donald Tashkin studied marijuana smokers for 30 years, seeking to find a link between cannabis use and lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and in 2006 told the Washington Post: “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association [between cannabis use and lung cancer and COPD] at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.“
- Dr. Tashkin later told McClatchy news: “Early on, when our research appeared as if there would be a negative impact on lung health, I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use and that would lead to increased health effects,” Tashkin says. “But at this point, I’d be in favor of legalization. I wouldn’t encourage anybody to smoke any substances. But I don’t think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm.”
- Furthermore, nobody on our side suggests we should be selling marijuana to kids! That’s your side that insists on maintaining a prohibition on cannabis that continues to feature one million teenagers dealing marijuana to other kids with nobody checking IDs. When’s the last time you heard of a high school tequila dealer?
- Prop-215 was passed with the following very easy-to-understand wording for all the voters to read: “Seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person’s health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.”
- The 1996 California Ballot Pamphlet on Prop-215 read, in part: “Exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of marijuana.”
- The 1996 write-up by the Legislative Analyst stated: “The measure provides for the use of marijuana when a physician has determined that the person’s health would benefit from its use in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or ”any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.” The physician’s recommendation may be oral or written. No prescriptions or other record-keeping is required by the measure.”
- The 1996 Argument in Favor of Prop-215 read: “MARIJUANA DOESN’T JUST HELP CANCER PATIENTS — University doctors and researchers have found that marijuana is also effective in: lowering internal eye pressure associated with glaucoma, slowing the onset of blindness; reducing the pain of AIDS patients, and stimulating the appetites of those suffering malnutrition because of AIDS ‘wasting syndrome’; and alleviating muscle spasticity and chronic pain due to multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and spinal cord injuries.
- The 1996 Argument Against Prop-215 even warned: “Proposition 215 DOES NOT restrict the use of marijuana to AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and other serious illnesses. READ THE FINE PRINT. Proposition 215 legalizes marijuana use for ”any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.” This could include stress, headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, a stiff neck . . . or just about anything.” And yet, 56% of Californians supported it anyway!
- The 2% of San Diegans Chabot refers to are those using medical marijuana for cancer and AIDS. Paul doesn’t consider people suffering the pain and spasticity of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to have “significant illnesses”. People going blind from glaucoma or wracked with the pain of migraine don’t have “significant illnesses”.
- So, how is it that within our community, we allow our school bus drivers and airplane pilots the choice of using alcohol and impairment-producing prescription medications? It’s not a “Pandora’s Box” we’re opening – marijuana is already here! If someone is going to be irresponsible and drive a school bus high, they are doing so now; prohibition isn’t stopping them.
- How do we bust people for driving high now? Chabot is referring to the use of urinalysis to determine whether someone has inactive THC-COOH metabolites in their system, which do not prove impairment and can remain in the system for weeks. However, there are blood tests which can fairly reasonably determine recent marijuana use, and new technologies are arriving that analyze saliva or armpit sweat (really) to determine recent use. Finally, there’s always the good old fashioned roadside sobriety test… you know, actually testing someone to see if they are impaired, not what they may have ingested.
- Who are you to tell anybody – terminally ill or not — how to feel or how not to feel? If someone is dying and smoking a non-toxic herb, you’re okay with it, but if they’re healthy, you’re going to have to lock them up in a cage to keep us all safe?
- “Pro-drug lobbyists?” We are not pro-drug lobbyists; we’re pro-marijuana. Johnson & Johnson Pfizer GlaxoSmithKline Roche Sanofi-Aventis Novartis AstraZeneca Abbott Laboratories Merck Wyeth Bristol-Myers Squibb Eli Lilly, with a combined $392 billion in annual revenues and 2.3 lobbyists for every lawmaker on Capitol Hill – that’s your pro-drug lobby.
- By the way, I’m still waiting for the first medical marijuana patient to beg me to stop fighting for medical marijuana laws because she felt he was being used.
- Marijuana doesn’t have “400 carcinogens”, it has 400 or so constituent chemicals, 64 of which are cannabinoids, and which don’t even become carcinogenic compounds until the marijuana is burned (but not eaten or vaporized).
- Marinol is 100% pure synthetic THC (people like you constantly complain about the new super-potent pot, some of which registers 20% THC) and is eaten. The delta-9 THC when ingested coverts to 11-hydroxy-THC which is far more psychoactive than smoked cannabis, and unlike smoked cannabis, lacks the cannabidiol that acts as an anti-psychoactive and mitigates the psychoactivity of delta-9 THC. In other words, Marinol will get far higher than smoked cannabis and it is a paranoid, anxious, terrible high.
- Sativex is a whole-plant extract sprayed under the tongue, and is superior to Marinol, but only because it is more like the natural plant cannabis that is superior to them both.
- As for the “sip of whiskey” comment, let me just quote the American Medical Association: “short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.” Furthermore, the report urges that “the Schedule I status of marijuana be reviewed with the goal of facilitating clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods.”
On medical marijuana, who do you trust, the American Medical Association or a guy who believes there can be such a thing as a Drug Free California?