White House response to NORML's "We the People" marijuana legalization petition

The Obama White House has released its official response to the “We the People” online petition for marijuana legalization submitted by NORML.  The petition, which garnered 74,169 signatures, was by far the most popular petition submitted.  The government response (released late on a Friday to avoid news cycles, we’ll note) repeats the same tired lies and classic misdirections.  Most of all, it fails to answer NORML’s actual petition, which asked:

Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.

We the people want to know when we can have our “perfectly legitimate” discussion on marijuana legalization. Marijuana prohibition has resulted in the arrest of over 20 million Americans since 1965, countless lives ruined and hundreds of billions of tax dollars squandered and yet this policy has still failed to achieve its stated goals of lowering use rates, limiting the drug’s access, and creating safer communities.
Isn’t it time to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol? If not, please explain why you feel that the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Following is the full official White House response, with NORML’s comments interspersed…

What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana

By: Gil Kerlikowske
When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.

Oh, good.  Then we’ll look forward to implementation the 1972 Shafer Commission Report or any of the other government and scientific studies that recommend the decriminalization of cannabis.

According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment.

“Addiction” links to a NIDA page noting the lifetime dependence rate of cannabis to be 9% – that is, 9 in 100 people who try cannabis will develop a dependence.  Kerlikowske does not mention that caffeine has the same 9% rate, alcohol is a 15% rate, and tobacco is a 32% rate.  NIDA scientists also rated the addictive qualities of those substances and rated cannabis about equal to caffeine in risk.  The withdrawal from this rare dependence is characterized by the Institute of Medicine as “mild and short lived” and “includes restlessness, irritability, mild agitation, insomnia, sleep disturbance, nausea, and cramping.”  (Speaking of withdrawal, Mr. Drug Czar, you do know withdrawal from alcohol can kill a person and it’s legal, right?)
“Respiratory disease” links to a 2008 Science Daily article on a study entitled “Bullous Lung Disease due to Marijuana” which looked at the cases of ten people who came in already complaining of lung problems, who admitted they smoked pot over a year.  The subject was featured in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine as it found “insufficient evidence for a causative link“.  Matthew Naughton, author of the 2008 study, co-authored a 2011 study which noted “unfortunately, it is difficult to separate marijuana use from tobacco smoking which does confound these reports“.  (Speaking of tobacco, Mr. Drug Czar, you do know tobacco is much worse for the lungs and it’s legal, right?)
“Cognitive impairment” links to a 1996 NIDA fact sheet on studies of cognitive impairment involving card sorting.  Since then…

  1. A 2001 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found chronic users who quit for a week “showed no significant differences from control subjects”.
  2. A 2002 clinical trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal determined, “Marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”
  3. A 2003 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society also “failed to reveal a substantial, systematic effect of long-term, regular cannabis consumption on the neurocognitive functioning of users who were not acutely intoxicated.”
  4. A 2004 study of twins published in the journal Psychological Medicine reported “an absence of marked long-term residual effects of marijuana use on cognitive abilities.”
  5. A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Addictions used magnetic resonance imaging and found “no significant differences” between heavy cannabis smokers compared to controls.
  6. A 2006 study published in the German journal Psychopharmacology found no “long-term deficits in working memory and selective attention in frequent cannabis users after 1 week of abstinence”.
  7. A 2009 study published in Human Psychopharmacology found “little indication of differences in executive functioning” for mild to moderate cannabis users.
  8. And a 2010 study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior found regular cannabis users’ performance accuracy on episodic memory and working memory tasks “was not significantly altered by marijuana.”

Forgive the overkill, but as an organization that is honored to have regular cannabis consumer Carl Sagan‘s widow, Ann Druyan, as an Advisory Board Member, we’re particularly offended when the government claims science says that regular cannabis consumers are stupid.  (Speaking of cognitive impairment, Mr. Drug Czar, are you aware that frequent alcohol use is shown to have incredibly deleterious effects on cognition and it’s legal?)
But our petition wasn’t about whether or not cannabis is harmful, it was whether we should consider regulating cannabis like the far more harmful substances, alcohol and tobacco.

We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms.

“Voluntary drug treatment admissions” links to 2007 TEDS data tables showing that 37% of the people admitted to treatment for marijuana hadn’t used it in the past thirty days.  These tables are based on admissions data that show 57% of marijuana treatment admissions were coerced by law enforcement (drug courts) and only 15% of such admissions are actually “voluntary drug treatment admissions”.  (This is much easier to debunk when the Drug Czar links to the government tables that make our point.  Thanks, Gil!)
“Visits to emergency rooms” links to 2009 DAWN data which contains this interesting bit of fine print, “Within DAWN, the drug misuse or abuse category is a group of [emergency room] visits defined broadly to include all visits associated with illicit drugs.” That is, if you mention pot, have pot on you, or your urine or blood tests positive for pot, that’s a drug-related emergency room visit.  If you smoked a bowl last night, broke your leg skiing today, went to the ER, and they found metabolites of THC in your pee, that’s going into the DAWN stats as a pot-related ER visit.  Meanwhile, a 2011 study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found “marijuana dependence was associated with the lowest rates” of emergency room admittance compared to other drugs.
So we have illegal marijuana which lets government arrest people and make them choose jail or rehab, then those rising rehab numbers are an indication that we need to keep arresting people.  And we have emergency room data that tells us that some sick and injured people, like some Americans generally, smoke pot.  Can you tell us why we shouldn’t end those charades and consider regulating cannabis like alcohol and tobacco?

Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

“Marijuana potency has tripled” links to a paper (“Potancy [sic] Paper 2010”) at Ole Miss’s US Pot Farm showing potency tables from 1993 to 2008 (15 years, 20 years, whatever).  These figures include hashish and hash oil (concentrated preparations of cannabis), which is like throwing three Rhodes scholars into an eighth grade social studies class and then grading on a curve.  Figures for all samples (including the hash) show a rise from 3.4% to 8.8% THC (2.5x, not even “almost triple”), but what they call “marijuana” goes from 3.4% to 5.8% THC (1.7x, not even double) and “sinsemilla” goes from 5.8% to 11.5% THC (2x, double).
So today’s average marijuana is as good as yesteryear’s sinsemilla and today’s average sinsemilla is twice as good as yesteryear’s sensimilla.  Anybody recall any deaths, riots, or serious social disorder due to the sensimilla of 1993?  As we’ve said before, potency is irrelevant as cannabis smoking is a self-titrating behavior.  You smoke to get high.  If you have ditchweed, you smoke a lot to get high.  If you have kind bud you smoke a little to get high.  Less smoke in your lungs is a good thing and by that measure, smoking more potent marijuana may be a harm reduction strategy.  Besides, it’s hard to take seriously any concerns about non-toxic 11.5% THC sinsemilla when the government approves of 100% synthetic THC Marinol and marijuana of any potency has never killed anybody.
But nobody here said cannabis was a benign drug, only that it is far safer than the two current choices of legal substances, alcohol and tobacco, and we’re wondering why we couldn’t just regulate cannabis like them?

Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine.  To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

That “ardent support” consists of six ongoing FDA-approved clinical trials (two of which have already been completed) worldwide involving subjects’ use of actual cannabis and fourteen researchers allowed to study inhaled cannabis on human subjects.  It does not include a recent FDA-approved study of medical marijuana use to treat post-traumatic stress in our returning combat veterans.  That study was ardently opposed by NIDA, which wouldn’t sell any Ole Miss US Pot Farm marijuana for the researchers to study.  Furthermore, a NIDA spokesperson admitted to the New York Times in 2010, “As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use.  We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”
The FDA and Institute of Medicine links take you to papers from 2006 and 1999, respectively.  The American Medical Association in 2009 issued a position paper stating, “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.”
It’s too bad our petition wasn’t about carving exceptions in federal law to allow medical use of marijuana, as 70% of Americans support.  It was whether we should regulate marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco, like 50% of Americans support.

As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem.

If you recognize that, why were there virtually the same number of arrests this year for marijuana as last year, a number that still eclipses any arrest total under Presidents Bush and Clinton?  It seems you’re going to ignore our petition to end the strategy of arresting our way out of the problem by regulating marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco.

We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

Right, legalizing marijuana won’t address drug use.  It will address marijuana use by regulating it like we do alcohol and tobacco. Legal marijuana would be an answer to many Americans’ health challenges.  Legal marijuana would raise tax revenues to benefit society and community.  Legal marijuana would help replace the “reefer madness”-style youth education proven not to work with honest, factual information.  Legal marijuana removes the cost of arresting, prosecution, and monitoring on parole and probation and, by definition, eliminates crime.

That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities.

The president’s budget is only slightly different than the drug control budgets of his predecessor; still a two-to-one tilt toward “Supply Reduction” (interdiction and domestic and international law enforcement) versus “Demand Reduction” (treatment and prevention).  Which takes us to the second part of our petition asking how the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.

See our rebuttal above to TEDS treatment admission statistics and forcing cannabis consumers into rehab via drug courts.  Bless the millions of Americans in successful recovery for drug (?) and alcoholism who didn’t miss out on an open bed because it was taken up by a coerced cannabis consumer who hadn’t smoked weed in a month.  Those drug courts only work thanks to arrests of cannabis consumers and we were wondering how the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.

Which is fuzzy math and see our rebuttal to President’s National Drug Control Strategy, which, as we mentioned, differs little from President Bush’s before him.  So how is the continued criminalization of cannabis going to achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.

Thank you for wasting America’s time ignoring her wishes.  I encourage you to take a moment to actually read and answer the questions on these petitions.  Every answer you gave to “whether we should consider regulating cannabis like the far more harmful substances, alcohol and tobacco” was an excuse to make alcohol and tobacco prohibited like marijuana.  Every answer you gave to “how will the continued criminalization of cannabis achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?” illustrated that you’re continuing the same failed strategies as your predecessors.  We the People were hoping for some change.
(Updated for minor grammar corrections and additional hyperlinks –RB)

538 thoughts

  1. i wonder if the government reads all these comments and know that not all americans are blind to what there doing, fuckin lizards. and no matter how many signatures you get on this or any other petition regarding the same subject, its never gonna be passed, for the same reason it was made illegal in the first place, it has nothing to do with the effects the occur when you smoke it, its illegal cuz the corporations that there dick riding make more moeny with illegal, so the cheap and efficient products that are produced from the plant cant replace the shit there selling. and also becuz the plant (when smoked) makes you realize bullshit, *cough* our government *cough*… one love folks, and mr president for you my dick to choke upon

  2. Re: ‘ME,’ who said on: January 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm, the following: “”I think this is a no brainer! I can’t go to to U.S without a waiver because of a gram of weed that wasn’t even mine from 13 years ago. I don’t care to go to U.S anyway but to judge me on that petty conviction {was told at border I was no better then a rapest} is just stupid.GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS ALREADY!!!!! LEGALIZE IT!!””
    I didn’t realise that enforcement and punishment were THIS harsh! -LOL- God help us — we are so screwed as a nation.
    Although I’m a far-right conservative (Rule of Law, opposed to drug use, etc.), I’m also fair, moral, and honest, and know that this over-reaction here against you was AND *IS* wrong.
    Everybody reading this missive, please PUT DOWN your joint for just a second, and sign THESE FIVE (5) petitions, that deal with this issue (and another similarly important, but different abusive abuse) — JUST DO IT:
    –> SIGN THESE:
    ( #1 ) * 1st this one, as it is time-sensitive: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/write-point-point-rebuttal-normls-point-point-rebuttal-white-houses-reply-marijuana-petition/2LmsMr1T
    ( #2 ) Also this one: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/release-all-non-violent-drug-offenders-release-all-inmates-who-are-incarcerated-cannabis-related/tBvfwJC8
    Unrelated to weed, BUT STILL IMPORTANT if you don’t like being stepped on simply because you’re small, weak, or poor:
    ( #3 ) https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/support-legislation-permit-discharge-all-student-loans-bankruptcy/Czyt3Lt3 (Also time-sensitive — not my petition, but similar to the one I had, & still good)
    The next 2 petitions get easier to sign as registration is not required:
    ( #4 ) http://signon.org/sign/want-a-real-economic?source=c.url&r_by=525506
    and this one which, on my honour, I believe belongs to Democratic US Rep Hansen Clark of Michigan:
    ( #5 ) https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dFFnbzJMVTlWanBMYWxlMEJBbWVkS3c6MQ
    — GWW

    Our founding fathers didn’t give us prohibition & spoke against it.
    Before 1937, cannabis was freely available & known as the most beneficial plant known to man. The name was changed to marijuana in order to deceive the public. Propaganda was produced about the “new drug.” Actually, the target was hemp (which has no significant THC content). This was so William Hearst could eliminate competition from hemp. Since prohibition was Constitutionally uncertain, a prohibitively expensive tax was imposed on cannabis.
    Our laws are based on protecting our rights to
    ? life
    ? liberty
    ? property
    “Because it is bad” (or “not benign”) is not a principle of law.
    I believe prohibition is illegal & the courts agreed with me up until the Nixon administration. Nixon set up a system of scheduling drugs in order to bypass the legislative process.
    When we bypass our Constitution & the legislative process, destruction follows. Prohibition is not benign.
    BIBLE (in addition to other Scriptures)
    God said we could freely eat of every green herb in the garden. Everything in Creation was given for our use & benefit.
    Herb was given for the benefit of man.

  4. Bob, altho I’m one of those far-right religious nut Conservatives (who personally frowns upon excessive drug use), nonetheless I’ve done my tour of duty (see above & elsewhere on the prior page of posts) to defend those who are excessively punished for weed use.
    Nonetheless, to be fair, I’ve gotta play Devil’s advocate (or ‘God’s Advocate? LOL), and ask you this question:
    If you say (and believe) that “”God said we could freely eat of every green herb in the garden. Everything in Creation was given for our use & benefit,”” then I must ask what’s the problem with poison oak & poison ivy, jsut to mention a few.
    THEY’RE herbs & THEY’RE green, aren’t they??

  5. @Mr. FLASH GW Watts…
    RE: your comments to Bob…
    Interesting, but what exactly is a “far, right, religious nut conservative? Shouldn’t you be hanging out stage left?? I like also your comment about “frowns upon excessive drug use”. I gather that means, your wife, girlfriend someone you know smokes too much or drinks too much coffee. Just kidding.
    But it is an interesting state of being.
    As to poison ivy and oak, etc… they are NOT herbs in the sense that they benefit humans. There are many such plants that as we learn about them we gain understanding about their benefits, and harms. Tobacco, is a prime example. It is not meant for human consumption, especially not in the way modern society sells it.
    Some people can handle poison plants, the first time, even a second time, but in general, eventually an allergic reaction occurs. I’m not aware of too many people experiencing allergic reactions to cannabis. In fact, one of the tools humans have is their mind, and their ability to learn. When it comes to plants we have done that for millions of years. Cannabis became prohibited in 1937. Doesn’t that strike you as odd?
    For many thousand years cannabis was used without leaving hardly a trace of it’s use, but it was used. Alcohol on the other hand is well documented over time as not only being the elixir to a new world, but a curse.
    The Old Testamate; Genesis, does give humans the plants of the earth. It doesn’t give them to governments. As such, regulations banning commodities are rare. State Constitutions often prohibit bans on commodities, which hemp/cannabis is. Why?
    Bad for business!
    Compared to other herbal commodities, cannabis is by far one of the safest. It’s uses and benefits number into the thousands.
    Tobacco, poison ivy, poison sumac; sorry, but not very beneficial. Quite hazardous and dangerous. The good news – tobacco is now FDA approved.

  6. I read where the white house states that the osoma, I mean oboma admin. Claims that the social and health costs due to legalization would outweigh the tax revenue. That is bull, people who don’t like marijuana will not start using it just because it is legal. For the most part anyway. Keeping it illegal is just plain stupid. If people want it they will get it, the only reason they want it illegal is so they can collect fines when they catch people using. I don’t even like marijuana but I feel we should have the right to use it if we want. Like other drugs like oxycontin, the reason it ruins people financially is because of the outrageous street prices because the DEA makes it harder for people who actually need it to get it from a doctor. It kills people when they mix it with drugs they aren’t supposed to like Xanax , if a person could just go to a pharmacy and tell them they want 30 oxycodone pills( without script) the pharmacist could warn them about interactions with other drugs. THEY WiLL GET IT ANYWAY. At least it’s safer than on the street or online. If they legalize marijuana , opiods and other non harmful drugs ( unlike PCP , meth and crack) then the cartels would loose power because people would buy from legitimate places. If they want to die they can legally buy drano and inject that, it’s time To realize we aren’t in the 1950’s , it’s time to let people do what they want as long as they aren’t driving or watching over children. To punish someone for a non violent crime that has the potential to ONLY hurt themselves is stupid, what’s next, when you shoot yourself your family has to pay a fine because they had bullets in the house. Vote for RON PAUL , maybe he will legalize it , he seems the most likely to do it. If one would come out and say he will legalize weed and some opiods, he would get a shitload of more votes, if the prudes don’t like weed, don’t freaking buy it, make the law where you have to smoke in your own home or places especially for that so the prudes don’t have to see it.

  7. I think it should somehow be unconstitutional to make marijuana illegal, odor Makes you happy ( which it does) don’t we have the right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness. Marijuana being legal shouldn’t upset anyone , like I stated before, they don’t have to buy it . Big deal if it offends them because it’s legal, mosques offend some people but the government doesn’t make them illegal, if you dot like it , you don’t go. Same with weed . As long as the tokers aren’t on the road driving or in public acting stupid then it’s none of Anyones business what they are doing because they aren’t hurting anyone . Liquor causes a lot more problems than weed, and drunk people are a lot worse to deal with than people who are stoned. I witnessed this first hand when i was a police officer for 5 years. I always felt it was useless to arrest someone for possesion of a little bag of weed, other officers Acted like they had just caught dillanger when they found weed on someone. The only reasons it’s still illegal is the prison lobbyists want to keep the prisons full and the courts love gettibg the fines from these non violent offenders, because it’s no work at all, when they deal with real criminals they are scared to handle them, and the fine is rarely collected.

  8. @GWatts
    “then I must ask what’s the problem with poison oak & poison ivy, jsut to mention a few.”
    You are free to try these if you wish. Some plants provide an enjoyable experience to some and not to others, like chili’s. But no one should be disallowed the ability to make their own choice, even if they unwisely choose to down some poison ivy.

  9. That’s seems a baiting-facetious question above. (If you say (and believe) that “”God said we could freely eat of every green herb in the garden. Everything in Creation was given for our use & benefit,”” then I must ask what’s the problem with poison oak & poison ivy, jsut to mention a few.
    THEY’RE herbs & THEY’RE green, aren’t they??)
    Those two (poison ivy-poison oak) are a green and can be used in a few different ways! Among thousands of other herbs. Medicinal herbs proliferate the planet. And they should not be governed. Or rather one should not try to govern any of these.To do so is try to rule by the sword, killing life as you go by taking liberties from all free peoples. Freedom is freedom only when left to the free. Government was NOT established to control people like they are robots to give them lubing when it seems they need lubed, where they don’t want to be lubed. To lie to ones self by saying this government is for the people is a choice. To lie to the people by saying you have there best interest’s at heart is to have no heart at all for the people.
    The government we now have is interested only in it’s own interest’s for government growth. Government greed OVER the people’s health, wealth, life, liberty and happiness is where it now stands and has for far to long. Greed is the all important issue for politicians. Give me the money. Pay me more for what I should do for you so I can pass bills that do more for me. “I WANT ALL YOUR MONEY & I WANT YOU WORKIN FOR ME BITCH” seems to be this governments main idea. The work for the people idea for government was lost LONG ago. One simple look at the salaries of government employees (politicians) and one will see that as a truth. We the people pay for this governments political salaries. And they are supposed to be working for we the people but we the people make so much less. “WTF” is wrong with all Americans to let this seem to be a truth. And now they plan to censor the free internet like China does, a very well established COMMUNIST government???????????? “WTF x 3” ? When a government makes itself so powerful that it can control so many free people, and then make laws to control and condemn any of those people any time it chooses. That is way beyond good government. That’s Fucked Up!
    All this I’ve stated here is only MY opinion, much less that of mine own children’s opinions. I just see this government running itself outa bid-ness! Wage war-Kill many to Rage war-to kill more? “I think I hear George saying, it’s time for freedom, looks like the cherry tree outsides been cut down!”
    Cannabis helps to relieve pain for me, “it an herb, OK” it helps soooo much with my “Crohns” but would my government care one way or the other? Not on my life, or yours, unless of course it pays some form of dividend. GREED is the guiding light for this government. But this system of a controlling government is the only one we presently have and it will not change without votes from ALL its people! The greed will not end.
    I greedily want freedom, so greed fills me as well. But my freedom will not depend on injustice towards anyone else. We have rights given by the constitution. Changing that constitution is how one changes peoples rights. Convenience is not worth freedom, and its seems so damn convenient for government to just change the United States Constitution to get what government needs for control of The People. Instating laws that are/were unconstitutional seems to now be the norm.
    That’s some of my opinion.

  10. In response to FLASH Gordon Watts’ response to my post:
    I think I will decline to eat poison ivy / oak, even though these are not prohibited by law. These may have other purposes.
    Cannabis is among the most nutritious of foods. At first, bird seed was exempt; that is, cannabis seed was permitted in bird seed, being favored by birds & the most nutritious bird food.
    I would not want to eat too much cannabis because it is psychoactive & an overdose is unpleasant, causing anxiety. I drink hemp milk, available in the health food section.
    I was going by memory (unreliable) & it appears I was getting two verses mixed together.
    I guess these are the ones (King James):
    “…I have given every green herb for meat.” Genesis 1:30
    “…Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.”
    Genesis 2:16
    “…even as the green herb have I given you all these things.” Genesis 9:3
    “…herb for the service of men.” Psalm 104:14.
    “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Genesis 2:3.
    http://www.equalrights4all.org gives a list of Scriptures. Use your own discernment as to how well they apply. http://www.votehemp.com is of interest. LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), christiansforcannabis is interesting but some of their sites seem to have acquired a virus — my search engine gave message, “…often legitimate sites that are abused by a malicious third party without the knowledge of the site’s owner.”
    I would prefer that people treat God’s gifts with appreciation & respect. I would prefer that people not abuse or use excessively but I don’t make personal choices for others.
    Question: do our lawmakers have authority to prohibit that which the Lord of lords, King of kings gave us?
    These gifts are for our use & benefit but they can be abused to our detriment. Gluttony for example.
    I personally am not a stoner. My vice is coffee — I’m a coffee stoner. I have not smoked pot in 20 years & even then only occasionally. Back then, a mouse once ate my stash (good mouse food, yummy).
    There have been a time or two when I wished that I had a little for medical use. I would like the freedom to keep a little for such purposes. Those of our heritage had that freedom.
    I am not so concerned about cannabis. I am more concerned about heroin, speed, etc. It is not the role of government to run our personal lives but if we have prohibition at all, it should be used extremely sparingly, only in the most extreme cases, since prohibition is more destructive to our country than the public seems to be aware of. Prohibition of alcohol required a Constitutional amendment. I am apprehensive about (legalization &) govt. control.
    As to the original question about poison ivy/oak, I just gave the quotes; I don’t explain them. I read the Bible but am not an expert scholar. I gave my personal response.

  11. All this religious talk makes my head ache! It really doesn’t matter what words were written 2000 years ago. What does matter is the understanding of what is right or wrong for the people who inhabit this small blue planet in the middle of a vast cosmic ocean. Prohibition is wrong – pure and simple. It does far more harm than good. Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, and Ben Franklin – some of histories greatest minds are in total agreement with this and their intelligence dwarfs that of the members of our Federal Govt!

  12. Just a thought.
    It seems (to me) the real crime concerning Cannabis being illegal is the blatant avoidance of the true criminals in this country. As every one is aware, crooked politicians are a bad influence and have a bad effect on America.
    “But it seems to me”, the Pharmaceutical industry is the true criminal. The money that industry takes in per year is outrageous. And all the positive effects Cannabis has on the human anatomy would be the perfect reason for such a powerful industry to push this stupid greed creating war on Cannabis. They would keep it out of the peoples hands, then push the U.S. government to let their same powerful Pharmaceutical industry take patient and production rights of an HERB. Just as when in the 1970s to the 90s the Pharmaceutical industry tried to do (with the help of the FDA) of ALL herbal products. Who would be a better advocate for the war on Cannabis than the “Pharma” industry. I say dismantle this industry and tax them heavily enough to pay off the U.S. dept. our political system has created, to then free this land yet again. Yea, maybe it’s that simple, probably not! 15 Trillion of U.S. dept. It could be easily wiped out by just a tip of the net profit that industry makes off Americans, and the majority of the products they make “kill people”. How much do all those killing drug commercials cost anyway. But then who the hell cares, it doesn’t matter. They make more money than any industry and kill more people than any other. Again, “maybe”. But then, this is all just a thought. But if it were all real, and not just a thought, why would it be excepted to let one industry have the power to do so mush harm? I heard once that Bayer started as a Nazi based Pharmaceutical company.
    Rummer? Just a thought!

  13. 70 year war.
    How many have gone to prison for this herb? Who caused this herb to be considered illegal, when in fact it’s been used for more than 10,000 years. Who would benefit from a war that would make more than 12 Million citizens angry with the United States government.
    12 Million American citizen now criminals of a cowardly greed driven war. The only beneficiary to this Cannabis war is the Pharmaceutical industry. They started this war, but try to prove that!
    Now there are literally better than 100 million people that have a negative impact from this fucked up war. Obama knows this. He now has tried to create some form of protection for politicians who back this stupid war by passing the Indefinite Detention bill. 100 million pissed off American citizens would be hard for any country to control! The United States government now have Millions of enemies outside our boarders and possibly 100+ Million inside because of a bad decision for a stupid “purchased” policy. Many times one can see the bad effect of big money on this government, even now big money buys a candidate the presidency. If your gonna run for office, have money or don’t try. But each year that Cannabis is kept illegal makes more angry citizens. Changing the constitution will never protect the true criminals in the long term. Sooner, but probably 70+years later people will grow weary of the bullshit. Especially when there are now better than 12 Million citizens who’s lives have been destroyed because of a purchased policy to make Cannabis illegal. Legalize this plant for good, or things ((“”ARE””)) going to go bad, and far worse than the prohibition of alcohol.
    And then to pass a law (again against the constitution) to keep guns out of the hands of legal Medical Cannabis users? Pushing people to there end. Even here in MI. the legislature is trying to pass bills that would release Medical Data of citizens to the public. No privacy left in MI. That’s not government. That’s a punk kid behind a big desk ruling people like they’re dogs. And all the time acting bad ass because he has big guns in the back yard. Our military;
    !!!”it’s our military-“PUNK”!!!
    Change this fucking law, and quit acting like a fool. I have never been prejudice, but this fool act’s like a no-tooth white nigger with a big gun. And I voted for this idiot. So I feel like shit each time he talks. I bitch because I can. But those of us that do usually have a reason. I know for sure that 12+ Million citizens have a right to bitch. And their average of 4 family members have a right to bitch. And those 4 members have 6 members of their own. So let see, 12 X 4 X 6 = that’s possibly 148 Million American Citizens ballpark. Hmm, that’s a lot of people. So who’s voting for these fools anyway. Fools that pass bill to restrict freedoms? To change the constitution?
    People, we need better candidates. You willing, because I don’t have the stuff for good decision. But the decision to make an herb illegal to satisfy a big industry that wanted the rights to an un-controllable herb, like so many other herbs. That’s not the decision I would make in any office of government! I hope people read this. I hope some one will pass this on. Don’t Bogart your anger my friend, pass it over to your government. They deserve it more than me. That’s just some more of my opinion.
    Oh, an while I am expressing my opinion, I would like to say that in my 50 years I have found that when I have gas, or pain, or sadness, or I am tired from slaving, or am lonely, or am pissed off, or I am constipated from the Crohns that has been with me those 50 years. I have found that Cannabis has fixed them all, and making that up would be easy. But it is real! And when I have herb, (and I wish I did now) I can resist from buying any of the opponent pharmaceuticals of Cannabis at my local DRUG store. Isn’t it funny how the Pharma. industry happens to have the products that do what Cannabis does. Just sayin.
    The End.
    Of this war.
    Is Near.
    I hope.
    For all of us!!!!!
    Feed back, good or bad, is good

  14. The simple truth is what many here have already said: Cannabis, like thousands of other plants are just that – plants. All the “religion”, Bible verses, although true and highly relevant in a “Christian Nation”, also make my head ache!
    The government elected by the People of the US never agreed to prohibition of plants. Among the many shady things gov’t has done, prohibition of plants was a backroom decision.
    It’s Unconstitutional to ban plants. It’s Unchristian. It’s not right.
    Having said all that, we forget in all the mess some other simple truths.
    Plants aren’t “drugs”. They’re plants. However, plants are complex and have a broad range of effects on humans. For those wishing to experiment with plants like poison ivy or oak, be forwarded, educate yourself first!!!
    That is the second simple truth – educate yourself.
    The effects of cannabis and coffee for example are oddly similar. Both provide a buzz of sorts, one a stimulant like the coca plant, the other can provide an often pleasant, mind-altering psychological readjustment and sense of balance, along with many other medicinal benefits.
    The most unfortunate tragedy of plant prohibition is the “doping of Americans”, the proliferation of misinformation, propaganda and loss of our Constitution rights. We don’t even know what a “DRUG” really is anymore. There’s drugs and there’s drugs and there’s substances…
    Simple truth number 3: Drugs are made in laboratories, the chemistry lab. Plants grow from a seed in the earth. Meth is a drug; Penicillin is a drug (derived from mold in a lab); morphine also a drug derived from plants in a lab; coca and cannabis, are plants, not drugs; as is coffee – a seed, not a drug.
    The War on Drugs is an insult of the worst kind on the intelligence of the American People. The dribble the politicians expect us to accept, abide by and respect is absurd.
    We are a “DOPED NATION”, a nation where for over 70 years the government has done the impossible… regulated and prohibited herbs and plants. They friggin’ tax tobacco which isn’t even tobacco! You wouldn’t be smoking real tobacco leaf in the form of a cigarette. Cigarette tobacco is made in a lab – which makes it a drug. It was formulated in the late 1800’s.
    We’re all thinking about who to vote for to be the next President of the United States. I believe whoever we vote for they need to be educated. They need to understand Constitutional basics, personal and human rights, be accepting of a person’s right as an individual…
    Who is there running for the office of President is there with that intelligence?
    Ron Paul is the only candidate I know of, and his own party is too stupid to nominate him. That’s sad. It’s not what this country is about. And this whole Petition the White House thing is simply more of an effort by gov’t to dope Americans into thinking they are being listened to, when the 4th simple truth is, they’re not listening!!!

  15. All true. And here we are with that. 5th simple truth Bobkat, people will get tired of it sooner than latter. And 200 million Americans will one day revolt over one incident when enough becomes enough. How many Federal Reserve personnel have lost there jobs? And the job losses of the Pharma industry are a hype! Lies start from the greedy. And all the money is mostly in those two areas of money greedy industries. Neither of those two are hurting in this economy. War helps the Federal Reserve because the USA borrows from them to pay for wars, and the war on Cannabis I Know was started by the other. The Pharma ind. removed information about Echinacea off the shelves and out of the peoples hands/access when they released penicillin and tried to gain control of all herbals just a few years ago with the help of the FDA. It will be a bad look 20 years from now for this government. So many people unjustly treated by this stupid greedy government. When the children’s children grow older there will lots of payback for the greedy. History will pay them well. The truth will always emerge in time.

  16. It has become clear – this president is on the new world order side, its like reasoning with a deaf and dumb animal that loves your frustration and has no intention of ever keeping his word at anything. What’s left that hasn’t been tried? Civil War – I’m sure he would like that!

  17. 1st take the profit out. 2nd remove the drug companies 3rd pkg like cigs. 4th tax it, regulate content to prevent tobaco company like poisoning. 4th exonerate pot only arrests 5th plant poison oak around you home get on with a better life.org

  18. The government is full of this kind of bullshit. While they are locking a man up for smoking a joint, while the man in charge of the government is lighting one up in the white house.

  19. In the event you aren’t playing well, the action is not as enjoyable. When that takes place I tell myself only to just go play because i did once i would have been a kid.
    I want to put a ding inside the universe.

  20. Beat Cancer and tell me you don’t want to smoke cannabis to feel well and happy and not think about death and illness. I DID

  21. I don’t smoke pot, but I believe it should be legalized, since it’s a much more benign drug than alcohol. I signed 2 petitions on White House “We The People” .gov site. There were enough signatures to get the petition looked at. The response for both was basically “our laws state such, so we’re not going to do anything about this.” This “We The People” petition site is worthless. You can “aire your greivances”, but it doesn’t mean the government will take action. It’s like being a pauper and getting tons of folks to sign a letter to the king about some issue. He promptly crumples it up and tosses it out. It’s ridiculous how the government is supposed to be representative of us, but they’re so far out of touch with reality.

  22. I have heard that at least one country in the world (in South America?) has a constitutional prohibition against making any plant illegal. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so what country?

  23. This kind of data, along with the petition, is beneficial for the entire world. If you guys can change the way the U.S. deals with marijuana, lots of other countries will eventually follow. Keep up the good work 🙂

  24. The castor bean plant has one of the most toxic poisons in a plant in the U.S. You can kill a man with ricin yet, you can give castor oil to a child to soothe a stomach ache. Why is the castor bean not illegal? It’s less safe than marijuana.
    Honestly I don’t buy into all the politics. I’m a free adult in a Constitutionally free nation. No one especially, the gov’t has a right to take my home,freedom or life because I choose to consume an herb.
    The religious argument goes back to Genesis when, on the 3rd day I think that, God created plants and on the 6th day said it was all good. Again in Ezek 46 or 47 :12 claims all trees and plants are food and medicine. There are more scriptures.
    So politically the gov’t has no authority to stop the consumption of cannabis…of course that’s why they made it “possession”, smoking pot isn’t illegal. Possession is illegal. Religiously there’s no bibles out there that, say “i have given thee every green herb bearing seed except cannabis”. Therefore the power they take is not with authority but, illegal brute force.
    I have the right to ignore unConstitutional laws. I don’t need a lawyer to explain why.
    I enjoy it.I believe God gave it to me and man has no say so. It makes my day mentally peaceful and adds production to my life despite the myths of apathy or lethargy. I use it also for many ailments.
    The gov’t has no business in my healthcare. I will continue to use it until they pry the joint from my cold dead fingers.

  25. We have been buffaloed for over a good hundred years now with pure scandal in regards to marijuana. The Harrison act, Uniform State Narcotics Act, Anslinger and the FBN set the mold. Looks to me now that the states and the citizens are making good progress in reversing their hideous stupidity.

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