Tag Archives: Drugs

Cannabis Heals-And The Government Knows It!

Jack Herer

Jack Herer

The Truth About Hemp

(regardless of what this lying government says) 

In 1974, Virginia Medical College in Richmond, Virginia did research on tumors of the lung, brain, liver and kidney using mice and rats. Incredible things were done. The cancer stopped growing and in most cases even reversed itself 100 percent. Some of the mice who were given cancer and treated with cannabis actually lived longer than some of the control mice who were not even given cancer! It was found that marijuana is the best thing to treat cancer of the lungs, brain, etc. After that they were stopped from doing any more research at all, by first Nixon and then Ford. No research with positive results could be done, only research with negative results. That’s the way it’s been since 1975 until now, even though a 1999 marijuana study turned out to be positive also.

Jack Herer, Ah-ha Publishing, Austin, Texas, June 2011, pp. 71

Thanks to my friend Henry Garcia who writes a regular heath newsletter called “Divine Life”. Let me know if you are interested and I will give you contact info.

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Angus Reid Poll: 55 Percent Of Adults Support Legalizing Marijuana

August 11, 2011 – New York, NY, USA

New York, NY: Fifty-five percent of American adults support legalizing marijuana, up from 52 percent in 2010, according to the results of a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll.

Pollsters conducted an online survey of a representative national sample of 1,003 American adults. A solid majority, including 63 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Independents, said that they endorsed the legalization of marijuana.

Forty percent of those polled said that they opposed the idea and five percent were undecided. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

The Angus Reid results are slightly higher than those published by other polling firms, such as Gallup, which use random digital dial sampling.

More men (57 percent) than women (53 percent) voiced support for legalizing cannabis. Respondents between the ages of 35 to 54 were most likely to support legalization (57 percent); however, a majority of respondents from every age group polled — including those age 55 and over — said that they backed making marijuana legal.

No more than ten percent of respondents said that they favored making any other illicit substance legal.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.


Patient advocates appeal federal decision to deny medical cannabis to millions of Americans

Friday, August 12, 2011 by: Kris Hermes

(NaturalNews) Last month, after patient advocates had filed a lawsuit to compel the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to answer a 9-year-old petition to reclassify cannabis (medical marijuana), it begrudgingly complied. The government’s answer to the petition filed in 2002 by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) was, of course, “denied.” The Obama Administration has made its position clear, however wrongheaded, that cannabis is a dangerous drug with no medical value. While disappointing, the decision to ignore the science and keep a worn-out, decades-old position merely maintains the status quo.

The opportunity in the CRC petition denial, however, is that patient advocates have stymied the federal government’s strategy of delay. With this official denial, patients, doctors, scientists, advocates, and elected officials can now appeal to correct a harmful public health policy that would deny medical cannabis to millions of Americans who could benefit from it. Less than two weeks after the denial was posted to the Federal Register ,Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s largest medical cannabis advocacy group and one of the original petitioners (as part of the CRC), did just that. ASA filed a notice of appeal in the D.C. Circuit on July 21st and will file its opening brief within the next couple of months.

Now the issue heats up in federal court. The D.C. Circuit will be asked to review the evidence and make a determination on whether cannabis should remain in Schedule I, the highest category of controlled substances. Because this issue is so political and because so much money rides on the aggressive enforcement of federal marijuana laws, the Obama Administration has been put in the difficult position of defending an indefensible policy. The evidence behind the therapeutic value of cannabis, whether clinical or anecdotal, is overwhelming. It was overwhelming in 2002, when the CRC petition was filed, and it’s more overwhelming today.

“By ignoring the wealth of scientific evidence that shows the medical efficacy of cannabis, the Obama Administration is playing politics at the expense of sick and dying Americans,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who filed appeal. “For the first time in more than 15 years we will be able to present evidence in court to challenge the government’s flawed position on cannabis.”

Patient advocates argue that by failing to reclassify cannabis, the federal government has stifled meaningful research into a wide array of therapeutic uses, such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, nausea suppression, and spasticity control among many others. In 1988, the DEA ignored the ruling of its own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young who said that, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”

Since the CRC petition was filed, an even greater number of studies have been published showing the medical benefits of cannabis for illnesses such as neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s. Recent studies even show that cannabis may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Earlier this year, the National Cancer Institute, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Servicesadded cannabis to its list of Complementary Alternative Medicines, pointing out that it’s been used therapeutically for millennia.

Ironically, less than a year ago, in December 2010 the Obama Administration issued a memorandumon “the preservation and promotion of scientific integrity” of the executive branch. Yet, the application of such integrity appears to be applied selectively and not with regard to cannabis. “With science on our side, we will put an end to the government’s political posturing,” continued Elford, “and force the Obama Administration to adhere to its own stated policy of emphasizing science over politics.”

When the latest petition was filed by the CRC in 2002, eight states had adopted laws recognizing and decriminalizing the medical use of cannabis. Today, sixteen states and the nation’s capitol have passed medical cannabis laws with many more states considering similar legislative proposals.

About the author:
Kris Hermes
Media Specialist
Americans for Safe Access
www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org
Original Article:
http://www.naturalnews.com/033302_medical_cannabis_DEA.html#ixzz1UunnqX8X


Editorial: Time To Change Marijuana Laws

http://www.ctlawtribune.com/getarticle.aspx?id=39356

Editorial: Time To Change Marijuana Laws
Connecticut Law Tribune
Monday, January 17, 2011
Copyright 2011, ALM Properties, Inc.

 

Commentaries appearing above are produced by the Editorial Board of the Connecticut Law Tribune. The opinions are voted on and passed by at least one third of the members of the board. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of every member of the board, nor of the newspaper. 

Editorial: Time To Change Marijuana Laws

There are substantial arguments for and against legalizing the use of marijuana. Opponents of its use strongly believe that marijuana is addictive, leads to the use of hard drugs, impairs short-term memory and motor coordination, and irritates the respiratory system. Despite these objections, on balance, it’s time to seriously consider legalizing marijuana.

Proponents of the legalized use of marijuana believe the following:

Marijuana has some beneficial qualities. It relieves pain, stimulates appetite in AIDS patients, reduces nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, is an antidepressant, and relieves anxiety.

Our present laws are out of date. That is because too many people wish to use marijuana and we know Prohibition didn’t work. The reason Prohibition didn’t work is because an overwhelming number of otherwise law-abiding citizens wished to drink, and government couldn’t afford to stop them. When a very significant percentage of the population wishes to do something, which is not inherently harmful to anyone else, then government is facing a losing battle.

Save the enforcement money and tax it. The economy would be strengthened if government saved the money they spend on enforcement of our marijuana laws, and taxed it just as they do alcohol. Jeff Mirren, a Harvard economist, has calculated that marijuana could generate approximately $8.7 billion in national tax revenue per year if legalized. He also calculated that approximately $8 billion is spent trying to fight marijuana. Those numbers can be debated, but it is clear that state governments, and the federal government, spend billions of dollars enforcing our marijuana laws and they don’t tax it (unless they catch someone who has an unreported income). That $17 billion could be better spent on other government programs. In signing a new California law that greatly reduces penalties for people possessing small amounts of marijuana, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stated: “In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket.” In other words, it is too expensive to enforce the present anti-marijuana laws.

Its use is not morally wrong. The use of marijuana is no more morally wrong than the use of alcohol. Therefore, it should not be a crime. It should not even be a misdemeanor. Each year approximately 750,000 Americans are arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The only valid reason for its criminalization is that government needs to protect people from themselves. Statistically, it is difficult to determine what percentage of the people who use marijuana need protecting because they eventually move on to hard drugs, but one generally recognized range is between 2 percent and 9 percent. That is 2 to 9 percent of new users, because present users are still there even if it isn’t legal. Assuming that this is true, part of the tax revenue raised from the legalization of marijuana could be used for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction.

Marijuana laws are not enforced equitably. According to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, blacks and Latino men are more likely than whites to be stopped and searched, and when drugs are found, they are prosecuted. He claims that in Los Angeles black men are arrested for marijuana possession seven times more frequently than whites. It is doubtful that blacks use marijuana seven times as much as whites.

Our present marijuana laws empower gangs and violence. The wars in Mexico are an example. Of course, these drug wars also deal with hard drugs, but eliminating marijuana from the illegal drug trade would make these wars less worthwhile. There is no sense encouraging drug cartels or violence.

The time has come to treat marijuana like alcohol, tax it like alcohol, and sell it either in state-controlled stores or in private stores, like liquor or drug stores. Control of our marijuana laws should be returned to the states with the federal government having a limited role, as it does now, with alcohol.

Some states or towns may continue to make marijuana illegal or control it through zoning laws. That would be up to them. But changing the law would not be difficult since government could simply add marijuana to its alcohol statutes and regulations. Once this is accomplished, the states and the federal government could tax it as they see fit. Let’s not kid ourselves. Government has lost this argument as they did with the Volstead Act. It’s time to learn our lesson. •


Marijuana Drug War Victims-This Needs To Stop!

Come on folks these people have, in some cases, had their lives ruined and even died as a result of having a small amount of marijuana or even just a pipe. Scripture says we are to stand up against injustice. If anything in our society is unjust it is the, so called, war on drugs. One person arrested for marijuana every 38 seconds. 100 BILLION dollars a year spent on this. Come on, Wake up.

Pay Attention here. The Government is taking peoples homes and even taking their children away. The founding fathers would have called this tyranny. This is EVIL

JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS MADE SOMETHING ILLEGAL DOES NOT MAKE IT WRONG!

This Needs To Be Talked About

Cannabis for ADD-One More Reason to Legalize

This physician discusses how society has lied to adolescents about the “dangers” of Cannabis use and how the kids’ experiences differ from the “mantra”. (E)


Cannabis and Driving

A Scientific and Rational Review

By Paul Armentano

Policy debates regarding marijuana law reform invariably raise the question: “How does society address concerns regarding pot use and driving?” The subject is worthy of serious discussion. NORML’s Board of Directors addressed this issue by ratifying a “no driving” clause to the organization’s “Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use”1 stating, “Although cannabis is said by most experts to be safer with motorists than alcohol and many prescription drugs, responsible cannabis consumers never operate motor vehicles in an impaired condition.”

Nevertheless, questions remain regarding the degree to which smoking cannabis impairs actual driving performance. Unlike alcohol, which is known to increase drivers’ risk-taking behavior and is a primary contributor in on-road accidents, marijuana’s impact on psychomotor skills is subtle and its real-world impact in automobile crashes is conflicting.

Drugged Driving: True Threat Or False Panic?

Survey data indicates that approximately 112 million Americans (46 percent of the US population) have experimented with the use of illicit substances.2 Of these, more than 20 million (8.3 percent of the population) self-identify as “current” or “monthly” users of illicit drugs,3 and more than 10 million Americans say that they’ve operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of an illicit substance in the past year.4 These totals, while far from negligible, suggest that the prevalence of illicit drug use among US drivers is far less than the prevalence of alcohol among this same population.5

To date, “[The] role of drugs as a causal factor in traffic crashes involving drug-positive drivers is still not well understood.”6 While some studies have indicated that illicit drug use is associated with an increased risk of accident, a relationship has not been established regarding the use of psychoactive substances and crash severity.7 Drivers under the influence of illicit drugs do experience an enhanced fatality risk compared to sober drivers. However, this risk is approximately three times lower than the fatality risk associated with drivers who operate a vehicle above or near the legal limit for alcohol intoxication.8 According to one recent review: “The risk of all drug-positive drivers compared to drug-free drivers is similar to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%. The risk is also similar to drivers above age 60 compared to younger drivers [around age 35].”9

Marijuana is the most common illicit substance consumed by motorists who report driving after drug use.10 Epidemiological research also indicates that cannabis is the most prevalent illicit drug detected in fatally injured drivers and motor vehicle crash victims.11 Reasons for this are twofold. One, pot is by far the most widely used illicit drug among the US population, with nearly one out of two Americans admitting having tried it.12 Two, marijuana is the most readily detectable illicit drug in toxicological tests. Marijuana’s primary psychoactive compound, THC, may be detected in blood for several hours, and in some extreme cases days after past use,13 long after any impairing effects have worn off. In addition, non-psychoactive byproducts of cannabis, known as metabolites, may be detected in the urine of regular users for days or weeks after past use.14 (Other common drugs of abuse, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, do not possess such long half-lives.) Therefore, pot’s prevalence in toxicological evaluations of US drivers does not necessarily indicate that it is a frequent or significant causal factor in auto accidents. Rather, its prevalence affirms that cannabis remains far more popular and is far more easily detectable on drug screening tests than other controlled substances.

Cruising On Cannabis: Clarifying The Debate

While it is well established that alcohol consumption increases accident risk, evidence of marijuana’s culpability in on-road driving accidents and injury is far less clear. Although acute cannabis intoxication following smoking has been shown to mildly impair psychomotor skills, this impairment is seldom severe or long lasting.15 In closed course and driving simulator studies, marijuana’s acute effects on psychomotor performance include minor impairments in tracking (eye movement control) and reaction time, as well as variation in lateral positioning, headway (drivers under the influence of cannabis tend to follow less closely to the vehicle in front of them), and speed (drivers tend to decrease speed following cannabis inhalation).16 In general, these variations in driving behavior are noticeably less consistent or pronounced than the impairments exhibited by subjects under the influence of alcohol.17 Also, unlike subjects impaired by alcohol, individuals under the influence of cannabis tend to be aware of their impairment and try to compensate for it accordingly, either by driving more cautiously18 or by expressing an unwillingness to drive altogether.19

As a result, cannabis-induced variations in performance do not appear to play a significant role in on-road traffic accidents when THC levels in a driver’s blood are low and/or cannabis is not consumed in combination with alcohol.2021 For example, a 1992 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration review of the role of drug use in fatal accidents reported, “There was no indication that cannabis itself was a cause of fatal crashes” among drivers who tested positive for the presence of the drug.22 A more recent assessment by Blows and colleagues noted that self-reported recent use of cannabis (within three hours of driving) was not significantly associated with car crash injury after investigators controlled for specific cofounders (e.g., seat-belt use, sleepiness, etc.)23 A 2004 observational case control study published in the journal Accident, Analysis and Prevention reported that only drivers under the influence of alcohol or benzodiazepines experience an increased crash risk compared to drug-free controls. Investigators did observe increased risks – though they were not statistically significant – among drivers using amphetamines, cocaine and opiates, but found, “No increased risk for road trauma was found for drivers exposed to cannabis.”24

A handful of more recent studies have noted a positive association between very recent cannabis exposure and a gradually increased risk of vehicle accident. Typically, these studies reveal that drivers who possess THC/blood concentrations above 5ng/ml – implying cannabis inhalation within the past 1-3 hours25-26 – experience an elevated risk of accident compared to drug-free controls.27-28 (Motorists who test positive for the presence of THC in the blood at concentrations below this threshold typically do not have an increased risk compared to controls.29) However, this elevated risk is below the risk presented by drivers who have consumed even small quantities of alcohol.

Two recent case-controlled studies have assessed this risk in detail. A 2007 case-control study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health reviewed 10-years of US auto-fatality data. Investigators found that US drivers with blood alcohol levels of 0.05% – a level well below the legal limit for intoxication – were three times as likely to have engaged in unsafe driving activities prior to a fatal crash as compared to individuals who tested positive for marijuana.30 A 2005 review of auto accident fatality data from France showed similar results, finding that drivers who tested positive for any amount of alcohol had a four times greater risk of having a fatal accident than did drivers who tested positive for marijuana in their blood.31 In the latter study, even drivers with low levels of alcohol present in their blood (below 0.05%) experienced a greater elevated risk as compared to drivers who tested positive for high concentrations of cannabis (above 5ng/ml). Both studies noted that overall few traffic accidents appeared to be attributed to driver’s operating a vehicle while impaired by cannabis.

Defining A Rational ‘Drugged Driving’ Policy

The above review illustrates the need for further education and understanding regarding the effects of cannabis upon driving behavior. While pot’s adverse impact on psychomotor skills is less severe than the effects of alcohol, driving under the acute influence of cannabis still may pose an elevated risk of accident in certain situations. However, because marijuana’s psychomotor impairment is subtle and short-lived, consumers can greatly reduce this risk by refraining from driving for a period of several hours following their cannabis use.

By contrast, motorists should never be encouraged to operate a vehicle while smoking cannabis. Drivers should also be advised that engaging in the simultaneous use of both cannabis and alcohol can significantly increase their risk of accident compared to the consumption of either substance alone.32-33 Past use of cannabis, as defined by the detection of inactive cannabis metabolites in the urine of drivers, is not associated with an increased accident risk.34

Educational or public service campaigns targeting drugged driving behavior should particularly be aimed toward the younger driving population age 16 to 25 – as this group is most likely use cannabis35 and report having operated a motor vehicle shortly after consuming pot.36 In addition, this population may have less driving experience, may be more prone to engage in risk-taking behavior, and may be more naïve to pot’s psychoactive effects than older, more experienced populations. This population also reports a greater likelihood for having driven after using cannabis in combinations with other illicit drugs or alcohol.37 Such an educational campaign38 was recently launched nationwide in Canada by the Canadian Public Health Association and could readily be replicated in the United States. Arguably, such a campaign would enjoy enhanced credibility if coordinated by a private public health association or traffic safety organization, such as the American Public Health Association or the AAA Automobile Club, as opposed to the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy – whose previous public service campaigns have demonstrated limited influence among younger audiences.39

Finally, increased efforts should be made within the law enforcement community to train officers and DREs (drug recognition experts) to better identify drivers who may be operating a vehicle while impaired by marijuana. In Australia, efforts have been made to adapt elements of the roadside Standardized Field Sobriety Test to make it sensitive to drivers who may be under the influence of cannabis. Scientific evaluations of these tests have shown that subjects’ performance on the modified SFSTs may be positively associated with dose-related levels of marijuana impairment.40 Similarly, clinical testing for cannabis impairment among suspected drugged drivers in Norway has been positively associated with identifying drivers with THC/blood concentrations above 3ng/ml.41

Though the development of such cannabis-specific impairment testing is still in its infancy, an argument may be made for the provisional use of such tests by specially trained members of law enforcement. In addition, the development of cannabis-sensitive technology to rapidly identify the presence of THC in drivers, such as a roadside saliva test, would provide utility to law enforcement in their efforts to better identify intoxicated drivers. The development of such technology would also increase public support for the taxation and regulation of cannabis by helping to assuage concerns that liberalizing marijuana policies could potentially lead to an increase in incidences of drugged driving.42 Such concerns are a significant impediment to the enactment of marijuana law reform, and must be sufficiently addressed before a majority of the public will embrace any public policy that proposes regulating adult cannabis use like alcohol.

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML and the NORML Foundation. Mr. Armentano is an expert in the field of marijuana policy, health, and pharmacology. He has spoken at numerous national conferences and legal seminars, testified before several state legislatures and federal bodies, and assisted dozens of criminal defense attorneys in cases pertaining to the use of medicinal cannabis and drugged driving. He has attended various international conferences on the subject of cannabis and psychomotor impairment, including those sponsored by the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) and the The International Council on Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety (ICADTS), and coordinated lobbying efforts to successfully liberalize so-called ‘zero tolerant’ drugged driving laws in Virginia and Ohio. He is the author of the 2006 cover story, “Cannabis and Zero Tolerance Per Se DUID Legislation: A Special (and Problematic) Case,” for Florida Defender, the journal of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. (FACDL). He may be contacted via e-mail at: paul@norml.org.

Footnotes

1 Adopted by NORML’s Board of Directors, February 3, 1996. Read all of NORML’s “Principles of Responsible Use

2 US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Drug and Crime Facts: Drug Use Among the General Population. Online document accessed November 24, 2007.

3 US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance and Mental Health Services Association, Office of Applied Studies. 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Results. Online document accessed November 24, 2007.

4 Ibid.

5 US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. State of Knowledge of Drugged Driving: FINAL REPORT. September 2003.

6 Ibid.

7 Smink et al. 2005. Drug use and the severity of traffic accident. Accident, Analysis and Prevention 37: 427-433.

8 Franjo Grotenhermen. Drugs and Driving: Review for the National Treatment Agency, UK. Nova-Institut (Germany). November 2007.

9 Ibid.

10 US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance and Mental Health Services Association, Office of Applied Studies. Driving After Drug or Alcohol Use, 1998. Online document accessed November 24, 2007.

11 US Department of Transportation. 2003. op. cit.

12 October 23-24, 2002 CNN/Time poll conducted by Harris Interactive.

13 Skopp et al. 2003. Serum cannabinoid levels 24 to 48 hours after cannabis smoking. Archives of Criminology (Germany) 212: 83-95.

14 Paul Cary. 2005. The marijuana detection window: Determining the length of time cannabinoids will remain detectable in urine following smoking. Drug Court Review 5: 23-58.

15 According to the US Department of Transportation, 2003. op. cit., “Experimental research on the effects of cannabis … indicat[e] that any effects … dissipate quickly after one hour.”

16 Grotenhermen. 2007. op. cit. and US Department of Transportation. 2003. op. cit. Other summaries include: Ramaekers et al. 2006. Cognition and motor control as a function of Delta-9-THC concentration in serum and oral fluid: Limits of impairment. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 85: 114-122; David Hadorn. “A Review of Cannabis and Driving Skills,” In: The Medicinal Uses of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. (eds: Guy et al). Pharmaceutical Press, 2004; Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, Cannabis: Summary Report: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy. 2002. (See specifically: Chapter 8: “Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis”); Alison Smiley. “Marijuana: On-Road and Driving-Simulator Studies,” In: The Health Effects of Cannabis. (eds. Kalant et al) Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 1999.

17 David Hadorn. 2004. op. cit. and US Department of Transportation. 2003. op. cit.

18 According to the US Department of Transportation, 2003. op. cit., “The extensive studies by Robbe and O’Hanlon (1993), revealed that under the influence of marijuana, drivers are aware of their impairment, and when the experimental task allows it, they tend to actually decrease speed, avoid passing other cars, and reduce other risk-taking behaviors.”

19 Menetrey et al. 2005. Assessment of driving capability through the use of clinical and psychomotor tests in relation to blood cannabinoid levels following oral administration of 20mg dronabinol or of a cannabis decoction made with 20 and 60mg delta-9-THC. Journal of Analytical Toxicology 29: 327-338.

20 United Kingdom Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, Road Safety Division Cannabis and Driving: A Review of the Literature and Commentary. Online document accessed November 24, 2007. “Overall, we conclude that the weight of the evidence indicates that … there is no evidence that consumption of cannabis alone increases the risk of culpability for traffic crash fatalities or injuries for which hospitalization occurs, and may reduce those risks.”

21 Gregory Chesher and Marie Longo. “Cannabis and Alcohol in Motor Vehicle Accidents,” In: Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential. (eds. Grotenhermen et al.) Haworth Press, 2002.

22 US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Incidence and Role of Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers: Final Report. October 1992.

23 Blows et al. 2004. Marijuana use and car crash injury. Addiction 100: 605-611.

24 Movig et al. 2004. Psychoactive substance use and the risk of motor vehicle accidents. Accident Analysis and Prevention 36: 631-636.

25 Huestis et al. 1992. Blood cannabinoids: Absorption of THC and formation of 11-OH-THC and THCCOOH during and after smoking marijuana. Journal of Analytical Toxicology 16: 276-282.

26 Mushoff et al. 2006. Review of biologic matrices (urine, blood, hair) as indicators of recent or ongoing cannabis use. Therapeutic Drug Monitor 2: 155-163.

27 Drummer et al. 2004. The involvement of drugs in drivers killed in Australian road traffic crashes. Accident, Analysis and Prevention 36: 239-248.

28 Grotenhermen et al. 2007. Developing per se limits for driving under cannabis. Addiction (E-pub ahead of print).

29 Grotenhermen. 2007. op. cit.

30 Bedard et al. 2007. The impact of cannabis on driving. Canadian Journal of Public Health 98: 6-11.

31 Laumon et al. 2005. Cannabis intoxication and fatal road crashes in France: a population base case-control study. British Medical Journal 331: 1371-1377.

32 Ramaekers et al. 2004. Dose related risk of motor vehicle crashes after cannabis use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 73: 109-119. “Experimental studies have shown alcohol and THC combined can produce severe performance impairment even when given at low doses. The combined effect of alcohol and cannabis on performance and crash risk appeared additive in nature, i.e. the effects of alcohol and cannabis combined were always comparable to the sum of the effects of alcohol and THC when given alone.”

33 Williams et al. 1985. Drugs in fatally injured young male drivers. Public Health Reports 1: 19-26.

34 Ramaekers et al. 2004. op. cit.

35 US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. op. cit.

36 US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance and Mental Health Services Association, Office of Applied Studies. 1998. op. cit.

37 Ibid.

38 Canadian Public Health Association. “The Pot and Driving Campaign.”

39 US Government Accountability Office. ONDCP Media Campaign: Contractor’s National Evaluation Did Not Find that the Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Was Effective in Reducing Youth Drug Use: Report to the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate. August 25, 2006.

40 Papafotiou et al. 2005. An evaluation of the sensitivity of the Standardised Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) to detect impairment due to marijuana intoxication. Psychopharmacology 180: 107-114.

41 Khiabani et al. 2006. Relationship between THC concentration in blood and impairment in apprehended drivers. Traffic Injury Prevention 7: 111-116.

42 Looby et al. 2007. Roadside sobriety tests and attitudes toward a regulated cannabis market. Harm Reduction Journal. Online document accessed November 24, 2007.



Debunking false fears about Prop. 19

Published: Oct. 18, 2010
Updated: 10:19 p.m.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Editorial

Given that it was written partially in response to opinion polls, rather than as an exercise in pure theory, Proposition 19, which would legalize the possession and use of up an ounce of marijuana (cannabis) for adult Californians, contains provisions that an advocate of pure devotion to liberty might not have included. Some of these provisions have raised questions, some justified and some exaggerated out of any relation to reality. We thought it appropriate to deal with some of these issues, chiefly the reasons for having a “local option” for sales and cultivation and the possible implication this proposal would have on the ability of employers to discipline people who are impaired at work due to cannabis use, and of police to handle drivers similarly impaired.

Prop. 19 would establish a statewide policy, to wit: adults may possess up to an ounce of cannabis and may cultivate a patch of plants amounting to 25 square feet. But it contemplates that there will be a demand to purchase cannabis, as well, so it allows localities to develop their own policies for regulating cultivation and sales (and collecting taxes on them) or to prohibit any sales or cultivation beyond the 25-square-foot limit.

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Critics argue that it may be too much to ask of city councils to develop sensible regulations in an unfamiliar area. There is also a fear that there will be so much variance from city to city that it will be just too confusing for law enforcement officials, and some marijuana users might get caught in compromising situations as they travel from city to city.

The local option plan grew out of the experience of so many cities at implementing (or not implementing) medical marijuana policies in response to Prop. 215 in 1996. It became obvious that some city governments would prefer to have no medical marijuana dispensaries, while others seemed to welcome them, or at least to accommodate their regulations to the policies endorsed by voters. Prop. 19 allows local jurisdictions to make that choice.

“It’s funny,” Joseph McNamara, a Hoover Institution research fellow and former police chief of San Jose, told us. “When I was a police chief, local officials complained constantly about mandates, most of them unfunded, from Sacramento. Now many of these same people object to a proposition without a mandate on local government. If it had included a mandate the outcry would have been louder. I suspect it’s a matter of stretching to find a reason to oppose Prop. 19.”

In fact, different cities have different policies toward the sale of liquor (within the framework of state laws), different zoning regulations, and different policies on a wide range of issues. Developing regulations that respond to local concerns within the framework of state and federal laws is what city councils and other arms of government are supposed to do. The beauty of local option is that the experience of different cities will serve as a laboratory of policy alternatives from which policy students and other city councils can learn what works and what doesn’t.

As for employment policies, Prop. 19 specifically states that “the existing right of an employer to address consumption that actually impairs job performance shall not be affected.” However, that clause is preceded by one that says “No person shall be punished, fined or discriminated against, or be denied any right or privilege for lawfully engaging in any conduct permitted by this Act.” Critics have contended that this creates a “protected class” of marijuana smokers who are not subject to the same rules as the rest of us.

This is an incorrect inference. Prop. 19 reinforces laws against driving while impaired, makes it illegal to smoke in front of minors, and makes it illegal to smoke in public places. Cannabis users under Prop. 19 will be subject to all the constraints imposed on other citizens and some unique to them.

The reason for prohibiting discrimination against cannabis users is simple. Existing testing methods can detect metabolites of cannabinoids for up to a month after cannabis use – long after any intoxication or impairment has disappeared. Employers can’t fire an employee for getting drunk on Saturday night so long as he or she shows up Monday able to perform satisfactorily. A similar policy should apply to marijuana and will apply if Prop. 19 passes.

A similar policy will apply to driving while impaired. A complication is that there is no simple roadside test for marijuana use. The responsibility of police will be to look for signs of impairment, as is the case now.

Legalizing marijuana use for adults is a significant step away from nanny-state policies and all the crime, corruption and violence that accompany marijuana prohibition, so some caution about such an important move is understandable. But the impact on employment polices, driving laws and the responsibilities of local government are not sufficient to justify rejection of this proposal.


Up in smoke – prohibition of cannabis proves counter-productive

 

A Cannabis sativa leaf.

Image via Wikipedia

 

The Melbourne Newsroom

7 Oct 2010
Prohibition of cannabis in the United States may be counter-productive, with a new study showing that a period of increased law enforcement against the drug coincided with an increase in the number of young adult cannabis users smoking cheaper and more potent produce.

The report, Tools for Debate: US Federal Government Data on Cannabis Prohibition, conducted by researchers from the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy in Vancouver, focused on the effects of national drug prohibition in recent decades, and in an editorial published online this week for the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Professor Robin Room from the University of Melbourne and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, outlined why this new evidence should be used to reassess approaches to America’s management of cannabis use.

“The evidence from the Tools for Debate report is not only that the prohibition system is not achieving its aims, but that more efforts in the same direction only worsen results,” he said.

According to the report, the US federal antidrug budget increased from about $1.5bn in 1981 to more than $18bn in 2002. Between 1990 and 2006, cannabis related arrests increased from fewer than 350,000 to more than 800,000 annually and seizures of cannabis from less than 500,000 lb to more than 2.5 million lb. In the same period, the retail price of cannabis decreased by more than half, the potency increased, and the proportion of users who were young adults went up from about 25% to more than 30%. Intensified enforcement of cannabis prohibition thus did not have the intended effects.

Professor Room said the challenge for researchers and policy analysts in light of these findings was to flesh out the details of an effective regulatory system. He suggested that countries who chose to adopt a new approach to cannabis control could allow a regulated legal domestic market while keeping in place international market controls.

“State control instruments – such as licensing regimens, inspectors, and sales outlets run by the government – which are still in place for alcohol in some areas could be extended to cover cannabis and would provide workable and well-controlled retail outlets for cannabis,” he said.

More information:

Professor Robin Room,
School of Population Health,
University of Melbourne;
and AER Centre for Alcohol Policy Research,Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre.
phone: +61 3 8413 8430, +61 8413 8413, robinr@turningpoint.org.au

or Emma O’Neill, Media Unit, University of Melbourne on 03 83447220 or 0432758734.


Drugs and conservatives should go together

Legalization would not only promote specific policy objectives that are near and dear to conservative hearts, it is also consistent with core principles that conservatives endorse in other contexts.

By Jeffrey A. Miron                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
September 29, 2010

For decades, the U.S. debate over drug legalization has pitted conservatives on one side against libertarians and some liberals on the other. A few conservatives have publicly opposed the drug war (e.g., National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr.), but most conservatives either endorse it or sidestep the issue.

Yet vigorous opposition to the drug war should be a no-brainer for conservatives. Legalization would not only promote specific policy objectives that are near and dear to conservative hearts, it is also consistent with core principles that conservatives endorse in other contexts.

Legalization would be beneficial in key aspects of the war on terror. Afghanistan is the world leader in opium production, and this trade is highly lucrative because U.S.-led prohibition drives the market underground. The Taliban then earns substantial income by protecting opium farmers and traffickers from law enforcement in exchange for a share of the profits. U.S. eradication of opium fields also drives the hearts and minds of Afghan farmers away from the U.S. and toward the Taliban.

Legalization could also aid the war on terror by freeing immigration and other border control resources to target terrorists and WMD rather than the illegal drug trade. Under prohibition, moreover, terrorists piggyback on the smuggling networks established by drug lords and more easily hide in a sea of underground, cross-border trafficking.


Legalizing drugs would support conservative opposition to gun control. High violence rates in the U.S., and especially in Mexico, are due in part to prohibition, which drives markets underground and leads to violent resolution of disputes. With the reduced violence that would result from legalization, advocates of gun control would find it harder to scare the electorate into restrictive gun laws.

Legalization could ease conservative concerns over illegal immigration. The wage differences between the United States and Latin America are a major cause of the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S., but an exacerbating factor is the violence created by drug prohibition in Mexico and other Latin American countries. With lower violence rates under legalization, fewer residents of these countries would seek to immigrate in the first place.

Beyond these specific issues, legalization is consistent with broad conservative principles.

Prohibition is fiscally irresponsible. Its key goal is reduced drug use, yet repeated studies find minimal impact on drug use. My just-released Cato Institute study shows that prohibition entails government expenditure of more than $41 billion a year. At the same time, the government misses out on about $47 billion in tax revenues that could be collected from legalized drugs. The budgetary windfall from legalization would hardly solve the country’s fiscal woes. Nevertheless, losing $88 billion in a program that fails to attain its stated goal should be anathema to conservatives.

Drug prohibition is hard to reconcile with constitutionally limited government. The Constitution gives the federal government a few expressly enumerated powers, with all others reserved to the states (or to the people) under the 10th Amendment. None of the enumerated powers authorizes Congress to outlaw specific products, only to regulate interstate commerce. Thus, laws regulating interstate trade in drugs might pass constitutional muster, but outright bans cannot. Indeed, when the United States wanted to outlaw alcohol, it passed the 18th Amendment. The country has never adopted such constitutional authorization for drug prohibition.

Drug prohibition is hopelessly inconsistent with allegiance to free markets, which should mean that businesses can sell whatever products they wish, even if the products could be dangerous. Prohibition is similarly inconsistent with individual responsibility, which holds that individuals can consume what they want — even if such behavior seems unwise — so long as these actions do not harm others.

Yes, drugs can harm innocent third parties, but so can — and do — alcohol, cars and many other legal products. Consistency demands treating drugs like these other goods, which means keeping them legal while punishing irresponsible use, such as driving under the influence.

Legalization would take drug control out government’s incompetent hands and place it with churches, medical professionals, coaches, friends and families. These are precisely the private institutions whose virtues conservatives extol in other areas.

By supporting the legalization of drugs, conservatives might even help themselves at the ballot box. Many voters find the conservative combination of policies confusing at best, inconsistent and hypocritical at worst. Because drug prohibition is utterly out of step with the rest of the conservative agenda, abandoning it is a natural way to win the hearts and minds of these voters.

Jeffrey A. Miron is a senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron is the author of “Libertarianism, from A to Z” and blogs at jeffreymiron.com.

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times




Why Parents Should Support Legalizing Pot

Map outline of California with a marijuana leaf.

Image via Wikipedia

As parents, we know that education is often more effective than punishment, and in some cases punishment is not effective at all.”

September 23, 2010 |
My son just started kindergarten. So naturally, I have been thinking a lot about the type of world and community in which I want him and our seven-year-old daughter to live. I am involved in a project to improve school lunches in our district to reinforce the nutrition lessons we teach in our home. I am a founding board member of a community group trying to improve our city’s parks. And I am working to help pass Proposition 19, the initiative to control and tax marijuana in California. It is important to me as a mother that my children grow up in a state—hopefully a country soon—that rejects the ineffective and damaging policy of marijuana prohibition. It may be counterintuitive, but legalizing marijuana will be better and safer for our children.

I would like to believe my kids won’t ever choose to use drugs. But whatever happens, it is certain that prohibition does not stop kids from using marijuana, and that my kids will be exposed to it along with other risky behaviors. After all, about a third of high school seniors have used marijuana within the last year, a figure that has been relatively stable over decades across the country and has not been affected by variations in laws and enforcement. Moreover, it has long been easier for kids to get marijuana than it is for them to get alcohol. The plain fact is drug dealers don’t require ID, and legitimate businesses do.  By taking marijuana out of the black market and placing it within the confines of safe, regulated, and licensed businesses that only sell to those 21 and over, Proposition 19 would actually reduce underage access to marijuana.

While we don’t want our kids to try marijuana, if they do later on it can lead to very harsh consequences if they are caught, even for actions that are not harmful to others. And this next part is really scary: when a person is convicted of a marijuana offense, he or she is precluded from receiving federal student loans, will forever have a drug record that diminishes job prospects, and is precluded from many other benefits, not to mention being arrested, possibly serving time, and other harsh and harrowing outcomes.  We don’t prevent even violent criminals from getting student loans. Or underage drinkers, for that matter. I don’t want people to have their lives derailed for a youthful indiscretion. Do you?

To truly serve public safety, we should control and tax marijuana, since under present policies, thousands of violent crimes go unsolved, while police spend valuable and scarce resources targeting thousands of non-violent adult marijuana users. Arrests for simple possession of marijuana have tripled over the last two decades. The $300 million California spends each year on marijuana enforcement would better serve our communities spent on solving and preventing violent crimes. Any new tax revenues would better serve our children if spent on drug education, drug rehabilitation, and of course shoring up our crumbling public education system


Cannabis destroys cancer cells

3D rendering of the THC molecule.

Image via Wikipedia

Laboratory News Online

Scientists working in the UK have revealed that cannabis has the potential to destroy leukemia cells

Scientists working in the UK have revealed that cannabis has the potential to destroy leukemia cells.

The team – based at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London – have followed up on their previous findings that the main active ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has the potential to be used effectively against some forms of cancer.

Use of cannabis as a therapeutic agent continues to be controversial due to its psychoactive side effects and consequent legal status, however, leader of the team, Dr Wai Man Liu, explains: “It is important to stress that these cannabis-like substances are far removed from the cannabis that is smoked. These novel compounds have been specifically designed to be free of the psychoactive features, whilst maintaining anti-cancer action.”

THC has previously been shown to attack cancer cells by interfering with important growth-processing pathways, however its mechanism of doing so has remained a mystery. Now, Dr Liu and his colleagues, using microarray technology – allowing them to simultaneously detect changes in more than 18,000 genes in cells treated with THC – have begun to uncover the existence of processes through which THC can kill cancer cells and potentially promote survival.

The researchers hope that the findings will provide a crucial step towards the development of new therapies for many types of cancer. Dr Liu said: “Ultimately, understanding the fundamental mechanisms of these compounds will provide us with insights into developing new drugs that can be used to effectively treat cancers.”


Can Legalizing Marijuana Save California, Our Republic?

by Eric Blair
Activist Post


America, and especially California, are in dire economic straits.  Their day of fiscal reckoning is coming and it’s not going to be pretty.  Consequently, it has been suggested that something dramatic will have to happen for Congress to pass any form of relief because the American public was bitterly against the TARP and the Stimulus bill.  I’m not advocating another massive bailout for the states, but it seems that if something meaningful is not done soon to restore economic viability to the United States,  it will shatter into a million pieces.

Perhaps a shattering of current systems is what is needed to rebuild local economies with truly free markets. We certainly can’t count on the anti-capitalism mega-monopolies, who have merged with Federal and state governments, to fix this mess and provide for our local well-being.  The economy must grow one town, one city, and one state at a time in a free and organic way.  Incidentally, our Republic was designed to allow this local freedom to govern and grow the economy as they see fit.

// California, because of its rivers of red ink, is the first state making a serious attempt to challenge Federal drug laws by voting on Prop 19 decriminalizing marijuana.  Less than a decade ago, ending prohibition of marijuana would have seemed like a radical idea, but today it seems like a harmless pragmatic solution to an economy in crisis.  Furthermore, the public is beginning to realize that the prohibition of anything we wish to ingest, especially something as mellow as weed, is anti-freedom.

California has already proven that well-regulated medical marijuana markets can work.  It has created jobs, business opportunities, and has helped thousands of ailing citizens who wish to have a healthier alternative to pharmaceuticals. But many pot smokers, dealers, and growers are still considered to be criminals.  Russ Belville of NORML described the current situation as follows:

Most marijuana smokers, believe it or not, are healthy and aren’t comfortable spending money for a doctor to give them permission to use cannabis.  Currently we face a ticket, fine, and misdemeanor drug conviction record for possession an ounce or less of cannabis.  That record prevents us from getting student aid and can cost us our jobs, child custody, and housing, or if we’re on probation, our freedom.  (Even if California succeeds at downgrading possession to an infraction from a misdemeanor, a $100 ticket is a lot of money to some people!)  We face a felony charge if we grow even one plant at home.  For us, Prop 19 is much better than “what we have now”.

Despite the Federal government’s call to halt DEA raids of medical marijuana under Barry “Bong Hit” Obama, they’ve continued to sporadically raid legal medical marijuana grow-ops and dispensaries.  Prop 19 is a major battle for states’ rights as well as for individual liberty.  Decriminalization of weed would be a huge blow to the Federal government — unless of course they finally realize marijuana’s time has come.  It will be very interesting to see how the Feds will manage such a defeat in terms of controlling the flow of legal marijuana out of the state, and their overall approach to enforcing marijuana policy nationwide.

It seems clear that legalizing marijuana will help California’s decimated economy by creating much needed tax revenues, easing the pressure on the expensive law enforcement system, as well as likely creating a massive tourism industry.  It has also been argued by the former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, that legalization of marijuana will also work to reduce the violent drug wars along the Mexican border that spills deeper into the United States everyday.

So perhaps ending prohibition of marijuana can save California, and indeed solve a few problems at the Federal level as well.  Passing Prop 19 would be a huge win for the Liberty Movement, states’ rights, California’s economy, the border drug wars, and restoring basic sanity to our justice system. It seems like a no-brainer, but will it pass?  With the polls being mysteriously “all over the map” it’s anyone’s guess.

Personally I hate to be this cynical, but I’d wager that no matter what the actual vote is, the powers that be will present a very close final vote of 49% to 51% to the public, a la anything controversial or detrimental to the establishment in the face of public support for pragmatic solutions.  It will be considered an oh-so-close valiant effort — but, sorry, maybe next time. I hope I’m proven wrong and the polls become so overwhelmingly in favor of the measure that the establishment won’t be able to get away with funny business at the polls.

Prop 19 is the liberty and states’ rights battle of our time.  Restoration of our rights has to begin somewhere


Think For A Moment

Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper on Ending the Drug War

Five Ways the Drug War Hurts Kids: A Conversation with Neill Franklin of LEAP

Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized: An Expert’s Perspective


What a Country!!!

Medical Marijuana Patient Faces Life in  Prison for a Half Ounce in Texas

by Phillip Smith, August 11, 2010, 01:30pm

A Texas asthma sufferer who went to California for a medical marijuana recommendation and then got busted in June on a Texas highway with small amounts of marijuana and hashish is facing up to life in prison after being indicted by a Brown County grand jury. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a first-degree felony in the Lone Star State.

Chris Diaz, 20, has been jailed on $40,000 bond since the June 27 arrest. He was busted with 14 grams of weed and hash.

Under Texas law, possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, while possession of hashish is either a state jail felony punishable by up to two years for less than a gram, or a second-class felony punishable by up to 20 years if less than four grams, although probation is also possible. It is unclear exactly how much hash Diaz had.

Diaz was pulled over for an expired license tag while en route from California to Austin, and according to the DPS trooper’s report, could not produce a drivers’ license or proof of insurance. He was then arrested for failure to identify, and during a subsequent search, police found a small amount of hashish on his person. A search of the vehicle then turned up more hash and marijuana in pill bottle from a California medical marijuana provider.

The DPS report said the search also turned up a cell phone “containing text messages referring to drug sales” and a notebook with “drug and law writings.” Those are apparently the basis, legitimate or otherwise, for the drug distribution charge.

Texas does not have a medical marijuana law, and its authorities do not recognize having a recommendation from another state as a defense against prosecution.

Diaz has attracted supporters both inside Texas and nationally. The Texas Coalition for Compassionate Care and a group called I Am Sovereign are publicizing the case and pressuring Brown County officialdom. And the asthmatic Diaz sits in jail in Central Texas awaiting trial, without his medicine.

Brownwood, TX

United States
See map: Google Maps

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