Tag Archives: Illegal

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)


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.


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.”


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


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