Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The 'Ol' "Gateway Theory"

"There is opposition from groups like Drug Free Pennsylvania, which say the bill encourages drug abuse and crime. Jeanne Troy is the spokeswoman for Drug Free Pennsylvania. Troy: We do not approve this. There is prescription marijuana available through doctors for patients who have chemo or other pain and nausea related conditions and that's called marinol." ~ Jeanne Troy & DFP

My response to some of the statements in this article.The website comment section doesn't allow multiple links, so I've posted them here.

"Drug Free America"? There has never been a drug free world! Cannabis specifically, has been used since the beginning of recorded history. Humans utilized the medicinal properties of cannabis for thousands and thousands of years before Harry J Anslinger declared "…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” and “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” "most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

Maybe Jeanne Troy should read the Shaffer Report, the one that Nixon commissioned to launch his "War on Drugs". Unfortunately, Nixon didn't like the truth, so it was thrown in the trash and here we are 30+ years, 20 million arrests and a TRILLION dollars later and still the lies and propaganda continue in a war on people that will never, ever, be won.

"In sum, the weight of the evidence is that marihuana does not cause violent or aggressive behavior, if anything, marihuana generally serves to inhibit the expression of such behavior. Marihuana-induced relaxation of inhibitions is not ordinarily accompanied by an exaggeration of aggressive tendencies.

No evidence exists that marihuana use will cause or lead to the commission of violent or aggressive behavior by the large majority of psychologically and socially mature individuals in the general population."

"marihuana and social policy"

A Final Comment
"We have carefully considered the spectrum of social and legal policy alternatives. On the basis of our findings, discussed in previous Chapters, we have concluded that society should seek to discourage use, while concentrating its attention on the prevention and treatment of heavy and very heavy use. The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective. We have attempted to balance individual freedom on one hand and the obligation of the state to consider the wider social good on the other. We believe our recommended scheme will permit society to exercise its control and influence in ways most useful and efficient, meanwhile reserving to the individual American his sense of privacy, his sense of individuality, and, within the context of ail interacting and interdependent society, his options to select his own life style, values, goals and opportunities.

The Commission sincerely hopes that the tone of cautious restraint sounded in this Report will be perpetuated in the debate which will follow it. For those who feel we have not proceeded far enough, we are reminded of Thomas Jefferson's advice to George Washington that "Delay is preferable to error." For those who argue we have gone too far, we note Roscoe Pound's statement, "The law must be stable, but it must not stand still."

We have carefully analyzed the interrelationship between marihuana the drug, marihuana use as a behavior, and marihuana as a social problem. Recognizing the extensive degree of misinformation about marihuana as a drug, we have tried to demythologize it. Viewing the use of marihuana in its wider social context, we have tried to desymbolize it.

Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgment, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem.

The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug. To replace it, we have attempted to design a suitable social policy, which we believe is fair, cautious and attuned to the social realities of our time."

The "Gateway Theory" is a lie, only 1 out of every 104 cannabis users try cocaine, and it's less than that for heroin. (from The Union: The Business Behind Getting High

Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen took FBI Director Robert Mueller to task on marijuana legalization and the "gateway theory" in this video:

Also, Zogby did a poll (found here on in 2007 asking "If hard drugs like heroin and cocaine were legalized, would you use them? 99% responded NO. Imagine that, people deciding for themselves that they don't want to use hard drugs, regardless of law.

And yes, while Marinol exists, (and very expensively at that) for people who have problems keeping pills down due to nausea it's not as effective. Medical cannabis users can also use a vaporizer or ingest it in cookies, etc. if they don't want to smoke it. If people like Greg Cooper find that using cannabis helps them, who are any of us to judge that decision made by him and his Doctor?

It's also interesting to note that "Drug Free Pennsylvania" makes money off of drug testing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

1990 Flashback - Drug Problems in Perspective

This article "Drug problems in perspective" is from June 1990. Alas, here we are almost twenty years later, still spending billions of tax payer dollars fighting an unwinnable War on (people who choose to use certain) Drugs.

"Drug use "endemic" (ingrained) rather than epidemic."

Cannabis is a plant that has been used by humans for medicine, religion, food, fiber, paper, fuel and gasp! recreation, for thousands and thousands of years. Just because our government bans its use doesn't make it magically disappear, we learned that valuable lesson already from the failed prohibition of alcohol. We have NEVER been a drug free species and never will be the Utopian drug free society our politicians insanely demand of us. When will the Canadian government realize that they can't legislate human behavior?

"Clearly, rumours of a Canadian drug epidemic overstate the situation, creating a hysterical "war-on-drugs" mentality."
Read the whole article here.

Utopia ~ \y-ˈtō-pē-ə\

: an imaginary and indefinitely remote place

2 often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions

3 : an impractical scheme for social improvement

What's next? Caffeine?

UPDATE: Read my post: How Cannabis Works

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Soldiering On (Memorial Day Update)

He fought the war in Iraq, only to be persecuted by the Drug War at Home. Prohibition is making life hell for soldiers like Christopher Northcutt, brave heroes who proudly served their country and defend freedom for all of us. Our men and women who serve in the military deserve to use cannabis for medicine, but morally bent ideology and draconian drug laws are locking them up for using a plant that has never killed anyone.

Prescription medication deaths have become more exposed with the passing of Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and DJ AM.  It's time everyone put their judgment aside and face the facts - cannabis is a safer alternative to prescription drugs for many, and if their doctors approve then they have the right, as it says in the Declaration of Independence, to "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I wonder, would those celebrities still be alive if their doctors had been able to treat them with cannabis? It's an answer we'll never know, but still an important question to contemplate.

Prohibition is inflicting more harm and heartache on society than drugs ever could. Here is a short excerpt, but please follow the link and read the whole story of Sgt. Northcutt's ordeal and how the unwinnable War on Drugs (or shall I say, war on people who use certain drugs) sent a marine to prison for growing medical marijuana in a patients collective.

From Alternet - Sgt. Northcutt's Post-Iraq Nightmare: Getting Arrested for Growing Pot

Gardner: How long were you on medical hold?

Northcutt: For a year. This is when they super-medicate me. I would be given a grocery bag full of really heavy shit. Hydrocodones and anti-depressants, Neurontin, Seroquel, anti-nightmare pills, half of it you get really fucking high on. I’m not much of a pillbilly but I’ve taken them all. And that is true of just about anyone I know who went to Iraq and has come back. They’re all pill experts. How the fuck does that happen? You get back and they just like push 10 pills on you right away.

Gardner: Were you dealing with Marine Corps doctors or the VA?

Northcutt: The Marine Corps. But I was also trying to deal with the VA because they sent me home awaiting orders. I go to live at my grandma’s in Long Beach and I’m chilling in the guest house while I’m waiting to get out of the Marine Corps. The VA Hospital is like a mile from my house and Camp Pendleton is two hours away in traffic. I’m drugged out all day long and they’re like, “You’ve got appointments on this day at Camp Pendleton.” I would just lie in bed all day, loaded. Totally fucked up. But it was cool because a doctor prescribed it. Read more...

As a footnote I'd like to add that Croatia has legalized the use of cannabis for its vets and Canada now covers the cost of medical marijuana for war veterans.

From Why Prohibition: Canadians for Safe Access, a patient advocacy organization, also commends Veterans Affairs Canada for this new policy. "For many, this medicine is more effective than the available alternatives, with fewer negative side-effects. It is so important that the cost for this medicine is covered for those in need," stated Rielle Capler, a director of Canadians for Safe Access. Veterans use cannabis for various medical conditions and symptoms including chronic and phantom limb pain, sleep disturbance, brain injuries, Post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. ~

This clip from Botany of Desire does a fantastic job of explaining how and why medical cannabis can help soldiers and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While Canada's medical marijuana program still seems to be finding its way, at least they have recognized that Canadian soldiers deserve to have affordable access to this wonder plant. With this, we will have fewer people dying and becoming dependent on highly addictive prescription drugs. As it stands in the US, legal drugs are the fourth leading cause of death.

Here are the latest VA statistics about Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans:
  • Veterans: 981,834 (out of nearly two million deployed)
  • Veterans Treated at VA Hospitals and Clinics: 425,538 (43.3% of veterans)
  • Veterans Diagnosed by VA with Mental Health Condition: 193,879 (45.6% of veterans treated by VA)
  • Veterans Diagnosed by VA with PTSD: 114,908 (27.0% of veterans treated by VA)
  • Veterans Filing Disability Claims Against VA: 381,782 (38.9% of veterans)
  • Veterans with Approved PTSD Claims: 53,079 (46.2% of the veterans diagnosed by VA with PTSD) - Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access

Relevant UPDATE: VA doctors prohibited from prescribing medical pot March 31, 2010


UPDATE February 22, 2011:

US Navy Veteran To Challenge Missouri's Marijuana Law | Cannabis Culture Magazine

A disabled Navy Veteran who uses marijuana as medicine will fight for his right to use a medical defense in court after being arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute. Ken Unger is a 100% disabled U.S. Navy veteran deemed unemployable by the St. Louis VA. He was hit in the head with a 50-ton crane hook while serving in Grenada in 1983.

Update April 30th, 2012:

While some restrictions are being lifted in states where medical marijuana is legal, Big Pharma drugs are still the go to for the majority of doctors prescribing medication to the military and Veterans.

U.S. military’s war with drugs: Drugs issued by military led to assaults, murders, doctors say

"After two long-running wars with escalating levels of combat stress, more than 110,000 active-duty army troops last year were taking prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs, according to figures recently disclosed to the Los Angeles Times by the U.S. army surgeon general."

"Julie Oligschlaeger said her son, Chad, a marine corporal based at Twentynine Palms, Calif. came home from his second tour in Iraq in 2007 complaining of nightmares and hallucinations. He was taking trazodone, fluoxetine, Seroquel, Lorazepam and propranolol, among other medications.

“I didn’t realize how many pills he was on until it was too late,” Oligschlaeger said. “He sometimes would slur his words, and I would think, ‘OK, are you drinking? What is going on?’ And he’d say, ‘Oh, I’m taking my pills, and I’m taking them when I’m supposed to.’ I never thought to look.”

In 2008, two months before Chad was scheduled to get out of the marines, start college and marry his fiancé, the young corporal was found dead on the floor of his room in the barracks. An autopsy concluded the death was accidental due to multiple-drug toxicity — interactions between too many drugs."

Please follow the link and read the whole article - the list of  “EXAMPLE” PSYCHIATRlC FORMULARY FOR DEPLOYMENT is astounding!


medical cannabis - drug substitution: "Eighty five percent of the BPG [Berkeley Patients Group] sample reported that cannabis has much less adverse side effects than their prescription medications. Additionally, the top two reasons listed by participants as reasons for substituting cannabis for one of the substances previously mentioned were less adverse side effects from cannabis (65%) and better symptom management from cannabis (57.4%)."
"The substitution of one psychoactive substance for another with the goal of reducing negative outcomes can be included within the framework of harm reduction. Medical cannabis patients have been engaging in substitution by using cannabis as an alternative to alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs." Source: Reiman, Amanda, "Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol and Other Drugs," Harm Reduction Journal (London, United Kingdom: December 2009).
"Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality."

"This is a remarkable statement. First, the record on marijuana encompasses 5,000 years of human experience. Second, marijuana is now used daily by enormous numbers of people throughout the world. Estimates suggest that from twenty million to fifty million Americans routinely, albeit illegally, smoke marijuana without the benefit of direct medical supervision. Yet, despite this long history of use and the extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death."

"By contrast aspirin, a commonly used, over-the-counter medicine, causes hundreds of deaths each year."

Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.



More disappointment from the Obama administration!  Men and women who fought for their country should not be persecuted this way!

'Use marijuana and go to prison' - Gil Kerlikowske's message to Veterans on Memorial Day
(WASHINGTON DC) - The group Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA] issued the following news release after receiving word that their long hours spent presenting scientific and medical evidence of the benefits of medical marijuana, was simply rejected yet again.

Relying on the wisdom of Gil Kerlikowske, the nation's 'drug czar', veterans are reminded on Memorial Day that their sacrifices only gain them a small amount of credibility, certainly not enough to allow them to use a plant that grows naturally out of the ground that is a miracle treatment for the survivors of war and military violence for their nation, who suffer PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." - Excerpt, please read the whole article:
White House Statement on Medical Marijuana: Another Step Back for Veterans

"Vets have used cannabis for PTSD since the Revolutionary War. We know what we need and to be told by our President, the Commander in Chief, that he does not care about those he has sent to war by denying medicine to the wounded is unconscionable."