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ABC News goes Reefer Madness

‘Reefer Madness’ Redux, Is Pot Addictive? at ABC News Health is a real piece of work.
It purports to be a balanced look at whether cannabis is addictive or whether current fears are mere Reefer Madness, yet it allows an awful lot of its own Reefer Madness nonsense through…

Studies dating back to 1984 have documented a clinical syndrome characterized by “restlessness, anorexia, irritability and insomnia” that begins within 24 hours of discontinuation and can last for up to 10 days.
Today, there are no FDA-approved drugs to counteract withdrawal symptoms, although the synthetic cancer drug Marinol shows some promise.

Really? Drugs to counteract cannabis withdrawal? Do we really need that? And are prescription THC pills supposed to be the answer (especially since, if we believe the fear-mongers, a big part of the problem is the increased level of THC in today’s pot)?

As the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, marijuana produces dependence and relapse rates comparable to other drugs some researchers believe.

Really? Even a cursory look at the difference between tobacco smokers and marijuana smokers will quickly disabuse you of that notion.

With stronger pot, emergency rooms have reported more associated accidents. Just this week, seven people were killed when the driver — drove the wrong way on a New York highway and collided head on with a pickup truck. Although the drivers family has disputed the results, toxicology tests showed high levels of alcohol and marijuana.

Give me a break! Combination of the conjoined statement lie, the out and out plain old lie (use of the word “accidents” in the first sentence), and attributing marijuana causation in an accident involving high levels of alcohol.

“The marijuana that is now out has been cross-bred like people breed flowers so what you have now is different from what you had 20 to 30 years ago,” said John Massella, regional program director for the Pittsburgh-based Gateway rehabilitation center, which treats 10,000 to 12,000 patients a year.
“They develop a tolerance and need more to get the desired effect,” he told ABCNews.com.

Bull.

Gateway has seen an increase in number of marijuana dependency cases, mostly adults who do not come of their own volition. Many have been referred by family or have had trouble with the law or have tested positive in an employment-related urine test.

Yeah. In other words, they aren’t addicted. They’re showing up because of referrals.

[Roger A. Roffman] argues that the reform movement makes a “tragic mistake” to convince the public that marijuana is relatively harmless.

Hmm…. that last sentence sounds familiar.
New York Times July 19, 2009:

[Roger a. Roffman:] However, our debates need more honesty. Those favoring liberalizing marijuana policy ought to stop inferring that marijuana is harmless; it is not.

Boston Globe, June 23, 2008:

“I think [both sides] do a disservice to the general public,” said Roffman, who has written papers and edited books on marijuana use and dependence. On websites of drug policy reform advocates, “you’ll find lots of information about the very adverse consequences of criminalizing marijuana and very little mention of the very real harm associated with marijuana among some people in some circumstances,” he said.

Exactly what I was talking about in my post Harmless?
Where Roffman gets the idea that it’s my job to say that marijuana isn’t harmless (particularly when every government and media lackey is willing to lie to do so) is beyond me, particularly when it isn’t even relevant to the discussion of whether criminalization is the best way to deal with drugs.

[Thanks, Scott]

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