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June 2010
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Outrageous OpEd of the Week

We haven’t had one of these to make fun of for awhile…

Here’s Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom writing at Minnesota Public Radio’s website: Marijuana, America’s most dangerous illegal drug

Here are some lowlights:

Methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin may be America’s most addictive and destructive drugs, but marijuana is the most dangerous illegal drug in our nation. […]

More than 4 million Americans are estimated to be dependent upon or abusers of marijuana, more than any other illegal drug. Treatment admissions for marijuana abuse have been higher than for any other illegal drug in our nation since 2002. [..]

Marijuana is not the harmless substance many would like us to believe. Marijuana is an addictive drug that poses significant health risks to its users. Short-term effects of marijuana include memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, and loss of motor skills. Long-term adverse impacts include loss in muscle strength, increased heart rate, respiratory problems, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, impaired ability to fight off infections and risk of cancer (marijuana contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke). […]

Even more troubling is that marijuana serves as a gateway to the use of other illegal drugs. […]

Last, but certainly not least, there are strong links between marijuana use, violence and other criminal activity. […]

The connection between marijuana use and gang activity and violence is inescapable. […]

We would be wise as a society not to underestimate the destructive nature of marijuana. It is a powerful and addictive substance that is a gateway drug to other controlled substance abuse. Marijuana use finances in large part the activities of gangs and drug dealers. It is by far the most frequently used illegal drug in America and its use is directly connected to crime and violence in our communities.

And the ghost of Harry Anslinger smiles.

[thanks, Logan]

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18 comments to Outrageous OpEd of the Week

  • Chris

    I’m so far past such ignorance that there is nothing I can do but feel sad for the rest of society who believes this garbage.

  • It’s been a while since I’ve listened to Garrison Keillor and the Prairie Home Companion, but I hope this crosses his desk. Ol’ Mr. Keillor has a way of putting radical nuts like that in their place.

    He could build a whole skit around the sociopaths who “help” people by forcing their perverse wills on others, those performing home invasions, driving people broke via the court system, tearing families apart to “save” them, and those who have bankrupted our society in order to “increase productivity.”

    I think this might have Guy Noir’s name on it. And I think I hear the shuffling shoes already.

  • ray

    Yea Drew, would love to hear Garrison take on Brackston…cold be very funny…great idea.

  • Just me.

    Theres just no critical thinking or common sense left any more.

    They therefore sink deeper into the reefer madness.

    When will people stop believing everything they are told and do some thinking on thier own.

  • Servetus

    County Attorney James Backstrom’s spew is hackneyed to the point of making people need to take drugs.

    No doubt he gets his prohibition talking points from an outdated drug policy manual normally packed away in a dusty, gray-metal file cabinet that is stored deep inside his personal mine shaft.

    Like any good bureaucrat, Mr. Backstrom refuses to update his world view or his obsolete drug propaganda until a new edition of the ONDCP official BS manual arrives on his desk.

    So did someone leave his name off the mailing list?

  • Tyler

    This is borderline humorous, never have I seen so much disinformation spewed as truth.

  • nt109

    The only thing that could be dangerous with Cannabis is maybe overdosing on a bag of freaking Doritos, what a god damn idiot.
    I’d love to see that in the paper. And yeah, I’ve known people who’ve tried it, thought big deal, not my thing, and never even smoked it ever again. Personally i like to light up once in a while but not something i can see you getting addicted to, maybe psychological addiction but not physical.

  • Nick

    The Dakota County Attorney “is an addictive drug that poses significant health risks to its users. Short-term effects of” James Backstrom syndrom “include memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, and loss of motor skills.”

    That pretty much ties that up.
    Thanks Pete.

  • There were 74 comments in response to this guy. With literally one exception, all thought he was crazy. It can easily be reasoned that this Public Radio station was just giving Backstrom enough rope. He certainly had more than enough to hang himself…

    Many drug stories on NPR, however, rarely support drug reform. They are personal interest stories, featuring recovering addicts or others who have “beaten drugs.”. To me, that’s just our version of propaganda. To everyone’s apparent surprise, the failure of drug prohibition is getting fairer attention from the political right.

  • sixtyfps

    Speaking of attention from the political right…

    Considering the Republican version of Change.gov (someone help me remember the name!) was steamrolled with a wave of marijuana law-reform justice, one must wonder whether they’re smart enough to pick up the ball and score the goal that Obama snubbed.

  • Maria

    If I picture this op-ed being read it out loud with a British accent, to a laugh track, and with a nude Greta Garbo (circa 1920) pantomiming the tragic actions … it makes it sound much better.

  • Voletear

    The number and vehemence of the comments at the MPR site — Link — is a great sign of what this idiot will be paying for his stupidity. How can anyone charged with a cannabis-law offense in this county possibly be said to have gotten a fair trial from this nut-job? There’s a lot of out-of-work lawyers around here (the Cities have 4 law schools pumping them out assiduously)who understand this issue who would love Backstrom’s job.

  • pyramid

    Hey, remember when alcohol sales funded gangs and violence and people went blind from drinking dangerous tainted poison sold as alcohol…

    How did we solve that problem again?

  • claygooding

    I am glad Kerli told us the only scientific proof of harm,too date,is that marijuana could cause a dependence.
    Dependence is not being able to start your morning without coffee or a power drink.
    And I have to agree that marijuana does cause a dependence.
    I have to burn one before I can read that much bullshit,all at one time.

  • anarchocapitalist71

    Amen to that claygooding.

    The ostensible supporters of the Constitution, like the ostensible supporters of most other governments, are made up of three classes, viz.: 1. Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government an instrument which they can use for their own aggrandizement or wealth. 2. Dupes—a large class, no doubt—each of whom, because he is allowed one voice out of millions in deciding what he may do with his own person and his own property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough to imagine that he is a “free man,” a “sovereign”; that this is “a free government”; “a government of equal rights,” “the best government on earth,” and such like absurdities. 3. A class who have some appreciation of the evils of government, but either do not see how to get rid of them, or do not choose to so far sacrifice their private interests as to give themselves seriously and earnestly to the work of making a change.

    Lysander Spooner

  • anarchocapitalist71

    In the midst of this endless variety of opinion, what man, or what body of men, has the right to say, in regard to any particular action, or course of action, “We have tried this experiment, and determined every question involved in it? We have determined it, not only for ourselves, but for all others? And, as to all those who are weaker than we, we will coerce them to act in obedience to our conclusion? We will suffer no further experiment or inquiry by any one, and, consequently, no further acquisition of knowledge by anybody?”

    Who are the men who have the right to say this? Certainly there none such. The men who really do say it, are either shameless impostors and tyrants, who would stop the progress of knowledge, and usurp absolute control over the minds and bodies of their fellow men; and are therefore to resisted instantly, and to the last extent; or they are themselves too ignorant of their own weaknesses, and of their true relations to other men, to be entitled to any other consideration than sheer pity or contempt.

    If those persons, who fancy themselves gifted with both the power and the right to define and punish other men’s vices, would but turn their thoughts inwardly, they would probably find that they have a great work to do at home; and that, when that shall have been completed, they will be little disposed to do more towards correcting the vices of others, than simply to give to others the results of their experience and observation. In this sphere their labors may possibly be useful; but, in the sphere of infallibility and coercion, they will probably, for well-known reasons, meet with even less success in the future than such men have met with in the past.

    Lysander Spooner “Vices Are Not Crimes” excerpt

  • the “Marijuana, America’s most dangerous illegal drug” theme comes from our dear friend Calvina. I have here a tri-fold handout with those exact words as the flier’s header. It was put out here in Oregon by a group calling itself “Protect Our Society” and a search of the state’s online database shows that this group received a $50,000 donation from an organization in Florida called “Save Our Society,” one of Calvina’s pet lizards. (w/ my apologies to lizards)