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September 2011
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Drug policy continues to fail spectacularly

Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show

Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found.

Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety.

Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation’s growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979.

So with traffic fatalities decreasing dramatically overall, the Drug Czar has been spending a lot of the government’s policy capital making a big deal about “drugged driving,” pushing for “per se” laws that have nothing to do with traffic safety and making evidence-free pronouncements about what appears to be a non-existent epidemic of impaired drivers.

When it comes to fatalities from illegal drugs like heroin or cocaine, prohibition is what’s usually to blame, due to dangerous additives and uncertain purity.

Of course, the biggest increase in fatalities has been from prescription drugs, and, to be fair, the drug czar’s office has been giving this issue a tremendous amount of attention.

However, giving a problem a lot of attention is not the same as good policy, and the ONDCP has been seriously lacking useful policy to help the problem.

Sure, there have been some PR stunts like prescription drug turn-in programs, which probably bring in (helpfully) a lot of useless junk, but are less likely to reduce the availability of OxyContin or Xanax.

Then there’s marijuana, which could in some cases handle the anxiety or pain relief of much more dangerous prescription drugs, but is kept illegal, while pharmaceutical companies push to prescribe their drugs.

Chronic pain is politicized, with too much being under-treated or being pushed under the radar, leaving patients forced to take risky approaches to dealing with pain.

Finally, there isn’t a coherent national approach to harm reduction. Everything is about abstinence outside of prescribed uses, and so there is very little mass education about the specific dangers of dosage and interaction for off-label/recreational/addictive uses.

I’m sure the Drug Czar’s office has a way to paint this data as a complete vindication of everything that they’re doing. It’s about the only thing they’re good at.

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66 comments to Drug policy continues to fail spectacularly

  • […] Drug policy continues to fail spectacularly US: Drug policy continues to fail spectacularly DrugWarRant / Pete Guither / 09,18,2011 Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data […]

  • claygooding

    Kerli will surely jump on this as if it were a raft in the ocean,,,claiming that if they just give him more money,,he can fix it.

    How is their an illegal market of drugs the DEA is in control of as too the amount manufactured?

    Do they have a target amount that also covers what will be needed for the patients requiring it and enough to fuel the black market?

    Global Revolution:

  • When are all these highly educated idiots finally going to figure it out,stupid is what stupid does,just a little house cleaning for the Eugenics.

  • Cj

    Soldiers with PTSD seek marijuana:

    “ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When Paul Culkin came home to New Mexico after serving with an Army bomb squad in Iraq, he tried counseling and medications offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs to cope with his post traumatic stress disorder.

    Nothing worked very well. Then he found a new alternative: marijuana.”

    PTSD is a serious matter for all patients suffering from combat stress – new treatments need to be studied and evaluated to see if they are helpful.

    • claygooding

      There are Viet Nam veterans all over the country that have been using it for PTSD,,,even before there was a name for it.
      Several hang around on this couch.

    • Duncan20903

      Now why in the world would anyone believe that cannabis can help you learn to forget?

      Well, your fingers weave quick minarets
      Speak in secret alphabets
      I light another cigarette
      Learn to forget, learn to forget
      Learn to forget, learn to forget

      ~Jim Morrison, “Soul Kitchen”

      (standard disclaimer)

    • DdC

      As a 40 year antiwar Veteran I can attest to the importance of forgetting and to the importance of Ganja.

      Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access

      Ganja 4 PTSD & Depression
      Many Veterans are the Enemy of the War

      Cannabis, the Importance of Forgetting by Michael Pollan
      Here Pollan puts some point to his blade: The old capitalist-based Protestant religions that shaped our nation. What does marijuana do? Takes you out, makes you more in the moment, encourages an exploration of consciousness, expands the horizon of thought (or minute details into a new horizon), causes short term memory loss, takes a bite out of constant material concerns and yearnings, and, worst of all, like sex, or meditation or (ha, ha) art, disrupts the need to control the ever-numbing future tense/past tense fear that precludes the here and now in a bath of perpetual worry.

      Why Do You Think They Call it DOPE?

  • Diana

    The death rate from chronic marijuana use is well over the death rate from legally prescribed narcotic drugs. One marijuana joint has the equivalent amount of Tar as 2 packs of cigarettes. Legally prescribed drugs have a warning to not drive. The blame lays in the idiot that does not heed that warning, not the prescribing physician. Most Oxycontin and Xanax taken in massive doses or used by an idiot that intends to drive are illegally obtained. Let’s place the blame where the blame is due. People can be stupid. Marijuana use while fine in some cases is not a long term solution. If you want to die from lung cancer then use it for a long time. If you want to deal with PTSD talk therapy is more effective. If you are in pain, short term narcotic use by a responsible individual is fine. Why lame doctors and drug companies for the idiocy of a few?

    • brandon

      Diana, you are about to get schooled by everyone who reads your comment.
      you really believe more people die from cannabis than from prescribed medication? Haha the following comments should be fun. Please take less than a minute of your time and search the vast knowledge one can find online; I’m simply tired of the american ignorance of the drug war.

    • Amount of “tar” in vaporized or orally consumed cannabis: 0

      # of deaths solely attributable to cannabis: 0

      # of deaths solely attributable to aspirin: ~1,000/year

      Diana, you’re only mediocre at reciting the fact-free propaganda talking points. How much did they pay you for that post? Nothing? Then you’re even more foolish than we all think.

      People that use cannabis for pain are not suffering from short term pain. They are choosing a medicine that is safe for long term use with few adverse side effects, if any.

    • tensity1

      You might also want to talk to them silly doctors and government peeps over in Israel–they seem to think marijuana is good for PTSD, but what the hell do they know?

      You can also talk to Dr. Donald Tashkin and some other smarties in California who seem to think that marijuana doesn’t cause any cancer whatsoever, that it actually has a protective effect on the lungs and other parts of the body. I’ll save the snark this paragraph. 😉

    • Travis Chapple

      thats the dumbest shit i ever heard in my entire life. yeah weed causes cancer. shut. up. right now. THC has been proven to retard the growth and shrink cancerous tumors. Besides the fact that prescription narcotics are liver toxic, they are highly, highly addictive. not one person has died since written history solely due to the use of marijuana. I mean fukc, thousands die every year from too much coffee. My brother with an extra chromosome 21 has more mental capacity. Learn up.

    • TINMA

      You should really do some reading of the “non-government-propaganda-kind ” Diana.

      Show me one death caused by cannabis…just one!

      Even if cannabis was so dangerous as you believe….ITS MY CHOICE ! just as it is for you to eat sweets or drink soda then die from obesity…ITS YOUR CHOICE ! get it? Its called freedom.

    • darkcycle

      Number of deaths every year attributed to marijuana- 0
      Number of deaths each year attributed to tobacco and tobacco related illness- 400,000+
      Diane, you need to check your numbers. And what’s your SOURCE? Didi you IMAGINE this? Because the government found NO contribution to mortality rates by pot. None. And every cancer study so far has found no carcinogenic effects from pot…even from SMOKING pot.
      If you’re out trolling, this isn’t the site where you’re gonna find easily suggestible rubes who don’t have the facts.

    • Swooper420

      Boy, you are really a coo-coo person, falling for all the Drug Warrior bullshit.

      Cannabis does NOT cause death. Where you are getting your ‘facts’ is beyond my comprehension. I’ve been using and studying cannabis for years. DEA Administrative Judge ruled in 1988 that cannabis is the safest known therapeutic drug on the face of the earth.

      Additionally, cannabis does not cause cancer – it, in fact, kills cancer cells – a fact known by the Gov’t since 1974, but suppressed due to Nixon’s War on (some) Drugs.

      You should read Jack Herer’s book (online)”The Emperor Wears No Clothes”. Google Jack Herer and you’ll find a link to the book, which is on it’s (at least) 12th printing. He documents the uses of cannabis, and how the Gov’t has tried to suppress it’s use.

    • Shaftumwithknowledge


      Federal researchers implanted several types of cancer, including leukemia and lung cancers, in mice, then treated them with cannabinoids (unique, active components found in marijuana). THC and other cannabinoids shrank tumors and increased the mice’s lifespans. Munson, AE et al. Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Sept. 1975. p. 597-602.


      In a 1994 study the government tried to suppress, federal researchers gave mice and rats massive doses of THC, looking for cancers or other signs of toxicity. The rodents given THC lived longer and had fewer cancers, “in a dose-dependent manner” (i.e. the more THC they got, the fewer tumors). NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies Of 1-Trans- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats And B6C3F Mice, Gavage Studies. See also, “Medical Marijuana: Unpublished Federal Study Found THC-Treated Rats Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer,” AIDS Treatment News no. 263, Jan. 17, 1997.


      Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers. Marijuana smokers who didn’t also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers, though the difference did not reach statistical significance. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728.


      Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer. Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased Lung Cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.

    • Duncan20903

      In the “if you don’t stand for something then you’ll fall for anything” file, it really boggles my mind just how many people think that smoking is part and parcel of using cannabis. No sunshine, smoking isn’t required to gain the benefits of cannabis whether for medicine or just for enjoyment. Of course there is that island full of those rascally Rastafari who have been smoking pot constantly since the Rastafarian pilgrims landed on Jamaica in 1930 who’s existence certainly belies the claims that (even smoking) cannabis is a long term health risk. But for the love of truth we’ve got a not insubstantial cohort of North Americans who have been enjoying cannabis for over 5 decades. Diana, please don’t forget to write me a letter when you prove your nonsense assertions. Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath waiting to hear from you.

      Here’s one of those 50+ year fans of cannabis teaching the proper way to roll a joint only a few months short of his death at age 84:

      Gosh, I just met a 63 or 64 year old fellow who has MS and has been taking Xanax and Oxycodone for 10 years. Paid for by his health insurance. Now he’s decided to employ medicinal cannabis in their stead at his own expense because he can’t afford any more liver damage. Oh those FDA approved drugs are ever so safe! C’mon, oxycodone isn’t even particularly effective in mitigating neuropathic pain. It really is amazing though, just how many people think that taking hillbilly heroin is preferable to cannabis. Hmm, I’ll have to suggest that he allow the insurance company to keep picking up the tab for those and he’ll then be able to use them to mitigate the cost of his medicinal cannabis.

      Just by the synchronicity of happenstance I also learned yesterday that a guy I knew who had dropped dead in 2007 at age 21 died from an overdose of Xanax. The first and second tox screen didn’t find it, and the medical examiner missed it in his autopsy. That was the last I’d heard. The subject came up because I was wondering if he mightn’t have been fooling around with that synthetic cannabis or synthetic meth explaining the “clean” tox screen. But it seems his family had kept pressing the issue and finally got answers. I’m going to file this in the “where ignorance is bliss ’tis folly to be wise*” file, because just a few weeks before his death he’d gone out on a 12 step walk and they had taken significant comfort in his “clean” tox screen at TOD.

      So yesterday I learned of two people, one who is sure that FDA approved Xanax is killing him, and another person who the medical examiner is sure that Xanax did kill. In the meantime, deaths directly caused by cannabis holding are still holding steady at zero.

      * ~Thomas Gray from “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (1742)

    • Francis

      Right now the vote on Diana’s comment is 23 thumbs down and uh… let’s see 0 thumbs up. I’m not sure “Hotly Debated” is the most appropriate tag. I’d say the debate is pretty much settled.

      • The problem is that when it’s ranked “Poorly Rated” this plug-in automatically makes the comment disappear so you have to click to read it. And we have so few people on her side commenting here, that I hate to have the comment hidden. So I kept upping the requirement number of “poorly liked” way beyond the combined-score “hotly debated” level. Yet still Diana’s comment keeps getting low ranked into the stratosphere.

  • Hi Diana –
    If I may, what are your qualifications and what research have you done with regards to cannabis causing cancer and death?

    • jhelion makes a good point, Diana… According to the U.S. government’s own data – the largest study in the world funded by NIDA, even heavy use of marijuana did not cause head, neck, or lung cancer.

      Where is your evidence of deaths? Where are the bodies?

      In particular, on what do you base this comment: “The death rate from chronic marijuana use is well over the death rate from legally prescribed narcotic drugs.”?

      I’d like to see your source. It’s not hard, on the other hand, to find multiple sources for studies showing that there is no increase in death rate for marijuana smokers.

    • Duncan20903

      Just about everyone knows that the motto of the Know Nothing prohibitionist is “never let the facts get in the way of disseminating an effective piece of hysterical rhetoric.”

      Really, when your entire argument is built on a platform of nothing other than bald faced lies, half truths, and hysterical rhetoric you don’t have any other viable choice except to abandon your fantasy land point of view.

  • Bryan S.

    I’d be interested in seeing how much of this is REALLY more attributable (at least in part) to the increasing ratio of airbags in cars – they are becoming fairly ubiquitous in new cars..
    Which started to become a “stock” standard rather than a pricey “option” back around the year 2000 or so (give or take a year) depending on the model of car in question.

    Certainly some of this is actually more about the US auto industry becoming better at protecting drivers, than it’s somehow all about doctors proscribing narcotics “willy-nilly” (so to speak).

    On top of the huge crackdown on drunk driving & major push (a rash of seriously expensive ‘traffic ticketing’) AND for seat-belt use in the last 15 years – “good habits” are as persistent as bad ones!

    Granted, I realize there has been some increase in drug related deaths, BUT – I would like to know if this is due (in part) to a rise in the acknowledgment and/or reporting of suicide deaths = via drug overdose…

    Which I’ve seen as largely attributable to the hundreds of thousands of Veterans of the Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan.

    Both of soldiers that would rather die than go back again and face the horror of war in general – and in particular ‘death by IED’. Or by those folks that have come back as casualties missing limbs and all other sorts of truly gruesome injuries – in addition to the PTSD & Depression related deaths (already partially mentioned), AND then we ‘tack-on’ the colossal failure of Drug Prohibition.

    I think that we (=both the public aka Social Media and the traditional Media) should be both “fair” & accurate in ‘attributing and/or reporting the cause of death’ in instances were “We” = (all those that are left behind to deal with suicides and accidental overdoses) – just can’t honestly KNOW which was the case. Some of these deaths may have even been homicides – whether they are unprovable or possibly overlooked?

    Just my two cents & some food for thought…

    • Duncan20903

      Bryan, the point is not that car deaths are proof of anything other than that we can look at a problem and figure out how to mitigate it. Yet not only is there no improvement in the (some) drugs addiction problem we’re going to be required to do an awful lot of work just to get back to the starting line.

      Between 1963 and 2006 the per capita use of cigarettes has fallen 62.75% without making smoking tobacco illegal for adults. Would you care to go dig up the per capita use of cannabis for the same time frame so we can see examples of public policy success and failure side by side?

      Over the last year I’ve noticed a growing number of the Ignorati are attempting to rewrite history and making the assertion that drinking alcohol prohibition was actually a success. The basis of their claim are estimates from 1976 that per capita consumption of drinking alcohol was cut by 50%, give or take a margin of error and a standard deviant or two.

      “In 1976, historian Norman Clark reviewed the literature and concluded that estimates that placed annual absolute alcohol consumption rates at between 50 and 33 percent less than those of the preprohibition years were essentially correct.”

      Year….deaths from chronic or acute alcoholism


      For some reason they don’t mention that the death rate from “chronic or acute alcoholism” increased by as much as 300% during the years of the National Prohibition Act of 1919. The death statistics were compiled by the US Census Bureau, not from some guy who “reviewed the literature” more than 4 decades after the fact. It’s a lot harder to hide a cadaver than it is to hide a bottle of bathtub gin.

      But if not drinking makes more people die from chronic or acute alcoholism doesn’t it follow that we should not only vigorously promote the use of drinking alcohol, we should make drinking to excess mandatory?

      But isn’t the Know Nothing habit of just redefining words and rewriting history when their arguments fail just precious? It really is clear that their guiding philosophy is unfettered Humpty Dumptyism.

      Here’s a traditional folk tale which I have enjoyed in several different variations, and hope everyone will enjoy:

      “Grant is a drunkard,” asserted powerful and influential politicians to the President at the White House time after time; “he is not himself half the time; he can’t be relied upon, and it is a shame to have such a man in command of an army.”

      “So Grant gets drunk, does he?” queried Lincoln, addressing himself to one of the particularly active detractors of the soldier, who, at that period, was inflicting heavy damage upon the Confederates.

      “Yes, he does, and I can prove it,” was the reply.

      “Well,” returned Lincoln, with the faintest suspicion of a twinkle in his eye, “you needn’t waste your time getting proof; you just find out, to oblige me, what brand of whiskey Grant drinks, because I want to send a barrel of it to each one of my generals.”

  • tensity1

    Just wanted to point out two things off-topic:

    1. A judge in Las Vegas has thrown out one case (without prejudice) against a collective that was busted for selling MMJ to an undercover cop (who had a valid MMJ card for NV). Judge basically insinuated that the chickenshit cowards we call legislators need to improve the law and preferably find a way for patients to acquire MMJ legally, as was mandated by NV constitution, oh, about a decade ago.

    2. Online gamers, using a game called Foldit, solved the structure of an AIDS-like retrovirus in rhesus monkeys. In 10 days. (Scientists and supercomputers have tried for years, supposedly.) I don’t know about you, but these ne’er-do-well’s should stop doing smart shit like this, stop all that pot smoking that many undoubtedly do, stop being such unproductive a-holes in their little “online community,” and do something productive, like campaigning and voting for Obama in 2012. /barfs

  • Yage Panther

    >>traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because
    >>of huge investments in auto safety.

    And I thought this drop in accidents was achieved by outlawing cars.

  • Scott

    Sorry for going a bit off-topic, but (fwiw) I want to share my comment at the WSJ in response to a conservative opinion piece about debating the Constitution:

    As “We the people” apparently fail to realize that our Constitution declares us to be the government of our nation, it is also apparently difficult for too many Americans to realize that there is a net-resulting, public servant revolution against the limits of power implicitly set in our self-proclaimed “supreme law of the land”.

    At least on the surface, our Constitution seriously limits public servant power. Only a fool would believe that amendment IX (“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”) does not protect by law the fundamental rights specified in our Declaration of Independence, including liberty (i.e. the condition of being free from restriction or control).

    However, our public servants have continuously taken power away from the words printed on the page, and placed them firmly in the hands of those who interpret them, arguably negating the point in having a constitution — that point being to prevent the abuse of power.

    “The clause gives Congress the power to ‘regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.'”

    The Commerce Clause has been turned into a liberalism-based “battering ram” against the limits of power, yet Republicans support it too. Marijuana Prohibition, according to the public record as supplied by our Supreme Court, has been ruled constitutional solely by way of those sixteen words (avoiding the need for a constitutional amendment like the one for Alcohol Prohibition).

    The Commerce Clause has been irrationally applied to ban the non-economic possession of a certain plant within a single state. The inevitable conclusion is our Supreme Court has illegally redefined the Commerce Clause in their decisions, and depending on the political makeup of the highest court, that unethical conclusion may force you to buy health insurance (and anything else our public servants can get away with).

    Remember that fact when Republican candidates (except Ron Paul and Gary Johnson) talk tough against marijuana, a plant for which there is no experimental science proving any harm in moderate use.

    “We the people” are responsible for what our public servants do, and it is our job as the true leader of our nation to organize and put down the public servant revolution by any just means. Or we could just continue to vote ‘blue’ or ‘red’ to no effect against that revolution, until an excessively-oppressed American generation follows in our Founding Fathers’ footsteps to create a new Declaration of Independence.

    There is a brilliant reason why the word unalienable is applied to the right to liberty without exception. And after over two centuries of existence, perhaps an American generation will come along and understand that brilliance. Such understanding will finally negate the pre-American dominant thinking allowing the people in power to legally define risk, morality, etc. supposedly for the sake of reducing overall tragedy.

    Since the only limit against your right to liberty is the right itself, and since the act of breathing indirectly or potentially leads to all rights-infringing acts, only acts directly infringing upon another person’s rights can be banned (e.g. murder, assault, theft, etc.) Otherwise, we inevitably exist on the legal slippery slope we have today.

    To legally define risk is to illegally define liberty.

    Do you finally have the stomach to accept the heavy cost for liberty as unambiguously defined in our Declaration of Independence? Should we have a national debate about that? Yes, we often should.

    • Randy

      Well said, Scott.

    • kaptinemo

      Bravo! Wish I’d said it…

    • Bryan S.

      Technically the it was the 10th Amendment’s -“Commerce Clause”, and it was here in the Gonzales_v._Raich ruling
      – Wherein the Supreme Court came to the most recent conclusion that they can walk all over our rights.

      They used a precedent involving a 1938 ruling – regarding a person growing their own wheat & how that could possibly effect the price of wheat in the interstate market (if only by a small amount) =IMHO (Really???)

      Translation the decision in Gonzales_v._Raich was plainly ludicrous, just reading the dissenting opinions of Justice O’Connor & in particular Justice Thomas – make it fairly clear how absurd the ruling really was!

      Below are (IMHO) the most important parts of the Gonzales Vs.Raich wikipedia article – though I suggest reading the whole thing to help gain a more complete understanding of just how much power the conservatives in the Supreme Court have, AND which they exercise quite regularly.
      (Sorry Pete, I couldn’t make the ‘blockquote cite’ html work properly – I tried, But – uhm, yeah…)

      Justice Thomas also wrote a separate dissent, stating in part:
      Respondent’s local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not “Commerce … among the several States.”

      “Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that “commerce” included the mere possession of a good or some personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana.”

      “If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress’ Article I powers — as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause — have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to “appropriate state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce.”

      and further
      “If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison’s assurance to the people of New York that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.”

      Chief Justice William Rehnquist, author of the majority opinions in United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison, joined O’Connor’s dissent.
      End Quote

      • Actually, Bryan, to clarify… The Commerce Clause is in the main body of the Constitution (having to do with powers given to Congress), not in the 10th Amendment. Also, for a little more reading on Raich, if you’re interested, I did a little piece on it here.

      • DdC

        Technically the it was the 10th Amendment’s -”Commerce Clause”, and it was here in the Gonzales_v._Raich ruling – Wherein the Supreme Court came to the most recent conclusion that they can walk all over our rights.

        The US Government is the best humans have ever provided.
        It’s clearly the humans fucking it up.

        The Supreme Court has been established as the last word on a subject. So Ganja grown for groups to sell or give away is all considered commerce. It will affect the price, even if it’s prohibited. It has an effect on other states sales, even if it’s prohibited. What the Supreme Court didn’t rule on, due to the 10th amendment. Is for individuals growing it for themselves. So all states having initiatives for medicinal use are legal as individuals growing for themselves under the specifications of their states initiative. California’s initiative gives all individuals the right to compassionate use for anyone, for any reason. Alaska has a Constitutional amendment permitting small amounts in the home. So the Feds have no jurisdiction unless it is exchanged. Under 99 plants is the rule of thumb but it is subject to political interpretation. I’m sure anything deemed more than an individual can use would be considered potential commerce. Obombo isn’t prioritizing it as less. He has no say in what individuals do. That is clearly a states rights issue.

        This should have been a warning to the states, but it seems people would rather whine and procrastinate. States can be more draconian than the Feds. By this ruling, without science governing the CSA. States could dole out the death penalty for possessing a joint. Laws are made by humans. That doesn’t mean they are infallible. So imho states citizens should establish initiatives for the citizens to use it. Then overturn the CSA listings. Hemp, RxGanja and Recreational should be classed as being not qualified as a schedule#1 narcotic. As Nixon did behind the backs of Americans glued to the TV over Watergate. Owe they cheat, owe they lie, owe they’re not fair. Owe, no shit. I hope Elvy gets stinkin rich suing the piss out of the Oregon State Troopers.

        Oregon State Police harass Federal medical marijuana patient Elvy Musikka

        The Canadian Conservative government pledging action on everything from law and order to axing the long-gun registry.

        Toking And Taxes Don’t Mix, Says IRS

        The members of Congress have a point, if their states allow pot dispensaries for “medicinal use”, how is it remotely fair for dispensaries to be taxed in an arguably confiscatory way?

        As noted here, the IRS and Tax Court deny tax deductions for dealing in controlled substances even though the expenses’like rent’are legitimate and would qualify for regular ‘business expense’ tax deductions. The culprit is Internal Revenue Code Section 280E. It precludes deductions for any business trafficking in controlled substances. Even though some state laws allow marijuana for medical use’like California’federal law still classifies it as a controlled substance.

        Whether or not the feds choose to enforce the criminal law, the IRS says the tax law is clear that Section 280E kicks in. The IRS didn’t make the Internal Revenue Code, Congress did! If the tax code says there’s no deduction, that’s that.

        Besides, even the U.S. Supreme Court has said there is no exception in the Controlled Substances Act for medically necessary marijuana. See U.S. v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Co-Op. Of course, denying a deduction to medical marijuana businesses effectively means they are paying tax on their gross, not their net income. Fortunately, some medical marijuana dispensaries squeak by the tax issues by having two lines of business and segregating their activities.

        Die-anna your lies only terrorize Americans.

  • kaptinemo

    ‘Epidemic, epidemic, epidemic’. Every time a ‘new’ (usually a rehash of an old one, like all the heroin ‘epidemics’ that have come and gone since the 1960’s) so-called ‘drug problem’ emerges, it’s an ‘epidemic’. Most of which burn themselves out (recall crack?) because the drug itself causes so much damage that those around the users can see what damage it does and leaves off.

    Well, this country has had a century long chronic affliction called ‘drug prohibition’, and it’s not being treated with a medical paradigm.

    But as is their wont to practice medicine without a license and get away with it, the ‘drug control’ bureaucrats just gloss over the fact they are hardly qualified to use medical terms to describe the results of social policies derived from superstition, racism, bigotry (and commercial) rationales. They just do it anyway, and to Hell with facts.

    I wish I could be as sloppy and still have a job…

    • in a recent article on the cartels growing pot in NorCal a regional LEO says (paraphrasing), “we (CAMP, etc) only intercept 10% of what is grown here.” Really? In what school does 10% pass any test? What manufacturer would call a 10% successful production rate acceptable? What if only 10% of our legislators actually helped the country? (oh, wait…)

      The point being of course that even being generous and giving LE a 33% interdiction rate it’s still a failure! An F is an F and this is f’in enough Fs.

      The cocaine seized out of Colombia today? Is more than the country produced a few decades ago. Success?

      Heavily armed tactical police assault squads invade American homes by the hundreds every year and hundreds of thousands of citizens are arrested every year for possession of herb under Prohibition and pot is our nation’s #1 agricultural commodity. Success?

      A few years ago foreign DTOs (drug trafficking organizations) operated in 230 US cities. Today they operate in over a thousand. Success?

      Over 40,000 of our neighbors to the south have been killed in just a very few years under a militarized state of Prohibition. Success?

      It’s as plain as the noses on our faces!

      Wait! My nose!

      oh, there it is… (a nod to Hemlock Stones)

  • Randy

    I’m sure the Drug Czar’s office has a way to paint this data as a complete vindication of everything that they’re doing. It’s about the only thing they’re good at.

    Hell, that’s their job. Perhaps Truth in Advertising laws should be brought to bear against the ONDCP and and force it to be renamed so that its title actually reflects its mission. It would then be known for what it really is, The Ministry of Drug War Propaganda.

  • darkcycle

    The trolls are heavy right now. Duncan tried to bring the posts over at to our attention but I don’t think anybody noticed. Last time I saw Duncan, he was over there doing battle with three large and stupid trolls intent on dragging out every one of the drug warrior’s tired old vignettes. Even Crack Babies made an appearance.
    I think somebody has got some trolls on the payroll, cause they seem organized and they’re working together. (kinda like us)
    Here’s the link again, maybe we should go over there and make sure Duncan hasn’t been eaten. A concentrated blast of the truth wouldn’t hurt either, these trolls are nasty..

    • darkcycle

      P.S. Truth dig has not approved any of my multiple comments on this thread yet.

      • darkcycle

        Two of ’em made the cut, apparently.

        • darkcycle

          Yeah, the trolls aren’t looking so good now. One of ’em even rolled over and gave up on key points (after contradicting himself, and trying to soft peddle his earlier posts). Good to see you back, Duncan, not a scratch on you.

    • tensity1

      Been reading Duncan’s posts over there. Additional comments wouldn’t hurt, but damn if Duncan isn’t putting the smackdown on them trolls. He’s like a ninja, Neo, and one of heaven’s angels with a flaming sword of truth and kick-ass all rolled into one. Kinda feel sorry for the trolls, actually.

      A personal aside to the regulars here, and to you darkcycle, my first posts here a while back were a bit arrogant and pissy. I forget to respect the community of a forum at times when new to it, and pointing out the stupidity of people (even if they are, heh heh) is not a way to win hearts and minds. So, apologies. (And the stupidity I mentioned was not about the people here, but citizens of certain regions or political inclinations who fall for various types of propaganda. Something we’ve all probably been guilty of at one point or another.)

      • darkcycle worries tensity, we’re (most of us) grownups here and know how to disagree. Lord knows, we disagree on LOTS of stuff. We share the same goals at the core. Our disagreements are of a particular nature. Tempers can flare, but we vent and move on. This is the most important open forum the legalization effort has, so we keep at it and don’t let personalities get in the way.

  • claygooding

    2000 views of this thread at,,not one comment.

    Gotta go shake the trees and wake them up.

  • ezrydn

    Diana, I am a 66-yr old combat infantryman/RTO who served in Vietnam with the famed 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cav Division from Nov 65 to Dec 66. I also hold 2 Ph.Ds and a JD.

    It’s too bad you don’t have PTSD, otherwise you’d understand. That’s the only way one would. I carry 100% PTSD ratings.

    To the majority of vets, The VA and/or gov’t is useless when it comes to PTSD treatment. The talk therapy sessions are a round-table joke that loses it’s gloss quickly. The meds just turn us into less than we were when we walked through the front door. Talk about having a problem with prescription drugs? Try their’s!!

    However, Cannabis is a blessing to the PTSD sufferer. And you don’t even need to injest enough to acquire a “high.” PTSDsufferers have troublesome “sticky” thoughts they can’t get rid of. I find that with one inhalation of vapor a day, those thoughts get “slippery.” They come in, slide around for a moment and are gone. No more dwelling on the topic.

    You don’t get it because you’ve never truly “been there.” You haven’t had to worry about your life “moment to moment,” even AFTER you left the war. You haven’t waited for the next “episode” to occur. Have you?

    Cannabis is the only thing that has given me my life back in a natural sort of way. And, as a survivor, I choose LIFE!

  • Tony Aroma

    Of course this is a vindication of current policy. The fact that there are still SOME people who have NOT died from drug overdoses means the war is working. Just imagine how much worse things would be without our war on drugs. Or if we even slack off ever so slightly. In fact, this means we need to ramp us the war and put even more people in jail.

    How could you ever doubt that this, or any, statistic is vindication for the war on drugs.

    • I keep trying Tony, but ganja is only so potent… I’ve never been able to OD. I mean even as a young man, smoking from a gas mask pipe, sitting in a closed closet for a good 15 minutes and still… no OD. I’m not sure what pot’s deal is. Maybe it’s just what judge Young called it, one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man.

      During VN I worked just off the flight line in Thailand and one night we took 50 joints to work (in our FOD bags – canvas belt pouches to place the nuts, bolts and other possibly deadly debris one found on the flight line, FOD standing for Flightline Object Disposal, but we -heh, if you can imagine – thought it meant Far Out Dope). We’d smoked and given ’em all away by sunrise. These days I’ve given up trying to OD on pot. Now I just enjoy it.

      • tintguy

        … and I keep waiting for my LSD flashbacks. I invested a lot in those future free highs.

        • darkcycle

          Seriously. There have been times when I’ve thought: “The only thing that would make this appointment/staff meeting/observation/insert occasion here- bearable would be a good solid flashback…c’mon flashback!….but….nothing. Not even a tickle. What a letdown.

        • See? Now there’s a story worth investigating! Where did the flashbacks go? I too have had moments where it was “please, please… let me have a flashback” but nada. Ever.

          Never grew man boobs, never became schizophrenic, the ummm… equipment still all works (2 healthy kids)… I mean what the hell? Have we been lied to?

    • Duncan20903

      Have we started a list yet? A list of legislators who support re-legalization would be high maintenance because you’d have to check every 15 minutes to make sure they haven’t flip flopped or taken a quid pro quo for campaign support from a king maker. Maybe Apple has an app for that?

      I’m already keeping the MSM capitulation list. I admit that I find it annoyingly stuck at 4 for weeks and weeks after going from 0 to 4 in about 60 hours.

      Oh well, it’s still 4 more than ever before. It’s about time.

      Seattle Times
      Los Angeles Times
      Indy Star

      (Indiana?? I think somebody put something in that State’s water a number of months ago)

  • Duncan20903

    In almost 100% of drunken driving arrests and losses there was a motor vehicle involved.

    • Francis

      The key word there is “almost.”

    • darkcycle

      100% of all drunk people have consumed alcohol.

      • Duncan20903

        That seemingly disembodied post was intended to be a response to Yage Panther’s post above.

        >>traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because
        >>of huge investments in auto safety.

        And I thought this drop in accidents was achieved by outlawing cars.

        I’m a bit perplexed about what Francis’ meant. It’s relatively rare but I’ve read accounts of the arrests of people in wheelchairs, on lawn tractors, riding horseback, and for driving Amish buggies in Intercourse. Oh yes, then there are the drunks on bicycles. IIRC New York State and a few other States specifically criminalize BUI. It’s only a tiny percentage of the total drunken driving arrests.

    • Duncan20903

      Comments columns which have a really large number of comments and still being actively discussed are still worth posting boiler plate, or responding to the latest comments only if the mood strikes. I’m still in the process of implementing that personal policy, but with only so many hours in a day it seems to me that its wise to pick our battles.

      I had to sit on my hands a few days ago to keep them from flaming a Know Nothing’s post from 2006. There’s really no point in writing on the wall if no one is going to read it.

  • darkcycle

    Ah, it’s just Asha and me for dinner tonight, so it’s Creamed beef on spongy toast….mmmmmm!…just like Uncle used to make. That’s the only thing I’ve never been able to let go of.

  • vickyvampire

    Diana get real WTF Narcotics for short term use, I have intractable Chronic pain it never goes away, I have used Narcotics the same three pills of percocets daily for 5 years before took Lortabs only take extra if I’m on a trip never waiver from routine,use Cannabis for breakthrough pain.and a ton of other meds muscle relaxants,anti_inflammatory,vitamins,bio-identical hormones.
    My story is very long stick around here and everyone will educate you.

    Also some of my friends who use tobacco and cannabis together are healthier than some of our friends who use neither it just pisses them off to no end.

    Please Diana get educated,God don’t tell me you hate Gays to Yeah besides no-nothing about Drugs,very hateful gay bigotry is still rampant out there good grief.

    • I suspect those that whine about all those of us that DO HAVE chronic pain only whine because they DON’T have pain – and pain seems to be one of those unmentioned benefits to a lifetime of play and work (besides the hazards involved in just inhabiting one of these bipedular organisms), so it makes me suspect they never worked OR played much. And they probably weren’t much fun either…

  • TrebleBass

    I wonder how many lives could be saved if only they allowed people to buy naloxone over the counter, and if doctors who prescribe opioids would recommend to their patients that they buy some and have it handy. It doesn’t have to be injected, btw, it can be squirted up the nose like afrin.

    • Duncan20903

      I understand that there hasn’t been a fatality due to heroin overdose in Switzerland since at least 1994. They’re the ones who give pharmaceutical grade heroin to their junkies, paid for by the taxpayers.

      I read just the other day that the Swiss do require the junkies who qualify for the program to surrender their driver’s license before they can enter the HAT. But that’s probably not much of an inconvenience for the junkie. I’m not aware of very many junkies who didn’t sell their cars long ago to get money to avoid withdrawal. Think Kieth Richards and Jerry Garcia as examples of the exception to that rule before you swear that they all haven’t got cars.

  • Duncan20903

    The conversation on the truthdig site must have a longer shelf life than most media outlets comments columns. My basic rule of thumb is if I don’t find the story more than 24 hours it’s probably only worth posting if it’s of significant importance, longer than 48 hours only if I’m pissy and it’s likely to brighten my day, and after 72 hours the only reason to post is if I want to hear myself talk.

    I’m telling you, SAMHSA is my very favorite agency of the Federal government. For State regulators it’s the Iowa Board of Pharmacy. My favorite doctor is Donald Abrams, M.D. from San Francisco. My least favorite doctor is any quack running who a medicinal cannabis recommendation mill who will give that document to anyone with a pulse and the fee and which doctors just presume that the patient does indeed have a pulse without verification.

    I learned a long time ago that if a business has a counter party beating them up with a contract that it almost certainly the best choice to do is to pick your file copy and start doing the same to your adversary. But I do swear that I’ve never before read a contract that had so many lightweight but very resilient clubs (SAMHSA data) for beating up the counter party (ignorati or prohibitionist). But there are a lot of Know Nothings who aren’t even slowed down by a violent blow to the head which would kill anyone with a brain, so that’s a darn good thing.

    Synthetic cannabis use called an epidemic, concerned citizens demand that authorities put a stop to human nature:

    Matson and Williamson said banning the product by its specific chemical ingredients doesn’t work because chemists can change the makeup slightly and get the product back on the market. They are looking at comprehensive legislation that covers any product affecting cannabis receptors in the brain and any variations of synthetic marijuana.

    The meaning of the word “regulate” must not be in the official Alabama dictionary:
    ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———- ———-

    Carl Lackey, owner of the Cosmic Debris music store Lackey said he requires customers to show an ID and be at least 19 to buy it, even though the law doesn’t require that.

    “If you make this illegal, kids are going to go back to smoking weed. You haven’t solved the problem,” he said.

    A Frank Zappa fan selling synthetic cannabis. Now if that isn’t reality FUBARed I couldn’t say what is. The price of meat has just gone up and your old lady has just gone down, no doubt. Who are you jivin’ with that cosmik debris? (no typo)

    • darkcycle

      My rule is usually 100 comments plus, it’s probably not worth it. There are many exceptions to that rule, one being, if the comments already posted piss me off. Another is: If it’s a topic I’m passionate about, or feel I may be able to submit a (somewhat) qualified opinion on. Otherwise, I’ll just shine it on, It’s an effort and takes time to compose these things. I’m a lousy typist, I only have two literate fingers, the rest just get in the way. And I don’t cut and paste anymore, since I found out I re-compose the pasties anyway.