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An open letter to marijuana prohibitionists and so-called third-way-ers

Dear sons of SAM and daughters of the American prohibition; to all the treatment industry, drug testing, private prison, and sheriff union lobbyists; and, of course, to our friends who are required by law to lie:

I keep hearing from your side that you have noble motives for your opposition to marijuana legalization. I hear that all you care about is using scientific inquiry to determine what is best for the people.

However, I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but you keep talking about things in ways that aren’t scientific, or that are meaningless without the proper context.

That kind of thing may have worked once, but in general, people are a little more sophisticated about scientific knowledge — they no longer uncritically accept “Here be dragons” for cartography or “If she floats, she’s a witch” as a judicial system.

Here are just a few of the danger signs that you may be mis-using or underutilizing scientific rigor in your discussions about marijuana legalization.

1. The invisible “user.”

You can’t discuss policy that affects all marijuana users by leaving out the actual category of marijuana users. When you discuss marijuana policy by saying we should treat instead of jail, then you’re completely ignoring the largest population — those who need neither. It’s like discussing whether to jail or require sexual assault treatment for all those who have sex — simply absurd.

2. The marijuana “addict.”

When you toss out the word “addictive” (and you do so very often), realize that the word is meaningless by itself. People talk about being addicted to Facebook, chocolate, and “Doctor Who” (what do you mean I have to wait until November 23?). Not even the top professionals in the mental health field can agree on its definition.

So if you’re going to use it, you need to put it in context, and the best way to do that is to compare with familiar things to the public, such as legal drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. How do they compare in terms of likelihood of dependence, severity of dependence and severity of withdrawal effects? Without putting that in perspective, your use of “addictive” has absolutely no science in it at all.

Oh, and if you’re going to claim (or infer) that legalization will result in a percentage increase of “addicts” equal to the percentage increase of use, then you’d better be prepared to show some hard proof, since it’s clear that marijuana prohibition is more likely to deter casual users.

3. Scary “Carcinogens”

Don’t even think about using the word “carcinogens,” unless you’re ready to discuss the science of carcinogens and how much of our ordinary life contains carcinogens, including the air we breathe. Additionally, if you’re going to even inferentially talk about cancer and marijuana, you’d better not leave out the reams of scientific evidence that proves anti-cancer properties of marijuana.

You completely betray your claimed interest in science and the well-being of people when you cherry-pick really bad studies (like that New Zealand one) to try to declare that the outcome is still uncertain about whether marijuana causes cancer. Real scientists have done systematic reviews that include even those flawed studies and still concluded that marijuana doesn’t cause cancer.

The tragedy is that we’re spending time debunking false claims of marijuana causing cancer which distracts us from the important scientific work of learning more about how marijuana could be used to prevent or heal cancer.

4. Health concern du jour

Over the course of my life drinking coffee was good for me, then bad for me, then merely OK, then bad for me, then good for me, and never once during that time was it made illegal.

When you hear about some little health thing about marijuana, you might want to get confirmation. After all, researchers are paid to try to find things wrong with marijuana, and sometimes do, even though the results are not reproducible. This should raise red flags in particular with a substance that has been in popular use for many decades. The key phrase to ask yourself is: “Where are the bodies?”

5. Cannabis behind the wheel

Are there additional dangers due to driving under the influence of marijuana? Sure, probably. But once again here, everything is relative. There are real additional dangers of driving after your girlfriend breaks up with you, or after you get chewed out by your boss at work. You can be less than 100% on the road for a thousand different reasons. So policy should be about real comparable dangers.

Compare the actual risks of driving under the influence of marijuana with the actual risks of driving under the influence of alcohol or fatigue. As part of this, look at a comparison of the actual ways in which driving is affected by marijuana, alcohol, or fatigue.

We never see anything regarding such comparisons from you. In fact, you never even mention fatigue as a significant factor in traffic accidents (even though it’s huge), nor is there any major national effort to arrest tired drivers.

This makes all you say about marijuana and driving very suspect.

6. Correlation and Causation are two different words.

Get this one right. There are millions of people who use and have used marijuana, so there’s bound to be some strong correlations out there. Correlations are interesting, and may be a reason to do further study, but generally, they are not, of themselves, a reason to act.

For example, marijuana use has been linked to Nobel Prizes, the U.S. Presidency, and Olympic Gold Medals. That doesn’t mean that marijuana use is going to cause you to get any of those things.

….

So, that’s just six items. There are more, I’m sure, but if you’ll work on getting these correct, we’ll have a lot less disagreement.

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80 comments to An open letter to marijuana prohibitionists and so-called third-way-ers

  • claygooding

    “since it’s clear that marijuana prohibition is more likely to deter casual users.”
    shouldn’t that be “since it’s clear that marijuana prohibition does not deter casual users?

    If you add the hypocrisy of the “3rd way” that will continue to fill our prisons with anyone that can’t afford rehab fees and court costs,,that should round it out,,nice job. Now to get it in the WP or NYT,,,maybe even the Hill,,,,

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    • If prohibition deters anyone, it deters casual users – those who could take it or leave it, but don’t want to mess with the illegality, so they have a drink instead. So yes, it is much more likely to deter casual users than non-casual users.

      Well-liked Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

      • claygooding

        If prohibition deterred casual users why is the number of users continuing to grow? After all,we were all casual users at one time.

        Well-liked Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

        • matt

          thats called population growth and the realisation that marijuana isnt the devil drug its claimed to be

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  • allan

    this may be my favorite line in our long list of such sensical queries:

    “Where are the bodies?”

    Well-liked Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

    • ezrydn

      Allan, Pete, The “Crack Baby” pandemic of yesteryear is a perfect example of “Where are the bodies.” Hell, there’s never been one follow-up study mentioned. We keep asking and they keep ignoring. Why? My guess is there’s nothing there to follow-up on! Just another knee-jerk moment in certain social circles.

      OT- Ir’d good to be home from my European vacation. Paris is a tourist trap. Cologne, Ger. was a true history lesson and Strasbourg, Fr., has the most beautiful women. And I froze my “stuff” off! LOL

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      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        I’ve seen significant documentation that in the long run the crack babies were not significantly affected by mom’s use of cocaine.

        Oh for crying out loud, the synchronicity that I suffer because of my habit of reading this blog! The crack babies nonsense is hysterical rhetoric that’s at least 20 years out of date. But here’s a video/article in the New York Times…published 3 hours ago.

        Revisiting the ‘Crack Babies’ Epidemic That Was Not
        By Michael Winerip
        Published May 20, 2013

        This week’s Retro Report video on “crack babies” (infants born to addicted mothers) lays out how limited scientific studies in the 1980s led to predictions that a generation of children would be damaged for life. Those predictions turned out to be wrong. This supposed epidemic — one television reporter talks of a 500 percent increase in damaged babies — was kicked off by a study of just 23 infants that the lead researcher now says was blown out of proportion. And the shocking symptoms — like tremors and low birth weight — are not particular to cocaine-exposed babies, pediatric researchers say; they can be seen in many premature newborns.
        /snip/

        But what else is new? The prohibasites and their sycophants have been screeching hysterically about “lost generations” since at least sometime in the 1910s.

        Well-liked Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

        • allan

          thanks Duncan… I noted this sentence:

          A much more serious problem, it turns out, is infants who are born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

          huh… imagine that

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  • Miles Monroe

    All excellent arguments, but unfortunately make WAY too much sense to be given any credence by those for whom they are intended; science, logic, or evidence doesn’t even factor into their thought process on the issue.

    Perhaps if you were to appeal to their greed for wealth and power …

    Well-liked Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  • NotObot

    Cannabis prohibition has never been a public health, or safety issue. We must focus on cannabis prohbition as being like the Volstead Act. Both were forced on the American people by special interest groups for the purpose of power to oppress, to create federal jobs, punish minorities by racists, justify bigger government, & intrusion into the private affairs of the citizenry. There are so many more reasons & very powerful special interest groups that found cannabis users the perfect low hanging fruit to easily pick off. Alcohol was a tougher drug to keep prohibited due to the sloppy way it blots out the senses. The more oppressive the economy, government, & industries get, the more people want to escape that reality. Alcohol drinkers who over indulge aren’t called “blotto” for no reason. Alcohol & tobacco are horrible legal drugs that kill & addict millions worldwide every year. Even so, prohibition of these drugs would cause far greater havoc than keeping them regulated. By comparison, cannabis doesn’t kill, & the NIDA says it’s less addicitive than caffeine (another legal drug that kills). But, cannabis prohibition does kill by creating drug gangs who murder to control the trafficking of cannabis. Everything about cannabis prohibition creates far worse problems than cannabis use does. So, why are we letting prohibition exist even one more day? We should be ashamed at having lost the sense of outrage at every form of intrusion of privacy in our nation. Every drug has the power to cause harm, as aspirin does, if the user wants it to do so. We must mature and accept the fact that some people are drug abusers. But, the Puritan policy of punishing drug users does nothing to stop drug use. Better we embrace harm reduction for hard core drugs, & legalization to regulate soft drugs like cannabis. Drug prohibition has failed & only 11% of Americans still support it. One guess who those people are who want prohibtion to continue. Those who make a living from the prohibition industry, criminals & people with long noses they like to stick into other people’s business.

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I often wonder why people count the start of a prohibition from the time when the Feds adopt their law. The first Statewide prohibition law that was in force until after the implementation of the 21st Amendment was adopted in Kansas in 1881. The very first Statewide prohibition law was implemented in Maine in 1851. But that law was repealed in 1856. There were several Statewide laws prohibiting drinking alcohol in between, all repealed after a very short number of years.

      When the Harrison Tax Act of 1914 was adopted by the Feds 46 of 48 States had already criminalized cocaine and 29 of 48 had criminalized heroin.

      I’ve never been able to quantify the number of States which had already criminalized drinking alcohol when the National Prohibition Act of 1919 but it was at least 30 of 48.

      The first State to criminalize the recreational use of cannabis was Massachusetts in 1911. It also might be valid to say that DC was first in 1906 but back then DC’s laws were written by Congress. By the time the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed by Congress it was already criminalized by 46 of 48 States and 48 of 48 by the time it was implemented.

      So is it because there was never a Federal law criminalizing cigarettes which has kept most people in the dark that at its height the prohibition of smoking tobacco it was criminalized in 21 of 48 States?

      The Feds always follow the States, not vice-versa. That’s only natural since the Federal government is the sum total of its parts, and the parts are States.

      Well-liked Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

      • B. Snow

        IIRC, There was also a City (or maybe County?) Ordinance outlawing marijuana it in El Paso,TX in 1905… And after a few minutes = That’s what Google leads me to believe as well, though it’s a bit vague/disputed as to the specifics.

        Except every source seems to agree that this was mostly instituted & used to discriminate against/aka ‘profile’ Mexicans, Of Course… why else would they implement a policy like that?

        Well, Except when other groups of “undesirables” and affluent “young people” started using it = but only after the (largely racist and/or prejudiced) public found out that this was occurring.

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  • Ten Thousand Lawyers

    Warmup Phase Complete.
    Our Work Here Is Done.
    Member Checklist;

    Shorts
    Shades
    Golf Clubs
    Beach Towel
    Tickets/Reservations

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  • Very sensible, Pete.

    Sons of SAM and daughters of the American prohibition; all the treatment industry, drug testing, private prison, and sheriff union lobbyists, and all our friends who are required by law to lie should all read this. I can think of some who aren’t required by law that should read it too (all of Congress, POTUS, and the duly elected representatives of all 50 States).

    Well-liked Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  • Newt

    Could someone tell me why a witch floats?

    Well-liked Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • Lawyers

      Objection!
      Technicality!
      Conjecture!
      Eye of Frog!
      Client Confidentiality!
      Recess Till Next Spring, Please.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Deep/in/the/heart

      Witches eat loads of frogs. Frogs can float.

      Well-liked Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • Servetus

      Along with frogs, dunking was an ordeal by water. An ordeal was a legal procedure believed to be witnessed and influenced by the god du jour, making whoever won a duel, a battle, or survived a dunking, the innocent party.

      King James VI of Scotland (Later James I of England), responsible in his reign for the execution of thousands of innocent people for witchcraft, believed that water was such a pure element it “repelled the guilty”. [Note: no historical record exists showing James I ever saying anything intelligent].

      The ordeal is an archaic form of law, like mal fama, meaning ill-fame, which was an ancient legal procedure justifying the arrest, prosecution and punishment of someone based simply on their having a bad reputation. Torture is another legal procedure fraught with so many problems as to make it useless. Likewise, prohibitionism will one day be categorized along with the ordeal, mal fama and torture as legal procedures too riddled with error, superstition, bigotry and incompetence to allow for its continued use.

      Ref: H. C. Lea, Superstition and Force: Essays on the Wager of Law, the Wager of Battle, the Ordeal, Torture, 1866.

      Well-liked Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

    • alec

      because they are made of wood.

      Well-liked Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        ding ding ding ding! We have a wiener!

        Here’s the video tutorial:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_l5ntikaU

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        • claygooding

          That scene was in the MP cd game I had,,then you had to play “Burn the Witch”,,it had 4 withes tied to stakes and they burned in different sequences,,you had to remember the order they burned in and repeat it,,after about 9 or ten in a row it got tough.

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    • Windy

      I’m a witch (though I’ve not practiced the Craft for many years) and I only float when I am skulling or have a floating device under/on me. I’m actually a very good swimmer (I swam in a water ballet team in high school, spent more of my awake time in the water than out of it, back then), but I do not just float and never have (guess that is because I have a very low percentage of body fat).

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  • Jeff Trigg

    Pete, one of your best posts, ever. Thank you, sincerely. I’d flip 3 and 5 only because I see the driving while high argument more prominent in the media.

    The driving while high paranoia reached into the Illinois MMJ legislation in a big way, as our communities will soon learn. Mandatory fingerprinting and background checks of EVERY MMJ patient, IF Gov. Quinn signs it. Mandatory roadside sobriety tests for every MMJ patient, regardless of why they are pulled over or stopped during a DUI roadblock. Mandatory that all patient medical records are turned over to the state police.

    The recent IRS/Tea Party scandal? That is the Chicago Way personified, using government force to punish human beings who won’t kiss “the ring”. Be afraid, very afraid, of the over-regulation the so-called Democrats/ liberals/progressives just passed in Illinois. Lou Lang and his so-called IL Democrats championed the IL MMJ bill as a model for the entire US, at the same time they trumpeted that the IL MMJ bill was the most restrictive in the US. They are liars, without any doubt and without any shame.

    No personal grows, with the punishment for doing so now increased, and only 22 growing licenses for the entire state. 12 million population. FUCK DEMOCRATS, even when they pass MMJ legislation in Obama’s backyard, 30 years after the Republicans also passed a piece of shit MMJ bill in the state. Democrats have not needed one, single Republican vote to pass any drug war reform legislation in Illinois since 01/2003, and this is the best they can come up with, along with treating grape flavored rolling papers like heroin? FUCK DEMOCRATS, and the blood on their hands now and throughout American history.

    I’d also note that cannabis freedom fighters would be wise to look at the complete, junk science used to demonize “2nd hand” tobacco smoke and outlaw that in many areas including outdoors, lest you suffer the same fate of having to own your own house in order to inhale indoors.

    Well-liked Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    • allan

      wouldn’t all that make it a “we-hate-medical-marijuana law”?

      Well-liked Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

    • divadab

      Wow! Thanks for the update. I always wondered how it was Democrats responsible for the brutal police behavior against demonstrators at the ’68 Dem presidential convention. Now I get it – Illinois Democrats are authoritarian. Hail Fearless Leader! Death to hippies!

      Also puts Rahm Emanuel into perspective.

      Well-liked Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

      • darkcycle

        …and they’re the most corrupt, bought and paid for, entrenched with big business crop of theives anywhere in the Democratic Party. People all over the country sneer when the they talk about “Chicago Politics”, for a good reason. People here complain about Washington, but untill you’ve watched Illinois Politicians at work, you’ve never seen an “old boy network”. I did my time in Ill. I even worked as a student lobbiest in the Ill. legislature when the ERA was a hot issue.

        Well-liked Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • Jeff Trigg

        Yes, Illinois has a long history of utterly stupid politicians that the idiot voters keep re-electing. Heck, even Abraham Lincoln himself gave the orders to keep slaughtering Native Americans.

        We had Chicago police torturing suspects to get confessions, followed by half the inmates on death row later being exonerated for crimes they didn’t commit. Chicago police have been infiltrating and spying on interest groups that question authority since at least ’68, did it again in 2002 with anti-war protest groups and are still doing it I’m sure.

        Except for two years, we’ve had the same House Speaker since 1980. His daughter is the Attorney General and has not prosecuted even one corrupt official in her two terms, and this state is full of them. Yet, everyone loves her even though she is obviously evil and incompetent. Rep. Gov. George Ryan was corrupt and went to jail, followed by Rod Blagojevich. 10 straight years of having a corrupt Governor. Hundreds of government officials guilty of crimes since WWII, and that was just the really bad ones who got caught.

        Election laws that kept independents off the ballot for 25 years in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendment. Corrupt union contracts at McCormmick Place and Navy Pier. Union bosses giving their relatives high paid porch inspector jobs and porch collapses all over resulting in great harm, and all kinds of ghost payrolling throughout County/Chicago government. The Hired Truck scandal where dozens of people made themselves rich with politicians blessing. Minority Contract corruption everywhere, with rich connected Democrat donors saying their wives or black friends owned and ran their businesses to get those lucrative set-aside contracts. Billions of dollars to professional sports teams. Airport runways shredded in the middle of the night under Mayoral order. Dozens of Chicago council members have gone to jail, and we have 3 Democrats sitting in the state Assembly right now who are under indictment, one who won re-election after the House expelled him for taking bribes. Illinois is beyond insane.

        Right now, the Chicago area has racked up $32 BILLION in pension debts, $6,000 debt burden for every man woman and child in Cook/Chicago with 5.2 million population. The state’s pension debt is over $120 BILLION. That doesn’t include the free healthcare for life promises that were made either. Our children are just fucked.

        When I look at the list of things in the Declaration of Independence explaining why we must throw off the chains of British rule, and compare it to what I’ve observed in Illinois in just the last 20 years, there is little doubt that Illinois is worse now than the colonies under British rule. So what does the rest of the country do about it? Elect a President from the most corrupt place in the US. There is no hope for us. Nobody cares enough to even pay attention to what is really going on, let alone try to stand up against it. We’re mostly all idiots who deserve the giant failures soon to come.

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  • Dante

    Number 7:

    Stop enriching yourselves by ruining people’s lives. I don’t care if that makes you feel good, it harms everybody else so stop it.

    Well-liked Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  • I really like the use of the Jerry Maguire test (Show me the bodies!)

    It can be applied to all sorts of things politicians and the media want us to be scared of.

    Well-liked Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  • The war on (some) drugs is a war on consciousness. The main front in this war is actually monetary control. Private Usury is warring on humanity and keep us divided and conquered. We have been deceived by “separation consciousness” when we are all One. We are perpetual debt slaves living in scarcity. Usury has Usurped all of our institutions. Elections, politicians, justice, health, medicine, military etc etc.

    Only a usuryFree monetary reform will emancipate humanity from the “money power”.
    Hour Money Jubilee

    Well-liked Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  • Servetus

    An arch prohibitionist has croaked. Sound the trumpets.

    The little known instigator of the Rockefeller drug laws, William F. Fine, has died of multiple atrophy syndrome at age 86.

    Mr. Fine told Rockefeller that his son had been a drug addict and that he himself yearned to do something to fight addiction. He was already chairman of Phoenix House, a drug rehabilitation program.

    Rockefeller suggested that Mr. Fine visit Japan, where there was very little addiction, and report to him. Rockefeller focused on one aspect of Mr. Fine’s report: Japan’s imposition of life sentences on drug dealers.

    Mr. Fine praised the Japanese for being “willing to give up the soapbox movement on human rights in order to rid the public of the evil abuses of drugs.”

    William Fine might have added another ten years to his life had he only smoked marijuana.

    Well-liked Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    • kaptinemo

      The history of Japan flooding Manchuria with cheap opium a la the British East India Company template, during the Japanese occupation of Northern China – while using Draconian laws to make personal use illegal in their own islands – is a matter of historical record.

      And while anyone is looking that up, also google Unit 731.

      It doesn’t matter what nationality, race, creed or political inclinations, prohibitionists are all rank hypocrites.

      Well-liked Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  • DonDig

    I guess there is a third way, and it is the Portugal model where everything is decriminalized and folks who need help can get it, or refuse it, but my understanding is that jail is not involved regardless.
    There’s your third way, not this crazy SAM the Sham way, (and I mean no offense to Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs).

    Well-liked Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  • chip

    The democracy peddling sociocrats have ran the country off the cliff. The uninfected true republicans’ big mistake was thinking that WE the real people could make a deal with the Moneychangers down at the Stock Exchange/ Casino. Look at all the unspeakable evils that have arisen on this poisoned political landscape. We desperately need a government RESET. If. If we could USE the communication technology by including every voice moving in an open direction toward prosperity and freedom, away from any form of dicktocracy. In ten years or so we could build unanimous assent on truly public policy. I’ll moderate.

    Well-liked Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • NorCalNative

    Pete, I have to agree with Jeff Trigg about this being one of your best posts.

    You’re the Glenn Greenwald of cannabis reporting.

    Well-liked Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

    • Judge Julie

      :BANG:
      Motion Approved.

      Well-liked Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • allan

      interesting that… and Pete don’ even poke smot.

      Like the voters in CO and WA he was probably duped by them level egalizers… them eagle levelizers… them legal evilizers… (damn, another brain kink) them evil legalizers

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  • War Vet

    I have no idea why health, addiction, behavior, drug comparisons and even drugs are an important issue to the prohibs when it comes to keeping it illegal vs. legalization. What about the residual effects of the War on Drugs? Had I not worked in a CIA/DoD/Iraqi prison which held a few Latin American smugglers, the Italian Mafia and the Russian Mafia etc and had I not ever read about Massoud, I wouldn’t be beating the $3trillion Drug War cost from just the first decade of the 21st Century, like it was a dead horse. Maybe the Federal Government shouldn’t have given me a free education (and I had a scholarship, but boycotted it) . . . maybe they shouldn’t have given me extremely smart professors similar to Pete –whom taught me that research is next to Godliness:

    http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2011/06/warcosts . . . this is just one of the many and I do believe the Prohibition of drugs created a drug black market and I do believe drug dealers sell drugs . . . it ain’t rocket science Project SAME . . . sometimes drug legalization doesn’t look anything like drugs or drug use or addiction or harm reduction etc . . . sometimes drug legalization is all about keeping people from dying from bullets and bombs . . . maybe Mexican Cartels don’t utilize drug money for their violence . . . maybe they do and if they do, then we’ll know that others whom we don’t initially label as cartels, utilize drug money to do the wicked voodoo they do so well. Who wants to take a bet and wager that Project SAM really means: Project Same as Mold. I’m not sure how health and addictions and user rates has anything to do with debating drug legalization, let alone pot legalization. You’d think the residual effects of prohibition would outweigh the minute harms associated with drug use. Pete’s letter is spot on, but there is no use in speaking to rats like they are human . . . how would one speak to Hitler about ending the Holocaust? These bastards don’t even understand death or disease unless it personally afflicts them. Project SAME, the DOJ (sadly, elements of the DoD) and the rest of them all want you to believe that insurgents, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the other smaller and affiliated terrorist cells, all sell Avon, Mary Kay and Scentsy Candles etc just to finance their wars. Pete is an expert in speaking the language of humanity . . . Project SAME is deaf and inhumane and thus will not listen.

    Well-liked Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • War Vet

      A two mile wide tornado and the feds want to waste billions a year keeping dope illegal.

      Every prohib needs to have their neck snapped like 2-3 inch steel does when it dances with a tornado . . . but that’s OK -you’ve got Fed money to ride around and look for those plants and use all those cop cars for one drug suspect and all that money to waste for overtime. Let’s fill our jails and prisons with refugees whom lose 8,000 homes -not drug offenders. If this doesn’t cost one billion dollars, it will be a damn miracle. You cannot run away from a two mile long lawn mower blade . . . that’s what they say it’s like when you add debris. The local bars and liquor stores will be filled with people looking for relief in the next hour-to several months . . . those won’t make it better . . . maybe a little hemp homes could offset the cost of reconstruction . . . maybe some hemp jobs to restart the few thousand lost in under an hour. The War on Drugs is very much like a tornado: it destroys all and not just the drug users and their families. Let’s go and prohibit us some tornaders –A War against Tornaders. Project SAMe, Gil, DEA, Kevy and Eric Holder: lead the fucking charge and run smack towards those tornados –you can hold them down . . . ropes made out of synthetics will lasso them . . . go plug those tornados with all your prohib strength –but mostly with your drug warrior bodies . . . maybe some houses need to drop on them, just like one dropped on the witch in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ . . . Prohibs are all Cowardly Lions, Tin-Men with no hearts and Scarecrows with no brains –and the DEA has less bite than Toto.

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      • allan

        last night’s NBS national news was almost competely coverage of OK’s tornadoes yesterday. I was almost brought to tears watching the rescuers at the schools, the people dazed, looking for family, pets and friends…

        And I say that as a heavy weather system is dumping some huge showers on me here today. I know that this weather will be the midwest’s weather in 3 days or so as it sucks cold air from Alaska and warm moisture up from the Pacific, heads east and takes a turn south over the great basin and rocky mtns where it will continue to clash with warm, wet weather coming up from the gulf.

        Someday, sooner than later I hope, we will figure out that we cannot afford to be sending valuable resources like our young people, overseas where they’re not wanted and their mission is… confused… at best. We will continue to see an increasing need for our nat’l guard troops here, helping us, not elsewhere.

        We still haven’t fixed or even cleaned up parts of the south ravaged by hurricane Katrina…

        Meanwhile congress spends their energies on doing their party’s business rather than the business of dealing with the country’s very real needs.

        The politicians in DC should be ashamed.

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        • allan

          meant NBC

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        • darkcycle

          Didn’t you also mean “Politicians in DC should be LYNCHED”?

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        • allan

          well… in these Patriot Act (ralf!) days I rarely say anything implying death and mayhem about anyone in gummint. But yeah, if it were a level playing field and all things justly equal there are many deserving of anything from a severe ass-kicking to tar-and-feathering to swinging from a rope. Metaphorically speaking, of course…

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        • Duncan20903

          Doggoneit DC, I thought we had reached a consensus and decided on tar and feathering!

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  • DonDig

    But Pete, if they followed your suggestions, they could never say much of anything negative about the plant, you’ve eliminated all their talking points.
    Is that your intention?
    :-)

    I particularly like your inference that the vast majority of drug users are neither problem users nor addicts, and in fact with cannabis the heaviest users are highly likely to be the medical users in constant pain, that need the most. It’s the whole bell curve thing, and that undoubtedly has as much application here as anywhere.
    This is (more) excellent work, Pete.
    Well done!

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  • Cmurua

    I have always felt the carcinogen argument was dumb also. I have long thought, “Well, how much crap do we take into our lungs driving in traffic, walking on a sidewalk next to heavy traffic?” The list for me could go on and on if I sat and thought about it. This is an excellent piece on the idiocy of Cannabis prohibition!

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  • claygooding

    San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Urges Jurors To Reject Medpot Case

    http://tinyurl.com/kxacuss

    SAN DIEGO — San Diego Mayor Bob Filner took the unusual step Monday of injecting himself into a federal criminal prosecution, encouraging jurors to find the former owner of medical marijuana dispensaries not guilty of drug charges if they believe prosecuting such cases is unjust.

    Filner, a supporter of medical marijuana use who wants the city to adopt regulations allowing outlets to provide the drug, spoke at a news conference outside the federal court following a hearing in the case prosecutors have brought against Ronnie Chang. ‘snipped’

    When Mayors start telling legislators that change needs to occur it will start to happen much more rapidly. It is why we must attend all local political events,,make the candidates take a position so we can point out the prohibs and support the reformers.

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  • Freeman

    I just want to chime in and agree with the rest of the couch that this letter is excellent work! Bookmarked for future reference.

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  • 7. You say the law is on your side, but the facts prove the contrary. According to the public record, the Commerce Clause has been irrationally applied to allow Congress to ban non-economic activities involving certain substances. Willard v. Fickburn was blatant judicial activism (redefining “to regulate commerce” to ‘to regulate any activity having a substantial effect on commerce’) and so is the long string of “legal precedence” since then. To abandon rationality is to abandon law.

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  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    “When in the course of human events…”
    Nail it to the White House door!

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  • claygooding

    Oberweis Defends His Vote for Medical Marijuana

    http://tinyurl.com/lwg5gfn

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois state Sen. Jim Oberweis says he broke ranks with most fellow Republicans and voted to legalize medical marijuana because it might help people in pain.

    Oberweis was a vocal critic of former GOP Chairman Pat Brady for supporting same-sex marriage, which the party platform opposes. It also opposes illegal drug use. However, the well-known conservative says it’s different for a legislator to go against the party platform.

    Oberweis tells the Daily Herald it was Brady’s job to represent the party’s ideals. He adds a legislator has a right “to vote as he or she sees fit.”

    Brady stepped down as GOP chairman earlier this month.

    The medical marijuana law allows a patient with a relationship with a doctor to be prescribed a limited amount from a state-run dispensary.

    A group of Dane County supervisors wants you to be able to toke up without worrying about the cops.

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    County Board to consider officially backing marijuana legalization

    http://tinyurl.com/kne72yt

    Early this month, Kyle Richmond, whose District 4 includes parts of Fitchburg and the city of Madison’s south side, introduced a resolution to support a federal proposal to decriminalize marijuana. ‘snip’

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    Springfield Won’t Lower Marijuana Penalties

    http://tinyurl.com/jwpy4rk

    SPRINGFIELD (AP) – Springfield’s city council has again rejected a proposal to lower penalties for small amounts of marijuana.

    Supporters gathered enough signatures last summer to limit the penalties for marijuana possession, but council members declined to put the proposal on the November ballot. Instead, the council approved the petition and then repealed it.

    An alternate bill was then drafted and would have gone on the August ballot.

    Both bills would have required the city to charge some first- and second-time offenders who had 35 grams or less of marijuana with municipal infractions, rather than criminal misdemeanors.

    The Springfield News-Leader reports neither alternative received much support from the council Monday night. Most said if marijuana is going to be decriminalized, it should be done at the state level.

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    It’s popping out there as cities and counties begin changing laws in response to voters wishes in some locations and the prohibs in charge of others refuse to listen too their voters,,,it should be a very interesting election cycle this year.

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    • Jeff Trigg

      Oberweis owns a dairy company that also makes ice cream. The joke in IL to explain his vote is that “stoners” like ice cream.

      22 grow licenses in IL, one for each State Police District. I kid you not. 60 “dispensary” licenses for the entire state, basically one per state senate district. Republican House Minority leader Tom Cross has a friend that I predict will be granted at least one of the grow licenses, if not more. Doubtful there will be more than 10 licensed growers in IL if Quinn signs the mmj law. Perhaps better than nothing for a few thousand people, but mostly ridiculous nonsense.

      An interesting election cycle? I’d bet against it, using my definition of interesting. Will 94+% of Congress be re-elected? Yup. Will 95% of the state assembly in my state be re-elected, with less than half of them even having competition on the ballot? Yup. Will there be another Washington or Colorado? Nope. Will there be small, city referendum victories in the few states that allow them? Yep, which is better than nothing and not to be discouraged. But overall, I predict Americans will continue to vote like they are complete idiots, same as it ever was, and not hardly interesting enough.

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      • Jeff Trigg

        I forgot to mention the mandatory surveillance cameras for every grow license, “wired” straight into the State Police District office, in the mmj bill. IL “dispensaries” also are mandated to have surveillance cameras sent to the police authorities directly. The yearly license fees for growing or dispensing were $10,000 at last check. Drivers License would include a special note if person is medical cannabis patient, which helps them automatically give a roadside sobriety test to every patient they pull over. Ridiculous nonsense to placate the majority Democrats.

        Can you imagine that in CA or WA? Can you imagine that at every pharmacy in the US right now that handles all kinds of things worse than cannabis? FUCK DEMOCRATS! FUCK REPUBLICANS TOO, and all the evil, authoritarian, government is god believers and fools in this country.

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        • Jeff Trigg

          As I ponder the IL medical cannabis legislation further, I realized it requires a video camera is aimed at every single cannabis plant, and every cash register that transacts medical cannabis in the state, with 12 million people, and those cameras are shared instantly with the police. Unprecedented. Evil. Pathetic.

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        • Duncan20903

          I’ve often thought that the only thing that could be worse than absolute prohibition would be a scheme of re-legalization created by a committee of prohibitionist parasites.

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  • Servetus

    When the positive effects of medical marijuana were being rediscovered in the 1970s, treating glaucoma with pot led the way.

    Then Big Pharma entered the picture with what they claimed was a superior medication for glaucoma employing prostaglandin analogues (PGAs).

    Now, research from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, indicates that PGA treatments can lead to droopy eyelids. It’s also been noted previously that “PGAs have long been associated with blurred vision, dryness, changes in eye color and other side effects.

    Big Pharma’s FDA-certified answer to treating glaucoma symptoms falls far short of cannabinoids in terms of reduced or innocuous side effects. And despite the scientific evidence, we can expect the federal government to continue to back PGAs for glaucoma while decrying medical marijuana. Clearly, few things make the U.S. government the enemy of the people more than blocking easy access to natural medicines and efficacious medical treatments.

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  • crut

    Kevin Sabet’s latest diatribe.

    http://blog.chron.com/bakerblog/2013/05/civil-liberties-erode-when-drug-use-widens/

    /*sabet inner talk*/
    Look at all the harm! Just don’t try and do any comparisons to any other substances. Oh and Look, I added references, I must know what I’m talking about, right? Right? I hope they don’t actually read them…
    /*sabet*/

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    • claygooding

      Zero replies and mine awaits moderation,,

      Your entire fear of marijuana is based on it’s “addictive” rate,,which is the same as coffee,according to the NIDA and with less severe withdrawel effects than caffiene addiction.

      Your “fears for the children” is hypocrisy at it’s worst,,prohibition puts the market in criminals control and legalization puts it in our control where it can be sold to ADULTS by ADULTS because we are trying to legalize marijuana for adults,,not children. You want to keep it available on every street corner and we want it in stores,,now who is endangering “the children”?

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      • claygooding

        I also clicked the “correction” button where I posted under “Content Rights and Permissions”:

        “”Your mistake is in allowing a snake oil salesmen use your institutions reputation and forum to sell America on the most destructive policy our government ever enacted since it sent small pox infected blankets to the Indians.”"

        I am sure a good blanket bombing of Brown Inst will get a mention

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      • allan

        submitted my comment:

        Mr Sabet continues to hawk the “but hardly anyone goes to prison for pot” meme as if it means something.

        When Kevin discusses the death of Peter McWilliams or the imprisonment of McWilliams’ friend Tod McCormick, or the deaths of Patrick Dorismond, Kathryn Johnston, Donald Scott(!) and the too many more drug war caused deaths (homicide committed by the criminal justice system), I may start taking him seriously.

        When one is at the receiving end of the war on pot, it’s a lot more personal and far, far less about statistics. Like… my friends here in Eugene in a well publicized case who were raided by a SWAT team consisting of 49 officers with body armor, automatic weapons and an armored personnel carrier… and came away with less than 1/8 of an ounce of pot.

        Or how about the raid in Columbia, MO where officers shoot the family dog in front of a little boy? I mean really? A grown man, armed, armored and probably around 200 pounds has to shoot a Corgy? A Corgy’s legs are only 3″ long and they are hardly a vicious breed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng6mfpZ2kR4

        And goodness knows, Kevin won’t talk about the Catch-22 of marijuana research in the US. I mean the lack thereof. An atmosphere that even had the government bury a study done back in ’74 that showed cannabis has extremely positive potential as a cancer-fighting agent. I mean if you take all the people that have died from cancer since 1974 and asked their surviving family members what they thought, probably most wouldn’t look favorably upon such behavior by government.

        Cannabis has the addiction potential of caffeine. To say that 1 in 6 kids who try it will become addicted to pot is laughable considering that 2/3 of those entering addiction treatment for pot do so because of law enforcement referral or pressure.

        Neither will Kevin talk about the foundations of pot prohibition. How the laws against pot are founded on racist lies and perjury before the Congress of the United States.

        And… as pot is provably far, far safer than alcohol why do we ban the safer substance? Because basically we’re providing alcohol (and the producers of) a monopoly on legal intoxication.

        Legalization isn’t isn’t an “option,” it is the only logical course.

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    • allan

      good lord… want some cheese with that whine Kev? I almost puked.

      So, in the interest of public safety I have to post this warning for anyone thinking of reading Kev-kev’s recent blathering in the Chronicle’s BakerBlog:

      WARNING! READING THE FOLLOWING MAY CAUSE NAUSEA, DIZZINESS AND HEAD BANGING.

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    • allan

      comments are up

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  • darkcycle

    Doesn’t look like they’re allowing ANY responses…

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    • claygooding

      If every possession only charge were carried to trial,using court appointed attorneys when we can,should just about balance the DOJ budget,,don’t you think?

      After all,,we are the majority and all it takes is one juror to mistrial or a couple of us in a jury to sell them on nullification.

      The courts would become gridlocked in a few days,,the DA would be plea bargaining his ass off,,the Judges would be screaming for a day off and it would be a 3 ring circus.

      And congress would have to act!

      PS: I love FP and am asking her to have my children. ;<)

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I’ve never gotten a post published on the Houston Chronicle. I’ve seen people do so but never have figured out how. It hasn’t got anything to do with the subject because I haven’t gotten published under friendly articles

      There aren’t many software censorship programs I can’t figure a way around but the Houston Chronicle sent me packing. Perhaps they think that Duncan20903 is a curse word, I don’t know.

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    • allan

      a day later and still no responses posted…

      I’m gonna go and throw a rock thru their (virtual) Windows®

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  • Common Science

    OT, but another method of saving extremists the embarrassment of facing an open forum:
    Massachusetts Medical Society has removed the May 3rd article by Steve Adelman, MD – ‘Is There a Marathon-Marihuana Connection?’ On May 16th one poster was removed after pointing out alcohol’s majority role in highway fatalities and assault cases. All fourteen other dissenting posters raked the quack over the coals too, so the article has been deleted from the “Each Patient Counts” blog.

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  • allan

    good stuff from the Cato Institute:

    A Look at the OAS Report on Drug Policy in the Americas

    Last Friday, the Organization of American States released a groundbreaking report on the future of drug policy in the Americas. The OAS received the mandate to produce this document at the Summit of the Americas last year in Cartagena, Colombia, where some presidents aired their frustration with the war on drugs and even suggested legalization as an alternative to fight the cartels.

    The document is based on solid premises:

    1. Drug violence is one of the greatest challenges facing the Americas
    2. The current approach is a failure isn’t working
    3. New policy alternatives need to be discussed and implemented
    4. Drug use will remain significant by 2025

    These premises might seem pretty obvious, but when it comes to drug policy, stating the obvious hasn’t been the norm for those who believe in the status quo: for example, in 1988 the UN held an event titled “A drug-free world: we can do it” (consumption of marijuana and cocaine has increased by 50 percent since then). Or the latest National Drug Control Strategy, which claims that the greatest accomplishment of the Mérida Initiative with Mexico has been “the mutual fostering of security, protection and prosperity” (never mind the 60,000 people killed in drug violence in six years in Mexico).

    [emphasis mine]

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  • Servetus

    Regarding pot addiction, has anyone ever heard of someone mugging somebody to get money for their next marijuana fix?

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Sure. There are people who make their living doing robberies. But those people also mug people to pay their rent, their electric bill, keep their cell phone turned on etc.

      Back in the 1980s I actually was acquainted with a motley crew that went shoplifting as their primary occupation. The ring leader was over 80 years old. “Uncle” John was certainly not an ordinary man. He was also old enough to remember the days before criminalization. I thought that he had the perfect disguise for being a shoplifter but I lost touch shortly after they got busted by Macy’s in Philadelphia. Man those people were at each other’s throat blaming each other. So what, it couldn’t be because they weren’t as perfect as they thought? If you depend on the authorities to profile people every once in a while you’re going to run into someone who is smart enough to know that profiling is stupid. They actually invited me to join the gang because of my being not what the profilers look for. But the one and only time I tried shoplifting I got busted. I didn’t get arrested. It was even worse than that because the smart store manager left my lesson to my parents and dad knew how to send a message to children. Oh, I was 11 at the time.

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  • [...] was just a few days ago that I put forth my Open letter to marijuana prohibitionists and so-called third-way-ers and [...]

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