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Why are we so upset? After all, there are relatively few people in federal prison just for marijuana possession.

That’s the mantra we hear over and over from the apologists for bad policy like Kevin Sabet and Keith Humphreys.

Of course, this argument has so many holes in it you could drive a SWAT team through it.

  • Most marijuana cases are handled at the city or state level, not federal local level, so federal prison isn’t relevant [nor is state].
  • Possession is an extremely imprecise term. If you possess enough so you don’t have to go to a criminal dealer every week, you’re considered a criminal dealer yourself, and if the small amount you posses happens to have roots attached to it, you’re a kingpin.
  • The larger argument that this statement is part of (the status quo just needs some tweaking) assumes that the way to fix a bad law is to simply convince authorities to enforce it less stringently, which is bad policy and ends up turning our justice system into some kind of nationally sanctioned Russian roulette. (Who gets caught and has their life ruined and who gets to be President?)

Additionally, you don’t have to go to jail to have your life ruined, as thousands upon thousands can attest.

Harmandeep Singh Boparai has an outstanding article: America: What’s more harmful, pot use or incarceration? in the Alaska Dispatch.

In it, he talks about lots of real life people where a simple arrest with no jail time for marijuana possession has callously and thoughtlessly ruined lives.

Definitely worth reading. Preferably by those who mindlessly chant the title to this blog post.

A couple of days ago, I tweeted the following:

.@RafaelONDCP @ONDCP @KevinSabet What do you propose for majority of non-problematic marijuana users? Arrest? Mandatory treatment? Other?

Naturally, I got no response.

And this is one of the most glaring problems with the third-way-ers. Sure, the notion of treatment instead of jail for those who need treatment is a good one. But that doesn’t let you off the hook for the vast majority who don’t need treatment and who are damaged by arrest more than the drug use.

You seem to want us to believe that your policy talents are so limited that you are incapable of crafting policy and law that is narrowly tailored.

Well, then, step aside and let some people take over who can.

Note: Just as a reminder, this post is only talking about the demand side. The third-way-ers also have a huge blind spot when it comes to the supply-side devastation we face throughout the world.

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63 comments to Why are we so upset? After all, there are relatively few people in federal prison just for marijuana possession.

  • Additional/info

    “In the United States, drug arrests have tripled in the last 25 years, however most of these arrests have been for simple possession of low-level drugs. In 2005, nearly 43% of all drug arrests were for marijuana offenses. Marijuana possession arrests accounted for 79% of the growth in drug arrests in the 1990s. Nearly a half million people are in state or federal prisons or a local jail for a drug offense, compared to 41,000 in 1980. Most of these people have no history of violence or high-level drug selling activity” – page 4

    “With over 5 million people on probation or parole in the United States, drug use on parole or probation has become the primary basis by which thousands of people are returned to prison. These technical violations of parole or probation account for as many as 40% of new prison admissions in some jurisdictions.” – page 6

    PROHIBITION IS A DIRECT THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY:

    “The war on drugs has also generated indirect costs that many researchers contend have undermined public safety. The federal government has prioritized spending and grants for drug task forces and widespread drug interdiction efforts that often target low-level drug dealing. These highly organized and coordinated efforts have been very labor intensive for local law enforcement agencies with some unanticipated consequences for investigation of other crimes. The focus on drugs is believed to have redirected law enforcement resources that have resulted in more drunk driving, and decreased investigation and enforcement of violent crime laws. In Illinois, a 47% increase in drug arrests corresponded with a 22% decrease in arrests for drunk driving. Florida researchers have similarly linked the focus on low level drug arrests with an increase in the serious crime index.”

    –Drug Policy, Criminal Justice and Mass Imprisonment, by Bryan Stevenson

    http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/Arquivos/Global_Com_Bryan_Stevenson.pdf

  • mAlex

    Why are you idiotic? Sabet and Humphreys often talk about STATE numbers. Less than .5% of ppl in prison are there FOR pot. Don’t distort the stats

    • Jean Valjean

      .5% hey? Lets hope you don’t join the hundreds of thousands who get arrested for possession every year. Maybe then we’ll talk idiocy shall we…

    • I don’t believe I gave any stats, so it’s kind of hard for me to distort them. However, I’m happy to adjust the language to show that the damage occurs even if people are not in either Federal or State prison, which was the point of the entire post.

      • Uncle Albert's Nephew

        Do the prison numbers include those doing a year or less in county jails? (Jails generally aren’t called prisons).

    • Additional/info/for/kev-kev

      Arrests for marijuana possession have risen from about a third to about a half of all prohibition violation arrests over the fifteen year 1995-2010 period.

      http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Marijuana#Share

      “With over 5 million people on probation or parole in the United States, drug use on parole or probation has become the primary basis by which thousands of people are returned to prison. These technical violations of parole or probation account for as many as 40% of new prison admissions in some jurisdictions.” – page 6

      Drug Policy, Criminal Justice and Mass Imprisonment, by Bryan Stevenson

      http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/Arquivos/Global_Com_Bryan_Stevenson.pdf

    • claygooding

      If it was just prisons it would be reprehensible but the prohibition of hemp has produced more than 21 million second class citizens since the ONDCP was created simply by being arrested and charged with possession and it continues in states with strict cannabis laws.
      Those 21 million plus people are the likely recipients of federal and state assistance because of the decreased advantages caused by a law that should have never been created,,created through lies and racial bigotry and it appears to be maintained the same way.
      Take your “not that many people go to prison” and shove it up your punk ass just like what has happened to many victims of this insane policy.

    • darkcycle

      Derp. I think that maybe you should read the post before you respond. Really, even for a troll, it’s common courtesy.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        You’re presuming that he has the native intelligence and the prerequisite skill set to do that. I’m not seeing any evidence of either.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        Another day, another miracle cure (yawn):

        Researcher: Substance In Marijuana Could Keep HIV From Entering Brain
        May 26,2013
        By Lynne Adkins

        PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A local HIV researcher has found that a substance in marijuana could keep the virus from entering the brain.

        THC, the main active substance in marijuana, can block inflammation and slow down HIV”s ability to reproduce itself when it attaches to a specific protein, according to Dr. Servio Ramirez, assistant professor of pathology at the Temple University School of Medicine.

        “The idea is to prevent a lot of these cells from moving into the brain during the course of infection and if you are able to suppress or somehow control hive replication in this particular immune cell, the whole hope is that less of these cells would be entering the brain through the course of infection,” says Ramirez.

        He says keeping the virus out of the brain is important, because many of the drugs currently used to control HIV can’t get into the brain or are not effective once there.

        This is just getting out of hand. At some point in time we’re going to need to go vice versa and start keeping a list of diseases and conditions which cannabis doesn’t help.

        What’s next? Are they going to discover that cannabis will keep your home clean, your ‘fridge stocked with tofu, vegetables, fruit, give you a negative carbon footprint, deliver peace on Earth AND triple add 15 points to the IQ of a standard issue prohibitionist? The planet is already suffering a severe infestation of humans. Can we afford to take the chance that cannabis is going to eliminate death in our lifetime? I think not. Remember, that would include Mr. Sabet too.

    • War Vet

      mAlex: Jail or no jail time, as long as I’m still a Military Vet of this nation (even past the grave) -there is no law making drug arrests legally legal or any laws making drug prohibition legally legal. The real world demands full drug legalization, simply because drug legalization isn’t always about ‘wanting our drug of choice’ legalized. I want crystal meth legalized and I think meth is the most God-awful drug known to man and thus won’t touch it. I don’t support those who support allowing the terrorist to use drug money to attack my nation when I was 19. Keeping drugs illegal and helping it to stay illegally illegal automatically forces the drug warriors to be terrorist sympathizers by consequence (or by choice –whichever) if we can prove 9/11, War in Afghanistan, War in Iraq, our various embassy bombings/attacks etc are real and happened. Our drug laws influences other nations to keep it illegal and our American drug users very seldom buy enough drugs to support our terrorist enemies . . . but our laws keep it illegal in other nations at the cost of killing our citizens and troops and forcing our nation to spend hundreds of billions in the name of fighting the War on Drugs –(clearing throat) I mean the War on Terror.

      • claygooding

        Not to give the impression I would use meth but prohibition is what made meth the dangerous drug it is,,when it was legal the worst you ever heard about was people staying up too long ond skitzing out,,nobody looked like a cast member of the “Walking Dead” or aged so rapidly you couldn’t recognize them from year to year.

        • War Vet

          I agree Clay. It’s far worse now than it was before the laws. “It’s shake and bake and I . . . Ka-BOOM!”

  • Jean Valjean

    Thanks Pete for that. Off the top of my head here are just some of the severe consequences not including jail which come with an arrest for possession:
    Life-time bans on the following:
    -Public housing (and eviction there from)
    -Unemployment and other benefits
    -Food stamps
    -Immigration to the US
    -Student loans
    -Many government jobs at all levels
    -Professionally qualified jobs like finance etc in the private sector

    -Social service removal of children from parents
    -Probation and drug screening with the ever present risk of a dirty drop and jail
    -Denial of health care

    And there are many more that I haven’t even heard about but which our congressional sado-moralists have thought up to make life as difficult as possible for their victims…
    Drug warriors and their prey

    • Jean Valjean

      Just to add to what I said about collateral damage, where local courts have handed down a misdemeanor conviction for drug possession, state and federal departments often retrospectively treat these as felonies for many purposes including employment. Federal immigration authorities even go a stage further and classify any and all drug convictions as “aggravated felonies” and “crimes of moral turpitude” and have ensured that such “dangerous” people are kept from walking America’s streets. Unlike drug convictions, crimes such as rape and bank robbery do qualify for an immigration waiver under some circumstances.

  • claygooding

    Further proof of the war on marijuana is a total failure,,if the drug warriors had been that effective Obama would be a future homeless candidate if they had caught him and his choomin buddies,,talk about a facepalm moment.

    • allan

      I been thinkin’ about that a lot lately Clay… a where-would-he-be-if speculative piece. If really well done it could drive home a point that few – so far – outside of dpr consider.

      Or maybe a redo by the folks that brought us A Drug War Carol with Mr Obama playing the Scrooge part… it would fit the Prez to a T.

  • allan

    and besides…

    nobody belongs behind bars for consuming cannabis.

    nobody belongs behind bars for growing cannabis

    – and if we go back to the beginnings… Cannabis Prohibition is a complete fraud and is only “law” because of racism and perjury before the Congress of the United States

  • Dr. Bruce, Unfunded Research

    :Lab Sounds:
    Hmmm. Patient Impatient.
    I think I have something here, Checking to see if IgnoMania Present. I fear a Possible Pandemic.

  • Mary Warner

    Carl Olsen’s suit will remove marijuana from federal Schedule 1. The case is moving rapidly now and needs our support. Please check it out:

    http://www.gofundme.com/2y2cos

    • Marijuana needs to be removed from them all. Removing it from schedule one at this point is nothing but a manipulation, not progress. Marijuana can be handled at the State level without nanny influence from the federal government over a harmless plant.

      This plant need not be scheduled at all.

  • Its the Federal prohibition of marijuana that sets the financial gears into action. These dictate local enforcement policies from the top down. Anyone, anywhere in this country who has been arrested for possession of marijuana has the Federal Government to thank. Backed by plenty of money and a portfolio of bought and paid for reefer madness people like Kevin Sabet can sit back and claim no knowledge or culpability.

    Crooks and liars, one and all.

  • allan

    aah… Memorial Day…

    I had never done much looking at WWII’s Battle of the Bulge but here lately w/ some extra time suddenly thrust upon me I’ve been reading up. My dad (RIP) was a veteran of that engagement.

    He’d never shared many war stories. And the ones he did tell when we were younger were the light-hearted kind. But the few combat stories he did share with me later on… man. And now that I’ve been reading up, my dad’s stories are far more real.

    If my dad, as gentle a man as any I’ve known, can face 3 Panzer tank divisions and the full onslaught of the last of the German’s formidable war machine in a cold and wet winter hell… I guess I can continue to face down the dogs of Prohibition.

    After all, sacrifice is relative, no?

    So to all my brother and sister veterans here on the couch and on couches everywhere… thanks.

    [note – my dad served w/ the US Army’s 112th Infantry, unfortunately his service records were almost completely destroyed in the disastrous 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.]

  • allan

    From the veterans-as-guinea-pigs file, taking dangerous drugs can win you a medal:

    Dr. Van Sim, who served as chief of the Clinical Research Division at Edgewood, made it a practice to try all new chemicals himself before testing them on volunteers. Sim said he sampled LSD “on several occasions.” Did he enjoy getting high, or were his acid trips simply a patriotic duty? “It’s not a matter of compulsiveness or wanting to be the first to try a material,” Sim stated. “With my experience I am often able to change the design of future experiments…. This allows more comprehensive tests to be conducted later, with maximum effective usefulness of inexperienced volunteers. I’m trying to defeat the compound, and if I can, we don’t have to drag out the tests at the expense of a lot of time and money.” With BZ, Dr. Sim seems to have met his match. “It zonked me for three days. I kept falling down and the people at the lab assigned someone to follow me around with a mattress. I woke up from it after three days without a bruise.” For his efforts Sim received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service and was cited for exposing himself to dangerous drugs “at the risk of grave personal injury.” [emphasis mine]

    • Irie

      Allan, I have a friend that was diagnosed with ALS over 10 years ago. He and his wife have done digging into his family history, no family history of ALS.
      His wife, about 3 years ago was invited to Washington D.C. for a discussion on the “explosion”, if it were, of ALS cases. It has been determined that most of these patients were at one time in the Army from around ’70 to ’82. Some ‘investigators’ in this have linked the “vaccinations” that are required all service men to take upon entering boot camp.

      In this meeting that my friend’s wife partook in, the Army did everything but admit that this ‘explosion’ of ALS cases and the fact that 95% of all these cases had done time in the service, that they had anything to do with it.

      Investigators think, keep in mind it is only speculated, that the vaccinations are the cause of this deadly disease, but the United States Service department will not admit to any of it, only that it seems to be running high in people who served in the service in those years. You can conclude from this that perhaps these people who thought were serving our country in one of the highest respectable ways possible were just in fact guinea pigs partaking in human experiments. And do you think that the U.S. will demand any investigation into these so called “vaccinations”?? Hell no, it is just being swept under the rug……deal with it, oh, yea, after this meeting they have allowed my friend to now go to the Veterans hospital for his prescriptions and treatment…..because they are so nice, but they say there is no correlation between what they injected into him in 1972 and his now struggle with ALS……..any thoughts, I’s like to hear them.

      • Servetus

        You might be interested in the research done to date on ALS, which can be found here:

        http://tinyurl.com/of8r4sm

      • Windy

        The government and the military, together and separately, can not be trusted, now or ever, period. The Navy’s sonar weapon is responsible for the massive beachings of cetaceans and other sea going mammals; they tried to cover that up for a long time. Remember the cancers that killed so many movie actors who filmed on location where the atomic bomb tests were done (not to mention the soldiers they deliberately exposed during those tests or the island in the pacific they made uninhabitable). Nope never trust the government, ever; and never trust the military, either.

  • Servetus

    People believe great events demand great causes. Instead, the smallest thing, a minor tweak in jurisprudence, can have profoundly ruinous effects on a nation.

    Prohibitionists who trivialize marijuana criminality have little idea how traumatizing an arrest can be for juveniles and adolescents. The shock of the moment is frozen in their mind. It will forever affect how that person deals with authority, as well as how they see themselves fitting into society. After all, now that the virtual crime threshold is crossed, why not go all the way and make crime a career? Nothing produces an us-versus-them mindset faster than an arrest for possessing an innocuous weed.

    It would be wonderful if a drug arrest were the altruistic act its promoters claim it to be. However, the way prohibitionists do business makes it clear a seething contempt of drug users underlies drug arrests. The mere enforcement of such laws by haters within a body politic destroys mutual confidence, leading people to regard every other person as a potential destroyer of their reputations and careers.

    Third-way-ers seek to bridge the credibility gap between law enforcement and civilians, but the gap still exists at the federal level, and within the prison industry that’s grown up around drug enforcement. Real credibility is impossible under such circumstances. The only option left is to cease all eliminationist hostilities toward drug users.

  • If nobody is going to prison for getting high why the hell is it illegal?

    Even if we ignore the numerous other consequences of a drug arrest (and arguably incarceration is not the worst consequence), people do get jailed for smoking pot or getting high on other naughty substances. Only its called a probation violation or treatment non-compliance.

    Also there’s the inconvenient fact that virtually all drug users are guilty of distribution. Merely passing a joint to a friend is distribution of marijuana. This would be like pouring a glass of wine for a friend at dinner and be considered a distributor of alcoholic beverages. Some so-called dealers are guilty of the equivalent of bumming out a cigarette.

    Prosecutors stack charges, so one can either plead out or face a ridiculous sentence. Then the prohibitionists say those who copped to possession pleaded down, true but something like 90-95% of drug cases end in a plea. The system is designed to grind out drug cases without even the pretense of dispensing justice.

  • strayan

    There are currently few people in federal prison just for marijuana possession?

    Well, duh. They haven’t all been locked up at the same time.

  • Only tangentially related to this thread but I wonder what people think of David Simon’s comments in the Guardian?

    When Simon brought that heresy to London last week – to take part in a debate hosted by the Observer – he was inevitably asked about what reformers celebrate as recent “successes” – votes in Colorado and Washington to legalise marijuana.

    “I’m against it,” Simon told his stunned audience at the Royal Institution on Thursday night. “The last thing I want to do is rationalise the easiest, the most benign end of this. The whole concept needs to be changed, the debate reframed.

    “I want the thing to fall as one complete edifice. If they manage to let a few white middle-class people off the hook, that’s very dangerous. If they can find a way for white kids in middle-class suburbia to get high without them going to jail,” he continued, “and getting them to think that what they do is a million miles away from black kids taking crack, that is what politicians would do.”

    If marijuana were exempted from the war on drugs, he insisted, “it’d be another 10 or 40 years of assigning people of colour to this dystopia.”

    David Simon, creator of The Wire, says new US drug laws help only ‘white, middle-class kids’

    I have known other, non-cannabis drug users who, while being anti-prohibition, are against cannabis legalization. Their rationale is that if cannabis is excluded, there will be more scrutiny on other drugs, especially for regular opiate and stimulant users.

    Simon is basically arguing against incrementalism in drug policy, because he fears it will stagnate reform. IDK, I’m generally pro-drug freedom, and cannabis prohibition causes a lot of unnecessary harm. It is a tough one though, if Simon is right and legal weed means putting off drug legalization by a decade or more…how does one measure suffering?

    Even if legal pot slowed down drug reform (due to the exodus of the marijuana-only crowd), would the harms of slowing down the pace of drug policy be greater than the harms of continued cannabis prohibition? Would legalizing marijuana really extend the WoD by “10 to 40” years?

    Aside from crackpots like Peter Hitchens, who thinks we never fought a drug war, there seems little support for more drug war. Latin America and Mexico have had enough, though it remains to be seen if they will continue to be bullied by the US to maintain prohibitionist policies. How will removing cannabis from the black market effect the cartels? Will they lose significant income and power, and how will that affect heroin, meth and cocaine markets? Will there be more competition for the remaining black market? Will the growers of Mexican brick weed grow poppy instead? How will this affect retail price and demand (and will the continued crackdown on rx opioids feed an expansion of the heroin market)?

    At this point cannabis legalization feels like an inevitability. It will be interesting to see where drug reform goes from here on out.

    • claygooding

      IMO,,the entire drug war machine is built to keep hemp off the market,,it was built for that express purpose. When we take hemp away from them it will fold up like an accordion and all the talk of removing the market from criminal control will suddenly make sense.
      The spin-off industries are players now in the lobbying to keep marijuana illegal but their profits are a drop in the bucket compared to the losses by Dupont and the pulpwood industry.
      You can’t even wipe your ass without making Dupont money.

      • divadab

        Yup – cannabis prohibition is a trifecta of corruption – self-serving police and prison interests in support of monopoly capitalists who want their competition destroyed, enabled by bought-and-paid for congressmen.

        It’s a fucking indictment of what ails America.

      • Rick Steeb

        “You can’t even wipe your ass without making Dupont money.”

        Then I shall buy a bidet.

    • Daniel Williams

      I share Simon’s belief. Had cannabis reformers spent the last 30 odd years advocating the repeal of drug prohibition as a whole, a good argument can be made that reform would be farther along than it is now.

      • claygooding

        We didn’t have the internet and instant information it furnishes,,,it took technology to bring enough of us together to start feeling like we were not alone,,,,,,,,,

        • Windy

          I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been fighting against the entire prohibition of certain drugs since the 70s (talking to people about it and writing, especially LTEs, not just to newspapers but to magazines, too) and been fighting it on the internet since 1989 and I had LOTS of company in that fight, almost every forum one could visit in those early days had at least one thread devoted to ending the Wo(S)D, and many had more than one. Actually, the recent focus on ending the prohibition only of marijuana was a surprising change to me, I had expected more and more people using the internet would result in growing the opposition to the entire drug war, not narrowing its focus. The major reason people I encountered over those years were against prohibition was the way prohibition of anything takes away the individual’s right to self-determination, the right to choose for oneself; I expected that reasoning to spread due to Americans’ love of freedom, not contract. Seems I was wrong about Americans’ love of freedom, far too many are far too willing to give up their freedom in favor of allowing the government to take care of them — which it never has and never will do. Even if government and the ruling class wanted to do that, it is an impossible task; but they really don’t want to take care of everyone, only a small portion of the populace is worthy of such caretaking in the eyes of the power mongers and the rest of us can rot, for all they care. The kind of individual freedom the Founders envisioned has not come about, has actually retreated; and the bigger the government grows the less likely such freedom will ever be known again to the masses.

        • claygooding

          Wendy,,I believe the target narrowed down to pot because we realize the game is all about pot,,take down pot prohibition and the rest will fall like dominoes and trying for all drugs at one time allows the prohibs to lump dangers from the really dangerous drugs in with the mild dangers of pot,as if they don’t already.

        • divadab

          clay good point – they still try to lump them all together with the BS “Gateway Theory”.

        • Daniel Williams

          Clay: It is a bit naive to believe the legalization of cannabis will cause a domino effect in drug policy reform. In fact, we can expect even greater opposition to ending the prohibition of other drugs. We will be told “We gave you pot, so shut the fuck up and sit down.”

          And it is equally naive to believe those opposed to cannabis legalization will just fold their tent and go home. We can expect, at the least, the same level of opposition to legal cannabis as we see now – and even greater advocacy for bringing back its prohibition when all the cannabis-related horror stories appear in the press.

          Ending drug prohibition as a whole should have been the focus; incrementalism has not served the greater good.

  • “What do you propose for majority of non-problematic marijuana users?”

    Your tweet recipients refuse to acknowledge the possibility of non-problematic marijuana users, at least to the best of my knowledge.

    These prohibitionists refuse to acknowledge the fact that there is no experimental science concluding any harm in moderate cannabis use, noting you can verify this fact simply by scrutinizing the prohibitionists’ case at their websites.

  • We all know that someday, soon, this prohibition will end.

    I spent 5 years in Federal Prison for a marijuana offense.

    The memorable day that I met with the parole panel, I asked, “When pot becomes legal, what will my 5 years spent in prison have meant?”

    Their response, “That is a very philosophical question. We don’t deal with philosophy in this office.”

    Case closed…go back to your cell.

    When the 5 years were gone, I walked out and never looked back. But, I know to this day, there are thousands of Americans still rotting in jail over a plant.

    I wrote about the escapades that led to my imprisonment. The book:
    Shoulda Robbed a Bank

    I would be honored by your review. It’s vailable at Amazon.com. The table of contents is a story by itself.

    • John

      “This book is a work of fiction.”

      Hugh, please stop spamming the couch with your pitch to sell your novel.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Bah, this post was intended to reside in this space.

    Researcher: Substance In Marijuana Could Keep HIV From Entering Brain

    Another day, another miracle cure (yawn).

    • allan

      THC and similar compounds suppress HIV infection and spread

      Attenuation of HIV-1 replication in macrophages by cannabinoid receptor 2 agonists Servio H. Ramirez,†,1, Nancy L. Reichenbach, Shongshan Fan, Slava Rom, Steven F. Merkel, Xu Wang, Wen-zhe Ho,† and Yuri Persidsky,†,1+ Author Affiliations Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and †Center for Substance Abuse Research, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
      Abstract: Infiltrating monocytes and macrophages play a crucial role in the progression of HIV-1 infection in the CNS. Previous studies showed that activation of the CB2 can attenuate inflammatory responses and affect HIV-1 infectivity in T cells and microglia. Here, we report that CB2 agonists can also act as immunomodulators on HIV-1-infected macrophages. First, our findings indicated the presence of elevated levels of CB2 expression on monocytes/macrophages in perivascular cuffs of postmortem HIV-1 encephalitic cases. In vitro analysis by FACS of primary human monocytes revealed a step-wise increase in CB2 surface expression in monocytes, MDMs, and HIV-1-infected MDMs. We next tested the notion that up-regulation of CB2 may allow for the use of synthetic CB2 agonist to limit HIV-1 infection. Two commercially available CB2 agonists, JWH133 and GP1a, and a resorcinol-based CB2 agonist, O-1966, were evaluated. Results from measurements of HIV-1 RT activity in the culture media of 7 day-infected cells showed a significant decrease in RT activity when the CB2 agonist was present. Furthermore, CB2 activation also partially inhibited the expression of HIV-1 pol. CB2 agonists did not modulate surface expression of CXCR4 or CCR5 detected by FACS. We speculate that these findings indicate that prevention of viral entry is not a central mechanism for CB2-mediated suppression in viral replication. However, CB2 may affect the HIV-1 replication machinery. Results from a single-round infection with the pseudotyped virus revealed a marked decrease in HIV-1 LTR activation by the CB2 ligands. Together, these results indicate that CB2 may offer a means to limit HIV-1 infection in macrophages.

      • claygooding

        you really expect me to break out wikipedia enough to understand that shit?
        I think I will pack another bowl of FP and do like a prohib and just make shit up for what I don’t understand,,,not

        • allan

          I just post ’em, I don’t write ’em!

          Now, OT… you folks east of the Rockies… get ready to duck in 2 or 3 days. The storm passing thru here today has been an ass-kicker, wet and windy and stretches from BC down to NorCal and the bay area – that’s a 1,000 mile or so stretch of storm. Considering that it’s almost June and there is almost 3′ of snow in places in upstate NY, it’s looking to be a wild spring.

      • Full article is behind a paywall, but I read through the abstract.

        Basically previous research found that HIV infected cells have more CB2 receptors on them compared to non-infected cells. So they took a cell culture and exposed it to HIV in the presence of CB2 agonists, notably a JWH compound. The same compound sometimes found in “spice” (AKA “probationer’s weed”).

        HIV enters T-cells thru two surface receptors, CCR5 and CXCR4. The CB2 agonist didn’t effect these receptors, so HIV could still infect the cells. But once inside, the virus could not replicate as efficiently while in the presence of a CB2 agonist.

        (significant decrease in RT activity when the CB2 agonist was present. Furthermore, CB2 activation also partially inhibited the expression of HIV-1 pol.)

        So basically when HIV infects a cell, the cells sprouts more CB2 receptors. Then if you bombard those receptors with an agonist (a cannabinoid), it mucks up the machinery that the virus uses to replicate itself. Pretty nifty. Logically the next step would be to screen more CB2 agonists, including the compounds found naturally in cannabis.

        If the natural cannabinoids perform as well or better than the synthetics, the next step would be to identify the particular ratios of cannabinoids that suppress the virus the best. Strains could be developed specifically for the HIV-positive population.

        I wonder if anyone has ever attempted to count the bodies from the chilling effect drug prohibition has on scientific research and medical treatment. The opportunity cost in lives from cures delayed, the loss in quality of life because people are denied cannabis and opiates. While prohibitionists drone on about lost productivity due to drug “abuse”, certainly the cost of unmitigated suffering is not also massive?

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          In the mid-1970s Bob Randall’s lawsuit forced the Feds to create the Compassionate IND program that still provides a supply of ElSohly bunk weed to a handful of patients to this very day.

          In 1992(?) or thereabouts George Bush the 41st closed the program to new patients because the number of patients enrolled was otherwise going to skyrocket because people living with HIV/AIDS had figured out that it would benefit them and that they qualified under the regulations. The decision was backed by a very conveniently timed and fraudulent “research” study that claimed that whole plant cannabis caused the immunosuppressive system to malfunction. Please draw your own conclusion.

          Something I’ve never been able to figure out is how Mr. Bush the 41st had the authority to close the program. As stated above it was created as a result of Bob Randall’s lawsuit and to the best of my knowledge there was never a Court ruling striking down the decision in the Randall case. So how did those assholes get away with shutting it down? It’s hard for me to understand why there wasn’t a challenge. We can attribute the action to the hatred of gay men but weren’t there an gay (or not) lawyers to challenge that action?

          Hatred of gays enabled the Feds to get away with it but why the heck did it stand without being challenged?

  • War Vet

    For those of us that don’t use drugs, here is our third way for the drug prohibitionists:

    For every drug law/arrest you make/practice as a police officer, judge, jailor, prison guard, DEA, probation officer, DA, assistant DA, etc, one must put their name in the box per drug arrest/offender (no matter if it is for a trafficking charge as well). 7,000 or more lucky individuals will receive the freedom to be executed for the 7000 plus unlucky U.S. Military personnel who were killed by drug money or because we went to war in response to a drug money financed 9/11. For every U.S. Military personnel who loses one or more parts of their body –the same amount of DOJ workers will receive a minimum of a life sentence without parole . . . for all the other physical injuries that do heal, they will spend time in jail in accordance to the wound(s) suffered. This will clean our DOJ and DOC of all malicious individuals giving aid (allowing drugs to be on the black market for terrorists/insurgents) to the enemy during a time of war.

    For any of you LEAP out there: total forgiveness . . . but how would you feel if you knew deep down in your hearts (like knowing deep down in your heart 1 +1=2), the war on drugs created the vast majority of the 9/11 and terrorist/insurgent funding. I look at it as: cops and other DOJ/DOC officials were trying to kill us in the Middle East. Maybe you guys should have never published hundreds of studies confirming the drug trafficking/drug money nexus of Iraq, Afghanistan and 9/11 etc. You’ve admitted your guilt to treason as terrorist sympathizers via the consequences of obeying a law and thus knowing the consequence as published by the DEA, U.N. etc

    If the above sounds just a little radical, its because you’ve never seen any flags on the graves for Memorial Day –flags for the dream of a real melting pot democracy –flags now adorned for a ‘Nothing’ country like AmeriKa.

    • War Vet

      On the thumbs down:

      So, it’s OK to kill thousands of American civilians and non-civilians at home and abroad as a consequence to allowing drugs to be sold illegally via obeying the War on Drugs? Where’s the justice. I demand justice for the War on Drugs. I give total forgiveness to any cop/DOJ worker who learns their lesson and thus quits or boycotts the drug war portion of their job. I decided not to join back up and further placed it out of the question once I read the hundreds of terror-drug nexus studies, stats and articles out there in our libraries and the WEB. I take the time to tell vets and soldiers about the War on Drugs and how it is 100% responsible for us being in the Middle East at this time and moment and for the current reason/excuse.

      I will not take responsibility on this Memorial Day for my anger with the DOJ. It’s not easy to forgive people who took your freedoms away and then tried to execute you with real guns and bombs just for drugs and drugs only (I blame cops for the existence of drug money and what that drug money can buy or fund). If 9/11 didn’t happen a few months after I graduated from school, I would have never been in uniform and I wouldn’t be here right now. Very few of us on this couch advocate legalizing crystal meth because we believe crystal meth is good –but all (or most) on this couch advocate legalizing crystal meth so meth users won’t go to jail for some drug and so non-meth users won’t get killed by drug money funded violence.

      I’m not dumb and hopeless enough to think that Pete’s Couch cannot be used to help restructure our country’s laws and military. In the future, when this synthetic war on terror is over and when the War on Drugs is finished, I’ll forgive cops to the point that we should treat the majority of them like the prodigal son. Maybe Mr. or Ms. Thumbs Down thinks they themselves are wrong as well (if you are American that is) –I mean, did you not pay enough taxes to send me to war and get me my free schooling to help me learn all of this (and I had several nice scholarships before 9/11)? If your taxes sent me to war and educated me, then I represent you and your beliefs as well –if you really want to think about it. I’m never here to disrupt, but to help . . . to read many of the couch’s comments and Pete’s blogs for my own utilization. Hegel: Thesis + antithesis =’s synthesis. Besides, if I was wrong, then I wouldn’t be here where everything about this couch’s message is right.

      OKOK –maybe I was just a little bit harsh on the DOJ in my previous comment. It’s not like any of those cop types have ever been wrong before.

      • primus

        It’s OK. The frustration level is off the scale right now, because this has been going on all my life, I am getting old, and it is beginning to look like I will never breathe free air. Our countries are not ‘free’ so long as one person can tell another how to behave when there is no harm to any other, and/or no provable social need over-ride.

        • War Vet

          The War on Drugs, if we don’t stop it and learn from it, the War on Drugs will be practice for the next bigger war on something else. I’d like only for ‘Freedom isn’t Free’ to only exist because of the military . . . not because someone had to pay a fine or pay the insane taxes of drug prohibtion and its global effects.

  • Relatively few. Hmm.

    Several Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients Surrender to Federal Authorities to Serve Lengthy Prison Sentences

    http://tinyurl.com/pjtqcyg

    No big deal though, according to Kevin. I am sure IF they get out alive they will be completely cured.

    Do you feel safer now, Kevin? How about those poor kids?

  • A Critic

    “Why are we so upset? After all, there are relatively few people in federal prison just for marijuana possession.”

    I’m pretty pissed at the fact that so many crack dealers are in prison. I don’t smoke crack, I don’t deal crack, don’t associate with any crack smokers….but I won’t be free until they are free.

    • allan

      invasion of the clueless…

      I’d explain it to you but obviously you didn’t put any effort into your comment (at least I hope you didn’t, ’cause if that’s an effort you’re in sad shape, I’ve let farts w/ more substance than that) so I won’t either.

      • A Critic

        I am in sad shape, what with the brain damage and all.

        Was my point unclear? Or do you disagree with it?

  • […] Why are we so upset? After all, there are relatively … – Drug WarRant […]

  • Rita

    Most illegal drug use, not just pot use, but ALL illegal drug use, is “non-problematic,” and mandatory treatment is just a longer, slower road to prison.

  • Rita

    And if I DID have a “drug problem,” it wouldn’t be anybody’s business but my own. Certainly no government has any right or obligation to intervene.