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Congress learns that the federal system for regulating cannabis research is completely messed up

Now, will they do anything about it?

Major Federal Official Admits to Congress That Prohibition Has Harmed Research into Marijuana’s Benefits by Paul Armentano

Those who work in marijuana policy reform have long been aware that federal regulations and agencies significantly impede investigators’ ability to conduct clinical studies of cannabis, in particular those protocols designed to evaluate the plant’s therapeutic potential. During recent testimony on Capitol Hill, Nora Volkow – the director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – admitted this fact publicly to members of Congress.

Rep. Connolly: “Right now, NIDA has a monopoly on the production of marijuana to be used for FDA-approved research and medical purposes and that’s been the case since 1974. Is that correct?”

Nora Volkow: “That is my understanding.”

Rep. Connolly: “Is there any other schedule I drug used for research purposes that’s available only from one government source?”

Nora Volkow: “I don’t think there is.”

Rep. Connolly: “So, again, (this is) unique to marijuana. You [NIDA] have exclusive control for research purposes unlike any substance.”

Nora Volkow: “Correct, in the United States.”

Rep. Connolly: “What is the rationale for that?”

Nora Volkow: [long pause] “I guess the rationale … is that you want to be able to have control over the material that you’re providing for research.”

Rep. Connolly: “Why wouldn’t that be true about cocaine?”

Nora Volkow: “Cocaine is a drug that is regulated differently. … The production of marijuana is based on plants.”

Rep. Connolly: “DEA has licensed privately funded manufacturers to produce methamphetamines, LSD, MDMA, heroin, cocaine, and a host of other controlled substances for research purposes. Is that not correct?”

Nora Volkow: “For research purposes, yes.”

It’s a shame that it’s taken 40 years for this kind of questioning to take place in Congress.

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47 comments to Congress learns that the federal system for regulating cannabis research is completely messed up

  • Dante

    Was that Congressman Gerry Connolly? From Virginia?

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    • John

      damn right it was! I’m so proud to be from his district!!!

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    • allan

      well if VA is your thing… seems there’s some thinking going on in that part of the country:

      Former VA Attorney General wants to change the debate on excessive incarceration; conservatives should listen

      -snip-

      Former Virginia Attorney General and staunch conservative Ken Cuccinelli penned an editorial in the Washington Post that conservatives must consider:

      “As conservatives with backgrounds in law enforcement, we embraced the orthodoxy that more incarceration invariably meant less crime, no matter the offense or the danger posed by its perpetrator. But crime rates have been falling since the early 1990s, and a growing body of research combined with the compelling results of reforms in many states prove it is time to adjust our approach.”

      -snip-

      “However, when it comes to the public safety benefits of incarceration, at least for some offenders, it is clear that we are well past the point of diminishing returns. And given that recidivism levels remained disappointingly high as incarceration rates rose, we would be foolish to ignore the need for a course correction.”

      -snip-

      He’s still pretty far out there compared to us but it’s nice to see some lights coming on. Maybe LEAP can talk some more sense into him.

      Beautiful summer’s beginning here today. Repotted my babies, smoked some herb, whacked some blackberries, played with the dogs, smoked some herb, dug weeds, smoked some herb… a real pagan holiday!

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      • Windy

        Similar to my day, allan, I watered everything, then pruned my tomato plants, herb, dug some weeds, herb, trip to bay with hubby and dogs to see the sand castle contest that wasn’t happening today, after all. Back home, pruned some deadwood out of a couple trees, herb, dinner, herb, went next door to our son’s to watch our 1 yo (today) great granddaughter open her birthday gifts and home, herb and episode one of Game of Thrones on demand, herb and now I am here at my computer.

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  • Duncan20903

    Oh please. She had her fingers crossed when she said that. Nudge nudge wink wink!

    Say no more.

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  • Jean Valjean

    So much for Sabet’s panting, pubescent-boy tweets about Volcow’s performance at the hearing. Reading Sabet you’d almost think Nora actually got away with it.

    Well-liked Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  • primus

    This is wonderful; they’ve found their whipping boys and girls. Notice that he follows a line of questioning right out of OUR playbook, and tells her openly that she is overstepping her bounds in delving into research on medical uses for compounds in cannabis. He also calls attention to the singular treatment of cannabis research approvals relative to other substances, and how that is not reasonable given the relatively benign nature of cannabis. Now that the winds are shifting and they have a script (provided by us) and whipping boys, they are ready to be ‘outraged’ and will ‘evolve’ easily. I predict that the election in November will be seen as the tipping point. In fact that point has already been reached. Now we must keep up the pressure and watch it play out, mostly prior to the presidential elections in 2016.

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  • Howard

    Nora Volkow: “Cocaine is a drug that is regulated differently. … The production of marijuana is based on plants.”

    Nora, resign now. Hide from public view for the rest of your life. You’re not even aware that cocaine is derived from plants? You’re an even a bigger embarrassment than Michele Leonhart (I can’t believe I just typed those words). Bravo, you unqualified idiot.

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    • Cannabis

      Right, and next thing that you’ll tell me is that heroin comes from plants, too.

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      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        Heroin is semi-synthetic you know. You can’t make diacetylmorphine without a lab.

        Despite cocaine being a plant based extract from a shrubbery, there are a couple of reasons why it’s an apples to pizza pie comparison.

        First and arguably foremost is that there just aren’t a lot of coca plants growing in the US. There are some in this country, no doubt. But IIRC it does take 4 years from seed to ready to extract.

        Second is that extracting cocaine requires the use of (including but not limited to) kerosene or gasoline, road salt, battery acid, raw potassium, and urea, topped with a sprinkle of concrete.
        http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/i-went-on-a-make-your-own-cocaine-tour-in-colombia

        Just because the process starts with harvested vegetation doesn’t make the end product similar to cannabis.

        Please don’t ever make me feel like I’m defending Ms. Volkow’s insanity again. That isn’t very nice.

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        • Gordon Freeman

          Duncan20903: Second is that extracting cocaine requires the use of (including but not limited to) kerosene or gasoline, road salt, battery acid, raw potassium, and urea, topped with a sprinkle of concrete.

          Man, I hate seeing this “scary recipe” style argument anywhere, least of all here. A/B extracting any alkaloid takes a nonpolar solvent (kerosene, yes, or naphtha or xylene), a base (sodium carbonate aka Washing Soda is often used for cocaine), and a solution of some weak acid. It’s not as if these things are mixed together in a big pot to make cocaine.

          Salt that is used on roads and acid that is used in batteries are not somehow tainted or made less wholesome by their other applications… “Raw” potassium… don’t make me laugh.

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        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          Feel free to laugh all you like. I provided a link to where I got my info, you’ve just made baseless assertions as far as I can tell. I’d certainly take your info into account but your assertions are so broad they’re not worth doing a web search. The cooking of crack dominates the items returned and I learned how to cook crack about 30 years ago. So long ago the we called it freebase.

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        • Gordon Freeman

          Oh. Well. A link from Vice Magazine certainly settles the issue. Sounds like their reporter got it wrong, and if the producer told him that that’s what he was using, then *he* was full of it too.

          Source: Chemist.
          Nice you learned how to “cook” crack, but I promise you didn’t throw “raw potassium” into anything. Because the resulting explosion would have quickly shown you the error of your ways. Here’s some reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid-base_extraction. And here’s some more detailed, cocaine-specific information: Erowid – Rhodium Archives

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        • N.T. Greene

          Guys, guys, you’re losing sight of the fact that marijuana doesn’t require a lab to grow, and is hence inherently less dangerous to manufacture.

          Sometimes a grow house catches fire, I’ll grant you that, but they’re not as volatile as an inner city meth lab.

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        • Gordon Freeman

          True that.

          Just for the record and because it’s awesome, here’s what happens when you drop “raw potassium” into water.
          http://youtu.be/pPdevJTGAYY?t=55s

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        • Howard

          “Just because the process starts with harvested vegetation doesn’t make the end product similar to cannabis.”

          Nobody said cannabis and cocaine are similar. Nora’s flawed answer is a ridiculous attempt to justify cannabis being treated from other plant based drugs. Although cocaine and heroin are extracted and refined well beyond what is required to produce “marijuana” from cannabis, they are still plant “based”. Her answer is disingenuously parsed and a dodge. But that’s not really the point. It means nothing in the context of why the NIDA maintains a monopoly on the supply of cannabis for research purposes.

          Here’s more from the Rep. Connolly/Volkow exchange not included in Pete’s post;

          ———–

          Rep. Connolly: “Is that true about heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines? Do they have to go through that triple-tier approval process for research as well for human studies?”

          Nora Volkow: “No. The approval for those human studies mostly comes from review committees at the NIH and if the DEA approves of giving them the drug (then) it’s a simple, it’s a different process.”

          Rep. Connolly: “Yes, it’s a different process and it’s less cumbersome.… And we’ve created all kind of special barriers with respect to marijuana as if it was the über alles of all drug abuse when, in fact, it is not. And we’ve impeded the ability to have legitimate research that could benefit human health. And it’s very hard for me, frankly, to understand why we continue to insist it is a class I substance.” [Kaboom! — H]

          -and-

          Rep. Connolly: “We both agree that rigorous scientific research ought to occur here. It should occur in an unbiased fashion. (But) marijuana is not treated like any other substance. In fact, cocaine is more liberally treated for research purposes than is marijuana. … Marijuana is the only drug that NIDA has exclusive research control over.”

          Nora Volkow: “Just to clarify, definitely we do a lot of research as it relates to cannabinoids and we speak about marijuana but marijuana is a series of chemicals, many cannabinoids, and what we are interested in is extracting the active ingredients.”

          Rep. Connolly: “The mission of your agency is drug abuse. It’s not medical research into the possible efficacy of derivatives from otherwise dangerous or semi-dangerous drugs. And given the fact that you have a monopoly over the control of marijuana for research purposes…a reasonable inference could be drawn that you are less than motivated as an agency to assist us in that rigorous medical research.…Your mission is not the same as that of those wishing to pursue medical research as to the beneficial effects. Your own testimony never mentioned beneficial effects or the potentiality of it.” [Kablooey! — H.]

          Nora Volkow: “You are absolutely right. We are the Institute of Drug Abuse and you are absolutely right.”

          [That last sentence is just fluffy gibberish, likely spoken with a serious knot in her throat and a touch of lightheadedness — H.]

          ————

          Who needs a smoking gun when you’re staring at a smoldering crater the size of Montana? Although I never regard politicians as “leaders” or “heroes”, Rep. Connolly is about as close you can get with those concise and completely relevant questions. Now, as others have suggested, where will all this lead? It’s all laid out, folks.

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  • Common Science

    Tears in my eyes people, tears in my eyes.

    Michelle Leonhart and Nora Volkow – the prohibitch version of ‘Dumb and Dumber’.

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  • kaptinemo

    When you consider that Volkow has been portrayed as being the go-to person for rationalizing drug prohibition from a ‘hard science’ perspective, this is amazing. Sounds more like “but teacher, the dog ate my homework” when she doesn’t even have a dog.

    She really is a Lysenkoist. Worse than that. Lysenko was no scientist. She purportedly is. She is part and parcel of the General Staff of the prohib side. She knows perfectly well what she has done – prostituted science for political gain, the hallmark of Lysenkoism – and she knows what she is doing. All done with deliberation. And she may just be (finally) called out on it.

    For decades, politics has trumped science on this issue. Study after study disproving the (pseudo!)scientific rationale for cannabis prohibition have been shelved and ignored. Now, several tons of crazed chickens may be coming home to roost as the depth of this is revealed to the American taxpayer, who footed the bill for all those studies. Studies Volkow can be asked if she knows about.

    You see where this is going? As they used to say where I grew up, “Pull a string; get a snake.” Congress is pulling a string and may find there’s a honking big python that’s been gorging itself on taxpayer funding while busily trying to also swallow the evidence that the python is wholly unnecessary.

    The Congress has just had a barest glimpse of the prohibitionist Bedlam it has allowed to exist through malign neglect (until recently, the ‘drugs issue’ was so radioactive it could kill a political career at 20 paces distance, so it was avoided appropriately), a madhouse stocked with loons of various stripes and colors, but all gibbering the same nonsense.

    Now, Congress is going to get an earful of that babble. I can hardly wait. I’m smiling so broadly my face hurts…

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    • kaptinemo

      And, there it is again:

      Rep. Connolly: “Is there any other schedule I drug used for research purposes that’s available only from one government source?”

      Nora Volkow: “I don’t think there is.” (Emphasis mine – k.)

      They really, don’t, do they?

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    • divadab

      Kap’n – nice work! Literate, entertaining, outraged, sardonic, and demolishing! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ and so on…….

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  • War Vet

    So they have a monopoly on testing, while the 1890 Sherman law forbids monopolies. But since hemp is a scheduled one drug and the DEA have offices in nations that grow and export hemp to us, does this not mean that the primary reason for the DEA is for the exportation of a scheduled 1 drug to the U.S. since they won’t let us grow any here? So, the DEA have a monopoly on our shoes and carpets and clothing and food and office desks and even our homes. If any of our homes are not made from American hemp, then rest assure, The DEA had something to do with it, even if the home existed long before the DEA ever did.

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  • Jean Valjean

    I’m glad to see cannabis’s unique treatment by prohibitionist letter gangs is finally getting examined….what possible reason could there be to treat it as uniquely dangerous, requiring extra controls on research? But then, of course, the real danger is not to the cannabis consumer or society, but rather to the careers of quacks like Volkow. This scam is becoming increasing obvious to all who examine it.

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  • claygooding

    It is all still a dog and pony show,,when the DOJ and the DEA admitted they have never had science to prove marijuana was more harmful than alcohol it should have removed marijuana from Schedule 1 in the least,,here it is three months later and still no real legislation even recommended.

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  • It’s good that heroin and cocaine aren’t plant-based. Oh wait…

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  • claygooding

    AG Holder on Heroin and Prescription Drugs at the ONDCP Summit

    http://tinyurl.com/pa3r9fp

    On Thursday June 19, 2014, the Obama administration via the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) hosted a summit on opiates and prescription drug abuse to address the increasing number of overdose deaths across the country.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, “overdoses of prescription painkillers (also called opioid or narcotic pain relievers) have more than tripled in the past 20 years, killing more than 15,500 people in the United States in 2009.” ‘snip’

    Marijuana still zero.

    Iread most of it and didn’t see the logical answer to heroin so I quit,,buying the AFG opium crop wasn’t even mentioned,,but then if stopping drugs was the goal instead of market control it would have happened already in the last decade.

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Why in the world are they talking about 2009?

      Buying up the crop…or more “efficiently” paying the farmers to grow something else wouldn’t work. It’s not as if the Afghans have an exclusive right to grow poppies. Any strategy that doesn’t deal with the fact that supply rises to meet demand is destined to fail. If there’s a potential $1 billion in profit available and the Afghan farmers get paid $1 billion in government money to not take that profit there is still going to be a $billion in profit just waiting for someone to step up and claim it.

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      • War Vet

        Solution: keep paying everybody $1 billion to not grow it.

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        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          Well heck, I’m a cheap date and I have extensive experience in the logistic of not growing opium poppies. I’ll not grow opium cheaper than anyone else. I will not be undersold!

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        • claygooding

          When the government was paying dairy farmers to cut back production of milk during the 80’s I wrote my congressman and told him I needed a check for not buying a dairy farm and producing milk,,,,he said I didn’t go big enough.

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  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Now here’s a country which is fighting a literal war on (some) drugs:

    Police Burn 23 Tons of Marijuana in Albanian Village
    June 20, 2014

    LAZARAT Albania (Reuters) – Albanian police declared victory on Friday over drug producers who for more than 15 years had run the southern village of Lazarat as a personal fief, churning out marijuana on an industrial scale untouched by the NATO member state.

    Police in armored vehicles and vans moved freely through Lazarat, manning checkpoints and collecting weapons after a five-day advance through the village met at times by heavy machinegun fire and anti-tank grenades.
    /snip/

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    • Common Science

      ‘Cannabis seized in Greece, Italy and Germany has been traced to Lazarat, the source of around half of all cannabis produced in Albania.’

      Lazarat’s misfortunes are an opportune time for cannabis growers in Lebanon and Morocco to step up to the plate for those European connoisseurs. All indications are that both countries have got their traditional green mojo going this year.

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      • Duncan20903

        The name of the game is Whac-a-mole my friend. Drug war without end. Amen.

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    • Hope

      They should have let the cops win that soccer match.

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  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Apparently Braindead Montana isn’t going to announce it failed to get its initiative on the ballot. Does anyone think it’s not safe to presume that had they submitted enough signatures they would have trumpeted the event?

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  • War Vet

    OT/ Why do we allow police officers to keep their spouses and children at home–to live with them at home? None of my friends were allowed to bring their spouses and children to Baghdad or Afghanistan because of the war. Yet cops are far more militarized today than they were even two years ago–with all the MRAPs and did I hear right: grenade launchers for their AR-15s? Even if we win the war on drugs, there is still a huge chance the police will continue to have more power and become more brutal and possibly citizens will rise up. I cannot help but feel if Citizen Friendly popped a grenade through the window or did a drive by against the home of an officer and the spouse and child were killed–that the death would ultimately be the fault of the cop and not Citizen Friendly . . . not when the purpose of the attack was to preserve life and freedom–to protect his own family.

    This has troubled me for a few years. It’s wrong that we allow police officers to have family members living in their home . . . what if society revolts or a few decide that enough is enough? I would say it is unethical and immoral to allow police officers, jailors, prison guards, DAs, and judges the right to be around their family because of any potential threat. Why cannot the average Las Vegas cop not keep his family up in Michigan, where he gets to see them on the holidays and vacation? What rights do they have to allow a spouse and child to stay in said officer’s home?

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  • DdC

    Nora Volkow: “Cocaine is a drug that is regulated differently. … The production of marijuana is based on plants.”

    Volkow just openly admitted she works for Big Pharma. You can’t smoke coca leaves or poppy plants. Their “drugs” come from large laboratories while cannabis can be obtained by anyone in their herb garden. So the “threat” to her is circumventing Big Pharma profits. Morphine and Cocaine are schedule#2 while anything without the paraphernalia, Peyote, Shrooms or Ganja are potential non profit entities. Unacceptable for the fascists. Volkow sounds like a Nazi farm animal.

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  • DdC

    At least there is the FDA to regulate Monsanto. Oh wait a second…
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bqq7hGtCAAAJhGu.jpg

    Burn, Baby, Burn: Pot-Growing Region in Southern Albania Going Up in Smoke http://bit.ly/1quzjjb @DrugPolicyNews
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bqq-aqYCQAEu7qi.jpg

    Read the synthetic drug studies that Will Humble relied on to deny Vets a simple joint of medical marijuana for PTSD. http://www.azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana/documents/debilitating/debilitating-conditions-ptsd-13.pdf

    The Food and Drug Administration is conducting an analysis at the Drug Enforcement… http://fb.me/6PLZ4MHKL

    Working someone else’s coca fields may not be easy, but it pays twice as much as coffee farming in #Peru’s VRAEM. http://ow.ly/y8s7P

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  • N.T. Greene

    You know you’re winning when the opposition won’t even send in the A-squad. “Fuck it, send Volkow, this is going to be a one-sided fight anyways”

    Well-liked Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    • kaptinemo

      Like I said, the prohibs will send out the ‘Crazy Uncles’ they hid in the bureaucratic attic all these years because that’s what they’re down to. A ‘forlorn hope’ of sending out their ‘alphabet soup’ types to ‘baffle them (the public) with bullshite’.

      Before the Information Age, they could get away with it…by tailoring their messages to particular demographics. Like low-information voters, the generation that believed government pronouncements as Gospel. That’s who most of their propaganda was aimed at.

      And it worked, until that generation began to die off. The attempt to propagandize the latest generation has failed utterly.

      This is why the prohibs are concentrating their efforts politically to maintain the status quo courtesy of their (equally elderly and ignorant) allies in Congress. But no matter; that famous ‘bell’ is ‘tolling’ for drug prohibition…and its supporters.

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    • B. Snow

      You know what really makes these people = ‘Really Sad’?
      Nora used to be part of (or even the leader of) “The A Squad”.

      Remember back when Pat was on “Real-Time” failing at effectively communicating his SAD (aka SAM) policy talking points = stammering & stuttering to Bill Maher – some months ago,(IDK the date off-hand.)
      But, it’s real easy it was the one where he was the Interview Guest = Bill wouldn’t put him on the Panel – which would’ve left Pat try & interrupt with poorly constructed thoughts and word fragments.

      And, he implored/almost begged Bill to “Invite Nora To Explain It” – and by “IT” – I mean how his personal failings or “brain-disease” if he wants to call HIS problem that = fine.
      But, he wanted to try and explain how his AA & Opiate 12-Step issues of powerlessness. Would eventually apply to ALL people everywhere – who choose to smoke marijuana.

      Trying to state as a “fact” – that, after they start to smoking marijuana – anyone/everyone would acquire his ADDICTION (Maybe its like cooties?) The horrible disease that makes him powerless to resist temptation(s), removes his ability to exercise moderation, or somehow pull-off responsibly using anything other than – maybe Caffeine.

      Ironically, Pat (IMO) tends to look like a nurse just unhooked him from a caffeine IV drip… Or, maybe like he been doing coke all afternoon – and almost couldn’t finish getting ready to go = and that somebody probably had to go grab him & drag him outside = to get him to stop doing just a little more & actually manage leaving the house.

      Sorry, but more back to the point – Nora has recently “Stepped-In-It” (so to speak) = and she did it repeatedly, and in the worst way… She answered some questions honestly.

      (To Dr. Gupta for example) about NIDA not approving research for beneficial aspects of marijuana that would be another department, then she gets verbally lead thru that same ‘Catch-22′ but more thoroughly (Like Rep. Connolly did in the hearing) and her reaction is delayed by a few seconds at least! It’s quite entertaining to see the recognition slowly ‘resolves itself’ – in her head… Which really tests her poker-face it ain’t all that great.

      I think she was used to being on “the home team” – so often & getting softball questions, which let her rattle-off her talking points, and then one day. (From her POV) – “outta the blue” = *Karma* just walked-up and ProhiBitch-slapped her!

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  • DdC

    Hey why not treat it like a plant?

    to: @tomangell Legalize Marijuana/Nation Dr. Carl Hart joined Melissa Harris-Perry to discuss support for legalization

    This Neuroscientist Exposes Every Lie You’ve Been Told About Drugs Since You Were a Kid by @gabethegrand http://mic.cm/1cPUSn0 via @MicNews

    GG: What’s your stance on the marijuana legalization debate?

    CH: The people of Colorado and Washington, bless their hearts. They took matters into their own hands. I don’t argue for legalizing drugs, though. I argue for decriminalization because I think we’re too ignorant to legalize drugs. If we decriminalize and have a corresponding amount of education, I’m fine with that. Maybe later, we can legalize. But legalization is not something that I actively advocate for; that’s not what I do.

    There’s a big difference between legalization and decriminalization via @dailycaller

    The War on Drugs is a Failure, But That Doesn’t Mean We Should Legalize Weed by @gabethegrand http://mic.cm/1cY7j1c via @MicNews

    from: Carl Hart ‏@drcarlhart
    My testimony before Congress about marijuana is now online.

    rt to: @drcarlhart Jun 20 DPA board member Carl Hart testifies to Congress he doesn’t support legalizing #marijuana, WTF. @tomangell

    to: @drcarlhart @tomangell Everyone of the bastards out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews? RMNixon

    “Even if the Commission does recommend that it be legalized, I will not follow that recommendation.

    “You’re enough of a pro,” Nixon tells Shafer, “to know that for you to come out with something that would run counter to what the Congress feels and what the country feels, and what we’re planning to do, would make your commission just look bad as hell.”
    – Richard Milhouse Nixon

    “Marijuana does not lead to physical dependency, although some evidence indicates that the heavy, long-term users may develop a psychological dependence on the drug”
    The Shafer Commission of 1970

    Years After Nixon’s Marijuana Commission Advocated Decriminalization,Report Findings Are Still Valid, Nixon Never Read His Own Report

    March 22nd marked the 42nd anniversary of the release of the report of the so-called “Shafer Commission” — the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse — whose members were appointed by then-President Richard Nixon. The Shafer Commission’s (named after commission Chair, Gov. Raymond Shafer of Pennsylvania) 1972 report, entitled “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding,” boldly proclaimed that “neither the marihuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety” and recommended Congress and state legislatures decriminalize the use and casual distribution of marijuana for personal use.

    Nixon’s Drug War
    Re-Inventing Jim Crow,
    Targeting The Counter Culture

    “Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.”
    – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

    “[Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks” Haldeman, his Chief of Staff wrote, “The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

    And then he came up with the War On Drugs and the Southern Strategy.

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  • CJ

    i really hate nora volkow… this is a piece of crap whose positioned herself to prolong the horrors of the disease model for a very long time. A dangerous woman whom has done much to hurt people for so much time to come with her mad science… the effects of her work will sadly be felt for a good deal of time after she dies.

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  • Jean Valjean

    OT (but maybe not)
    A mother blames the war on drugs for her daughter’s death:

    ‘The response of her mother, Anne-Marie Cockburn, 42, was unusual. She refused to blame her daughter, her friends, or the dealer or the manufacturer. Cockburn, a single mother, focused on a greater target: the government.

    “It quickly became obvious that prohibition had had its chance but failed,” she said. “Martha is a sacrificial lamb under prohibition. The question is: how many more Marthas have to die before we change our approach? It’s not acceptable to allow the risks to remain.”‘
    http://tinyurl.com/qjd4ndg

    The article also mentions the ecstasy death of Leah Betts, who became the poster child for prohibitionists in Britain and whose parents now feel betrayed by the British government:
    ” Among the parents supporting Cockburn’s campaign are those of 18-year-old Leah Betts, who died after taking ecstasy in 1995, prompting her parents to launch a campaign to promote drug awareness among teenagers. Days before the tenth anniversary of her death, however, Leah’s parents decided to wind up their initiative, declaring that they had been betrayed by the government.” I believe this was the origin of David Nutt’s reference to ecstasy being statistically no more dangerous than horse riding.

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  • kaptinemo

    OT, but very important. If anything illustrates just how dependent the LE organs are on cannabis prohibition, this article from the WaPo does:

    Even as marijuana gains ground, some tightly enforce laws

    It’s a long one, but a good one. it makes it very clear that it’s economic issues on the part of LE still driving the insanely lop-sided emphasis on cannabis arrests.

    From the article:

    “The task force dressed a trooper in a brown UPS uniform and sent him to deliver the box. After the woman inside, Nelda White, 54, took in the package, task force members knocked on her door. The box contained a pound of marijuana. Officers confiscated a load of cash from the house, arrested White and charged her with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

    “When we get big money, it’s from marijuana,” Simala says. The task force keeps 80 percent of the cash it seizes and uses the money for its $1,250 monthly rent, equipment and vehicles and to fund undercover drug buys. “Without seized money, we wouldn’t be in business.” (Emphasis mine – k.)

    “…wouldn’t be in business.” OMG. They just admitted it. Just now. By calling it what it is…a business.

    Prohibition, like war, is a racket. If they weren’t the The Law, they’d be as subject to RICO as their victims are. For being racketeers.

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    • kaptinemo

      Also, keep in mind the recent Snowden revelations of NSA collusion in undermining suspect’s rights by supplying illegally acquired data about said suspects, and that that exculpatory information was not being supplied to defense lawyers as legally required, but deliberately hidden…a la Star Chamber ‘justice’.

      A ‘business’? Hell, yeah, a ‘business’. An unreservedly crooked one. One we support with our taxpayer dollars.

      We don’t have to. We’re the majority now. we pay the taxes, now. Time we started acting like it by letting our Congresscritters and Sin-a-tors know that, too.

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  • Howard

    Article from Bloomberg;

    Marijuana Considered for Looser Restrictions by U.S. FDA

    http://tinyurl.com/nqhb4dk

    Hmm, interesting title. Until you get to the last two paragraphs;

    “Throckmorton wouldn’t say when he expected the FDA to complete the analysis or whether it would recommend a change.

    The agency must first consult with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and send their recommendation through the Department of Health and Human Services before handing it to the DEA, he said.”

    ——————

    That’s like a farmer coming up with a plan to make his hen house impervious to attack, then deciding to consult with the local foxes to see what they think.

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  • Sukoi

    Sorry if this has already been posted as I didn’t read all of the comments, but here’s some video of the testimony:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6CSc4nl–Q

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