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Weed the People

New York Daily News editorial today: End the war on pot: We welcome the push to legalize and regulate marijuana

After many decades of treating as a crime the personal possession and use of a drug that is a negligible threat to public safety, New York is awakening to the folly of — and racial disparities widened by — its approach.

We are part of this awakening, which is why we welcome the push to legalize and regulate marijuana. By every honest measure, the substance has more in common with alcohol and tobacco than it does harder drugs that are rightly illegal.

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139 comments to Weed the People

  • Servetus

    Voters in Colombia have elected to self-annihilate by choosing a U.S.-educated presidential candidate who is set to further incite pointless mayhem and murder in the drug-war-torn South American country:

    June 17, 2018 — With 54% of the vote counted, right wing candidate Ivan Duque has been elected President of Colombia. […] Both candidates had a female running mate. Marta Lucía Ramírez will be the first female VP of Colombia. (Had Petro won, the VP would have been Ángela María Robledo). As of the results so far, Duque won in Medellin by 500,000 votes while Petro won in Bogota by 400,000 votes.

    …Their choices [were] right-wing Ivan Duque or leftist Gustavo Petro, a former M-19 rebel and Mayor of Bogota. Harvard-educated Duque, who has the support of evangelicals and ultraconservatives that reject gay marriage and adoption, as well as uber-right former President Alvaro Uribe, … is a huge proponent of escalating the war on drugs…. It’s seen as a classic fight between right and left.

    http://www.talkleft.com/section/foreignaffairs

  • Servetus

    James S. Goodwin, M.D., University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, and coauthors, in a publication available through JAMA Network, show that higher rates of opioid consumption can be found among Trump supporters:

    22-Jun-2018 — …Support for Republican President Trump in 2016 explained about 18 percent of the variance in county rates of opioid use in 3,100 U.S. counties, with counties whose opioid prescription rates were above average having a higher average Republican vote than counties with opioid prescription rates below average. The association is related to underlying county socioeconomic characteristics related to income, disability, insurance coverage and unemployment. […]

    AAAS Public Release: How are chronic opioid use, 2016 presidential voting patterns associated?

    Excessive opioid use in impoverished, Trump-supportive, cultural backwashes of the U.S. gives Trump’s supporters a sense or attitude that everything about Trump is better than it really is, a common side effect of opium products for people surviving in hazardous zones.

    Suitable alternative treatments for physical or emotional pain include the psychedelics and cannabinoids. It makes for an unusual situation and it yields an unusual possibility. A drug warfare campaign aimed at getting medicine for the people to the people would simultaneously combat opioid addictions and sycophancy while undermining local support for current and future demagogues or tyrants. It could work on an international level as well.

  • Tony Aroma

    I’d like to know how Justin Trudeau is allowed in the US. He’s publicly admitted to smoking pot, so why isn’t he banned for life? Are there any other Canadians that are above the US law? Maybe world leaders are an exception. Next time Trudeau is in the US, I’d like to hear a reporter ask him about that, especially now that Canada has legalized I’d think he’d want to talk about it.

    Cannabis and the border: what pot-smoking Canadians need to know

    Thousands of Canadians have been denied entry to the U.S., while others have been banned simply for admitting they’ve smoked a joint once in their lives. For American border guards, a confession is just as good as a conviction.

    • WalStMonky

      .
      .

      He’s got a diplomat’s passport. The only way to ban him as long as he has that passport is to declare him persona non grata. That’s no small thing. Also don’t forget that for only a few thousand of dollars a person denied entry and banned for life can get a temporary waiver by filling out an application and jumping through a number of hoops. There’s really very little doubt that PM Trudeau could get a waiver.

      There are time when I could very zealously argue that we’re doing the Canuckistani fans of cannabis a favor.

    • WalStMonky

      snippet from Team America – Hans Blix vs Kim Jong Il

      /snip/
      Kim Jong Il: Hans you’re breakin’ my balls here, Hans, you’re breakin’ my balls!

      Hans Blix: I’m sorry, but the UN must be firm with you! Let’ me see your whole palace, or else!

      Kim Jong Il: Or erse, what?

      Blix: Or else we will be very, very angry with you, and we will write you a letter telling you how angry we are.

  • Servetus

    Brain research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication clarifies the behavior of prohibitionists toward illicit drug consumers, as well as how the current U.S. immigrant detention system breaking up families operates with impunity.

    fMRI studies show that dislike and dehumanization occur in two different parts of the human brain:

    25-JUN-2018 — …”When people are dehumanizing others, they are mobilizing different brain regions than when they are registering their dislike,” explains co-lead author Emile Bruneau, Ph.D., director of the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab…. “Brain regions sensitive to dehumanizing other groups were not sensitive to dislike. And brain regions activated when registering dislike for those same groups were not activated when thinking about how human those groups are.”

    In the experiment conducted by Bruneau and colleagues, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe participants’ brain activity as they rated how they felt about 10 different groups. They ranged from high-status groups like Americans, Europeans, and surgeons to lower-status groups like Muslims, Roma, and the homeless, and also included animals like puppies and rats.

    “Dislike” was measured on a feeling thermometer scale, which asks people to rate how “cold” or “warm” they feel toward the target group, and dehumanization was measured by asking participants to place the target group where they thought they belonged on the popular “Ascent of Man” scale depicting stages of evolution. Previous research from Bruneau and co-lead author Nour Kteily of Northwestern University found that while researchers had long been measuring dehumanization implicitly, believing that few would openly admit they felt other people weren’t fully human, in fact many people have no problem blatantly saying so.

    In any real-life situation with high levels of dehumanization, the stakes are high, as it is a strong predictor of aggressive outcomes such as support for torture, reluctance to provide aid to violence victims, support for armed conflict, and support for hostile policies. But knowing that dislike and dehumanization are two separate factors can help understand and address people’s viewpoints. […]

    It can be a cold, rational evaluation: “These children are just less human and less deserving of moral concern.” Removal of children from families has a long tradition, and the impetus is often not anchored in dislike or hatred. In fact, some people justify these removals as paternalistic care.

    “High dehumanization and low prejudice is the perfect profile of paternalism,” Bruneau explains. “Some Americans may feel we’re doing good in taking these poor immigrant children away from their lawless parents.” […]

    AAAS Public Release: In the brain, dislike and dehumanization are not the same thing

    Drug enforcement has long been characterized as a type of paternalism. So have the inquisitions. The “inquisitorial mind”, referred to by historians, depicts the same pathological paternalism.

  • darkcycle

    Well, at least Duncan will be pleased. The responses from the rest of the couch will be interesting…get ready for it….”for Immediate release, 6/25/18…”
    Epidiolex receives FDA approval:
    https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm611046.htm

    • WalStMonky

      .
      .

      Why in the world would you think I’d be pleased? I’ve been out of GWPH for a couple of years now except for some indirect ownership through the Horizon ETF. I’ve also become quite enthusiastic about CBD as a wellness supplement. I get it by mail order directly from the Stanley Brothers. I’ve got a most annoying irrational fear that the Feds are going to shut down the CBD market and FDA approval doesn’t help in the least.

      Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises, LLC 10/31/17

      /snip/
      Although you market “Everyday Dietary Supplement,” “Everyday Plus Dietary Supplement,” and “Everyday Advanced Dietary Supplement” as dietary supplements, FDA has concluded based on available evidence that CBD products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition under section 201(ff)(3)(B)(ii) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(ff)(3)(B)(ii)]. Under that provision, if an article (such as CBD) has been authorized for investigation as a new drug for which substantial clinical investigations have been instituted and for which the existence of such investigations has been made public, then products containing that substance are outside the definition of a dietary supplement. There is an exception if the substance was “marketed as” a dietary supplement or as a conventional food before the new drug investigations were authorized; however, based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that this is not the case for CBD.

    • DdC

      GW Pharmaceuticals GWPH
      144.76 USD −6.49 (4.29%)

  • WalStMonky

    .
    .

    Epidiolex has received FDA approval making it the first phytocannabinoid medicine to be so approved. Now the final step before retail sales can commence is to get the DEA to sign off on re-scheduling. Good luck with that. Remember that for 5 years the DEA stalled a petition to re-schedule herbal cannabis which was submitted by two sitting Governors before the DEA finally just said no.

    • darkcycle

      My feeling is that GW will get through that roadblock like shit through a goose. Some allege that the DEA’s own boy is one of the principals of GW. And there’s some reasons to suspect that’s true.

    • strayan

      They’ll just make in orphan drug like they did with GHB.

  • DdC

    CBD Leader Charlotte’s Web Parent to Go Public in Canada https://www.newcannabisventures.com/cbd-leader-charlottes-web-parent-to-go-public-in-canada/ #cannabis via @invest420

  • Mr_Alex

    @DdC and DrugWarRantCommenters including Pete Guither

    Fix My Kid which is about Straight Inc, is now out

    http://www.fixmykidthemovie.com/movie/

    PW is straight in order to watch the video, Pete Guither any chance you can do a review on it?

    • DdC

      Straight Inc. only gives Drumpf ideas on caging migrant kids Mr Alex. It’s not as if Congress doesn’t know about the Semblers and Calvina. Or the true dangers of Ganja for that matter. Bush knew and made him an Ambassador. Obama let it slide.

  • Mouthy

    OKLAHOMA

  • Some legislation needs to get passed in Washington to deschedule cannabis. I can foresee the scheduling of epidiolex as ammunition for Jeff Sessions to wreak havoc with legal cannabis in the legal states. More roadblocks for patients and adult users to gain legal access. I can hear the prohibitchionists brainstorming already.

    • Will

      .
      .

      “Some legislation needs to get passed in Washington to deschedule cannabis.”

      Given the current makeup of congress, this is not going to happen anytime soon. For example, Chuck Schumer just introduced “Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act” that would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (https://tinyurl.com/yagghgtb). But given certain committee chairs — Pete Sessions being one — this type of bill will land on the infamous ‘dead on arrival’ shelf, never to be brought up or debated, forget ever being voted on. And senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has clearly stated he has no interest in advancing any cannabis legalization bills. Of course, Schumer already knows this. He thinks he looks like a good guy submitting the legislation mentioned above, while knowing full well it will never see the light of day. Until the makeup of congress changes in specific and fundamental ways, federal legalization/descheduling bills aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

  • Servetus

    Receptor GPR139 located in the habenula is druggable, and that’s a really good thing according to scientists at Scripps Research Institute.

    A drug compound labeled JNJ-63533054 allows severely alcohol-addicted rats to undergo alcohol withdrawal minus the usual agonizing symptoms. With further research, it’s possible the drug might work with other addictions to eliminate or reduce cravings:

    26-JUN-2018 — …Jenni Kononoff, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the George lab…discovered that JNJ-63533054 was particularly effective at decreasing drinking in one subgroup of animals: those that had the highest alcohol intake and showed compulsive drinking behavior. These rats were so addicted to alcohol, that they would normally continue to drink even when their alcohol was adulterated with a bitter taste. […]

    The pain threshold of rats–or humans–undergoing alcohol withdrawal is generally lower than normal, so to make a further connection between GPR139 and withdrawal, the scientists tracked the pain threshold of 17 rats going through alcohol withdrawal. When the rats were treated with JNJ-63533054, they found, the animals had a higher threshold for pain. Similar to the first experiment, the effect was strongest in rats that had the highest levels of compulsive drinking behavior.

    …The compound had no effect on the alcohol intake of animals that weren’t already dependent on alcohol or on the water intake of alcohol-addicted animals. But it did significantly decrease the alcohol intake of alcohol-addicted rats.

    This suggests that, once again, GPR139 is activated during withdrawal only in severe cases of alcohol addiction, George says, and the drug helps mediate the physical pain associated with withdrawal in these cases.

    Finally, the team used thin tubes to deliver JNJ-63533054 to small areas of the brain. The drug decreased alcohol intake when it was infused into the habenula, they found, but not other brain areas, confirming the importance of the brain region in addiction and withdrawal.

    While the research was only performed in male rats, and only alcohol addiction was studied, George suspects the results will hold true both for females and for other drug addictions, since the habenula has been shown to be critical in drug withdrawal more broadly.

    “The good thing about this type of target is that is almost exclusively expressed in the brain, which limits side effects, and it seems to have no effect on individuals who are not dependent,” says George. “Those are both positive indications of the receptor being druggable.”

    AAAS Public Release: Scripps Research scientists find new way to block alcohol addiction and ease withdrawal

  • Servetus

    70,000 opioid deaths in the US went unreported in the last 17 years due to sloppy death certificate reporting that failed a third of the time to include “T Codes”, a designation of a drug OD.

    Of the top five offending states that coded drug deaths as unspecified, only Pennsylvania allows medical cannabis, and only since July, 2016:

    27 JUNE 2018 – Several states are likely dramatically underestimating the effect of opioid-related deaths because of incomplete death certificate reporting, with Pennsylvania leading the pack, according to a new analysis by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

    The study, published today in Public Health Reports, the journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, found that potentially 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were not included in national opioid-related mortality estimates since 1999 because coroners and medical examiners did not specify the drug that contributed to the cause of death when completing the death certificates. […]

    In the U.S., cause of death codes are assigned by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) using information reported by the coroner or medical examiner completing the death certificate. Drug-specific overdose deaths are identified by the contributory causes of death, which are categorized as “T codes” and are assigned based on the specific drugs recorded by the coroner or medical examiner completing the death certificate. A code of T50.9 means “other and unspecified drugs, medicaments and biological substances.” […]

    In those 17 years, opioid-related overdose deaths rose 401 percent, non-opioid-related overdose deaths rose 150 percent and unspecified overdose deaths rose 220 percent. In five states – Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania – more than 35 percent of the overdose deaths were coded as unspecified.

    The variability among states not reporting specific drugs during this time period was tremendous – ranging from fewer than 10 unspecified overdose deaths in Vermont to 11,152 in Pennsylvania. States with a decentralized county coroner system or with a hybrid system that involved county coroners and state medical examiners, were likely to have a higher proportion of overdose deaths with unspecified drug codes. […]

    AAAS Public Release: 70K opioid-related deaths likely went unreported due to incomplete death certificates