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November 28, 2009


During my long commute I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) usually in NH. That's where I got news about the park sit-ins for cannabis reform. Recently, however, I heard a news-cast on Marketplace, about the difficulties posed with legalization, and the dispensaries in CA. One of those problems is distribution and who gets prescriptions. To highlight the article they ended it with an interview of an apparent 18 yo, sounding stoned, proclaiming he had "used marijuana for stress, and had done so for most of his life", and now had a "prescription", so he was legal.

Generally I find NPR  playing both sides... in this case they're playing center. It'd be easy for me to create a post to illustrate the stereotype of a drunk, describing his ills, and how during alcohol prohibition, he had a prescription, to use whiskey... something that today is available with no limit...  The controls come into play, in theory not only with the age of the person buying it, but also who is sharing with who? All drugs used for recreation need sound regulation... to the degree coffee is simply enjoyed with it's caffeine buzz, to Psilocybin or LSD... a war on these things is futile.

This prescription for whiskey was issued in 1925 , to a Mr. McNoble (sp?) He apparently was one of the good guys - got his prescription, to make his use of a recreational drug legal.

So I have to question authority, when I ask: why does cannabis decriminalization, ie reform, pose such a serious dilemma? With alcohol and tobacco causing thousands of deaths every day, and cannabis causing next to none, despite it's popularity, why the billions of tax-payer dollars spent annually on cannabis erradication and arrests?

And why bring up children almost every time decriminalization is debated?

It's always about the effect on the children, it seems. Yet, adults easily consume alcohol around children with utter abandon about the message it sends. And many smoke tobacco around kids, even today, with all the warnings of second-hand smoke. Cannabis smoke likewise should not be used around children, but effects of second hand smoke for cannabis are not the same as with tobacco. There is research indicating the opposite, that it dilates airways, and helps relieve the symptoms of asthma. Yet further research indicates cannabis may actually provide anti-cancer benefits to the body. All this is documented.

A good book to start with is a recent release, "Marijuana is Safer - So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?" Chelsea Green Publishing, copyright 2009 - Steve Fox and Paul Armentano.

There seems to be little logic to the laws, in my opinion, regarding recreational drug use... the most dangerous the government makes a bundle on, with taxes; yet one of the most appreciated, and least harmful to society - cannabis, it's treated like a plague, or a serious crime. Makes no sense to me.

We've Been there... Done that people... time to get real... deal with real issues ...

The point is... the stereotype of the "pothead" is a myth. It's easy to act the part of a stoner, the fact is people who use cannabis, use it for many reasons... and very few of those users are harming society by doing so, except by doing something in private that is illegal.

Currently, the FDA regulates tobacco products, as well as all pharmacuticals. It doesn't regulate cannabis. Recently the FDA sent letters out to companies still selling caffeinated alcoholic beverages... demanding them to prove such beverages were safe.  Essentially they can't, it would cost the companies a lot to prove the combination is safe, so it's a tough position to be in.

Yet tobacco, now regulated by the FDA, is known not to be safe, yet it's sold virtually unregulated, except by age, with no limit to the amount purchased. The same with alcohol. No Limit. Except by age.

Cannabis on the other hand, with considerable studies showing it to be among the safest drugs known to man, remains in limbo... it is legally prescribed/sold in, at last count, 14 states, and the states benefit from the sales being taxed...  to my knowledge, prescription meds aren't normally taxed, making this, DeFacto Legalization!!!

Meanwhile, the federal government sits on regulations making use of marijuana a schedule one crime. That's a serious complication. It means doctors cannot prescribe cannabis for any reason, and yet, the federal government has chosen, at least for now to look the other way. I guess President Obama is planning to let his successor decide on what to do about the 'Omar and Kumar's of this country'.  

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