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Time for the awakening...

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August 10, 2013

MARIJUANA - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY - THE MANY WAYS WE VIEW A PLANT - WWM - WEEK OF AUGUST 5 - 9, 2013

2012 MASSCANN RALLY POSTER

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Updated Aug. 13, 2013

Believe it or not, my Blog is not exclusively related to cannabis reform, or news, information, updates on the War on Drugs. It is however dedicated to "Stopping the Hurt", and the "drug war" is hurting people; by design, targeting marijuana users and where it comes from. Two of the four of my "Most Popular" posts  include marijuana and a story behind that marijuana.
I'd just like to make note of the fact that this week, of Aug 5 - 9, 2013, may just be one of the most pivotal points in the War on Marijuana. The War on Drugs itself is, for most practical purposes, is based upon marijuana - the centerpiece of the battle.

This quote for example originally appeared via the  L.A. Review of Books; Source: Alternet.com.

    "I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast." — Ronald Reagan

In 1970, The Controlled Substances Act was being written and enacted. Yes, President Nixon had a lot of enthusiasm for pushing this through Congress. For 30 years the original Reefer Madness act called the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 had buoyed a nation opposed to use of marijuana. Had enforced laws based on the frenzy incited by Yellow Journalism, that marijuana was the Destroyer of Youth, the Assassin, the Drug responsible for murderous rage and destruction...

An Act found Unconstitutional in the 1960's, throwing all laws against marijuana to the winds... along with the fact that Nixon inherited the most unpopular war in history - the Vietnam war, along with free love and the whole Hippie movement... Conservatives in America were scared shitless with what was happening around them.

Sorry!

But seriously... I can understand a concern for the dangers of drugs and drug abuse... which is why Nixon created the Drug Control Act, where he placed marijuana temporarily while studies were concluded, most notably by his own special assembled Shafer Committee. I have mentioned he was personally convinced the committee would return with a overwhelming condemnation of marijuana, and he even is alleged to have twisted some ears to see that that was the case, but to no avail... the Shafer Committee actually recommended decriminalization of marijuana, finding very little evidence of harm to society or an individual. 

But too late. On August 14, 1970, the Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Roger O. Egeberg wrote a letter recommending the plant, marijuana, be classified as a schedule 1 substance. Nixon jumped on the opportunity. He didn't wait to find out what the Shafer Committee's finding were. Use of marijuana was so popular and widespread he felt he had to act, and quickly. With the creation of the new DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and his conviction that marijuana was the gateway drug to all other dangerous drugs, Nixon acted and had the DEA place marijuana permanently into Schedule One. This meant no federal, tax-payer funds could be used to finance research into benefits or medicinal use of marijuana. It meant he could use marijuana as the centerpiece of his War on Drugs, and place emphasis on marijuana as the number one most dangerous drug in America.

In 1974 I turned 20, and I began to use marijuana. It turned my life around. Prior to that day, I barely made it through HS. I left HS scarred by being bullied. I enrolled in college only to appease my parents and their grand scheme. I had no real motivations, was a loner, and struggled to be social with my peers. When I started to use marijuana all that changed. 

But before I share with you all that changed for me in my life, I'd like to share with you all that has made this week so special to me.

We'll begin with...
THE UGLY:

Howard C. Samuels (Special correspondent to CNN):
>updated 11:00 AM EDT, Fri August 9, 2013
Howard C. Samuels is the founder and president of "The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles". I don't see a DR. in front of his name yet, apparently as a treatment specialist in whatever capacity he finds himself, he is considered an expert of sorts in the world of drug abuse. Enough so that he is a special correspondent to CNN. And his article that appears on CNN is especially ugly when it comes to his views on marijuana.

It's what I consider the death throes of the dinosaur... an age gone past with a new world in the making. Still, we should listen to what he has to say, as his message is the message that many Americans fear and agree with, though they only have past education on the subject to draw from, so many really don't understand the issues anymore than Mr. Samuels does.

He begins his article for CNN with the American staple (yeah, a sharp pointed M), at home with his wife and child, a boy of 11, they are watching the news when bursting through the airwaves is a shocking news-report regarding legalization of marijuana!
His boy asks, "If pot is so bad, why are they trying to legalize it?"
Good question. One Mr. Samuels mulls around in his head and as he explains:

"Neither my wife nor I anticipated that our son would be stopped on the street by unscrupulous potheads petitioning outside of the local grocery store and being fed a line of rhetoric that went against what we were trying to teach him."

Of course, Mr. Samuels is obviously using creative licensing here when he says that, as the question was in response to something on the TV News station they were watching, not a street-corner.
The rest of the article is equally littered with literary license...  statements such as this one:

Why are some of the people who petition for legalizing marijuana so passionate about it? Because when you smoke pot, you get loaded. You fry your brain. That's why the patients I see in my treatment center call it "getting baked." Pot is all about getting really high.

Have a glass of whiskey my friend, as those who petition for legalization of marijuana are not interested in fried brains... zombies might be, but that's the point. 

Oh, he bemoans the fact that pot users shouldn't exactly be thrown in jail, but goes on to pose they shouldn't be allowed to fornicate in public either.

He even has advice regarding "treating marijuana like alcohol", but once again misses the mark:

Marijuana supporters like to argue that marijuana is similar to alcohol. While alcohol is legal, it also accounts for tens of thousands of deaths every year in car accidents or other drinking-related misfortunes. But we can't turn the clock back on that one because it's too embedded in our society.

He begins his argument with "treating marijuana like alcohol" only to loose focus, and instead highlights the dangers of alcohol. With all the dangers of alcohol use, and how embedded it is as a recreational drug in America, of course we can't turn back the clock, nor could we reset it - we know that as a consequence of alcohol prohibition... 
He attempts to explain:

Supporters of marijuana say that marijuana should be legalized because old people and women and children who have ailments like glaucoma or cancer or intractable seizures need it.

And proceds to explain how he doesn't want to see people suffer... any American should be able to go to the pharmacy and get the medicine they need. But he continues:

...you don't need a Ph.D. to see that the spirit of that argument (to legalize marijuana) is being exploited by people who aren't using the marijuana for medical reasons at all; they are using it to get high.

Introducing legalized marijuana into our culture would be like using gasoline to put out a fire, because it stunts growth.

Stunts growth... ???


It's pretty ugly. Unfortunately, it highlights the mindset of many of our elected politicians, or at least the voter base they are trying to patronize.

I was saying originally that I was around age 20 when I first used marijuana. How it changed my life. Why it did, I don't know, but what I do know is it didn't demotivate me. It had the opposite effect in that it motivated me to find a job, get a self-chosen college education, and embrace my future. 

There is really no comparison to using pot and getting high and using alcohol and getting drunk. Getting high isn't especially about getting wasted... the term wasted analogous to getting drunk, as getting high often isn't about getting wasted. There are days when being high on life means hiking, working in the garden or playing a sport - that is what getting high is all about. And there are days when you want to be left alone in your library... to write a book, and that is what getting wasted is all about. One never gets drunk on marijuana, wasted to the point they are dysfunctional... it's possible, but the dynamics are completely different. 

Alcohol is an intoxicant that is in reality a poison that with increased dosage results in inebriation. Marijuana is a plant that contains a drug called THC that can be used to isolate a person from what's troubling them... provide a cocoon of sorts. Depending upon the strength of the marijuana, the user can relax to the point of being unmotivated. More often however, use of marijuana is not used to isolate a person, but rather as for motivational purposes... achieving an ideal high (not to be confused with intoxication) to accomplish a goal, using marijuana to emulate an effect similar to coffee or a natural high as experienced while hiking. The high may be associated with medicinal goals - pain management, alleviation of symptoms of PTSD, or with purely a desire to feeling good. Marijuana is actually self regulating, unlike alcohol, in that more does not imply a state of increasing intoxication or more being high, because more does not provide an increase beyond a certain level of high. In that respect, there is very little comparison between alcohol and marijuana.

THE GOOD:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta... another CNN Correspondent this week reversed previous beliefs that marijuana was bad with his own personal, one year inquisition into the truth about marijuana. And his opinion may surprise you!

Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled "Why I would Vote No on Pot."
"Well, I am here to apologize." says Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.

Required reading!:  Why I Changed My Mind On Weed (CNN), by Dr. Sanjay Gupta

THE BAD:

Discussion SAFEACCESS - Comments - Legal THC... is most notable not only for the article but more for the comments. It should come as no surprise that the US government owns a patent on THC and chemical components of cannabis, but what should be a surprise is despite this patent for cannabis components as medicine, marijuana/cannabis remains a Schedule One drug. The irony is simple; how can a plant listed as having no medicinal value have so much medicinal value? The comment section of the aforementioned link describes all sorts of pharmaceuticals based on cannabis, even those drugs designed to destroy endocannibinoid receptors in the human brain, without which we would be zombies. Amazing how many drugs/parmaceuticals already exist based upon cannabis - a useless plant as described by the federal government with a severity of abuse much higher than alcohol, tobacco or cocaine. 

And finally, Mr. Samuels would appreciate, or not, the following research: Effects of Marijuana Smoking on the Lung

Appears, the effects of smoking marijuana aren't anywhere near the same as smoking tobacco. Like the, "one marijuana cigarette = 20 tobacco cigarettes". But then why would we expect they would be the same? Two different plants. Sure, smoke is considered smoke. But then the whole problem with science is the desire to simplify everything into one neat bundle.

Whether it's 1) Brianna Maitland and her disappearance alleged to be related to drugs or 2) Patricia Spottedcrow in prison for over ten years for selling a couple marijuana cigarettes, the truth is the same. Misunderstanding and prejudice determine a person's fate. In spite of a US President that promised laws and a reality based on science, that is not how America survives. It is not what we base our reality upon. 

Attorney General Eric Holder recently held a conference at the Kennedy Center, and although much speculation resides around a change to US Drug Policy and discrimination based upon race, the following link did little to ally my concerns. A full 40 minutes was devoted to voter rights and certainly, that is a concern, however a brief 2 minutes was in reference to federal drug policy reform and non-violent crimes based upon marijuana use and other drugs.

Most notable was the federal government's concern for it's privacy but a notable lack of concern for the privacy of American Citizens.

The YouTube video of Attorney General Eric Holder at the Kennedy center is here:



Marijuana Plants - Patent owned by God

Isn't it time we treated marijuana as a plant, as a medicinal herb like ginseng or camomile, and not a weapon? Isn't it time to treat alcohol more like a drug and not a fruit juice? Isn't it time to respect the privacy of individuals that the US Constitution provides to US citizens?

So President Ronald Reagan thought marijuana was as bad as a nuclear blast? I have to ask, was he even ever at Bikini Island during a nuclear blast? If so, could that have affected his mind? I mean, who in their right mind can seriously make a comparison like that and expect people will take him seriously?  Ludicrous idea. But that's what drives the War on Drugs. Fallacies and propaganda.

Time America gets real, and time to Stop the Hurt!


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