Posts Tagged ‘mary jane’
by Maya Szalavitz, Time Magazine
It’s a familiar experience for most marijuana smokers — that sudden discovery of great meaning, humor or intensity in what they would ordinarily find to be mundane situations and sensations. It’s part of why people seek out marijuana, but this undue attention to what ordinarily seems insignificant is also part of the psychotic experience of schizophrenia— and new research finds that the two main ingredients in marijuana have opposing effects on it.
The study examined 15 normal men who had previously smoked cannabis only a few times. Researchers exposed the men to each of the two most psychoactive ingredients in marijuana — delta-nine tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and compared their effects to a placebo while the participants performed a mental task.
The men were asked to study arrows, placed on either the left or right of the screen, which mostly pointed straight, but occasionally—in what’s known as the “oddball” situation— the arrows were tilted at a 23 degree angle. The participants’ brains were scanned while they identified which direction the arrows were pointing, so scientists could determine which parts of the brain were affected by marijuana’s active ingredients.
In all of the situations, not surprisingly, it took longer for the men to respond to the unusually pointing arrows. After taking THC, however, the men responded faster in both the oddball and usual cases than they did under the influence of either CBD or placebo. But their responses were even more affected in the usual cases.
The fact that that the men responded faster after taking THC to the straight arrows more than the bent ones meant that THC particularly affected how participants experienced familiar sights. (Interestingly, while THC seemed to reduce the accuracy of responses compared to CBD and placebo, the difference was not statistically significant, meaning it could have been due to chance.)
The scans showed that THC lowered activity in a region on the right side of the brain called the caudate nucleus—and the more it reduced activation, the greater effect it had on the mens’ response times and the more they experienced a sense of paranoia and an intensified sense of significance and auditory hallucinations.
Those are all “psychotic symptoms,” which can indicate schizophrenia if they occur when people are not high on marijuana or other drugs. Understanding how they occur may help researchers better understand how psychosis develops. For example, an inability to filter out irrelevant stimuli may lead people to hallucinate voices when others hear only noise. And, if a sense of heightened significance occurs simultaneously, this could lead to hallucinations common in schizophrenia, like a sense that the voices are commanding you to do something important or are the voices of religious authorities or gods.
Of course, the same lack of filtering— with less intensity or with awareness that they are produced by a drug— could also aid creativity, which often involves paying attention to those elements of life that are usually ignored. Indeed, some research suggests that the relatives of people with schizophrenia are more creative than others— and this tendency not to tune out the ordinary could explain why.
In contrast, CBD had the opposite effect on the brain and earlier research has suggested that it may have antipsychotic properties.
Does that mean that marijuana could play a role in either triggering or even treating schizophrenia? Possibly. In people with the disorder, marijuana use can intensify symptoms and research suggests it can bring on schizophrenia in some people who are predisposed to develop it. But the interaction is complicated: as marijuana use has increased dramatically in the population, schizophrenia rates have stayed the same.
CBD might help explain that. Since marijuana typically contains both compounds, CBD could counteract THC’s tendency to create psychotic symptoms, which might prevent someone with a predisposition to schizophrenia who smokes pot from falling over the edge into active disease.
And if this is true— as studies increasingly suggest is the case— it may have important implications for the debate over both marijuana legalization and over “fake pot” products like Spice or K2. These contain only THC-like substances and therefore may actually be more dangerous than natural weed. If marijuana and similar substances were regulated, a requirement to include a certain level of CBD might be one way to minimize harm.
The research was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry and led by Sagnik Bhattacharyya of the Department of Psychosis studies at King’s College, London.
by Heath Urie, Daily Camera
From glee at the prospect of no new competition to dismay at the city’s handling of the matter, Boulder’s medical marijuana industry had a mix of reactions Wednesday to the city’s unexpected ban on new businesses.
The City Council approved the temporary ban on new dispensaries and growing operations at about 11 p.m. Tuesday at the request of City Attorney Tom Carr.
The ban took effect immediately and will last at least until 8 a.m. Feb. 8. But the council is scheduled to hold a public hearing Feb. 7 to decide whether to impose a longer-term moratorium.
On Wednesday, Carr said he plans to call for at least a six-month moratorium at that meeting.
“The fact is that we wanted to get to a level where we could get through the first 120 applications that we’ve gotten and make sure the community was adequately served,” Carr said.
Now, with 37 cultivation facilities, 32 dispensaries and six marijuana-infused product manufacturing sites in the city, Carr said, “We have more than enough businesses in town.”
He said there are also concerns that growing operations are simply shipping their product to Denver dispensaries — cutting Boulder out of the tax collections — and that dispensaries in Fort Collins will try to relocate to Boulder after that city ordered all medical marijuana businesses to close by Feb. 14.
Carr said the temporary ban on new license applications would give the council time to review the laws governing the industry and whether changes should be made.
“We think we’ve been very fair to this industry,” Carr said, noting that most other Front Range cities have banned dispensaries entirely. “We’ve tried to help this industry and support it.”
The city would likely draft changes to regulations, or write new ones, if the council approves a longer-term moratorium. It’s possible that the moratorium could be extended again after six months, however.
Carr said it was important not to give prior notice about the emergency moratorium so that would-be dispensary owners didn’t have time to submit last-minute applications.
Some dispensary owners said Wednesday that they suspected the city would eventually close the floodgates.
“While I think it’s unfortunate for people looking to expand or perhaps relocate from other areas, it doesn’t surprise me,” said Frank Horwich, owner of the Boulder MMC dispensary, 2206 Pearl St.
City officials said Boulder now has 12 pending applications for medical marijuana shops — which will still be allowed through the process.
Horwich said he thinks the relatively large number of dispensaries in Boulder is driving the moratorium.
“It has felt to me that the city of Boulder has realized they have probably more than enough shops,” he said. “All of the conversations that I’ve had in the past with officials from the city of Boulder didn’t lead me to believe they were interested in having any additional (medical marijuana) businesses.”
Carr, the city attorney, said the moratorium also gives his office time to see how a court case involving a Boulder dispensary owner plays out.
Last month, Boulder County District Court Judge Andrew Macdonald granted a preliminary injunction against the city that allows Jack Pease, owner of Buffalo Enterprises, to continue operating his medical marijuana dispensary, The Station, and the accompanying grow operation, Bushes.
The city had ordered the company to close its doors over compliance issues and for denying city inspectors access to his business. Pease appealed that order, saying the city didn’t treat him fairly.
On Wednesday, Pease said he thinks the moratorium is an unfair overreaction to his case.
“No, I don’t think it’s fair to the other people — not at all,” he said. “It seems like, to me, that instead of putting it on hold and stopping the world, you deal with the situation at hand and move on.”
But some businesses that already have a license see the moratorium as an opportunity.
“It’s a good thing for us,” said Dan Boden, general manager at Boulder Kind Care, 2031 16th St. “We’re actually pretty happy about it.”
He said the dispensaries that got on top of the city’s stringent requirements early are the ones that deserve to stay in business.
“The people who actively put effort into complying … are being rewarded,” he said.
And the rewards can be great. According to city officials, the sale of medical marijuana in the city topped $18 million in the first 10 months of 2011. That has translated to about $654,000 in sales tax for the city.
Laura Kriho, director of the Boulder-based Cannabis Therapy Institute, said the financial incentives of keeping competition out of the market have made it more difficult to rally local businesses against things like additional regulations and moratoriums.
“The dispensaries, they want these regulations,” she said. “They want their competition put out of business.”
But from the standpoint of medical marijuana patients, she said, a moratorium doesn’t help anyone.
“Any more prohibitions are going to go against patients,” she said. “This is supposed to be liberal Boulder, so what is the problem here?”
Two potential ballot measures this fall may change the playing field for medical marijuana businesses regardless of what Boulder does.
Kriho is working on the “Legalize 2012″ campaign, which seeks to legalize the drug in Colorado.
A competing measure, meanwhile, seeks to regulate marijuana like alcohol and legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of the drug for anyone over 21.
Mason Tvert, a proponent of the initiative, turned in nearly 160,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State on Wednesday in an effort to get that measure on the fall ballot. The initiative needs only about 86,000 valid signatures to make the ballot.
He said the initiative would not affect Boulder’s rules for dispensaries.
“The initiative explicitly allows localities to establish their own policies and to ban those types of facilities if they want,” he said. “This initiative will not affect current medical marijuana rules and regulations in any way.”
Contact Camera Staff Writer Heath Urie at 303-473-1328 or email@example.com.
DeAngelo is the star of Weed Wars, which Discovery has been accused of stealing. Even worse in my mind is his (and his brother Andrew’s) blatant hypocrisy.
Years before they started Harborside Health Center in Oakland, DeAngelo was a marijuana activist/pot dealer in Washington, DC. In fact, he was arrested for possession shortly before he left DC for the West Coast.
I wouldn’t dredge this up if DeAngelo (or Stevie D as he’s know in cannabis circles) wasn’t such a turncoat.
He’s made millions selling pot to medical patients in California. His mantra is “cannabis should be used for purposes of wellness.” Nice spin. Now let’s get back to reality.
Just last year DeAngelo proposed a legalization initiative for California. When Richard Lee beat him to it with Prop 19, DeAngelo pulled back and said he’d wait for 2012. Now it appears that he’s not in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana for all uses any longer.
To his credit, DeAngelo and his then partner Eric Steenstra founded the hemp clothing line Ecolution in the mid-’90s. Unfortunately, business didn’t go well and they soon closed up shop.
After his arrest and the subsequent dismissal of the case, DeAngelo made his move, opening the uber-slick “WalMart of pot” in Oakland. He aimed to blow away the competition and to some extent has, raking in $20 million dollars in 2010.
I was excited about Weed Wars. Why not a reality TV show that focuses on the inner workings of a major medical-marijuana dispensary?
Allegedly, a producer named Kylie Krabbe pitched the idea to Discovery in 2010. She lined up The Farmacy, based in Los Angeles, as the featured dispensary. According to her complaint, Discovery thought the concept was “too edgy” for them and rejected her proposal. Then, lo and behold, Discovery inked a deal with Harborside instead. If that’s true, it’s really sleazy.
During their rounds to promote Weed Wars, Andrew DeAngelo, who has glaucoma, told Bill O’Reilly, “We do not support the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.”
I winced when I heard that, but figured it was just his opinion. Then, as the show’s brief season came to a close, Steve parroted his brother.
That’s the same stance taken by Montel Williams, who was booed at the NORML Conference DeAngelo speaks at during Episode 4. It’s sad to see someone who hails himself as “an agent of change to bring the truth about the cannabis plant to the rest of the world” take such a giant step backwards.
Weed Wars certainly serves an important purpose – to reach beyond the converted, to the heart of mainstream America, with a message of medicinal use. But the series proved to be a DeAngelo family vanity project. Now we know Steve DeAngelo has a closet filled with colorful suits, hats and ties. We also know that he’s officially turned his back on the cause he’s championed for “almost 40 years.”
If Steve DeAngelo’s old compatriot Jack Herer were still alive he’d call him a lot worse names. I’m just going to call him a hypocrite and leave it at that.
David Downs, exclusive to the San Francisco Chronicle
Medithrive, a cannabis dispensary in San Francisco’s Mission District that was forced to close last month, has re-emerged as a delivery-only service, part of a growing trend in California’s billion-dollar medical marijuana industry that’s recently come under attack by federal authorities.
Threats of property forfeiture,
fines, lawsuits and raids this winter have made brick-and-mortar locations less enticing to pot entrepreneurs. Hundreds of storefronts have closed amid the new federal crackdown. Delivery services remain, offering a lower-profile, albeit more dangerous, alternative.
“It just makes sense. When you have a storefront, you’re on the map. You don’t have those issues with a delivery service. No one’s going to know about it,” said William Panzer, an Oakland defense attorney who represents Northstone Organics, a delivery service based in Ukiah (Mendocino County).
California has struggled with cannabis distribution since voters in 1996 gave qualified patients a medical defense for breaking state marijuana laws. Then in 2003, state Sen. Mark Leno’s SB420 granted patients the right to collectively cultivate and distribute marijuana.
Under those laws, San Francisco created a dispensary licensing process in 2005 that led to an estimated 24 clubs and one delivery-only service. There are thought to be several hundred thousand Californians with a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana.
Cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego chose the opposite path and tried to ban shops with limited success. But the storefront enforcement climate led to the proliferation of fly-by-night mobile services.
Indeed, the number of storefront dispensaries and mobile operators are inversely correlated, Los Angeles Assistant City Attorney Asha Greenberg said.
On Oct. 7, four U.S. attorneys declared a crackdown on the medical marijuana industry, alleging profiteering and exports to other states. Hundreds of warning letters went out to dispensary landlords across the state.
More than two-thirds of San Diego storefront dispensaries closed within weeks, watchers said. Dozens closed in Sacramento County. At least three San Francisco clubs have closed, and one in Oakland moved.
Jack Gillund, spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the Northern District, said his office would not comment on storefront pot clubs being replaced by delivery services.
Medithrive’s return as a delivery service echoes the behavior of operators in Southern California. San Diego has about 100 delivery listings. Orange County has 50 and Los Angeles about 100, according to data from leading dispensary locator WeedMaps.com.
“My sense is they’re switching out of brick-and-mortars, or just going to the black market,” said Justin Hartfield, WeedMaps founder.
“It’s like water,” Greenberg said. “You close off one pathway, and it morphs and goes in another direction.”
Some patients prefer delivery. Medithrive declined to comment, but it is busy.
Calls to the service often go directly to voice mail because of high volume. The company also has an online menu as well as smart-phone apps that feature strains such as Dream Queen for $40 for an eighth of an ounce – about a week’s supply for an average patient.
Warning of delivery dangers
App photos also display Medithrive’s shuttered Mission Street store – a high-end affair with flat-screen TV menus.
The Department of Justice’s crackdown amounts to a dangerous form of theater, in that it does nothing to curtail supply or demand, said Lisa Gygax, a California dispensary attorney. People feel less safe buying cannabis from a random guy coming up to their house – but they will if options become limited, she said.
“Delivery is dangerous, it’s extremely difficult to regulate, but they’re extremely successful if there is no safe access,” she said. “What else are patients going to do – go to the park?”
San Francisco has one delivery-only licensee, the Green Cross. It is delivery-only because it was pushed out of a storefront during the 2005 San Francisco licensing process, said General Manager Caren Woodson. The Green Cross is seeking a city permit for a storefront because it’s the preferred business model, she said.
Risk of robbery
Safety concerns for drivers are huge, Woodson said, and the service has been robbed once.
Unlicensed delivery services probably underreport robberies, Gygax said.
The conflict between California’s medicinal marijuana supporters – including advocates and lawmakers – and federal authorities is expected to worsen. That is likely to bring an awkward social compromise: more delivered dope.
“We sort of predicted this,” said Dale Gieringer, head of California’s National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “I could see cars going around. I could see delivery trucks. It’s sort of what one expected. … I’ve seen a decline in delivery services in the last four or five years as dispensaries have proliferated. I suppose that will go in the other direction now.”
E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I chose that title for today’s Christmas blog because I do believe it is a wonderful life, and it’s much too short. The Frank Capra Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a reminder to: 1) never underestimate the good you have done and the good you can do in the world, 2) be grateful for the love you have, and 3) be grateful for whatever you do have, it could be much worse!
Every day I get letters written by strangers whom I have never met reminding me I am loved, and I am blessed. I have an incredible wife who loves me, and wonderful friends, some well known, many others I have never met. I’ve had an incredible life, and as I approach the half-way mark of my sentence in 14 days, I am full optimism and joy inside.
I am also blessed to know others who care for me, and in their letters with their heartfelt sympathy for me, they reveal without complaint, just how challenging life can be.
I’ve included selections of letters I’ve received in recent weeks. These are only just snippets of longer messages; much of their letter that expresses sympathy for my situation is not included, because that’s not what my message for this Christmas is about. I am grateful for the 3,500+ letters I have received in my nearly two years in jail now, and especially appreciative of the intimate and sincere real life stories that people all over America, Canada and the world share with me. I am honored to be considered such a friend as to be privy to such experiences.
From Catherine & Hector in Ontario, Canada:
“I frequently visit and shop on the CC site and have read up on yours and your wife’s fight. I have been moved to tears reading your blogs and admire and am inspired by the love that is so evident between you & Jodie. In a world filled with so much injustice, I cling to the most positive thing I have — the unconditional & unwavering love and loyalty of my spouse. I am the sole caregiver to my husband Hector who is dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Please know in your darkest moments that there are strangers (like us) who keep you in our prayers and are sending you moments of comfort and good chi. You are an inspiration to many and your fight is not in vain. We are counting down the days to your release.
Cat & Hector
P.S. Hector is wearing your t-shirt right now.”
From Samantha in Texas, with a darling photo of children Marley (4) and Emery (1 1/2):
“I think you are inspirational and I love reading your blog seeing how positive you remain in your circumstances. I sent you a picture of my two boys Marley who is four and Emery who is 20 months. Emery is named after you. When I was pregnant with Emery my husband and i battled over his name. He wanted to name him Young and I went everywhere from Geddy to Raine to Elwood. anything but Young. About a week or so before i went into labor he brought up your name “Emery”. Finally we agreed! Well, almost.. He wanted Young Emery Hott. I wanted Emery Raine Hott. A few days after that decision was made I was woke up in the morning by a phone call telling me my husband was in an accident on his way home from working overnight and had been taken to a hospital downtown. Not having another car I finally got hold of my Mom at work to drive me to the hospital with Marley who was 2 1/2 at the time. We sat in the waiting room forever. They would send in a Chaplain to talk to me then a doctor spoke to me. I couldn’t understand a word the doctor said. They took me to see my husband and it wasn’t what I expected. Breathing tubes. A nurse had closed his eyes so they wouldn’t get dry. I refused to leave his side. I sat up all night jumping at every noise thinking he was going to come out of where he was. He was in a coma. Two days later I’m still in the room and a nurse rolls a wheelchair into the room. She said it was for me, in case I needed it. I wobbled out to the waiting room. I was exhausted. I went into labor then. I was forced into the wheelchair and downstairs to delivery. The baby arrived and I chose Emery Young Hott. My husband remained in a coma for 100 days before he passed. This isn’t a story that is meant to make anyone sad. I am more resilient than I thought. My car was totalled. My family moved me out of my duplex and into their house because I wouldn’t be able to pay rent now that I couldn’t go back to work, what with having a baby and being at the hospital so often. Not all was lost though, I still had my two boys… I hope both my boys grow up with a strong will to follow their hearts and always fight for what’s right. I hope your sentence goes quickly. I know Jodie will miss you terribly. I sure love watching her interviews. She handles every interview with so much grace. I hope your holidays are as good as they can possibly be, and thank you again for all your hard work for this cause.”
From Shannon, in San Jose, California:
“…It must be hard to be away from family in there. This past February my cousin found me on the internet after 25 years. My Dad went into a coma when I was one year old. Shortly after that, my mother was accused of being the cause. So I lost contact with Dad’s side of the family. I must say, since I have met my cousins and one of my aunts from my father’s side of the family recently I know where I get a lot of my personality from. I finally got to see my Dad recently in the hospital. It was a very awkward moment to see my Dad alive and hooked up to machines to keep him alive. I realized looking at him that I looked a lot like him. I don’t know if he could hear me, but I told him he was a grandfather of a beautiful grand-daughter. I must say it was hard growing up with just my mother. Mom was always busy with work just to make ends meet. We lived with my grandma until she passed away when I was 16. She was more of a mother to me than my own Mom. I feel I made a good choice in life with the man I chose to be with and have a family with, considering I didn’t have a father in all that time. I always get mixed emotions on how I feel about seeing others with both parents around…”
From Cathy in Rio Linda, California:
“All of you who have fought for patients’ rights are my heroes. I have a disease called Von Hipple-Lindau. This disease creates tumors throughout my body. I have lost both of my kidneys, my thyroid glands, half my pancreas, my right eye and my uterus. I did get a kidney transplant so I have one now. Now hows that, for Pete’s sake. After all that, authorities in California are telling me I can’t use marijuana. Go figure! Well, I am sure you know I am not listening to those authorities… In your band, please sing a song for me. I too think that Mrs. Emery is pretty incredible. I hope to meet her one day soon.
Take care & Peace to you,
From Tom in Covington, Washington:
“The most recent chapter of my service was in the military, the US Army, in Alaska. I was in a high speed airborne recon outfit, and a 14-month tour of Iraq. I was honorably discharged in 2009 with a nagging low back pain and Post-traumatic stress Disorder. Today, like so many veterans, I have mixed thoughts on my service. I think I joined up partly to escape rocky family situations. My Dad was having trouble dealing with, at age 42, Huntington’s Disease; its a horrible genetic disease that took the joy from his father’s latter years, and was now profoundly affecting Dad. The last few years I’ve become a cannabis activist like you! But its strange how life is. In a few hours after putting these words on paper to you, I am taking a medical test to find out if I have Huntington’s Disease. I’m scared, but I feel I must know. Any well-trained paratrooper keeps a steady hand on his reserve parachute. My reserve parachute is my cannabis oil medicine research. Whatever the test result, I believe it is paramount to our family that we search for any possible cures to Huntington’s Disease. My Dad didn’t express views on cannabis, and sadly he deteriorated until he took his own life 6 months ago in May. So this medical marijuana issue fuels a fiery passion for justice to a degree most people can’t fathom. I’m grateful for the sacrifice you make on a daily basis and pray for similar courage in the next chapter of my life. Since I get medical care from the VA, I will take this opportunity to reform the VA’s drug policy. I’m so sick and tired of the crappy opiates I’m hooked on for my pain. I’m hoping strong quantities of cannabis will end up helping me clear the big hurdle of ditching these pills they so readily give me. I was at Seattle Hempfest when I ran into Jodie. We walked and talked for a few minutes before she took the main stage to big applause and a great speech. I told her I watched her show, she thanked me for the “Free Marc” pin on my hat. I can’t wait to see you (fingers crossed), Marc, next year, a free man.”
From Craig in Portland, Maine:
“My name is Craig. I love POT.TV and the Jodie Emery Show. I respect your wife so much. From my own experience, I know she is doing time right along with you. I did three years in a Florida prison in the 90′s, so I feel your loss of family. I hope to be an activist one day, any advice you have would be great. I am a medical marijuana patient. I am 37. I have several conditions; neuro-endocrine pancreatic cancer, type-two diabetes due to the cancer, and a condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasma Type One which makes it so I pass 20-30 kidney stones every month.”
And from Cindy in North Vancouver, British Columbia:
“It has been a difficult month here. Mum passed on in her sleep early on October 18. She was mentally vital but her heart was damaged from two heart attacks which she had while travelling in England 12 years ago. I’d been looking after Mum and Dad for the last year, doing the daily care for them, prepping meals, keeping the place straight, and living in the guest cottage they had in the backyard… On the morning of October 18, about 4:30 in the morning, my Dad got up and noticed Mum’s breathing was noisy. By 5:30 she was gone from this world. He came to my door and banged on it, I thought he had to go to the hospital but he was inconsolable and told me what had happened. The rest is a blur… We sat for a long time and he kept going in and looking at her and crying, it was so sad. “She was the love of my life!” he said amidst the sobs. Mom wanted to have her body donated to science so after calling the coroner, police, I looked that up on the internet and arranged to have her body taken to the UBC medical school for use in their anatomy classes. She was a hard-core atheist, and I must say, few people get to continue to live their convictions, but she will. The medical school will keep her body preserved so she can be used for 3 years training new medical students, and she will get positively affect thousands of lives as a result. We should all be so selfless. So life at this household has been in complete upheaval. Our precious matriarch is gone and the loss is tremendous. She was a brilliant and incredible woman. I had hoped that at some point you would get to meet her. She has read everything written by Dawkins, Ron Paul, and she was a champion for human rights before it was fashionable or even labeled. We have lost a good one here and my heart is heavy. The day she passed we had planned to go to Long & McQuade Music Store to buy some music books for you. For the funeral Mom wanted the orchestra which she conducted for 18 years to play at her service, but the only place big enough is the local Anglican church. Mom was an atheist, and Dad and all the kids are atheists, so we are amused to see how the Reverend will handle it. My concerns are about the music and food for the guests, so we’ll overlook the religion inherent in the venue…”
I hope these letters I’ve shared with you can give you pause to appreciate your life, your health (such as it may be), your friends, your privileges, your children, and the many little wonders of our existence.
May you be filled with love and compassion over these holidays, and in the years 2012 ahead, make every effort to spread love and kindness at home, at work, in your politics and in your pleasure.
As I write this not on Christmas eve, far away from home, I would just like to tell my incomparable wife, “Jodie I am so grateful to have you as my everything. I’m honored to be your husband, and am so thankful for my great fortune in meeting you. Your love is inspiring, it certainly is…”
There are hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug war prisoners in federal prisons across the United States. Ron Paul has promised, if elected President, to pardon all who currently languish in jail and all of us with a criminal record for non-violent drug offenses. Millions of Americans have a federal criminal record for non-violent drug offenses.
2012 is the year in our history we can put an end to prohibition, free all the drug war prisoners, have all of us with convictions for cannabis and other substances pardoned, returned to our families and freed from our criminal record, at long last.
May God and the People Bless and Protect Ron Paul. Join his campaign in your state and make history happen in the next 12 months.
Merry Christmas, and a Ron Paul New Year!
Yazoo Medium Security Federal Prison
Write to Marc:
Marc Emery #40252-086 Unit E-1
Yazoo Medium FCC
PO Box 5888
Yazoo City, MS
Address and guidelines at www.FreeMarc.ca
There is a great editorial in a Southern Oregon newspaper today called “Legalize pot: It’ll dry up drug cartels’ market, save forests.” It’s well done and deserves a read, but today my muse comes in the form of a comment on the piece. My reply was far too long for comments, so I’m putting it up here. The first paragraph references a jibe the editorialist makes at the conservative sheriff’s alarm at the waste and pollution from a clandestine marijuana grow on forest lands (“It was the first time in memory a Republican has fretted so about the environment.”)
This article will no doubt spawn endless atta-boys from the medicinal (i.e. recreational) marijuana crowd. However, a few comments are due. First, Varble, your characterization of conservatives a not caring about the environment is so cliche, and wrong. It is easy to care about the environment, and seek balance with human use, unlike the screaming greenies who want man extinguished from the earth. Most all of my conservative friends support reasonable protections of the environment.
Second, there is obviously a conflict between our treatment of alcohol and marijuana. Both are harmful drugs, which do not benefit the user (I will allow a small argument for medicinal use but only for about 10% of the alleged medicinal users). Both drugs cause a great cost to our society. Both drugs are outlawed in some places in our country (i.e. dry counties, native restrictions in Alaska, etc for alcohol, and most everywhere for pot). Legalizing alcohol stopped the unlawful production and distribution, but only enhanced (through availability) the social damage, i.e. highway deaths, alcoholism, family abuse, and the list goes on. Same effects from abuse of marijuana, but it too often leads to harder drug use and the search for the illusive high for those people who can’t find it in their lives to make their own happiness without chemical assistance.
An excuse to legalize marijuana-tough question. We already see in the generations since the proliferation of pot an attitude of lassitude toward education, achievement, and aggressive pursuit of the American dream. Do we really want to keep creating these legal fictions of acceptability? What next when these are both legal and common, then the argument goes to the next step, how about Vicodin or Oxycontin without prescriptions, they don’t hurt anyone.
Saying “alcohol and marijuana…. both are harmful drugs” is akin to saying “.357 Magnums and pea-shooters…. both are harmful weapons.” So many times I read conservatives call out about this “great cost to our society” borne from the hippie hordes puffing doobies, yet never a dollar figure or a study to back it up. And nary a realization that whatever that cost is, we’re offsetting it by ZERO dollars in tax revenues and compounding it by spending billions in a failed effort to eradicate it.
Regardless what that cost may be (sure, it is a non-zero number; nothing recreational is “harmless” to society – how much arable land and precious water does a golf course consume?) the cost is tiny compared to the cost of alcohol and tobacco on society, which, unsurprisingly, conservatives are never calling out to prohibit and interdict and incarcerate like they do pot. Sure, legal access to alcohol leads to “highway deaths, alcoholism, family abuse…” because *IT IS ALCOHOL*, not cannabis, and yet you know (if you read history) that its prohibition led to far worse societal outcomes.
Meanwhile, the drug that leads people to being peaceful, compassionate, cooperative, loving, artistic, sharing, and hungry (in both the physiological and the abstract sense), the one that is literally incapable of causing toxic overdose, the one that even you admit is medicinal for some of its users, the one that coincidentally produces the most digestible protein in the plant kingdom and a superior carbon-*NEGATIVE* building material / clothing material / plastic / fuel oil… that’s the one we need to put people in a cage for using. The tobacco addicts, we’ll build them little shelters outside of work to get their fix. The alcohol addicts, we’ll celebrate them in advertisements, sitcoms, and movies. We’re actually pretty accommodating of people “who can’t find it in their lives to make their own happiness without chemical assistance.” But the potheads – people about whom your worst unfounded stereotypes are “attitude of lassitude toward education”, “the search for the illusive high”, and people who might eventually do some other drug that really is dangerous and harmful – they need to be arrested and imprisoned.
The fact is that there are 100 million adults age 18+ who’ve tried cannabis, 26 million using it annually, and 15.8 million using cannabis monthly. There are only 350,000 adults age 18+ using heroin monthly. Not only has the so-called “gateway theory” been debunked by every study to review it (including the US gov’t Institute of Medicine), but it is based on the fallacy of correlation = causation. “Ask any heroin addict, and they’ll tell you the first illegal drug they did was marijuana!” OK, what’s similar between marijuana and heroin? “Illegal”. Ask them what *drug* they took first and it was usually alcohol. But nobody calls Coors Light a “gateway drug” because you don’t buy it in the same market as the heroin, cocaine, and meth – the illegal market. (BTW, I will correct the author of the piece on one error: meth is a Schedule II drug, not Schedule I like cannabis and heroin. Meth – and cocaine – are recognized by our government as having medical value.)
Finally, this silly slippery slope “the next step, how about Vicodin or Oxycontin without prescriptions, they don’t hurt anyone” fails on three levels. One, Vicodin and Oxycontin are already more legal than medical marijuana and, based on gov’t figures, a bigger drug abuse problem (Google: Florida pill mills). Two, the opiate pharmaceuticals are toxic and addictive, unlike cannabis, which has been shown to work synergistically with opiate pain relievers to produce greater pain relief with less Oxycontin and Vicodin needed by the pain patient. And three, the idea that “well, if we legalize pot, then why not coke, why not heroin, etc.” is stupid because you’d have to have public support to do that. 50% of the public supports legalizing pot. Legalization of other drugs stands at only 10% support for ecstasy, 9% for cocaine, 8% for heroin, and 7% each for crack and meth. So unless legalizing pot means at least 50%+1 of all registered voters go out and smoke it and it’s such a Super-Potent Not Your Father’s Woodstock Weed Bubonic Skunk Chronic that one puff makes all of them suddenly want to see legalized heroin, it’s just a stupid argument.
The simple truth is this: Some people don’t like the kind of people they think smoke weed. Call ‘em “hippies,” “liberals,” “libertarians,” “thugs,” “gangstas,” “dopers,” “losers,” “druggies,” “hedonists,” whatever way your prejudice copes with the fear of the mostly young, mostly minority, mostly working class people we surveil, harass, intimidate, screen, terminate, evict, terrorize, arrest, and imprison… all under the justification of making sure Phillip-Morris, MillerCoors, Pfizer, Starbucks, Sarah Lee, and Frito-Lay all have a “drug-free” workforce. Marijuana’s illegality ensures that only the fringiest pot smokers remain visible, thus making continued demonization of them easier, since the moms and dads and teachers and firemen and rocket scientists and gold medal athletes can’t speak up for it without losing their kids, their jobs, and their Kellogg’s cereal endorsement deals.
The facts are these: Cannabis consumers are every bit as liberal or conservative, religious or atheist, rich or poor, minority or white, industrious or lazy, intelligent or stupid, dirty or clean, fat or fit, crazed or rational as beer drinkers, wine drinkers, cigarette smokers, cigar smokers, teetotalers, and full-blown drug addicts. But prohibition of cannabis colors the perception of its users toward the more negative (to the perceiver, in this case, the commenter above). (And, actually, cannabis consumers are more white, more fit, more intelligent, and richer than beer drinkers…) The most profound affect legalizing marijuana would have is the shock its opponents would have at finding out how many of their friends, family, and colleagues smoke pot, and have been for a while.
by Vin Suprynowicz, Las Vegas Review-Journal
The nation’s “Forests Are Severely Damaged By Marijuana Grow Sites,” reads the headline on the Dec. 7 news release from the U.S. Forest Service.
Marijuana cultivation sites in 20 states on 67 national forests “have caused severe damage,” said Forest Service Director of Law Enforcement David Ferrell. In California alone, the service has cleaned up and restored 335 sites, removing 130 tons of trash, 300 pounds of pesticides, five tons of fertilizer and nearly 260 miles of irrigation piping, the agriculture cop testified.
“Natural vegetation and wildlife are killed as growers use liberal doses of herbicides, rodenticides and pesticides, some of them banned in the U.S.,” Mr. Ferrell told whatever staff members were filtering in and out of the room. “These chemicals can cause extensive … damage to ecosystems. Human waste and trash … are widespread. Winter rains create severe soil erosion and wash the poisons, this waste and trash into streams and rivers — including congressionally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers.”
No! Not the Wild and Scenic Rivers!
“It is incumbent on the agency to do what is necessary to ensure that the resources we manage are protected and visitors as well as employees are safe,” Mr. Ferrell told the fearless drug warriors.
I’m glad to hear it.
I then proceeded to read the rest of the news release, seeking word on how precisely the Forest Service now plans to join the battle to nip this problem in the bud by seeking re-legalization of marijuana cultivation on private lands — land the owners would have an obvious incentive to keep in better shape so they can plant again the following year — since it’s clear to everyone the only reason people run the risk of having their crops regularly seized and destroyed on Forest Service land is because this popular medicinal plant has been absurdly banned from private cultivation for 80 years.
Why? Because of racist propaganda back in the early 20th century that “the devil’s weed” was widely used by black and Hispanic males to seduce white women, and because Harry Anslinger’s Prohibition boys needed a new mission after that great saint of progressivism, Franklin Roosevelt, re-legalized alcohol (the far more dangerous drug favored by white folks) back in 1933.
And … nothing. Instead, the Forest Service “will continue to enhance partnerships with other federal, state, local and Tribal agencies in a cooperative effort to investigate and eradicate marijuana cultivation and other narcotic activities occurring on Forest System lands,” Ferrell said.
So, at a time when the federal government seeks bankruptcy in a lemming-like cliff dive, the agency simply wants more money to do what’s been failing so spectacularly for years. In fact, pot farming on public lands is one of America’s few remaining billion-dollar growth industries!
Why does the service keep destroying every million-dollar harvest it stumbles on, rather than earn some return for the Treasury by selling the herb at market rates to legitimate medical patients holding legitimate physician recommendations in states that have legalized those uses? Such patients now suffer without that medicine because both federal and local law enforcement agencies flout those laws, busting even those who seek to distribute high-quality cannabis products free of charge (as I see our local sheriff’s deputies busted another marijuana dispensary last week, right here in River City).
So what If the ninth and 10th amendments guarantee us freedom from federal intervention with our medical liberties? We’ve got federal payrolls that need growing.
Fund more failure!
Marijuana use among teens across the nation rose for the fourth straight year, according to results from the highly respected annual “Monitoring the Future” survey released Dec. 14 in Washington, D.C.
In addition, the survey indicates daily marijuana use is at a 30-year peak among high school seniors. The report stated that fewer teens perceive the drug as harmful and that disapproval of its use is dropping.
The annual survey is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan. The report is considered one of the leading indicators of trends in substance use among the nation’s teen-agers.
Trends in the report, which surveyed 47,000 teens in grades 8, 10 and 12, are echoed at drug treatment centers such as Rosecrance in Rockford. Dr. Thomas Wright, chief medical officer for the organization and a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, said the report is concerning.
“Cannabis is seen as a potential gateway drug and its use may lead to other drugs and addiction issues,” he said.
Admission trends at the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Adolescent Treatment Center mirror the big picture. Cannabis has long been the top drug of choice among youth in treatment for substance abuse, and its grip on the population has continued to rise.
Among adolescent patients admitted to treatment last year, 71.4 percent cited marijuana as their preferred drug, compared with 69.5 percent in 2010 and 67.1 percent in 2009.
Rosecrance has the largest adolescent inpatient treatment center in the state of Illinois. More than 800 adolescents receive treatment annually at the Rockford campus.
Other facts from “Monitoring the Future:”
• The proportion of young people using any illicit drug has risen steadily in recent years, primarily a result of the increase in marijuana use.
• 50 percent of high school seniors reported having tried an illicit drug at some time.
• 40 percent of seniors had used one or more drugs in the past year.
• 25 percent of seniors had used one or more drugs in the past month.
Meanwhile, the Rosecrance experience confirms other national trends highlighted in the “Monitoring the Future” survey. Alcohol use and binge drinking have gradually declined. That bit of positive news is countered by the emergence and growing use of “synthetic marijuana” products, such as K2 and Spice, both of which can have harmful and even fatal consequences to users.
These new synthetic formulas have unpredictable effects. Rosecrance is treating a growing number of adolescents and young adults for abuse of these drugs. Use of Ecstasy also increased overall in the past year, while the perception of risk and disapproval of the drug declined.
The report also showed that about one-third of teens surveyed reported using energy drinks, which can be harmful if used often. Young teens consume the most energy drinks.
Here is a Q&A with Dr. Thomas Wright about the “Monitoring the Future” report:
Q: The recent Monitoring the Future report said that marijuana use is on the rise among teens and that daily marijuana use among high school seniors is at a 30-year peak. Can you comment on that?
A: It’s concerning, as cannabis is seen as a potential gateway drug and its use may lead to other drugs and addiction issues.
Q: The report says that, in general, teens today don’t perceive that marijuana is harmful or risky behavior. What are you hearing from teens?
A: When patients come into treatment, this is often the case. However, part of our job is to educate the patient and families about not only the drug, but the disease of addiction.
Q: Meanwhile, the report also says that alcohol and cigarette use are on the decline among teens. Are you encouraged?
A: Well, overall drug use by any drug is still on the rise. So, while we like to see a decrease in some drugs used, there seems to be a tendency where teens just go to something else.
Q: The report also talks about the rise in use of synthetic marijuana, also known as “Spice” or “K2.” Is that also a trend among Rosecrance patients?
A: We have been seeing our patients use synthetic cannabinoids for one to two years. Now, we are beginning to see an emergence of a new hallucinogen called “Bromo-dragonfly.” The availability of this is growing and may be reflected in future data from the Monitoring the Future study.
Q: What advice do you have for parents who suspect that their teens are regular users of marijuana or other drugs?
A: Have a relationship with your teen such that you can discuss and talk to them about these things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Learn more at http://www.nida.nih.gov/drugpages/MTF.html.