I’m amazed that Dr. Gupta is amazed at the number of Americans who use marijuana at least once a month….I’m amazed at the number of Americans who drink alcohol every day, causing far greater harm to themselves and society than marijuana users.
Why I Would Vote No On Pot
By Sanjay Gupta Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006
Maybe it’s because I was born a couple of months after Woodstock and wasn’t around when marijuana was as common as iPods are today, but I’m constantly amazed that after all these years–and all the wars on drugs and all the public-service announcements–nearly 15 million Americans still use marijuana at least once a month. California and 10 other states have already decriminalized marijuana for medical use. Now two of those states–Colorado and Nevada–are considering ballot initiatives that would legalize up to an ounce of pot for personal use by people 21 and older, whether or not there is a medical need.
The first is that marijuana isn’t really very good for you. True, there are health benefits for some patients. Several recent studies, including a new one from the Scripps Research Institute, show that THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible for the high, can help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. (In fact, it seems to block the formation of disease-causing plaques better than several mainstream drugs.) Other studies have shown THC to be a very effective antinausea treatment for people–cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, for example–for whom conventional medications aren’t working. And medical cannabis has shown promise relieving pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.
Why do I care? As Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, puts it, “Numerous deleterious health consequences are associated with [marijuana's] short- and long-term use, including the possibility of becoming addicted.”
But I’m here to tell you, as a doctor, that despite all the talk about the medical benefits of marijuana, smoking the stuff is not going to do your health any good. And if you get high before climbing behind the wheel of a car, you will be putting yourself and those around you in danger.
via Why I Would Vote No On Pot – TIME.
Given that getting behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol or any number of prescription drugs puts one and those around one in danger why even mention that? Why single out marijuana?
Let’s look at the number of yearly deaths attributed to marijuana and other drugs and causes of deaths:
Marijuana Smoking Doesn’t Kill
Illegal Herb Not Harmless, but Data Show No Link to Death
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News
Sept. 18, 2003 — Marijuana smoking isn’t harmless, but at least it won’t kill you.
It’s been feared that marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, causes cancer and heart disease. The evidence argues otherwise, writes Stephen Sidney, MD, associate director for research for Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., in the Sept 20 issue of The British Medical Journal.
“Although the use of [marijuana] is not harmless, the current knowledge base does not support the assertion that it has any notable adverse public health impact in relation to mortality,” Sidney concludes.
No Marijuana Deaths in 2 Large Studies
Sidney points to two large studies. The first is from (where else?) California. A large HMO looked at 65,177 men and women age 15-49. Over 10 years, marijuana users died no sooner than nonusers.
The second study looked at 45,450 Swedish army conscripts. They were 18-20 years old when asked about marijuana use. Fifteen years later, the marijuana users were just as likely to remain alive as nonusers.
And since marijuana smoking can’t kill outright — there’s no such thing as a fatal marijuana overdose — short-term use isn’t deadly. Long-term use can’t be good for you. But Sidney notes that most marijuana smokers don’t become long-term users.
Why let facts get in the way? Here are statistics of deaths by drug classifications:
Regardless of whether or not you believe marijuana to have harmful side effects, didn’t we learn anything from alcohol prohibition? I guess not.
# 20 Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
in Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009
Marijuana Policy Project, September 27, 2007
Title: “Marijuana Arrests Set New Record for Fourth Year in a Row”
Author: Bruce Mirken
National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, September 24, 2007
Title: “Marijuana Arrests for Year 2006—829,625 Tops Record High”
Author: Paul Armentano
Student Researchers: Ben Herzfeldt and Caitlyn Ioli
Faculty Advisor: Pat Jackson, PhD
For the fourth year in a row, US marijuana arrests set an all-time record, according to 2006 FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Marijuana arrests in 2006 totaled 829,627, an increase from 786,545 in 2005. At current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every thirty-eight seconds, with marijuana arrests comprising nearly 44 percent of all drug arrests in the United States. According to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), over 8 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges during the past decade, while arrests for cocaine and heroine have declined sharply.
The number of arrests in 2006 increased more than 5.5 percent from 2005. Of the 829,627 arrests, 89 percent were for possession, not sale or manufacture. Possession arrests exceeded arrests for all violent crimes combined, as they have for years. The remaining offenders, including those growing for personal or medical use, were charged with sale and/or manufacturing. SOURCE
Marijuana Arrests Set All-Time Record
September 15, 2008
Arrests for Marijuana Possession Exceed All Violent Crimes Combined
(Washington, D.C.) Continuing the recent trend, marijuana arrests set another all-time record in 2007, totaling 872,720. Arrests for marijuana possession totaled 775,138, greatly exceeding arrests for all violent crimes combined, which totaled 597,447.
* The number greatly exceeds the 829,627 marijuana arrests in 2006, which itself was an all-time record.
* Arrests for illicit drugs other than marijuana declined in 2007 by over 84,000 compared to 2006.
“Most Americans have no idea of the massive effort going into a war on marijuana users that has completely failed to curb marijuana use,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. “Just this summer a new World Health Organization study of 17 countries found that we have the highest rate of marijuana use, despite some of the strictest marijuana laws and hyper-aggressive enforcement.
“With government at all levels awash in debt, this is an insane waste of resources. If we regulated and taxed marijuana as we do beer, wine, and cigarettes, we could save tens of billions of dollars, better control marijuana’s production and distribution, and cut off a huge source of funding to criminal gangs.” SOURCE
Why is marijuana illegal?
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy:
Marijuana is legally a Schedule I Controlled Substance under a federal law that evaluates the balance of risks and benefits of drugs with input from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The reason for legal restrictions on controlled substances is to protect public health and public safety. Simply put, marijuana is a substance that intoxicates those who use it, injuring their health and the well-being of those around them.
Excuse me???? I have to call BS on that statement. I doubt there is ANY other drug on the face of the earth that has caused more harm to the user and those around him than ALCOHOL. Obviously that statement is not true….there are other factors involved in the criminalization of marijuana.
So WHY is marijuana illegal?
As I’ve researched the beginnings of marijuana prohibition two names pop up no matter the source for the information….Harry J. Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst.
With the help of William Randolph Hearst who is reported to have hated Mexicans as well as being heavily invested in the timber industry, Anslinger who eventually became essentially the first Drug Czar, embarked on a campaign to sensationalize the evils of marijuana. Here are a few Anslinger quotes from the Gore Files:
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
“Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”
“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”
I think it’s rather obvious that racism played a large part in the criminalization of marijuana. But big industry had it’s hand in the criminalization of marijuana as well:
Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.
Remember at the time marijuana was being criminalized even the American Medical Association did not realize that the “marijuana” being referred to was hemp or cannabis.
The one fly in Anslinger’s ointment was the appearance by Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association.
Woodward started by slamming Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics for distorting earlier AMA statements that had nothing to do with marijuana and making them appear to be AMA endorsement for Anslinger’s view.
He also reproached the legislature and the Bureau for using the term marijuana in the legislation and not publicizing it as a bill about cannabis or hemp. At this point, marijuana (or marihuana) was a sensationalist word used to refer to Mexicans smoking a drug and had not been connected in most people’s minds to the existing cannabis/hemp plant. Thus, many who had legitimate reasons to oppose the bill weren’t even aware of it.
Woodward went on to state that the AMA was opposed to the legislation and further questioned the approach of the hearings, coming close to outright accusation of misconduct by Anslinger and the committee: CONTINUED HERE
I have quoted heavily from one website but the information presented here is actually a compilation of research through Internet research and information presented in a History Channel special on marijuana.
Given the facts that hemp is a product with many uses and that it is very environmentally friendly, and the outrageous sums of money spent on the criminalization of marijuana isn’t it time to stop the insanity of marijuana criminalization?
I think so and not just because I was born before Woodstock.