The National Academy of Public Administration just released a devastating Senate-commissioned report detailing the failures of the drug czar’s office during the Bush administration. Read the rest of this entry »
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder reinforced the White House’s policy that federal resources shouldn’t be wasted raiding medical marijuana dispensaries that operate within state law yesterday in a Justice Department press conference.
You already know this, but considering that the DEA has conducted hundreds of these stupid raids over the past several years, this is a very big deal for medical marijuana patients and fans of compassion and sanity.
Attorney General Eric Holder reaffirms President Obama’s campaign promise to end the raids of medical marijuana dispensaries in California, calling it now “American policy”.
Tax and Regulate
MPP executive director Rob Kampia will be interviewed by Fox News’ Glenn Beck today about California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s bill to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol. The show airs starting at 5 p.m. Eastern time. While TV schedules are always subject to last-minute change, we’re told Rob should be on at about 5:20 p.m. Eastern.
From time to time we hear dubious claims that marijuana is carcinogenic, even though there’s abundant evidence that marijuana’s active components are actually pretty potent anti-cancer drugs.
That alcohol is a far more serious cancer risk is underlined by this Washington Post storyÂ about a massive new British studyÂ — involving 1.3 million women — indicating that even a single drink per day can increase the risk of many types of cancers. The researchers estimate that booze could account for as much as 5 percent of all cancers among women in the U.S.
No, that does not mean we should arrest and jail people for drinking. It does mean that discussions of the health risks of marijuana are often wildly out of balance, skewed by the stigma attached to an illegal substance.
Rob Kampia, executive director of MPP, is interviewed by Glenn Beck about the California bill introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.
Tax and Regulate
Â Â Â California state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) today announced the introduction of legislation to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcoholic beverages. The bill, the first of its kind ever introduced in California, would create a regulatory structure similar to that used for beer, wine, and liquor, permitting taxed sales to adults while barring sales to or possession by those under 21.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Estimates based on federal government statistics have shown marijuana to be California’s top cash crop, valued at approximately $14 billion in 2006 — nearly twice the combined value of the state’s number two and three crops, vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion) — in spite of massive “eradication” efforts that wipe out an average of nearly 36,000 cultivation sites per year without making a dent in this underground industry. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the arguments regularly raised against medical marijuana is that THC is available in pill form, so — according to the Drug Enforcement AdministrationÂ and other opponents — patients don’t need that nasty weed, which has all sorts of other stuff in it.
The problem with that argument is that some of that “other stuff” is really useful, not to mention remarkably safe.Â For example, an article recently published onlineby the journal Phytotherapy Research reviews the many beneficial effects of a less well-known marijuana component known as cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD, the article notes, “displays a plethora of actions including anticonvulsive, sedative, hypnotic, antipsychotic, antiinflammatory and neuroprotective properties,” while being “well tolerated in humans, with a profile of very low toxicity and devoid of psychoactive and cognitive effects.”
Indeed, CBD seems to counter some of the unwanted effects of pure THC, which in some people can include increased anxiety or the aggravation of a pre-existing vulnerability to psychosis.
Maybe some day human researchers will manage to improve on the natural properties of the marijuana plant, but they haven’t done so yet.
Many people are at least vaguely aware that government-sanctioned medical marijuana programs exist in CanadaÂ and the Netherlands. But few Americans are aware that another of America’s strongest allies, Israel, also has a national medical marijuana program. And, according to a translation posted by MAPS of a recent article in the Israeli newspaper Maariv, that program is growing.
Three hundred patients are now enrolled, representing a 1,400% increase in new permissions to use medical marijuana in the last two years, according to the paper. Strikingly, the program includes not only the obvious indications like neuropathic pain or nausea and vomiting related to treatments for cancer or HIV/AIDS, but conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder that are often not included in U.S. medical marijuana laws, though there is reason to believe that marijuana may be helpful for at least some PTSD patients.
Meanwhile, seven German patients recently became the first in their country to receive whole marijuana for medical use with government approval. As the rest of the world starts to enter the 21st century on this issue, will the U.S. continue to be stuck in 1937?
Two weeks and eight arrests after a photo of Michael Phelps smoking from a bong made headlines, Richland County, S.C., Sheriff Leon Lott has called off the criminal investigation of the Olympic champion.
Unlike Phelps, who has expressed regret for the entire incident, Lott was unrepentant about wasting the county’s time and resources on a case that at most would have led to charges of possession of a pinch of marijuana. He also didn’t apologize for the armed raids and arrests of eight college kids whom he hoped he might pressure into verifying whether the contents of Phelps’ bong might have been marijuana.
He did say he hoped Phelps had learned something from all this. I suppose it’s too much to hope that Lott might actually learn something here too.