Medical Marijuana, Research

Truth Free America

July 11th, 2008 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

I mentioned Drug Free America Foundation’s Calvina Fay earlier this week, but here’s another whopper from her group, Save Our Society, regarding a North Carolina resolution to study medical marijuana:

“Those that seek the legalization of marijuana often site [sic] the American College of Physicians paper as being in favor of ‘medical’ marijuana, however that is not accurate. The ACP supported research into cannabinoids such as THC, but they specifically stated ‘The ACP encourages the use of non-smoked forms of THC that have proven therapeutic value.'”

There’s actually plenty that’s objectionable here: That SOS is so scared of North Carolina lawmakers even discussing medical marijuana shows what kind of small-minded fear addicts we’re dealing with.

But if you actually read the ACP’s statement – and you should if you really want to piss SOS off – its position is clear:

“ACP strongly urges protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws.”

Really, though – read it. Don’t take my word for it, and definitely don’t take the word of the likes of Calvina Fay.

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Prohibition

California’s Annual Fiasco Resumes; One Dead Already

July 10th, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

California’s annual exercise in futility known as the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting — a marijuana “eradication” program that regularly announces record plant seizures without having any discernible effect on the state’s marijuana supply — has begun for another year. According to news reports today, at least one man is already dead in a CAMP raid.

The circumstances of the shooting remain unclear, so it’s possible the dead man fired first. Clearly, there are some unsavory characters involved in marijuana production. But California is a major producer of another psychoactive drug that’s much more likely to induce violence and aggression — a drug known as “wine” — and yet this industry seems to have no such problems. If California regulated its marijuana industry as it regulated its wine industry, the problems associated with marijuana cultivation would vanish.

Last year, MPP sent a letter to California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who oversees CAMP, asking him to provide evidence that CAMP has reduced the state’s marijuana supply, cut teenagers’ access to marijuana, reduced the involvement of criminal gangs in marijuana production, or curbed environmental damage caused by marijuana production. Brown did not reply.

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Prohibition

Who invited these people?

July 10th, 2008 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

Ever find yourself at a party filled with smart, interesting folks, except the loudest, most boorish person there keeps dominating conversation? When it comes to shaping international drug policy, the U.S. is that guy.

Check out this account of the United Nation’s Forum on International Drug Control Policy – a gathering of drug policy experts from nongovernmental organizations around the world – by the ACLU’s Graham Boyd:

In all but one region of the world, the NGOs found an appalling over-reliance on arrest and incarceration — appalling both because it proves ineffective in addressing drug addiction and because it destroys so many lives at such great cost. In all but one region, the NGOs called for applying human rights norms to their nations’ drug policies. In all but one region, the NGOs described their work in reducing the harms of drugs by providing sterile syringes to drug users to stop the spread of AIDS.

All, that is, but the U.S. delegation, which is stacked with mean-spirited fear mongers like Drug Free America Foundation’s Calvina Fay, who defended imprisoning drug users – including medical marijuana patients – as a great way to get abusers into treatment.

The reality, according to the latest drug treatment admission statistics from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is that our treatment facilities are increasingly clogged with low-level marijuana users whose only real problem is getting arrested. According to the stats, 58% of those seeking treatment for marijuana in 2006 were court ordered, far more than for any other drug, and more than half of those had used marijuana three times or fewer the month before entering treatment.

With great ideas like that, why would the crew representing the country with the most abysmal marijuana and cocaine use rates in the world want to listen to anybody else talk about drug policy? Only a cynic would suggest that Fay’s organization parrots the U.S. government line because of its nearly $1.5 million in government grants.

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Prohibition

College-Age Deaths: Booze 157, Marijuana 0

July 8th, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

A new Associated Press analysis finds that 157 young people age 18-23 died from alcohol poisoning from 1999 to 2005 (the most recent figures available). Alarmingly, the 2005 total of 35 alcohol deaths was the highest in the period, nearly double the 18 deaths in 1999.

Not mentioned by AP but worth noting: The number of marijuana overdose deaths during that same period was zero. As noted in a recent British Medical Journal editorial, no medically documented marijuana overdose deaths have been reported in the medical literature.

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Prohibition

ONDCP’s Strangest TV Ad Yet

July 7th, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

The anti-marijuana ads coming out of the White House drug czar’s office just keep getting stranger. Their latest TV commercial may be the oddest yet. Apparently, the message is that if you smoke marijuana while you’re young, eventually you’ll end up middle-aged. Or something.

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Video

ACLU and Rick Steves, Part 3

July 7th, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

The final installment of Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation.

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Tax and Regulate

The Netherlands’ Treatment of Marijuana

July 7th, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

In the marijuana reform movement, one of the comments I often overhear in conversations, see posted in online message forums, or read in blog comments relates to the Netherlands and their treatment of marijuana. “Treat marijuana like the Netherlands does” seems to be the rallying cry for lots of misinformed people.

Jeffrey Stinson recently did a short piece on how marijuana is treated in the Netherlands for USA Today. Though brief, the story zeroes in on one important fact: Marijuana in the Netherlands is illegal; the government simply chooses to ignore its sale and use.

I respect that the Netherlands treats marijuana more in accordance with the potential harms than America does, but I still strongly believe that as Americans we should work toward creating sensible policies to tax and regulate marijuana rather than making a conscious effort to ignore it. Let’s look for solutions, not stopgaps.

What do you think?

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Medical Marijuana

Marijuana for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

July 3rd, 2008 7 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Could marijuana be helpful for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? The possibility is raised by a newly published case report in Cannabinoids, the journal of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine. Doctors from the Heidelberg University Medical Center in Heidelberg, Germany, report on an adult ADHD sufferer who exhibited classic ADHD behavior — pushy, impatient, having trouble focusing or responding to questions appropriately — and who had not been helped by Ritalin, a standard ADHD treatment, but whose symptoms essentially disappeared after smoking marijuana. The authors also discuss animal research that suggests cannabinoids may be effective against ADHD, as well as a human study suggesting that moderate marijuana use may have helped ADHD patients with cocaine dependence stay in treatment.

Some studies have found an association between marijuana use and ADHD symptoms, often drawing the inference that marijuana is worsening ADHD, or that ADHD sufferers are at risk for “drug abuse.” But what if they’re self-medicating and — in at least some cases — actually helping reduce their symptoms?

 

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Video

ACLU and Rick Steves, Part 2

July 3rd, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Here’s part two of the Rick Steves and ACLU venture, Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana on TV

July 3rd, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

A New York cable station, Regional News Network, will air a half-hour discussion on medical marijuana in the state tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

The show, which streams live at www.rnntv.com, will feature advocate Glenn Amandola, a medically retired New York City police officer who suffers from chronic pain after being injured on the job, and Rep. Richard Gottfried, who sponsored a medical marijuana bill that passed the Assembly this year, 89-52.

The show will also feature a discussion that allows phone calls and e-mails from viewers, so be sure to make your opinion known. Just be nice!

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