The revelation that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has acknowledged using marijuana — but now thinks it should remain illegal — prompted the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill to invite MPP to post our thoughts on this issue on the paper’s blog. Previous marijuana discussions on The Hill‘s blog have generated heated debate, so check out the link above and join the conversation.
The first report on this major federal drug use survey is out in the form of this story from APÂ (which includes a short comment from MPP, dissenting from the official spin). Bottom line: Little change in drug use overall, but the drug czar and other federal officials are still claiming progress. A couple MPPers will be attending this morning’s press conference at which the survey will be discussed, so watch this space for a more detailed analysis later today.
As summer winds toward an end, it’s time for the government’s annual drug surveys to start coming out.Â The first, being released Sept. 4, is the biggest federally-sponsored drug use survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Typically this is followed a few weeks later by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports — not a drug survey per se, but the definitive annual accounting of marijuana arrests (which set yet another new record in the UCR report released last fall). Then, typically in December, comes Monitoring the Future, which focuses on use by adolescents.
With release of each report, federal officials miraculously find in the results evidence that their policies are working just fine, even when an honest look at the data shows they aren’t. And the media often fail to be sufficiently skeptical of the official spin.
Will that happen this year? Watch this space for updates.
Medical Marijuana, Prohibition
Noting that his just-announced vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has acknowledged having smoked marijuana, MPP is urging Sen. John McCain to respect states’ rights to set their own marijuana policies if he is elected president.
Palin said she has smoked marijuana — remember, it was legal under state law, she said, even if illegal under U.S. law — but says she didn’t like it and doesn’t smoke it now.
Â ‘I can’t claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled.’
The paper quoted Palin as saying she opposed legalization of marijuana because of the “message” that would be sent to her children. Read the rest of this entry »
Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered questions yesterday submitted via the popular social news Web site, Digg.com.Â Digg user adroit asked Pelosi, â[a]s a taxable resource, what stops marijuana from being legalized, for medicinal or recreational purposes, throughout the country?â
âI myself have supported medicinal use of marijuana over and over again âŠ there just isnât enough support for it,â said Speaker Pelosi.Â She then called on the public to help raise awareness about the issue, saying, âWe need peopleâs help to be in touch with their members of Congress to say why [medical marijuana] should be the case.â
Why not take the speaker’s words to heart and send a letter to your member of Congress right now? Â You can take action in less than a minute atÂ MPPâs online action center.
At its August meeting, the 57-year-old Society for the Study of Social ProblemsÂ passed a strong resolution in support of medical marijuana. SSSP’s resolution goes further than some other groups have gone by specifically endorsing key legislative proposals in Congress.
As the new resolutions haven’t yet been posted on the SSSP Web site, here is the text in full:Â
2008 RESOLUTION APPROVED
AT THE SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS
AUGUST 1 BUSINESS MEETING
Resolution: Medical Marijuana
From: Health, Health Policy, and Health Services Division
WHEREAS the Society for the Study of Social Problems find the following:
1.Â Federal drug policy on marijuana threatens the health and well being of thousands of Americans by prohibiting even the medicinal use of cannabis under physician supervision in states with medical marijuana laws.Â The federal government has actively impeded research on the medical use of marijuana despite patient and physician reports that it may help to relieve such debilitating symptoms as nausea, pain, and loss of appetite associated with serious illnesses. Read the rest of this entry »
The sometimes-chaotic medical marijuana situation in California has spurred a fair amount of sensationalized and unbalanced press coverage, even in the esteemed New Yorker. Yes, there have been some problems and some misuse of the law, but an editorial in today’s L.A. TimesÂ hits the nail on the head as to the real source of the problems:
Most of the negative consequences [of Proposition 215] can be attributed to the gap between state and federal marijuana laws. The fact that even sellers considered legitimate by the state can be prosecuted and ruined by federal agents encourages black-market dealers, who endanger their communities by ignoring fire codes, selling to healthy minors and fighting turf wars with other dealers. … [T]he only long-term solution is for the feds to stop the medical marijuana raids and leave California law enforcement to California officers.
It looks like the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will make taxpayers foot the bill for their lesson in constitutionality yet again, voting yesterday to continue their futile lawsuit against state medical marijuana laws. Although it hasn’t been a problem for 40 other California counties, the board maintains that federal law prevents them from obeying a state law requiring a county identification card system for medical marijuana patients.
The board â along with their counterparts in San Diego County â have already lost this argument twice in court, first in 2006 by a Superior Court judge and then again earlier this month in a unanimous decision by the 4th District Court of Appeals.
This time it will be the state Supreme Court’s job to explain to county officials that they must obey all laws, even the ones they don’t like.
A common source of frustration for MPP â and for most folks in the marijuana policy reform movement â is being mischaracterized as “pro-pot” or “pro-drug” by the press. Not only are these labels misleading and politically charged, they’re completely inaccurate.
Most of us who wish to end marijuana prohibition do so because we see the policy’s utter futility and its legacy of failure and waste. Our argument isn’t that marijuana is fun; it’s that marijuana prohibition is a disaster, and that perpetuating it is inhumane and irresponsible. That’s true whether you use marijuana or not, and whether you approve of marijuana use or not.
I don’t think reporters mischaracterize us on purpose. Reporters pride themselves on their ability to approach topics with a healthy dose of skepticism. But most of them haven’t given marijuana policy as much thought as, say, the pro-choice movement, which you’ll rarely â if ever â see referred to as “pro-abortion.” Read the rest of this entry »
Never fear, we’re not asking readers to support the annual exercise in futility known as marijuana “eradication,” which is now in full swing as summer nears an end and harvest season approaches. Not only has there never been the slightest indication that these campaigns reduce the marijuana supply — the supposed objective — but the U.S. Department of Justice’s own National Drug Threat Assessment 2008Â indicates that “eradication” campaigns directed at outdoor farms are actually driving a shift to indoor growing in converted homes, resulting in year-round production of high-potency marijuana (often with jerry-rigged wiring and other dangerous conditions) and an “exponential increase in profits” for the criminal gangs that control most large-scale marijuana cultivation and distribution.
But there is something you can do: Help keep the news media honest.